lose your marbles


one of my favorite games as a child was “jolen”. it’s some sort of a miniature game of luge where instead of large marble blocks, well, we use… marbles, and instead of ice, we use the dirt ground. the idea is to retain as much as your marbles in a small square on the ground and trying to push away the other’s tokens off it. it can be quite a brutal game, where a simple flicker of the finger with your ace marble can do enormous damage on the others — denting them, or sometimes breaking them apart.


it’s kind of reassuring that instead of the usual video games (and they like their video games, for your information), the three kids in the house still get to play the “manual” games of our youth. this game as i see it, develops patience, dexterity, focus, and competitiveness. best of all, they get to play with other kids rather than virtual friends. play develops virtues and teaches them about the rules of the world, years before they actually need to step on it.

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6 Comments Add yours

  1. Betis Boy says:

    you didn't comment on this. poor child, i just remembered you never left your house and was all sheltered and cloistered 😛 seriously, did you even get to play out in the streets? being an only child is not an excuse. there are tons of kids in the barrio! 🙂

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  2. Guagua Girl says:

    hey, watch it! i was gonna comment on this, then i ran out of time yesterday 😛

    i didn't play with jolens; the boys wouldn't let me play 😦 but i did indeed spend a good chunk of my childhood on the streets of kilo, he he he. i remember the very hot concrete and playing “bending.” that's the game where you use your flip-flops. i was actually very good. i could touch my tsinelas to the one on the ground while bending backward (standing up; there's a level where you kneel, but that's very easy).

    we also played a lot of sabat-sabatan and tumbang preso, especially during the full moon. i'm actually rather surprised we didn't get in trouble with the “little folks” (nuno sa punso) because we used to play near the bamboos and old trees 😛

    what else did we play on the streets … ooooh, i love when there was construction going on at somebody's house because that meant there would be sand out on the street and we could play “mountain climbing” or create traps (dig a hole, lay palis tingting over it and then put paper or plastic, whatever is handy, sprinkle sand until it's covered and wait until somebody steps over it and falls (i cringe now because i don't think we realized people could actually great hurt).

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  3. Betis Boy says:

    boy, did you make my heart lift up when you reminded me of traps 🙂 i almost want to break my self-imposed silence on facebook and post something about it 😀 i can still rememer each step. make a hole by using a stick, hand, tsinelas or all of the above. protect the hole from caving in by wetting the sides. then put a piece of banana leaf or newspaper over the hole. then put rocks around the leaf/paper to support it, then camouflage it with sand (add some rocks for the natural feel).ha.ha 😀

    my favorite games in order of enjoyment:
    1. patintero (better if under the moonlit sky. better on the concrete streets, because the lines were already there)
    2. tumbang preso
    3. football
    4. touchball
    5. aro-aro (touch game)
    6. tex/pasi/jolens/sipa

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  4. Guagua Girl says:

    man, you got that trap-making down to a science! but that was evil of us, wasn't it … and the patience, OMG, my friends and i would sit on top of the brick wall and wait — sometimes for hours — for somebody to fall into the trap. in the meantime, we'd be playing other games, of course 😉

    i hated aro-aro when we first moved to kilo. i was 8, i was too slow, i wore flip-flops (because my delicate feet couldn't handle the rough concrete, LOL!). i was perceived as the weakest so everybody gunned for me. i was “captured” most of the time so everybody would be having fun, and i'd be in the enemy camp waiting to be “saved.” hated it, hated it, hated it. then i started getting better, ran faster, learned to dodge, jump, do anything to avoid the tag. when my mom arrived in kilo a month later (she sent me ahead to finish some stuff in manila) she almost didn't recognize the dark, sunburned, barefoot kid with a nose full of snot 😛

    as for sipa, i was very good with it … this is the one with tinkaputi (that's really just a metal washer, wasn't it?), not the one played like badminton. used to play it all the time in high school. and we played it “boys style” meaning we used the inside of our foot, not the outside. we played in groups, starting sipa is 50 and you can “save” your teammate by doing 100 or 150, etc. with the last sipa, you use the tip of your shoes to launch it as far away as possible. broke some windows that way, i remember 😛

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  5. Betis Boy says:

    boy, that's a mean sipa you've got. (or brittle windows there). how can you break a window with the washer? 🙂 i wasn't too good with sipa. i was fat so i couldn't lift my legs well. ha.ha. i'd be lucky if i got 15 straight 🙂 well, i was agile while running though. had years of practice avoiding being tagged by playing patintero and monkey,monkey 😀

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  6. Guagua Girl says:

    both — they're rather heavy, those metal washers and the windows in school aren't exactly of great quality 😛

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