Traditional Filipino Games Series #02: Bahay-Bahayan

Feeding my nostalgia for my childhood, again!

The Philippines is known for its rich and diverse cultural heritage and traditions. Despite having been colonized by the Spaniards (for 333 years), Japanese, and Americans, Filipinos keep a culture uniquely distinct from the rest of humanity. And, one thing I am proud of is our resilience. Didn’t you know that we can afford to flash a heartfelt smile even amid tough challenges? No matter the level of difficulty we may be in, we still say (in Bisaya), “madala pa’g smile!” (we can still manage to smile).

Even the kids way back then (when the internet was an unknown word), were not dependent on the toys our parents bought. We were creative, making use of whatever materials we can find around the house or in the spacious fields.

Today, let me share with you our version of what you now call “house simulation game”.

traditional Filipino Games
Bahay-Bahayan in the rural Philippines. (Photo credit to the owner)

Traditional Filipino Games Series #02

We simply called this game  “Bahay-bahayan” (in Tagalog) or “balay-balay” (in Bisaya), which literally means “home simulation” in English.

Bahay-bahayan is a group game where kids simulate a real family set-up. Each member of the group takes the role of a father, a mother, and children. At times also, a kid is appointed or may volunteer as the family pet. I was more than once a pet puppy, then – and I enjoyed my role! ❤

In this game, we would build our house either in someone’s porch (especially during rainy days) or in the open fields (in summer), using any material we can find around us. When in the open field, we would usually gather banana leaves, coconut fronds, sticks, stones, and pebbles, or any other material available. Our money was made of plant leaves, paper, or broken china. We also performed activities that real families do like cooking, doing household chores, going to work, go shopping, go to church, and meet our “neighbors”.

Oh boy, did we have fun! Pure and clean fun of childhood, indeed.  I always cherish the joys of youth.

Other Games in the Series:
Luksong Tinik
Luksong Baka
Tumbang Preso

4 Replies to “Traditional Filipino Games Series #02: Bahay-Bahayan”

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