Traditional Filipino Games Series #03: Luksong Baka

Here I am again with another traditional Filipino game. Today, let me introduce to you, Luksong Baka, which literally means “Jump Over the Cow” in English.

Luksong Baka originated from the province of Bulacan, in the Central Luzon Region of the Philippines. This game involves a minimum of 3 individual boys and a maximum of 10. Although kids may adjust the maximum number of players, especially when there are many participants. Its objective is for players to successfully jump over the baka (cow), also called the tayȃ or “it”,  without hitting any part of the latter’s body or falling over him.

No equipment is required in playing luksong baka, except for these three skills:

  • Mobility, or the player’s ability to move easily and freely. The more agile the player is, the higher he can push himself up.
  • Stability – it’s the player’s ability to keep his body parts steady, especially on his waist.
  • Strength – once the player is stable, he can jump as high as possible without hitting the baka

These skills are a player’s “POWER”, enabling him to successfully jump over even at the highest level of the game.

And now, here is how Luksong Baka is played:

  1. In choosing the first “baka”, all players must place a hand over another (palms down), and at the count of three, they release their hands simultaneously, either showing palms up or down. The player who displays a different position of the hand from the rest should be the first baka or “it”.
  2. The baka then assumes his position at a designated “jump over” spot. On the first level, he takes a crouching position and the rest of the players jump over him – one after another. When all the players have jumped over, the baka raises his position a bit higher for the next level. He repeats this process until he reaches the standing position or until a jumper errs.
  3. The jumpers must spread their legs wide apart to avoid hitting the baka when they jump.
  4. The jumper who hits the baka will take the place of the baka, and the baka now becomes a jumper.
  5. When the level goes higher, the jumper may use his hands for balance by putting them together over the baka

So, if you feel like testing your “mobility, stability, and strength”, gather your friends together and play Luksong Baka. Don’t hide your skills. After all, this is a good form of exercise, too.

Watch Kyle Jennermann, a Canadian, trying to play Luksong Baka with some local kids in the Philippines.

(Video credit to Becoming Filipino)

Also, see how modern-day kids modify the classic Luksong Baka, taking the level of difficulty to a higher level.
NOTE: I apologize to non-Filipino speakers for not putting a translation on this video. But, I hope the actions are understandable enough. – The Catalyst]

(Video credit to AHA)

Other Games in the Series:
Luksong Tinik
Tumbang Preso

8 Replies to “Traditional Filipino Games Series #03: Luksong Baka”

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