Traditional Filipino Games Series #04: Kadang-kadang

Social media is one of the most important things that happened in this generation. Ironically, even as we get more globally connected through it, we also become more alienated from the people in our immediate surroundings. 

After reading those news stories about people getting obese, blind or acquiring mental disorder due to their excessive use of social media, I felt sad. Ironic, but social media robs people of social activities. Worse, it has impacted many individuals’ mental and physical health.

That’s why I’m bent on pursuing the re-introduction of traditional games, hoping to encourage young people to become more physically active once again. By the way, this series is not meant for Filipinos only but for all the young people out there. Including the young at heart, of course. I just feature the traditional Filipino games because those are what I’m familiar with. But, I do welcome your suggestions of other social games. Just give me a note in the comments below.

So… here we go with another fun game – the Kadang-kadang!

traditional Filipino games
Rural kids play the Kadang-kadang with no particular rules. (Photo credit to the owner)

Traditional Filipino Games Series #04:

Kadang-Kadang or karang (in Bisaya), and Tiyakad (in Tagalog) is Bamboo Stilts game in English. This game originated in Cebu, Central Philippines. Historically, kadang-kadang was first officially played in 1969 during the Laro ng Lahi (Game of the Races), a traditional sports event initiated by the Bureau of Physical Education and School Sports (BPESS). However, I believe that kadang-kadang was already a popular game among rural kids long before its inclusion in the Laro ng Lahi.

And, long before I knew of the (formal) mechanics of the game, kids in our neighborhood were already mounting and walking on it for fun – not as a contest. Anyway, here’s how the official kadang-kadang (in contest fashion) is played. 

  1. Kadang-kadang requires two teams with 4 members each.
  2. Equipment to use: four pieces (or two sets) of bamboo poles with equal heights, say 10 feet long. Each pole must have a foot-size stepladder.
  3. The goal of this game is for the two teams to successfully traverse a 100-meter course, which is marked at every 25th meter.
  4. The first player of each team stands behind the starting point, while the second player stands on the 25th-meter mark. The third player waits at the 50th-meter mark and the last player on the 75th mark.
  5. At the signal of “Get set”, the first players must stand ready behind the starting line holding their respective stilts.
  6. At the signal of “Go”, the players mount their stilts and start walking towards the 25th-meter mark. Then, they get off the stilts for the second players to continue the course to the 50th mark. This process is repeated until the fourth players reach the finish line (or the 100th-meter).
  7. The team that completes the course first is the winner.
  8. Each player is allowed only two errors. This means that if the player falls off the stilts more than twice, his team loses the game.

Balance and concentration are the two most important skills that a player should possess in playing kadang-kadang. But, of course, teamwork is also necessary to successfully bring the game to the finish line.

The official kadang-kadang is a team game, unlike what we used to be doing as kids. There were no specific rules to follow then. Most of the boys owned a pair of stilts, and they would just let the girls try it. Our parents, though, did not like the younger kids and the girls to mount on the stilts on the premise that it was too dangerous for us. And so, to obey our elders, we modified the kadang-kadang. Thanks to the innovative minds of the young! Instead of the bamboo poles, we used coconut shells to walk around with.

traditional Filipino games
Karang for younger children and girls. This is also called Kadang-bao. (Photo credit to the owner)

Watch Kyle Jennermann (Kulas is his Filipino name) as he demonstrates how to make the modified kadang-kadang made of coconut shells. The durian peel karang is his own invention.

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

4 Replies to “Traditional Filipino Games Series #04: Kadang-kadang”

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