Wanderlust | Game of the Maguindanaons

THE SCREAMS and shouts from the audience got louder by the moment as one player finally hit the target with his intense foot strike under the heat of last Friday afternoon’s sun.  It was no basketball or football game that got everyone energized with excitement but a traditional Maguindanaon sport call “sipa sa mangis.”

PLAYERS of the sipa sa mangis at the Inaul Festival

PLAYERS of the sipa sa mangis at the Inaul Festival

 “It’s a sport that I learned from my grandfather. When I was in my teens, my friends and I would compete in ‘sipa sa mangis’ during special occasions,” 64-year-old Edres Kaharudin said in a mix of Tagalog, Cebuano and Maguindanao. Kaharudin was one of the spectators of the game in Buluan, Maguindanao, the site of the second Inaul Festival.
According to Kaharudin, “sipa sa mangis” is exclusively a game for men to test their virility.

A GAME exclusively for the men in Maguindanao

A GAME exclusively for the men in Maguindanao

“Back in the day, the game is actually a form of entertainment of the royal classes. We only get to play this during special occasions, such as weddings and enthronements,” he shared.
Before playing the sport, a colorfully adorned wooden pyramid frame (where several colorful gift boxes are attached) is suspended 40 to 50 feet above ground by two bamboo poles.  This will serve as the target of the players.
Each gift box corresponds to a specific prize that a player can take home once he gets to hit it with a rattan ball with his foot.
“In the olden days, fruits and farm animals were used as prizes. The person who gets to hit the biggest box would win a carabao. These days, it seems that it’s more practical to have cash money as prizes,” he recalled.

SIPA sa mangis is played during special events

SIPA sa mangis is played during special events

Since sipa sa mangis is an individual sport, each player is given three tries to hit the target.
According to Kaharudin, the sport is also played by the Maranao tribe. They even have a similar game, played by teams, called “sipa sa lama”.
“In sipa sa lama, players must wear a ‘gura’ (hat), ‘balud’ (upper wear), ‘malong’ and a ‘dalapi’, a piece of wood with carvings to protect the foot,” he said.

GAME face on!

GAME face on!

Asked what one can learn in playing ‘sipa sa mangis’, he replied: “it taught us how to be agile and the value of sportsmanship while keeping our bodies and mind healthy. It is also a form of exercise. It also gives us an opportunity meet new friends.”

THE GOAL of the game is to hit the target with a rattan ball

THE GOAL of the game is to hit the target with a rattan ball

Kaharudin also said that the game connects them to their past.
“We might not have met our ancestors but playing ‘sipa sa mangis’ gave us a glimpse of how our forefathers played games in the past,” he quipped.

Posted in Lifestyle