Tumbang Preso: “Knock Down the Opponent”

Tumbang Preso: “Knock Down the Opponent”

The Philippines is known for many things. The abundance of it can range from cuisine, magnificent locations around the country, historical events, and even their numerous items of clothing. For the latter, the one clothing that never goes out of style is footwear; and with regards to footwear, no form of footwear is more flexible than flip-flops, also known as slippers, or more popularly as ‘tsinelas’.

Slippers are a common sight to see under the feet of every Filipino in the country. They can be worn at home or while mall-hopping with friends. These accessories of footwear are everyone’s go-to wearables. Also, not only are they great as an accessory of clothing, slippers are also known for a lot of other things. For instance, they are known for their uses in cockroach extermination, punishment implementations, and as sports/game wear, most specifically a game called ‘tumbang preso’ for the latter.

If you have played this game during your childhood, then consider your childhood a marvelous one. For those who haven’t, there’s no need to fret as it is never too late to give this game a try. Basically, tumbang preso is a game best played with at least 3 or more players. All you’ll need for the game is a tin can and your slippers. Once you have the essentials, it’s time to start playing.


The goal of the game is for you and your friends to knock the can down while someone guards it. To start, choose which one of your friends is the taya or the “it” player, after which the one chosen, who is then given the moniker prisoner or preso, would be tasked to guard the can. The other players would then prepare their slippers and stand at least 6-8 meters from the throwing line.

Then, they take turns to throw their slippers, also known in-game as their ‘pamatos,’ and knock down the can, after which they must retrieve their pamatos before the prisoner puts the can back to position. If ever the pamato is too close to the can in an upright position, the prisoner can step on the former, which turns the owner of that pamato into the new prisoner.

As with every childhood game known to many, this exudes a lot of nostalgia for many former players. It was a great way to bond with their friends, while at the same time ensuring that everyone plays fair. Back when these games were in demand on the streets, any form of cheating was not tolerated. The goal of every childhood game, especially with tumbang preso, was to give everyone an enjoyable time and get them out of the house for some good, old-fashioned exercise; and with this game, what better way is there to get your hands dirty?

Key Takeaway

Nowadays, other games such as basketball have taken over the streets of Manila. Though it may be a fun game to play, no game can ever outmatch the classic atmosphere of games such as this, patintero, piko, luksong baka, and others.

So, as much as possible, revitalize your childhood energy with this game! Just gather up some old and new friends, grab your slippers and can, and start playing.




John Marc Ramirez

John Marc dares to create an impact wherever he goes. He is all- in when it comes to discovering new things and horizons. He is zealous about meeting and building new relationships. On top of it, he is fired-up in raising the youth as the future leaders of his nation.

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