Tumbang Preso

M is 54, and grew up in Manila, Philippines, and currently resides in San Gabriel, California.

M described to me a game that was played among the children in his neighborhood called tumbang preso. The rules as he recalled them were, that someone “guards the can” while the other kids take turns ‘“trying to hit the can with their slipper.” And that the object of the game was the “knock down the can” and avoid getting tagged by the “can guardian.” This game was corroborated by M (50) who said that she also grew up playing the game. I asked them both why slippers were utilized specifically. M replied that it was the “only thing they had” and that it was easier to play games with household objects.

Upon further research, I learned that the game name, tumbang preso, is also known as Kick the Can. It has a lot of similarities in its rules and the way that it is structured, compared to other tag-based games, like capture the flag. I find it interesting that most countries have some sort of variation of tag, albeit with different items used, according to where the children grow up.