SIPA, Filipino National Sport

Update: By virtue of Republic Act 9850, the national martial art and sport of the Philippines is now Arnis. The said law was authored by Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri and was signed by former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

Sipa (from the Tagalog word 'to kick') is a favorite traditional sport in the Philippines. Both boys and girls play this sport. A single person can play sipa by himself or herself, but there are moves to standardize the game with rules and teams.

Sipa is similar to Hacky Sack, the footbag game familiar to Americans. The difference is the item that is kicked. In formal games, a rattan ball is used, but when  Filipino kids play at home or in schools they use either a big bunch of rubber bands knotted together or a small metal disk that has a fluffy tail of shredded plastic.

Traditionally, boys kick   in front of the body the way you see it in the video above, while girls modestly kick   behind the body. Skillful players can kick it any number of ways. When played informally among friends, the game is to see who can kick the item the most consecutive number of times. That involves stamina!

Sipa is related to the Indonesian/Malaysian game sepak takraw, and the sports authorities are trying to develop sipa into a team sport to be played with a net as sepak takraw is, but that is not how Filipino children  traditionally play it.