FFE Magazine

Filipino Icon: Sipa

Photo from The City Roamer

Sipa literally means ‘kick’ or ‘to kick’ in English. Similar to the American’s game of Hacky Sack, wherein a person tries to keep the footbag off the ground by constantly kicking it in the air, Sipa only makes use of rattan balls.

It is common to see Filipino children playing sipa everywhere in the Philippines. To show their resourcefulness, children sometimes knot multiple rubber bands together, or even use a mere kalachuchi (flower: Plumeria rubra) as replacement of a ball. In the past, where the elderly were a bit more conservative, little boys were always taught to kick the ball in front of their body, whilst the girls were taught to kick it behind. Nowadays players can kick it in any way or technique they want.

In a formal game, sipa is played by two teams consisting of one to four members each. With a net in the middle of the court, teams must kick the ball back and forth without it ever touching the ground. The team that manages to keep it in the air the longest is the winner.

Sipa is one of the many Filipino games that have predated any colonial rule or influence. It was once considered as the national sport of the Philippines until it was later changed to the Philippine stick fighting martial arts, Arnis. This change was made under Republic Act 9850 during former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s administration.




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