Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Shato, Shatong, Pitiw or Gutalaguti


As everybody knows by now the Crown Prince of this kingdom passed away. To honor the prince and pay their respect, MBC group didn’t show any of its usual programs on air except documentaries of His Excellency’s biography along with the history and culture of the Middle East.

But what caught my interest was a segment featuring traditional games played by Middle Eastern children. I started “googling” and I found this article from a fellow blogger. A snippet of it explained: 

“Gutalaguti [gut-ta-la-gut-ti]
This involves two teams of children, two sticks made from dried palm leaves and a small stone. One stick needs to be about 1 ½ to 2 feet and the other needs to be about 6 inches long.

The smaller stick is put on the ground, with one end resting on the stone – one end touches the floor and the other end is in the air. The idea is to hit the small stick with the big stick and curl it into the air. As the stick flies up you then hit it again to see how far you can hit it.

The person who has hit the stick has to run around an area marked out like a baseball or cricket pitch. Whilst this is happening the other team has to catch the stick.

Whilst the person is running they must repeat the name of the game, “gut-ta-la-gut-ti, gut-ta-la-gut-ti, gut-ta-la-gut-ti”. It is impossible to score a run if you don’t repeat the name of the game whilst running.”

Does it sound familiar? It is similar to our traditional children’s game which we call “Shato” in Luzon, “Shatong” in Cebu or “Pitiw” in my hometown. It’s amazing to think that children, continent apart, played an old yet very similar game!

image was taken from immortal undead.

The question that comes to mind was – who did the importing? Tongue in cheek; it’s a possibility an OFW might have introduced it to their "sponsor’s" children (I know of some Saudi families who loves to eat “adobo” and “sinigang”). But a likely explanation might be that it came along, together with the Arabic words like “hukom” and “salamat”, when Arabs were once sea-faring traders and spreading the words of Islam on our shores.

Neither the less, who ever adapted, is not important. This was one of my favorite games when I was young. Not only was it a good exercise to both limbs and lungs, it also hones your counting skill.

But sadly, like any tradition, it died as time and technology changes. It’s no longer played by children, both here and in the Philippines.

20 comments:

  1. Pitiw! Yes, I had played it when I was younger with my classmates and cousins, and it's one of my favourites too. I am surprised that this is also a traditional game of the children in the KSA (or in the Middle East?).

    We shoud revive pitiw, this is part of our heritage. Uhmn, alam po ba ni Bea that there is this game called pitiw?

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  2. RJ, I'm surprised as you are. But Bea don't know any of our traditional games. Even her cousins back home don't play it anymore. : (

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  3. yahoooooo! i'm so happy to learn that. may syato pala riyan? natuwa naman ako. may ipapangkulit na naman ako sa mga staff na di alam kung ano ang syato.

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  4. Hahaha, that very time when we played that, tinanong ako ng boss ko if i know what syato is and how to play it, sabi ko hindi. I thought it was a game of marbles. Yun pala I have been playing that game when i was a kid, pitiw pala siya! I miss my childhood days.

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  5. atticus, ako rin nagulat ng malaman ko. I got this eerie feeling seeing a familiar hometown children game being played in a foreign country.

    luisa, ano ang legal?

    Adang, tuloy po kayo. : )

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  6. When we were children, we would spend hours playing this game. It was "co-ed", if the word would apply, and it was lots of fun.

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  7. wow naalala ko tuloy nung mga bata pa kami "syato" or "pikyaw" ang tawag namin nung mga bata pa kami sa larong yan, at meron din pala sila nya,ngayon naman e mai research kung san yan nag originate lol,kasi ang sipa at yoyo ay sa pinas diba?pero makikita mo ring nilalaro sa ibang mga bansa.
    ~lee

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  8. funny we were just talking about syato kanina. hubby mentioned another name for it. i forgot.

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  9. Anonymous, yes, that game maybe called for "unisex".

    Lee, saang lugar tawag ang "pikyaw"? Yung yoyo ay ginagamit bilang sandata dati sa pinas at hindi laruan.

    bing, nakakamis ang traditional games di ba.

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  10. OMG, I mentioned "shato" on my blog post hahaha, I won't forget that game, expert yata ako dyan hehehe ang lakas kong pumalo ng stick ang layo ng sinisigaw ng kalaban ko lol. It seems like na dinala ng pInoy ang game na yan sa middle east. Yun piko sa atin dito sa US hop scotch naman ang tawag pero parang pareho din.

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  11. Sardz, kaya wala ng lumalaro ng shato dahil wala ng malalawak na bukiring mapaglaruan. Ginawa ng subdivision. : (

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  12. sheng, hindi ko alam bakit naging "spam" ang comment mo. Buti na lang I looked in my spam folder.

    Sa atin, "pitiw" kasi ang tawag kaya hindi mo siguro naintindihan ng tinanong ka ng boss mo.
    : )

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  13. agree...technology changes people like playing this game, "shatong".

    AND also, 20 years ago in the provinces it is common to see women sitted by the porch of their house or any rest area doing "GANSILYO".... nowadays, you can see most often "TEXTING". :-)

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  14. ganyan ka sad. traditions become extinct due to everybody trying to do what the west is doing. how can we keep such games from dying kaya?

    adik ako sa syato dati. pati patintero. ngayon we play these games in schools during linggo ng wika. naging history na.

    adding you in my bloglist pare. salamat.

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  15. Olay, doing gansilyo beats texting or tsismis any time. : D

    beatburn, I heard DECs and other government agency are encouraging their students and employees in reviving our traditional games.

    BTW, thanks for dropping by. : )

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  16. I remember playing "pitiw" when I was a little kid back in the Visayas ! Are they still playing it these days ? Kasi nuong araw wala pang Nintendo e :)

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  17. bw, kahit sa amin, wala na akong nakikitang batang naglalaro ng pitiw. : (

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  18. teka san nga ba gamit ang word na pikyaw hahaha forget ko na yata teka balikan ang ala ala, kasi elementaty sa Pio Valenzuela ako nagtapos,half ng hi-skul valenzuela at half malabon/caloocan hmmm pero di nako nagpipikyaw nung hi-skul hahaha chinese garter na laro ko hahaha anu beeeh,pero remember in previous time valenzuela is Bulacan unlike now na MMla na, well most probably came from katagalugan north (mas ginawa pang mas complicated hahahahaha)
    pero teka,ngayon kolang nalaman na ang yoyo pala e dating sandata at di laruan,kaya pala palagi sinasabi ng lola ko na di magandang laro ang yoyo dahil nakakasakit,thanx for the info.
    ~lee

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