Skip to main content

Filipino 90's Outdoor Game: Tumba Lata


Most of us are fond of games when we were still young. Playing with our neighbors, schoolmates and friends. When I was a kid, I was living in the countryside and life there was simple. It was typical for the children to walk to school and going home. There were lesser vehicles on the road and children did not own gadgets, hence, we had a lot of spare time to play. Usually, we play in between school breaks and on our way home after school. One of which that we usually play was Tumba Lata.

Definition of Tumba Lata

First, let us define "'Tumba Lata". These are Filipino words, Tumba is "to strike down" and Lata is a "tin can". The general meaning of the game Tumba Lata is to strike down or knock off a tin can. Some called it as "Tumbang Preso", it depends on which region are you in the Philippines. The Bisaya folks named it as "Tumba Lata".

Things to use in Tumba Lata

You should secure an empty can of soda or any tin can. Each participant should have a slipper that will be used to hit the tin can. Then find an empty lot, space or field and make sure that the field has no obstacles.

How to play Tumba Lata

There could be three or more players of the game. In fact, the larger the group, the more fun it is to play. Among the participants, there should be one person to be the "bantay" or the guard. The task of the "bantay" is to guard the tin can. The rest of the participants are the players. The "bantay" should place the tin can in a conspicuous area and draw a circle around it. The players should have a "homebase", it can be seven meters away from the tin can. The players should mark a line as an indicator that this is the homebase. The farther the homebase is, the more challenging it is for the players. Both the bantay and the players should compromise with the distance of the homebase and the measurement of the circle around the tin can.

The Bantay

The role of the bantay is to guard the tin can. The goal is to catch a player and tags it as the new bantay. The bantay should take notice of the following; slippers stuck inside the circle, the tin can should stay still inside the circle and players who will touch their slippers. The bantay can't catch the players who are at the homebase and those who haven't attempted to knock off the tin can yet. And also, the tin can should be standing still inside the circle when the bantay tries to catch the players.

Scroll to Continue

Let's start to play!

Using the slipper, the participants will try to hit and knock off the tin can. Remember that the circle around the tin can is the bantay's territory, once your slipper is stuck inside the circle, the bantay will have the authority to catch and tag you as the new bantay. At the same time, the players' homebase is their territory, therefore, the players are safe in the homebase. The game starts when the first player will attempt knock off the tin can. If the first player is unsuccessful in knocking off the tin can and if the slipper is outside the bantay's circle, the player should wait for the other players to knock off the tin can so that the player can safely run to the homebase. In any case that all of the players were unsuccessful to knock off the tin can, any player can run back to their homebase, as long as the player will bring along his slipper (that was used to knock off the tin can) and the bantay can't catch the player before he/she reaches the homebase. Then cycle goes on and on until the bantay catches a player and tags it as the new bantay. Once there's a new bantay, the old bantay can take his/her turn as a player.


The title of the blog refers to the "90's" game, this means that the outdoor games are famous among the 1990's children. Around early 2000, outdoor games are rampant. The Filipino labels this generation as the "batang 90's" (the children born on 1990). In this generation where there was a turning point in the culture. The end of the traditional practices and the start of the "techie" generation. I observed that the new generation are so engrossed with gadgets, social media and PC games. They have missed the fun of playing the outdoor games and to socialize with other kids. This blog is dedicated for the batang 90's, who were into outdoor activities and had the best childhood memories. Some might think that this is just another typical outdoor game. But if you think deeply, outdoor games can teach children important values such as camaraderie and patience.


Eyngwel on June 28, 2020:

it brings back my childhood memories :)

Related Articles