Sack race played during the MTA Sama-Sama Pinoy Games between RP-US navy sailors.

Filipino sailors challenged their U.S. Navy counterparts in the Maritime Training Activity (MTA) Sama-Sama to play some traditional Pinoy games with them, a personal and close interaction opportunity presented by the Naval Forces West (NFW) to further strengthen their ties and introduce the country’s culture and traditions.

NFW deputy commander for fleet operations Capt. Francisco Tagamolila said playing Pinoy games with their U.S. Navy counterparts different from the “ship-to-ship and pilot-to-pilot interactivity” in the maritime exercise they commonly know since it is “more personal” rather than “personnel interaction”.

“Yong exercise natin has been going on for a very long time, it traces back to CARAT (Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training) in 2005, and always ‘yong interaction kasi ng navy is ship-to-ship and pilot-to-pilot. So, kung barko sa barko, barko ng Pilipinas at U.S., hindi rin kayo nag-i-interact personally, except for those na involve sa planning,” Tagamolila said.

Tagamolila said bringing U.S. and Filipino navy sailors to play traditional Pinoy games like kadang-kadang or sangkayaw (coconut shell race), patintero (harangang taga or tubigan), and sack race among others, make them get to know each other well and form a friendly relationship beyond the maritime exercise.

Over 50 Philippine Navy (PN) and U.S. Navy (USN) personnel played Pinoy games at the soccer field of Naval Station Apolinario Jalandoon in Barangay San Miguel.

Patintero was among the traditional Pinoy games played on Saturday between Filipino and U.S. Navy sailors at Naval Station Apolinario Jalandoon in Barangay San Miguel.

He said the event was also giving their U.S. Navy friends the privilege to experience some Pinoy traditional games through where they can gain a new global perspective.

“By bringing the crew here, personally ay makikita nila kung sino ba ‘yong Filipino na ka-interact at sino ba ‘yong Amerikano na ka-interact. Doon nagkakaroon na sila ng personal na relationship. ‘Yong games na nilalaro natin ngayon is adding traditional Filipino touch para makita nila ‘yong bahagi ng kultura natin,” Tagamolila said.

Lieutenant Jason Figgeroa of the U.S. Navy Destroyer Squadron Seven Intelligence (N2) said they thought they would be playing basketball and soccer, but was surprised when they were told they will play Pinoy games.

A Filipino-American, he said he knew some games from his childhood but has already forgotten how they are played.

Sangkayaw or kadang-kadang, a traditional group game that uses bamboo hewn or tree branches, was for him the most difficult challenge during the half-day activity.

“It’s awesome to experience cultural games, some of the games have a similarity where I grew up but kadang-kadang is the most challenging game in this activity. We’re having fun, it’s definitely different. We were expecting basketball, soccer, and football, but you know, coming here and experiencing the cultural games is making this experience memorable,” Figgeroa said.

The MTA Sama-Samato promote regional security cooperation, maintain and strengthen maritime partnerships, and enhance interoperability kicked off in Puerto Princesa City with the participation of the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force on October 14 and will close on October 21.