Apr 4, 2012

Popular Pinoy Games: Spider Fighting

Its summer time and the season brings out one of the popular local games in the Philippines...Spider Fighting. I used to play this growing up as a kid, when we go hunt for a prized spider late afternoons and prepare them for a big fight.

Today, I am not going to talk about how mean and cruel this game is, but about the Filipino gaming culture and the influence it brings to the young minds. Let me begin by giving you all a background about this game, especially for those readers who have no idea of what spider fighting is all about. 

Player Profiles

This game is common among your kids, especially boys around 8 - 12 years old, but there are also young adults playing this game and even grown men get addicted to this. Two players are needed for a typical fight, both spiders fight in a wooden stick, some use a palm midrib or a "tingting" from the "walis tingting". The whole objective of the game is fight until one of the spiders is spun inside its opponents web, in short...until one is dead.

The Hunt

Before the game even begins, each player must search for its prized fighter. There are different types of spiders used for fighting. In Negros Occidental, we name spiders such as "Rayna-Rayna", "Ugto-ugto", "Tagbalay", but the best spiders are the ones with the large bellies and long forelimbs, which are vital for them in winning a fight.

Each player search from different places to catch these critters. Under large leaves, to telephone lines and even in the rice fields, as long as the important qualities are present to unlock its potential. When a spider is caught it is then encased in a large matchbox and prepared for training.


A plethora of rituals are done to train each spider to be in its top form, there are others who release their spiders during dawn and let them sip the dew drops believing that it would energize them. Some would feed them, house spiders "tagbalay" or severed parts of other spiders to keep them hungry, while others believe that a full and satisfied spider is a lazy and slow fighter. Whatever the style of each trainer, the bottom-line is to keep the spiders on their toes and always ready for a fight any time.

For Pride and Glory

In the end the spiders will meet at the tip of a stick and fight for its survival, while kids  play for bragging rights, there are others who play for money. Spider fighting is in itself a game that is a reflection of the reality of the Filipino culture. 

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