Philippine Game: Sungka

Sungka is a quiet siesta game which is popular not only in the Philippines but also in Indonesia, Malaysia, Ceylon and India. It involves dropping of shells into holes carved in a thick wooded board shaped like a boat.

The board is usually made of solid wood with two large deep bowls carved out of the wood at both ends. The whole length of the boat is lined with seven smaller bowls carved in pairs. It is always played by two people. The object of the game is to put as many pebbles as possible in one’s large bowl. It is usually started through a toss coin or “jack en poy” process. Sometimes, players choose to start together and the first one to drop a pebble or a sigay on an empty small bowl stop first while the other player continues.

  1. Fill up the seven small bowls with seven pebbles each. Seeds, stones or “sigay” can be used.
  2. One player starts the game or both players can start together as desired.
  3. Drop a pebble at each bowl. The move should be towards the direction of the large bowl owned by the player. This refers to the large bowl located at the left side of the player.
  4. Drop pebbles continuously up to the opponent’s smaller bowls. If the last pebble drops to a small bowl with pebbles, said player scoops all the pebbles in that bowl and continues to play the same till he comes across an empty bowl wherein he will be forced to stop to give way for the other player.
  5. The game continues till one of the players come to a full stop.
  6. The game is repeated until one of the players loses his pebbles for his smaller bowls which means that he loses.


1. Never drop the pebbles in the opponent’s large bowl.

2. During the succeeding games, the player who did not cause the “stop” of the previous game starts ahead.

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