Whenever children gather, raucous laughter is heard along with lilting chant of “jack en poy, hale hale hoi, sino’ng matalo siyang unggoy!”
This hand game is used by the children as a preparation stage for the game they are about to play. Whether it is to segregate team members or to weed out the one who will play the “it”, this game is energetically played again and again and again.
All across Asia, children play this game but have different chants. Some even have additional hand movements (perhaps similar to ‘original’ additions to this game like “ulan,” “pako” and the most powerful, “Diyos”).
So when was the last time you played jack en’ poy? And most important, who were jack and poy? Did they ever exist?