By: GM Hari Osias Catolos Banaag
The evolvement of Sikaran is also the history of Sitio Baras, Baras Rizal is an idyllic town situated between the towns of Morong and Tanay. In the olden times in the Sitio of Baras, the residents get their source of living by planting vegetables and other root crops, another livelihood was fishing from the Laguna de Bay, Baras has mountains and plains and the life of the people was plain and simple.
The Origin of BarasBaras Rizal has different version as to its origin. The first version was that it was founded through the Franciscan Missionaries in 1595 under the leadership of Father Jun de Pacencia and Father Diego de Oropesa, founded a visita in Morong or the present site of Boso Boso South of Painaan. It was known as Visita de Santiago or Santiago until such time it became Baras.
Another version of its origin was from the Spanish priest Father Francisco Barasoin, he is known for his kindness and the community was named after him.
The third version of its history dates back in the olden times when there were plenty of hardwood which were made into baras of two pieces of wood between which the house was harnessed and later became Baras. In 1750, it was divided into Barangays. It was under the jurisdiction of the province of Laguna from 1606 to 1853.
In 1929 to 1931 Baras was classified as a fifth class municipality and had settled its conflict with Morong and Tanay.
Through the Executive Order No. 57 dated November 24, 1920, His Excellency, the Governor General of the Philippines, it became a full pledged municipality.
Grassroots Sports in Baras
The first sport was known as patintero, a line will be drawn in the fields or streets by means of water. There are at least three or four players in each team, one human frontline, one for the rear and one for the vertical lines and the other for center line. The objective of the game is to outsmart the other. The objective of the sport was to accumulate as many points by passing the lines without being tagged.
The next sport is hide and seek (tago-taguan). This is a game in which the ik will go behind the tree and will give time to the players to hide by counting from one to ten. The ik will begin to look for the players and whoever will be found will be the next ik.
The third sport was (karera ng Bangka) boat regatta – or the series of boat race. Racing event of rowed or sailed water craft, three or four boats will race, whoever will reach the designated place will be declared the winner.
The fourth sport was water wrestling (Buno sa Tubig). They play this game whenever they were in the river with breast deep height and the opponents are in pair. Both carry their partners in their shoulders they will wrestle in the water and whoever will be down three times will lose the game.
Another sport is known as the Mud Flip (Sabuyan ng Putik.) There are two or three players and they will throw mud at each other using hands and feet and this paved the way to the sports Sikaran, the ancient art of Filipino Foot Fighting.
Evolvement of Sikaran
Sikaran is a sports using the legs and hands. Farmers having well developed feet emphasized the use of the feet. The farmers discovered the use of SIkaran in Baras, Province of Rizal. They often prepare the fields for planting palay. Rice is the offshoot of palay, usually grinded and it became the staple food of the Tagalog region. When farmers are resting after every harvest of palay, the farmers will bring their water buffalos in the hole full of mud. During the olden times, the youngsters of Baras were respectful and they do not mean to harm their playmates in their Sikaran. The teenagers used to throw mud at each other. They usually cover their bodies with mud and afterwards they jump into the river together with their water buffalos. The strength of the farmers were derived from working in the fields gathering woods in the mountain or planting root crops, or fishing in Laguna de Bay.
The farmers walked barefooted under the heat of the sun and so they have well developed legs. In using their well developed hands and feet, anybody who will experience the kick of the opponent will be brought down fatally.
Sikaran in the War ErasSikaran was also used of the people of Baras for defense in the year 1640, when the people of Baras suffered from the hands of the Chinese. The houses of the people of Baras were burned down by the Chinese. It was also used in 1898 when the people of Baras heed the call for a revolution against the Spaniards under the leadership of Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo. During the Second World War, Sikaran was also used against the Japanese.
Animals as Models of Sikaran
Animals were used by the farmers as their companion in the fields. By imitating animal behavior, they developed kicking techniques and they gave different colorful and descriptive names to these techniques.
The daily companion of the farmers in the field, which was the water buffalo, was constantly observed by the farmers. They usually hit the opponent by using their feet, this is known as “Pitik-putik” (mud flip). This technique was derived from the kick of the water buffalo. The farmers also discovered how to be agile and watch the hit given by the opponent. In their moves they found out that the hit on the right side which was the opposite of the kick of “Sikad Kalabaw” landed on the right side of the opponent which proved to be very effective, and when the hit landed on the right side it seems to be fatal. The players discovered that the hit on the right side was very effective and they practiced the kick on the right side and named it “Sikad Baka” (cow kick). In all the animals, the cow is the only animal which can hit on the right side.
As Sikaran continuously evolve another animal which they constantly observe was the horse. They studied its moves and they learned the double alternating front kick they combined the prowess of the chicken “labuyo” and the horse and the result is “Dublihang Sikad Paharap.” Or dambang paharap.
There was a saying in the older times that goes “Huwag kang dumikit sa baka o kabayo baka ma sikaran ka” which means, “Don’t get near the cow or the horse or you might be kicked.” The saying has its roots that the animals which were not domesticated were usually ferocious.
The farmers of Baras used to work in the fields and mountains and their source of livelihood is planting, and kaingin (slash and burn). Barrio Lagundi was the boundary of Baras and they invited farmers from Morong to join the tournament. The ancient name for Sikaran was “Paniggara.” They had different competitions with the different
Places of Baras, in Pulo, Patadyan, Suro-suro, Basud, Ulahang Bato, Salang Bato, these were the places in which the competitions took place.
As years passed many forms of competitions were developed such as “Patas na Labanan” two opponents draw a circle with a space of eight feet diameter. It was a competition between two males with the same age and height. This is a game of accumulating points by hitting the other, if the opponent falls three times, he loses the game. Another competition is known as “Labanang Haragan” the competitors usually use the field with the size of 25 square feet. This is a game of chasing up to the time that the opponent will raise his hand as a symbol of defeat.
The next game is known as “Partida Laban” there are different types “Labanan sa Hagdang Bato” a game in which the strong men are on top and the loser is under and he will kick the strong men up to the time he reaches the top of “Hagdang Bato.” The next game is known as “Isa Laban sa Dalawa,” one against two. They will fight in a circle with a size of eight foot diameter. Whoever will be able to push the strongest outside the circle will be declared the winner.
Many years had passed and the farmers developed ways of playing Sikaran. They discovered a kick pattern using the sickle as a model. It is a combination of the horse kick and the use of the sickle for gathering palay in the field. The kick that was developed is like the use of gathering palay using a sickle and burying the palay in water and makes an upward movement. By using this sickle kick the feet is free to move upward and free to kick the opponent. The other movement that was patterned in the using of their daily living was “Sikad Palakol o Sikad Pasibak” axe kick, this movement makes the feet to kick upward and strongly bring it downward, it is either axe kick pointing outside or axe kick pointing inside.
The major kick of the art of foot-fighting was known as “Biyakid” it is a kick where the center of the force is at the back of the heel. It is the most powerful kick. It can be delivered in all angles, and usually controlled by the hip, thigh and legs to the heel and the back. The largest muscles that run in the body control the kick. The farmers used this kick for sports and used it for self-defense.
The different styles of this game evolved like “Labanang May Hangganan” opponents will fight inside the circle with the size of eight feet in diameter. The weak ones who will be thrown out of the circle are the losers.
Another style used by the players is known “Labanan sa Suga o Lubid” here the two opponents with a string attached to their hips with the size of three (siko), this is a game of accumulation of points by pinning the players down or making them accept defeat. They can pull the string to make the opponents come closer.
The Origin of Biakid
When the folks of Baras discovered Sikaran, teenagers and almost all folks who were strongly built play the sports. They joined the different competitions whether it was rainy or dry season. It was also the time for the males to show off to the females. They enjoy the games especially if the women of the barrio were watching. They can’t accept that they will lose the game or be kicked in any part of their bodies especially if they are being watched.
The competition which was called Labanang Labo-Labo is a competition of three four, five or more players they will play in a circle with the size of eight diameters and whoever will be forced out of the circle will be the loser. It is the most difficult game in Sikaran.
The game “Labo-Labo” became a mind boggling situation for the players of Sikaran. The space is limited and it is quite difficult for the players to move and kick. In those times to be declared as the King of Sikaran is very coveted title for the males, but it is quite unusual that the females also joined this tournament and proved themselves good in the Art of Sikaran.
The Labanang Labo-labo paved the way for the game of Sikad Biakid. There were some modifications that took place in the game and paved the way to the modern Sikaran.