Sipa (Filipino for “kick” or “to kick“) is a traditional native kick-ball game which predates Spanish rule. Although this claim is controversial with other Southeast Asian countries making similar claims, the game is related to sepak takraw.
The game is both played by two teams, indoors or outdoors, on a court that is about the size of a tennis court. The teams consist of one to four players in each side. The game’s goal is to kick a soft ball, made out of woven rattan, back and forth over a net in the middle of the court. The sport requires speed, agility and ball control, and romanticized tales of yore tell of kingdoms and love lost or gained in a game of sipa.
The rattan sipa ball is 10 centimeters in diameter and made of woven rattan strips with symmetrical holes. The most defining feature of the game of Sipa is that the ball should only be touched with the legs or from below the knee to the tip of the toes. Modern sipa ball versions are made of feather light balls similar to the shuttle-cock which is used in a game of badminton (see photo).
Whether the early Filipinos invented this popular game remains contentious. But whatever its origins are it is noteworthy to say that Filipinos are credited for popularising the game or at least recording its practice way long before other countries made similar claims.
Mabuhay ang sipa!