Palo sebo (greased bamboo pole) is a game usually held during Philippine fiestas to amuse both the young and old in an exciting race to grab the day’s prize.
A long bamboo pole is greased with pig fat from bottom up. Participants attempt to clamber up the bamboo pole on bare hands and feet to grab a flag or a prize tied to the top-end of the pole. Outside assistance is forbidden and those caught cheating are disqualified.
Usually young children and teenage boys make the attempt to clamber up the greasy pole, but as logic dictates the first batch of participants will definitely have a tougher time since latter participants can benefit from a ‘less greasy’ pole. But often the pole is also grease with a newer coating for a fairer competition. If the grease proves just too much, a team of two to three boys usually make the climb atop each other.
Like other traditional or native games, palo sebo has became less popular and has been relegated to so-called folkloric games and activities. Too bad since this is a game that pays off to those young children who possess persistence and manual dexterity.
Mabuhay ang palo sebo!