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Sungká board in Philippine santol wood with natural cowrie shells. 28in L x 6in W


Along the ancient stream of the Red River that was widely known to travelers, the "sonka" was a game played by early Asians. Thought to be brought by Indonesians upon migrating to the Philippines, the game involves moving shells around carved pits. Similar to western "Mancala," derived from the Arabic word naqala, which means "to move." Sungka is also used by Philippine fortunetellers and prophets, called bailan or maghuhula, for divinatory purposes. Older people hope to find out with their help whether the journey of a youth is favorable at a certain day, and girls, whether they will marry one day, and, in case they will, when this will be. The game is usually played outdoors because there is a Filipino superstition about a house will burn down if it's played indoors. In the Anay district in Panay, the loser is said to be patay ("dead"). The belief is that he will have a death in his family or that his house will burn down. We play for fun.


How to play sungka (2 players required):

Place seven shells into each of the pits on both rows. The starting player grabs all the stones from one hole on their side and drops them, one by one, into each pit around the board going in a counter-clockwise direction. If the player passes over their sungka bowls, they would place a stone in there, too. If the player's bowl gets their last shell, they can select any pit from their row as their next hand. The player with the most shells wins the game.

Made in Pampanga.


SKU: 196
Out of Stock

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