Thursday, August 23, 2012

“Pabunot” Pigeons

I don’t know how in English is this “pabunot” thing called. Am sure many Pinoys out there know what it is. You pay the manong some coin, you pick a tiny square piece of paper on a sheet, split the little thing open and see what number you got. If you’re lucky, that number may correspond to something as prize. I know this thing, hindi ako ganun katanda! But during my childhood years, this “game of chance” was to be had only at sari-sari stores AND the winnings would either be a plastic toy, a coloring sheet, a pencil, pen, balloons or even candies.

Never did it enter my “hinaga” that live pigeons would replace the toys! I asked the manong (actually still youngish man probably in his early 20s) how a number can correspond to winning a bird since the birds were not numbered. He said that if there is a zero “0” then the number wins. Though he clarified that others in this kind of ‘business’ can dictate other digits as winning numbers. Hmm, at 500 numbers multiplied by 5 pesos, that would be P2,500! Then I actually started to do a mental count how many numbers have zeros. Gosh, how much is each of those birds anyway?! 86 birds are supposed to be won from that whole sheet! If each bird is 10 pesos each, the manong still earns something like 780. Business sense!

I encountered this surprising scene at the side of the road near Catbalogan City’s children’s playground. Got curious as to what was this thing attracting many of them kids. So I watched as they took turns paying manong their 5-peso coins for a chance to pick a number that might cause them to bring home one of those pigeons. After 6 tries by 4 kids, none was able to bring home a poor bird. Well, I was not even sure how to react. If a kid was unlucky, was I supposed to say “oh poor boy”. And if lucky, would I have said “lucky little kid” or “poor little bird”?

I realized here, there still are kids not hooked to internet games (there are hundreds of those in Catbalogan)! But I am not really sure if this thing they were into is good. Is it?

Oh well, the “games of chance” in these our times…


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