As with marbles, so we also gambled with rubber bands (lastics), washers (tarkas) used by carpenters to nail G.I. roofing, or gogo (biay), the fruit of a vine used for rinsing the hair, round and shiny, in the shape of a round kidney, or bittaog, a fruit of trees growing in the plaza, round in shape with yellow skin, as big as a thumb or coin (centavos or nickels) when ripe.
Every game we played was always with a bet. Hence, we learned how to gamble at an early age.
During our town fiesta, all sorts of parlor gambling were played in the plaza, with cards, dice, and roulettes. One day I earned a lot of money shining shoes, around 70 centavos. I went to a table where dice was played called dado. You placed your bet on the squares of numbers appearing on the dice. Three pieces of dice were rolled with a cup, then flung to the table. Whatever number appeared on the dice was the winning number.
At first my ₱0.75 centavos became ₱1.25 and I was very happy!
Finally my winnings dwindled until I finally lost all my money.
Since then I never gambled again!
Because of my previous experience of having lost all my earnings in “dado,” I didn’t even know how to play poker, a game most officers played, or Mahjong, a parlor game many officers’ families loved to play.
Sometimes I entered a game of blackjack, playing just centavos for fun, in the quarters of Gen. Florencio Selga when Pat and I happened to attend a party there in Camp Crame when I was a law instructor in the Phil. Constabulary School.