Mahjongg in the Philippines?

Do most Filipinos play mahjongg? Is that still a favorite pasttime in the Philippines?



I grew up watching adults play mahjongg all weekend long…sometimes for 48 hours straight.

Posted by: Sarimanok

Mahjong has a long history in the Philippines

Mahjong has a long history in the Philippines, where it has been a popular pastime for many years. The game was introduced to the country in the early 20th century and quickly gained popularity among various social classes. It is not uncommon to see people from different backgrounds and age groups playing Mahjong in the Philippines.

Although it is challenging to determine the exact proportion of Filipinos who play Mahjong, it is clear that the game holds a special place in Filipino culture. Mahjong is often played during social gatherings, family reunions, and special occasions, such as birthdays or holidays. The game serves not only as a form of entertainment but also as a way to connect and bond with friends, family, and community members.

In the Philippines, Mahjong is typically played with a few variations from the standard Chinese rules. One of the most common adaptations is the use of the “Filipino Mahjong” scoring system, which assigns different point values to specific tile combinations. This scoring system, along with other local variations, adds a unique flavor to the game and contributes to its enduring appeal among Filipino players.

Despite the popularity of Mahjong, it is important to note that the Philippines is a diverse country with a rich and varied cultural landscape. As such, the popularity of Mahjong may vary depending on factors such as geographic location, age group, and personal preferences. While Mahjong may be a favorite pastime for many, it is not necessarily the case for all Filipinos.

In recent years, the rise of digital technology and the internet has introduced new forms of entertainment, which may have influenced the popularity of traditional pastimes like Mahjong. The younger generation, in particular, might be more inclined to engage in online gaming, social media, and other digital forms of entertainment rather than participating in traditional games like Mahjong.

However, Mahjong’s popularity as a social activity and its connection to Filipino culture ensure that it remains a cherished pastime for many. The game’s ability to bring people together, foster camaraderie, and provide a shared cultural experience make it a valuable aspect of Filipino life.

In conclusion, while it is difficult to quantify the exact number of Filipinos who play Mahjong, there is no doubt that the game has been and continues to be a popular pastime in the Philippines. Its long-standing presence in Filipino culture, its role in fostering social connections, and its unique local variations contribute to its enduring appeal. Although the advent of digital technology and changing preferences among younger generations may have influenced the popularity of traditional games like Mahjong, the game remains an important part of the Filipino cultural fabric, cherished by many as a means of connection and enjoyment.


  1. I consider my wife to be an average Filippina and she was up playing majong with neighbours past midnight last night. She does this about once a week. I have other family members that like to play all night, but nothing like 2 days straight. It’s still a popular pastime here.

  2. Not exactly most but there are still some who play mahjong. It used to be a favorite pastime for the Filipinos but with the advent of so many kinds of entertainment, mahjong seems to take a back seat. “Tong-its” ruled for sometime, taking over where mahjong used to lord over other forms of gambling/entertainment. Then there was “chikicha”. Oh well, it was good while it lasted but not that I play those games. The latter, yes, but just to entertain ourselves and not to bet.

  3. To be technically correcy, we can not say “most” Filipinos. That would mean more than half of the population. Or even just more than half of the adult population. I am sure it is not even a quarter.

    But that is not to say it is not a favorite. It still is, and would likely to remain a favorite for a long time, if not forever. Even with the adveny of pusoy, pusoy dos, tongits, and the now-popular poker games like Texas Holden.

    Old habits die hard.

  4. Mahjong used to be a pastime for the rich and famous, playing the game with real ivory blocks, but now poor people only pretend to be rich and famous using plastic blocks.

  5. only adults are playing that game cus children now like playing computers and children like now high tech

  6. Haha my grandmother does that with my aunts and uncles except they shorten the game to just like half a day with like one break. And whenever they would play it would be a Sunday and I’d have school in the morning.

    I learned mah jongg when I was eight, but it’s been ten years…I pretty much forgot it.

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