Bugtong (or Filipino riddle) is a quick and witty game whereby clues to the answers are indicated in just one sentence. This sentence is comprised of two phrases which normally rhyme at the end, much like poems do. The riddles sound fun and belies a bit of our artistic tendencies. I could not say the same for the English equivalent though, but I have added the translation for our game so everybody here in DF can join in the fun.

Bugtungan (the game of exchanging riddles) is a childhood pastime that harkens back to an age when there were still no PlayStations and Nintendos around to fuel the imagination. It is essentially a part of Filipino culture that has been passed from generation to generation. A number of these are quite popular, such as the first one below. But there are still some that can confound.

Here are ten riddles that I am familiar with. Can you answer all these correctly? Mag-bugtungan tayo on this first December weekend! Answers at the bottom section of this article.

1. Buto’t balat, lumilipad.
(It’s skin and bones, yet it flies)

2. May isang prinsesa, nakaupo sa tasa.
(A Princess sitting on a cup)

3. Hindi pari, hindi hari, nagsusuot ng sari-sari.
(Not a priest, not a king, but wears different clothes)

4. Heto na si Kaka, bubuka-bukaka
(This one’s difficult to translate!)

5. Maliit na bahay, puno ng mga patay.
(A small house full of dead people)

6. Nagtago si Pedro, nakalabas ang ulo.
(Pedro hid himself, but his head is exposed)

7. Kung kailan mo pinatay, saka pa humaba ang buhay.
(Just when you killed it, did you extend its life)

8. Hayan na, hayan na di mo pa makita.
(Here it comes, here it comes but you cannot see it)

9. Nakayuko ang reyna di nalalaglag ang korona.
(The queen bent down her head, but her crown wouldn’t fall off)

10. Balon na malalim, puno ng patalim.
(A deep well with lots of sharp weapons)

Answers:
1. Saranggola (kite)
2. Kasoy (cashew)
3. Sampayan (clothesline)
4. Gunting (pair of scissors)
5. Posporo (Match box with matchsticks)
6. Pako (nail)
7. Kandila (candle)
8. Hangin (wind)
9. Bayabas (guava)
10. Bunganga (mouth)

(photo credit: lovethoughtslovelines.blogspot.com)