The following riddles are in Gaddang, a language of Luzon Island Philippines. The answer key follows:
1. Ino sinolay, ammena manaw nu ammena, appan ino balay na.
This creature never leaves unless he brings his home.
2. Nu ibbafaw ay sinalacassag; nu arrollam ay malilimac.
It is noisy when shallow, and silent when deep.
3. Nu boliarancu ay mabbebed.
If I open it, it gossips.
4. Yo anac y gafu na accapatay na nanac.
The child is the cause of his mother's death.
5. Nu gafi bebay, nu ahao tolauh.
Sea by night, tube by day.
6. Nu mattuttud, attannang, nu mattaddag, ibbafa.
Standing it is short, sitting it is tall.
7. Ana tata sinolay ammena makkiddam nu maturug.
There's a creature that does not close its eyes when asleep.
8. Innacun cunna, gampamade nattoli.
If he says he goes, he means he comes.
9. Gongonan nu usin y amam; maggirawa pay sila y inam.
If you pull your daddy's penis, your mommy's vagina screams too.
10. Cabatuan yo unag na; naassi-assit yo lauan na.
Inside is full of stones, outside is full of thorns.
11. Itannu si canayun; udde ammem maita-ita.
You stare at it often, yet you never have seen it.
12. Cataoin se gafienin; incan se ahaoin.
Come now, it is dark; go now, it's dawn.
13. Macalattu-lattu, mena macaaroyyu.
It jumps and jumps but cannot move out of its place.
14. Nu manurrit ay malohow, nu manussud ay mabayag.
If it comes it's slow, if it goes up, it's fast.
15. Sanna yao pacampat tata que layag.
Who is he that has but one ear?
16. Si liek a mangngan, mabattuac; ackabalin cu mangngan, mabisinnac.
Before meals, I am full, after meals I am hungry.
1. dagga (turtle)
2. mahat (river)
3. abanico (fan)
4. bahat (bananas)
5. afac (mat)
6. atu (dog)
7. durun (grasshopper)
8. laddao (shrimp)
9. campana (bell)
10. inangca (jackfruit)
11. sinag (sun)
12. sawang (window)
13. makina (sewing machine)
14. daggang (booger)
15. copa (cup)
16. caldero (kettle, pot)
Sources: Lumicao-Lora, Maria Luisa. 1984. Gaddang Literature. Quezon City: New Day Publishers.
Sierra, Pedro. 1919. A vocabulary of the Gaddang language revised and amplified by Fathers of the Dominican order, resident in the province of Nueva Vizcaya, and copied out in its present form for the use of Bishop Francisco Gainza, about the middle of the 19th Century, 495 pages.
Back to Carl Rubino's homepage.