Apr 26, 2013

Book Review: Bugtong Bugtong 2

I loved Filipino riddles very much when I was a kid. My mother and siblings and I would take turns asking the riddles we knew, and we had fun guessing the answers.

Heto na si Kaka,

What made the riddles even more fun were the funny images a lot of them evoked in our minds. Plus, they were a good way to expand our Filipino vocabulary. (Did you know there is such a Filipino word as kaka?)

Naturally, when I had kids of my own, I wanted to introduce Filipino riddles to them too. 

Isang bayabas,
Pito ang butas.

The problem was that my kids were raised with English as their first language. (My bad, I know.) It was not only because I spoke to them in English but also because when they watch kids' videos such as "My Little Pony," or when they play games, like the ones in Starfall.com, the language they hear is English.

So riddles were hard to introduce to them. The language, for them, was almost completely foreign. 

Balong malalim,
Punong-puno ng patalim.

"What's a balon? What is malalim? What's a patalim?" they would query. (Well, do you know what those are?)

And so I had to explain to them the meanings of the words, and that would completely ruin the momentum of the game.

In addition, they had so gotten used to visual stimulation (yes, yes, still my bad, I know), that they would get bored if one simply recited the riddle aloud to them. They wanted pictures, not just to help them understand the words, but also to excite their fancy.

Sa umaga'y bumbong,
Sa gabi ay dahon.

Now there are a number of books on Filipino riddles in the local bookstores today, but I have not found any that had nice pictures to attract the modern kid – until I discovered Bugtong Bugtong 2, from Ilaw ng Tahanan Publishing, a.k.a. Tahanan Books.

Needless to say, there is a Bugtong Bugtong 1, and I discovered the books a little late, but what matters is that I found them! Because if you're a mother looking to share the beauty of the Filipino language with your kids, these Bugtong Bugtong books are a valuable part of your arsenal.

Dalawang batong itim,
Malayo ang nararating.

Each page of Bugtong Bugtong 2 contains just one riddle. The rest of the page is an illustration that hints at the answer but does not give it away. The illustrations often clue the readers in too on the meanings of the words in the riddle.

What about the answers? Oh, you don't have to look for them at the last pages of the book. They're right there, on the same page as the riddle – but they are written not just upside down but also in mirror image form! So for your children to be able to read the answer, they do not only need to turn the page upside down, they also need to put it in front of a mirror. 

How brilliant is that?

Limang puno ng niyog,
Ang isa ay matayog.

It's so beautiful, I could cry. No, seriously. There would at least be some moisture around the eyes.

If you don't believe me, I suggest you go to your local bookstore and find Bugtong Bugtong 2, or drop by at Tahanan Books' main office, to see the book yourself and see what I'm talking about. Read it and weep.

Here's Tahanan Books' office address: Unit 402, Cityland 3 Condominium, 105 V.A. Rufino corner Esteban Street, Legaspi Village, Makati City. You can also call them at (02) 813-7165. If you get your books straight from the publishing house, you get a 10% discount!

Oh, by the way, in case you're wondering about the answers to the riddles embedded in this post – well, I could give you the answers, but that would totally defeat the purpose of the riddle, wouldn't it?

How about you try to guess, and I'll tell you if you got the answers right? Happy guessing!

DISCLOSURE: The Nanay Notebook and its author received no compensation for this article. A copy of the book was provided by the publisher for an unbiased review.

The Nanay Notebook is written by Blessie Adlaon, a work-at-home and homeschooling mom of four. Check out our About page to know more about this blog's author and our policies on advertising, press releases, and reposting.

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