Riddle – Philippines

“Kung gusto mong tumagal pa ang aking buhay, kailangang ako ay mamatay.”

“If like expect endure to cause the suffer life, must me die.”

“If you want my life to be longer, I need to die.”

Answer: kandila (candle)

Matt heard this riddle from his mother when he was about 12 years old growing up in Mystic Connecticut.  His mother is 100% Filipino and his father is mostly English.  His mother learned this riddle when she lived in the Philippines about 40 years ago.  The riddle is something that the entire family knows and is one that they share during dinners with other families or when they want to try to stump friends.  The riddle is traditionally of Philippine origin and according to Matt the Philippine culture loves riddles.  Matt’s mother was able to give the Tagalog writing of the riddle that is the top line of the riddle.  Tagalog is one of the major languages of the Philippines.  According to Matt, his mother told him that the word for riddle in Tagalog was bugtong.  To tell the riddle, the person is supposed to ask the question and wait until the person who is trying to guess cannot formulate any ideas, and then you give them the answer.

Riddles date back far into the past with examples such as Oedipus and the Sphinx.  References to riddles are also seen in more recent movies such as “The Neverending Story” and “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”.  In some cases there may be a series of riddles that a person may have to answer in order to get past a gate or guard on their way to a goal or treasure.  Although riddles are widespread throughout the world, they are quite popular in the Philippines because they have been trading them for so long.

I think that this riddle for the most part is hard to guess straight off the bat without any clues.  After knowing the answer it is easy to look back on the riddle itself and see how it fits in.  This general principle of being able to trick the person being deceived into thinking that the riddle is talking about something else is very common in riddles.  Often, solving riddle requires very outside the box thinking and enough knowledge and intuition to be able to solve the puzzles using a creative mind.  I believe this riddle to be a true riddle because it gives the potential guesser all of the information necessary to guess the answer.