root word: isip, meaning 'to think'
puzzle, riddle

mga palaisipan
puzzles, riddles

In May 1889, while living in London, Jose Rizal contributed these examples of Tagalog puzzles to the Trübner’s Record, a journal devoted to the literature of the East. Their brevity puts them more in the category of bugtong (riddles).

Isang butil na palay sikip sa buong bahay
 One rice grain fills up all the house.

the light

Dala ako niya, dala ko siya.
He carries me, I carry him.

Isang balong malalim, puno ng patalím.
A deep well filled with steel blades.


Matapang ako so dalawa, duwag ako sa isa.
I am brave against two, coward against one.
(bamboo bridge)

Explanation: When the bridge is made of one bamboo only, it is difficult to pass over; but when it is made of two or more, it is very easy.