Bahasa Indonesia and Filipino (Tagalog) both belong to the Malayo-Polynesian language family.
That’s why it’s no wonder that there are some similarities between the two languages.
But it was a trip, albeit a really short one, to one of Indonesia’s islands that made me realize that those similarities could actually come in handy.
The taxi driver who took me and my sister from a ferry terminal in Pulau Batam (Batam Island) to the hotel on the first day of our trip was pleasantly surprised that we could actually speak a little bit of his language.
The following day, a different guy who took us to the city and then to the ferry terminal was likewise pleased. He even told us something like, “I’m happy that I met you.”
Using the similar words in conversations was a good way to build rapport with the locals.