Similarities between Bahasa Indonesia and Filipino come in handy in Batam

"Anak" is the Indonesian and Filipino word for "Child"

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.

Indonesian Filipino English
Kanan Kanan Right (direction)
Lima Lima Five
Mahal Mahal Expensive
Mata Mata Eye
Sakit Sakit Illness

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.


17 thoughts on “Similarities between Bahasa Indonesia and Filipino come in handy in Batam

  1. Indonesian- Takut (Scared, Afraid), murah (Cheap), mahal (expensive), Guru (Teacher) and in Tagalog- Takot (Scared, Afraid), mura (cheap), mahal (expensive) and Guro (Teacher). I have Indonesian friends in facebook.

    • Yeah, and I think it’s relatively easy for Filipino speakers to learn Indonesian (and for Indonesian speakers to learn Filipino) because of the many similarities between the two languages.

  2. Bahasa Indonesia is relatively easy to learn for Filipinos because there are a lot of Indonesian words similar with Tagalog, Bisaya, and English, like the examples given above. Other examples include komunikasi (communication), bisnis (business), fasilitasi (facilitate), aku (I), kambing (goat), putih (white), pilih (choose), and many more. I’m half Indonesian half Filipino. I found it easy to learn Indonesian even if I was born and raised in the Philippines because there is a certain degree of mutual intelligibility between the two languages. 😀

  3. others words that I’ve just found (tagalog /bahasa/english)
    Taon > Tahun > year
    Ka > Kau > You
    ITO > ITU > This/that
    Aso > ASU > DOG
    Ulo ko > ULU KU or ULO KU >my head ( west indonesia language)
    Lima > lima > five
    anim > enam > six
    sapato > sepatu > shoes
    ulan > ujan > rain
    tainga > telinga > ear
    lalaki > LELAKI > MALE
    PUKI > PUKI > pussy
    mata > mata > eye
    kuko > kuku > nail
    bato > batu > stone
    may sakit > sakit > sick
    kami > kami > we
    itim > itam/ hitam > black
    gadya > gajah > elephant (the pronunciation is almost the same)
    and many more

  4. i am indonesia.. i m from south borneo..i am banjar etnic group..
    when i lestening tagalog its sound like our language..the dialek is dayak etnic group language..I think that because we are so close..but for hundread years we separated by the we dont know or just forgeting our relationship..look the map..we are so close…
    in indonesia we have more than 350 language..its very difficul to understand all of that… but melayu language is our trade language in south asia.. melayu then be bahasa indonesia and bahasa malaysia.. also in filipina like in sulu and mindanao and may be in manila in lozun island

  5. yeah.. my dad has been living in jakarta for like 20 years..we had no communication since he left us..i found out that he is still alive having his own family there.. i spoke to him last month and he didn’t understand some of tagalog words i used so i was force to speak english..hehe imagine how people adopt to their environment,,they could possible forget their origin

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