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The Most Useful Filipino Phone Call Phrases

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Hearing the phone ring can be exciting, especially when we’re expecting to receive some good news. However, for people in a foreign country who are still learning the language, the experience might not be so thrilling. 

This is especially true in professional settings. Imagine being the only one in the room when the phone suddenly rings, and you’re not even sure how to say “hello” in Tagalog—let alone put together any useful Filipino phone call phrases! How terrifying would that be?

I know. I’m just exaggerating. But you get my point. Not knowing what to say when answering the phone can be stressful (not to mention awkward).

But you can rest your worries here. In this post, you’ll learn the essential Tagalog phone call phrases for a variety of situations. This list should give you the confidence to make calls or answer the phone in Tagalog, as well as help make your phone conversations less awkward.

A Man Dialing a Number on the Phone in a Hotel Room

Me: Excited to call my friend in the middle of the night to practice Tagalog phone call phrases I’ve just learned.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Filipino Table of Contents
  1. The Opening Line
  2. Introducing Yourself
  3. Stating Your Reason for Calling
  4. Asking to Speak to Someone
  5. Asking Someone to Wait
  6. Leaving a Message
  7. Asking for Clarification
  8. Ending the Phone Call
  9. Sample Phone Conversations
  10. Learn More Than Just Phone Call Phrases with FilipinoPod101!

1. The Opening Line

The Philippines ranks high in terms of business English, so it’s not unusual for phone calls here to be made or answered using English phrases in both professional and informal settings. Nevertheless, it’s still useful to know how to say these phrases in Tagalog. In the Philippines, we make phone calls the same way that people in most countries do—starting with a “hello.”

In informal situations, a common way to answer the phone in Tagalog is:

  • Hello, sino ‘to? (“Hello, may I know who this is?”)

The word “hello” in Tagalog is kumusta. In some cultures, it’s common for the words used in telephone greetings to differ from those used in real life. But in the Philippines, we greet one another with kumusta both over the phone and in person. You’ll learn more about this in our entry How to Say Hello in Tagalog.

1 – When you’re the one calling…

  • Hello. Kumusta? (“Hello. How are you?”)
  • Hello. Magandang araw / umaga / hapon / gabi. (“Hello. Good day / morning / afternoon / evening.”)

You can follow this up with:

  • Pwede ko bang makausap si… (“May I speak with…”)
  • Nandiyan ba si… (“Is [name] available?”)
  • Gusto ko sanang makausap si… (“I would like to speak with…”)

These initial greetings can be used in both formal and informal situations.

2 – When you’re the one receiving the call…

Informal

There are a couple of ways to answer the phone in casual settings:

  • Hello. Kumusta din po? (“Hello. How are you, too?”)
  • Hello. Magandang araw / umaga / hapon / gabi. (“Hello. Good day / morning / afternoon / evening.”)
  • Hello. Sino ‘to? (“Hello. Who’s this?”)

You can then wait for the person to express their reason for calling or go ahead and ask them their reason for making the call.

Formal

As mentioned, answering the phone in professional settings is normally done using the English language or a combination of English and Filipino. While someone may use Tagalog or a dialect to answer the phone in formal settings, English is used in very formal settings like in hotels or high-end restaurants. In most cases, you’ll hear a combination of English and Filipino, such as in the following examples:

  • Hello. Magandang araw / umaga / hapon / gabi. (“Hello. Good day / morning / afternoon / evening.”)
  • Maaari ko bang malaman kung sino ang tumatawag? (“May I know who’s calling, please?”)
  • I.T. Department. Magandang araw! (“I.T. Department. Good day!”)
  • ABC Company. Magandang araw! (“ABC Company. Good morning!”)

2. Introducing Yourself

When making or taking a phone call in Tagalog, you’ll need to give a brief introduction at some point after the greeting. Let’s take a look at the nuances of introducing yourself as the caller versus as the receiver. 

1 – When making the call…

Informal

  • ‘Tol, si Edwin ito. (“Bro, it’s me, Edwin.”) 

The word ‘tol is a contraction of the word utol, which is slang for “brother” or “sister.” The usage of this term is common between very close friends, particularly males. Here are other examples:

  • Pare, si Rudy ito. Naaalala mo pa ako? (“Bro, it’s Rudy. Still remember me?”)

The term pare is short for kumpare, which was borrowed from the Spanish word compadre, which refers to a male friend. The female version is mare, short for kumare.

  • Ate Lorie, ako ito, si Rowena. (“Ate Lorie, it’s me, Rowena.”)

The word ate here is a term used to address an elder sister. It can also be used to refer to any female relative, friend, or even stranger, who is older than the speaker. For males, the term is kuya.

  • Itay, si Mark po ito. (“Dad, it’s Mark.”)

Formal

The main difference between introducing yourself in a formal scenario and an informal one is that in a formal setting, you often need to state your full name or family name. In most cases, the word po, which indicates politeness, is also necessary. Consider these examples:

  • Ako po pala si Edwin Marquez. (“I’m Edwin Marquez, by the way.”)
  • Si Mr. Marquez itong tumatawag. (“It’s Mr. Marquez calling.”)

Speaking of politeness, here’s a quick lesson about Filipino manners.

A Man with a Backpack Making a Call on the Payphone

Pare, si Rudy ito. Baka pwede mo ako pasahan ng load.
(“Hey bro, it’s Rudy. Perhaps you could send me some mobile credits?”)

2 – When receiving a call…

In informal settings, the receiver of the call doesn’t usually have to introduce themselves unless asked to do so by the person calling.

Formal

In more formal settings, such as in the workplace, the appropriate way to answer a phone call would be with a “hello” followed by “May I know who’s calling, please?” or “Thanks for calling [name of company], it’s [name] speaking.”

In Tagalog, that would sound something like:

  • Magandang araw. Maraming salamat sa pagtawag. Ito po si [name]. Ano po ang aking maipaglilingkod? (“Good day. Thank you so much for calling. This is [name]. What can I do for you?”)
  • Magandang umaga / hapon. Si Shirley po ito. Bakit po sila napatawag? (“Good morning / afternoon. This is Shirley. May I know the purpose of your call?”)

Have you learned how to properly introduce yourself yet? Check out our entry on self-introductions and learn the different ways you can introduce yourself in Filipino!

3. Stating Your Reason for Calling

Depending on the nature of your call, there are different phrases you can use to let the other person know why you’re calling. 

Informal

Informal calls usually involve friends checking up on each other or inviting each other out for an activity.

  • Gusto lang kitang kamustahin. (“I just want to check on you.”)
  • Yayayain sana kita sa laro namin bukas. (“I wanted to invite you to our game tomorrow.”)

Formal

Meanwhile, formal calls often involve inquiries about a product/service or setting up an appointment with a client.

  • Tumawag ako para pag-usapan yung… (“I called to talk about the…”) 
  • Tumawag ako tungkol sa… (“I’m calling regarding the…”)
  • Ako yung tumawag kanina. (“I was the one who called earlier.”)
  • Gusto ko sanang mag-set ng meeting kay… (“I’d like to set a meeting with…”)
  • May gusto akong itanong tungkol sa produkto / serbisyo na binibigay ninyo. (“I’d like to ask some questions regarding a product / service you’re offering.”)

A Man Sitting in the Grass with a Laptop and Talking on the Phone with Someone

May gusto sana akong itanong tungkol sa binenta niyong laptop sa akin. Ayaw mag-on.
(“I’d like to ask something regarding the laptop you sold me. It won’t boot up.”)

4. Asking to Speak to Someone

If the person who picked up the phone is not who you intended to speak with, you can ask to be handed over to the right person. Here are some Filipino phone call phrases you can use to do this: 

Informal

  • Nandiyan po ba si…gusto ko sana siyang makausap tungkol sa… (“Is [name] there? I’d like to talk to him/her about…”)
  • Gusto ko sanang makausap si… (“I was wondering if I could speak with…”)
  • Pakisabi hinahanap siya ni Bernadette. (“Please tell her it’s Bernadette.”)

Formal

  • Gusto kong makausap si… (“I’d like to speak with…”)
  • Maaari ko bang makausap si… (“May I speak/have a word with…”)

5. Asking Someone to Wait

If you’re the one receiving the call and have to ask the caller to wait, you can use the following phrases:

Informal

  • Sandali lang…tatawagin ko siya. (“Wait a minute, I’ll just call him/her.”)
  • Sandali lang ha, ibibigay ko sa kanya ang telepono. (“Wait, I’ll hand the phone over to him.”)

Formal

  • Pwede po ba kayong maghintay ng kaunti? (“Could you wait a bit?”)
  • Ililipat ko po ang tawag… (“Allow me to transfer the call…”)

6. Leaving a Message

When the person you’re looking for is not around, you can leave a message for them with the person who received your call. Here are a few ways you can do that:

Informal

  • Pakisabi na lang na tawagan niya ako. Pakisabi importante. Salamat. (“Please tell him to call me. Please tell him that it’s important. Thank you.”)
  • Sabihin mo tumawag ang kaibigan niyang si Edwin. Salamat. (“Tell him his friend Edwin called. Thanks!”)

Formal

  • Maaari ba akong mag-iwan ng mensahe? (“Can I leave a message?”)
  • Maaari mo bang sabihin sa kanya na tawagan ako? (“Can you tell him to call me back, please?”)

Keep in mind that the word maaari is the more formal term for pwede and is seldom used even in formal situations. In most cases, using pwede instead of maaari won’t affect the formality of your call or make you come off as unprofessional.

7. Asking for Clarification

As a non-native speaker conversing over the phone in Filipino, you’ll likely need to ask for clarifications at some point. While this might be because you received a lengthy or complex explanation that you need reiterated, it could also be that the line is too noisy or you can’t hear the other person clearly. 

Informal

  • Pasensya na, ano yun ulit? (“I’m sorry, what was that again?”)
  • Hindi ko narinig. Pakiulit nga. (“I didn’t hear you. Please say that again.”)
  • Pwedeng paki ulit yung sinabi mo? Medyo maingay kasi dito. (“Could you repeat what you just said? It’s a bit noisy here.”)

Formal

  • Pasensiya ka na,  pero pwede mo bang ulitin yung sinabi mo? (“I’m sorry, but could you repeat what you just said?”)
  • Pwedeng paki ulit nung huli mong sinabi? (“Would you mind repeating the last line?”)
  • Maaari mo bang ulitin yung address? (“Would you mind stating the address again?”)
  • Ang sinasabi mo… (“What you were saying was…”)
  • Ang ibig mong sabihin…tama ba ako? (“What you’re trying to say is…am I correct?”)
  • Uulitin ko yung sinabi mo. Pakisabi kung tama ang pagkakaintindi ko. (“I’m going to reiterate what you just said. Please let me know if I understood it correctly.”)

If you want to confirm that you’re calling the right number, you can say something like this:

  • Ito po ba ang opisina ni Mr. Aquino? (“Is this Mr. Aquino’s office?”)

Or:

  • Tama po ba itong numero na tinawagan ko? (“Did I dial the correct number?”)

And then state the phone number you’re trying to call.


8. Ending the Phone Call

End the phone call successfully and appropriately with the following words and expressions:

1 – Ending a call as the caller…

Informal

  • Sige, magkita na lang tayo. (“Alright, I’ll just see you on…”)
  • O siya, mauna na ako. Bye! (“Okay, I’ll go now. Bye!”)

Formal

  • Maraming salamat. Paalam. (“Thank you so much. Bye!”)
  • Maraming salamat sa tulong mo. Hanggang sa muli. (“Thank you so much for your help. Until next time.”)

2 – Ending a call as the recipient…

Informal

  • Ingat ka. (“You take care.”)
  • Sige. Kitakits. (“Alright. See you!”)

Formal

  • Maraming salamat din. (“Thank you, too.”)
  • Salamat sa pagtawag. (“Thank you for calling.”)
  • May maitutulong pa po ba ako? Kung wala na, maraming salamat sa pagtawag. Paalam. (“Is there anything else I can help you with? If there is none, I’d like to thank you for calling us. Goodbye!”)

One of the first things to do when arriving in the Philippines is to set up a phone plan. Here’s a list of related words and phrases about phone plans to help you with that.

A Woman Chatting on the Phone while Lying on the Floor

Sige. Kitakits sa Sabado! (“Alright. See you on Saturday!”)

9. Sample Phone Conversations

Now, let’s take a look at two sample phone call conversations involving two friends setting up a brunch date on a weekend. The first scenario is an informal phone call conversation between Rain and her friend Athena. They haven’t seen each other for a while, and Rain has decided to call Athena to ask if she’s free the coming weekend for a date.

1 – Informal Phone Conversation

Rain: Hello, Athena, kumusta ka na? (“Hello, Athena. How are you?”)

Athena: Uy, Rain! Napatawag ka! Anong meron? (“Hey, Rain! You called! What’s up?”)

Rain: Yayayain sana kitang magkape sa Sabado, tutal walang pasok. Brunch na lang din tayo. (“I was wondering if I could invite you for coffee this coming Saturday since it’s a weekend. Let’s have it over brunch.”)

Athena: Magandang ideya yan. Sige! Saan ba plano mong kumain? (“That’s a wonderful idea. Sure! Where do you plan to eat?”)

Rain: May alam akong bagong bukas na kainan malapit lang kina Aaron. Sasama din pala siya. (“I know a place near Aaron’s. He’s coming with us, by the way.”)

Athena: Wow! Excited na ako. Sino-sino pa nandun? (“Wow! I’m excited already! Who else will be there?”)

Rain: Niyaya ko din si Raymund, actually, kaso sasamahan niya daw ang mom and dad niya. (“I actually invited Raymund, as well, but he said he needs to accompany his mom and dad.”)

Athena: Ah okay. So tayong tatlo lang nina Aaron? Okay lang sa akin. Miss ko na din yung isang yun eh. (“Oh okay. So it’s just the three of us? That’s fine with me. I actually miss that guy, too.”)

Rain: O ano? Okay na tayo sa Sabado? Sunduin na lang kita para hindi ka na magmaneho. Hatid na din kita pauwi. (“So, it’s final. We’ll meet this Saturday. I’ll just come and fetch you so you won’t have to drive. I’ll then drop you home afterward.”)

Athena: Oo ba. Tamang-tama lang ang alas-nuebe at tapos na ako sa mga gawain ko dito sa bahay. (“Sure. I should be done with my house chores before nine, so nine in the morning would be perfect.”)

Rain: Ayos! Kitakits sa Sabado. Babay! (“All right. See you on Saturday then. Bye!”)

Athena: Kitakits! Bye! (“See ya! Bye!”)

2 – Formal Phone Conversation

After Rain and Athena have agreed on the time and date of their meeting, Rain calls the restaurant she told Athena about so she could have a table reserved for them.

Keep in mind that it’s not common for phone calls in the Philippines to be purely in Tagalog. In fact, people hardly use Tagalog when making formal conversation. More often than not, it’s always a combination of Filipino and English. First, let me show you what a purely Tagalog conversation would sound like:

Attendant: Magandang umaga. Salamat sa pagtawag sa Doña Maria Cafe. (“Good morning. Thank you for calling Doña Maria Cafe.”)

Rain: Magandang umaga. Gusto ko po sanang magpareserba para sa tatlong tao. (“Good morning. I’d like to make a reservation.”)

Attendant: Sige po. Para sa anong petsa po ito? (“Of course. For what date will the reservation be?”)

Rain: Para sa darating na Sabado. (“It will be for this coming Saturday.”)

Attendant: Anong oras po? (“And the time?”)

Rain: Alas-nuebe ng umaga. (“Nine in the morning.”)

Attendant: Ilang tao po ang kailangan ng reserbasyon? (“How many people will you need the reservation for?”)

Rain: Para sa tatlong tao lang. (“For three people, please.”)

Attendant: Maaari ko po bang makuha ang pangalan nila? (“Would you kindly give me your name, please?”)

Rain: Rain Ledesma.

Attendant: Maraming salamat po. Ginawan ko na po kayo ng reserbasyon para sa tatlong tao sa darating na Sabado, alas-nuebe ng umaga. Mayroon pa po ba akong maipaglilingkod? (“Thank you so much. I made a reservation for three people for this Saturday at nine a.m. Will there be anything else I can help you with?”)

Rain: Yun lang po. Maraming salamat. Paalam. (“That is all. Thank you. Bye.”)

Attendant: Paalam. (“Bye.”)

3 – Formal Phone Conversation (Taglish)

Now, here’s what a more typical phone conversation would sound like when making a reservation at a restaurant in the Philippines.

Attendant: Thank you for calling Doña Maria Cafe. How may I help you?

Rain: Hello. Gusto ko sanang magpa-reserve. (“Hello. I’d like to make a reservation.”)

Attendant: Sige po. Para kailan po ito, ma’am? (“Sure. For what date will the reservation be?”)

Rain: Sa darating na Sabado sana. (“It’s for this coming Saturday.”)

Attendant: Anong oras po ang gusto nila? (“And the time, please?”)

Rain: Nine a.m.

Attendant: Sige po. Ilan po sila? (“Got that. This is for how many people?”)

Rain: Ah, tatlo lang kami. (“Oh, it’s just the three of us.”)

Attendant: Pwede ko pong makuha yung pangalan nila? (“May I have your name, please?”)

Rain: Rain Ledesma.

Attendant: Thank you po, ma’am. Ginawan ko na po kayo ng reservation for this coming Saturday, 9 in the morning, for three persons. Is there anything else po? (“Thanks, ma’am. I made a reservation for you for this coming Saturday at nine in the morning. It’s for three people. Is there anything else?”)

Rain: Wala na. Yun lang. Thank you! Bye! (“Nope. That’s all. Thank you. Bye!”)

Attendant: Sige po. Thank you! Bye! (“Okay. Thank you. Bye!”)

Notice how the speakers switched between Filipino and English throughout the conversation. Also note the excess use of po, which is typical for when someone doesn’t want to come across as rude or impolite.

A Woman Making a Reservation Over the Phone

Ginawan ko na po kayo ng reservation. (“I already made a reservation for you.”)


Learn More Than Just Phone Call Phrases with FilipinoPod101!

In this lesson, you’ve learned some of the most useful Filipino phone call phrases to help you gain more confidence when making or taking a call. Do you feel more prepared to handle your next all-Filipino phone call, or are there some phrases or situations you’d still like to see covered?

If you wish to further improve your Tagalog and learn more than just phone call phrases, sign up for FilipinoPod101 today.

Here at FilipinoPod101.com, you can have access to a range of free resources including PDFs, audio lessons, and video recordings that will assist you in your studies. Not to mention hundreds of useful Tagalog vocabulary words to enrich and widen your mental wordbook.

Want to fast-track your progress? You can also avail yourself of our MyTeacher service, an innovative approach to language learning designed and developed to help language students learn with a real teacher on their own schedule. 

What are you waiting for? Join FilipinoPod101 now and start learning Filipino in a fun and innovative way!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Filipino

Expand Your Vocabulary with Tagalog Beginner Words

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Having a commendable vocabulary list to study is imperative when you’re learning a new language. That said, mastering core Filipino words is crucial if you want to become fluent in the language of the Philippines. 

Tagalog beginner words are simple everyday words that form the foundation of a much larger vocabulary. Learning and mastering them will help you if you’re going to pursue a career or education in the Philippines or if you simply want to move to the country.

The good news about Filipino vocabulary is that most of the words have an equivalent in English. And if you commit to studying for at least an hour every day, you’ll be able to master all the basic Filipino words and apply them in daily conversations after only 200 hours.

Tagalog takes 1100 hours to learn, though, which means you’ll still have a long way to go. So, if there’s a good time to start, it’s now! Let’s do it!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Filipino Table of Contents
  1. Mga Panghalip (Pronouns)
  2. Mga Bilang (Numbers)
  3. Mga Pangngalan (Nouns)
  4. Mga Pandiwa (Verbs)
  5. Mga Pang-Uri (Adjectives)
  6. Mga Pangatnig (Conjunctions)
  7. At iba pa… (More beginner words)
  8. Catch More Filipino Beginner Words at FilipinoPod101.com!

1. Mga Panghalip (Pronouns)

Pronouns are among the core parts of speech that one should master first when learning any new language

In Filipino, pronouns are called panghalip. There are six categories of Filipino pronouns. Most of them have direct equivalents in English, although some have more uses than their English equivalents.

You can visit our comprehensive guide to Filipino pronouns if you wish to delve deeper into the subject.

As a beginner in Filipino, you just need to focus on the three basic pronoun categories: personal, demonstrative, and interrogative. 

Personal Pronouns (Panghalip Panao)

These are pronouns that replace the proper names of people in sentences. The keyword is panao, which is derived from tao, meaning “human.”

PersonFilipinoEnglish
1st person sg.akoI
2nd person sg.ikawyou
3rd person sg.siyahe/she
1st person pl.tayowe
2nd person pl.kayoyou all
3rd person pl.silathey

Take note that Filipino grammar doesn’t use gender pronouns, which is why “he” and “she” are both siya in Tagalog.

  • Nag-aaral siya ng bokabularyong Filipino. (“She’s studying Filipino vocabulary.”)
  • Nagbabasa siya palagi ng diksyunaryo. (“He always reads the dictionary.”)

Demonstrative Pronouns (Panghalip Pamatlig)

While English grammar only has four demonstrative pronouns (if we don’t include “yonder,” that is), Filipino has more than a dozen. Nevertheless, we’ll only focus on the most common ones, which are the pronominals.

FilipinoEnglish
itothis
ditohere
iyanthat
niyanthat
diyanthere
iyonthat
doonthere

Both iyan and niyan are translated as “that” in English. The difference between the two is that iyan is often found at the beginning of a sentence, while niyan is usually found at the end.

  • Iyan ang gustong kong matutunan. (“That’s what I want to learn.”)
  • Gusto kong matuto niyan. (“I want to learn that.”)

Interrogative Pronouns (Panghalip Pananong)

FilipinoEnglish
anowhat
alinwhich
sinowho/whom
kaninowhose

There are five interrogative pronouns in the English language. All of them have an equivalent in Filipino grammar, although “who” and “whom” share the same word, which is sino.

  • Sino ang estudyante mo sa Pilipino? (“Who is your student in Filipino?”)
  • Sino yung sinasabi mo na nagtuturo sa iyo ng Pilipino? (“Whom did you say was teaching you Filipino?”)

2. Mga Bilang (Numbers)

Numbers may seem rather insignificant when you’re learning a new language. You may even be tempted to learn them last. However, learning numbers is crucial because we encounter and use them in everyday life. That said, here are the numbers 1-10 in Filipino. You can always check our blog entry on numbers and how to count in Filipino for more detailed information. 

  • 1       isa
  • 2       dalawa
  • 3       tatlo
  • 4       apat
  • 5       lima
  • 6       anim
  • 7       pito
  • 8       walo
  • 9       siyam
  • 10       sampu

Three Ducklings

May tatlong bibi akong nakita. (“I saw three ducklings.”)

3. Mga Pangngalan (Nouns)

Nouns are one of the fundamental word groups in Filipino for beginners to study. They can be used alone to convey an urgent point or with verbs and objects to form a complete thought. 

The Tagalog word for “noun” sounds like the Tagalog word for “name.” However, pangngalan literally means “for naming,” and yes, we know that’s what nouns are for. We use nouns to name people, places, things, events, actions, ideas, and states of existence. There are so many Filipino nouns we could cover here, but let’s focus on the most basic ones first. 

Time

FilipinoEnglish
orashour/time
minutominute
segundosecond
umagamorning
tanghalinoon
haponafternoon
gabinight/evening
arawday
linggoweek
buwanmonth
taonyear


Days of the week:

FilipinoEnglish
LunesMonday
MartesTuesday
MiyerkulesWednesday
HuwebesThursday
BiyernesFriday
SabadoSaturday
LinggoSunday

Notice that the Filipino translations for “week” and “Sunday” are the same: linggo

  • Mag-iisang linggo ka na dito sa Linggo. (“You will have been here for a week this Sunday.”)

People

FilipinoEnglish
ama/tatayfather
ina/inay/nanaymother
anak/batachild
anak na lalakison
anak na babaedaughter
asawaspouse
pamilyafamily
kuyaolder brother
ateolder sister
panganayeldest
bunsoyoungest
pinsancousin
tiyuhinuncle
tiyahinaunt
lolograndfather
lolagrandmother
guroteacher
mag-aaralstudent
doktordoctor
narsnurse
pulispoliceman

Places

FilipinoEnglish
palengkemarket
ospitalhospital
paaralanschool
opisinaoffice
munisipyomunicipal hall
bangkobank
botikadrugstore
simbahanchurch
istasyon ng busbus station
himpilan ng pulispolice station

School and Office Essentials

FilipinoEnglish
lapispencil
bolpenballpoint pen
panulatpen
papelpaper
kuwadernonotebook
guntingscissors
pamburaeraser
pandikitglue
sobreenvelope

Body Parts

FilipinoEnglish
ulohead
buhokhair
mataeyes
taingaears
ilongnose
bibigmouth
leegneck
dibdibchest
brasoarm
sikoelbow
kamayhand
bintithigh
hitaleg
tuhodknee
paafeet

Food

FilipinoEnglish
bigasrice
ulamviand
pampalasacondiment
gulayvegetable
prutasfruit
karnemeat
gatasmilk
itlogegg
baboypork
bakabeef
manokchicken
isdafish

A Business Meeting

Beginner words form the foundation of a much larger vocabulary.

4. Mga Pandiwa (Verbs)

The most basic Filipino sentence cannot stand without a verb. Known as pandiwa in Filipino, verbs are what give life to any speech. Here are 50 common Filipino verbs with which you can build your vocabulary. You can also visit our blog page for a more detailed guide to Filipino verbs.

FilipinoEnglish
gumisingto wake up
bumangonto get up
kumainto eat
uminomto drink
magsipilyoto brush one’s teeth
maligoto bathe
maglutoto cook
maglabato do the laundry
magtrabahoto work
mag-aralto study
magmanehoto drive
sumakayto ride
umakyatto climb
bumabato go down
magpahingato rest
matulogto sleep
magbigayto give
kumuhato get
tumanggapto receive
maglakadto walk
tumakboto run
umupoto sit
humigato lie down
tumayoto stand
umalisto go/leave
bumalikto come back/return
dumiretsoto go straight ahead
umatrasto move backward
umabanteto move forward
lumikoto turn left or right
tumalonto jump
ngumitito smile
lumangoyto swim
gumawato make/do something
magtanongto ask
maghanapto find/look for something
magsulatto write
pumayagto allow
pumikitto close one’s eyes
magbilangto count
mag-isipto think
tumawato laugh
umiyakto cry
sumigawto shout
magalitto get angry
manghingito ask for something
pumuntato go somewhere
dumaloto attend
sumamato come along
humawakto hold

Two Figure skaters

Verbs can make anything come alive!

5. Mga Pang-Uri (Adjectives)

In Filipino grammar, the ligatures na, ng, and g are used to connect adjectives to the words they’re modifying. We use na when the adjective ends in a consonant (except for “n,” in which case we used the ligature g). We then use ng if the word ends in a vowel.

  • Matangkad na tao (“A tall person”)
  • Malaking alon (“A big wave”)
  • Balingkinitang nilalang (“A slender creature”)

We have more lessons explaining the use of Filipino adjectives here at FilipinoPod101.com. Check them out for more examples!

Adjectives Describing Objects

FilipinoEnglish
malakibig
maliitsmall
mahabalong
maiklishort
mataashigh
malapadwide
mababalow
manipisthin
pabilogcircular

Adjectives Describing People

FilipinoEnglish
magandabeautiful/pretty
guwapo/pogihandsome
matangkadtall
maliit/mababashort
maputilight-skinned
maitimdark-skinned
morenobrown-skinned
balingkinitanslender
matabafat
payatslim/thin

Adjectives Describing Emotions

FilipinoEnglish
masayahappy
maligayajoyful
malungkotsad
galitangry
nasusuklamdisgusted
takotafraid/fearful
gigileager

Adjectives Describing the Weather

FilipinoEnglish
maarawsunny
mainithumid
maulanrainy
mahanginwindy
maaliwalasclear
maulapcloudy
mabagyostormy
makulimlimshady
maginawcold
malamigcool

You’ve probably noticed that most Filipino adjectives start with the prefix ma-, although some may end in a suffix instead. Filipino adjectives that are formed using prefixes and suffixes are called maylapi. The adjective maganda (“beautiful”) for instance, is formed by adding the prefix ma- to the root word ganda, which means “beauty.”

A Woman with a Sweater, Hat, and Gloves Shivering in the Cold

Maginaw! Malapit ng mag-Pasko! (“It’s cold! The Christmas season must be near!”)

6. Mga Pangatnig (Conjunctions)

When you start learning Tagalog, you’ll find that knowing a few conjunctions can make your speech sound more fluid, even with a limited vocabulary. 

Conjunctions are called pangatnig in Filipino, and they’re used to connect words, phrases, or clauses. There are as many conjunctions in Filipino as there are in English, but here are the most common ones used in daily conversations.

FilipinoEnglish
atand
oor
dahil/kasibecause
perobut
kayaso
parafor/so that/to 

It’s normal for some conjunctions to have more than one equivalent in Filipino and vice-versa. Take “because,” for instance.

  • Ayaw niyang kumain dahil/kasi busog na siya. (“He doesn’t want to eat because he’s already full.”)

In the same manner, some Filipino conjunctions, such as para, have more than one use in English.

  • Pumunta kami para makita siya. (“We came here to see her/so that we could see her.”)

The conjunction “but” also has more than one equivalent in Filipino, although pero is the one that’s mostly used in ordinary conversations. Its other equivalents are subalit, ngunit, and sapagkat, which are more formal or literary. 

  • Dumalaw ako sa inyo pero wala ka. (“I went to your place, but you were not around.”)

Another word that’s used to substitute pero as a colloquial term is kaso.

  • Hinabol kita kaso ambilis mo. (“I tried to run after you, but you were too fast.”)

7. At iba pa… (More beginner words)

Filipino grammar does not use auxiliary verbs like the ones we’re accustomed to in English. However, there are several words in Tagalog (called “linkers”) necessary for connecting thoughts.

na, ng, and g

We’ve already talked about how ng, na, and g are used with adjectives. These three linkers are also used with Filipino adverbs.

  • Natulog siya na gutom. (“He slept with an empty stomach.”)
  • Tumakbo siya ng mabilis. (“He ran fast.”)
  • Naglarong mag-isa ang bata. (“The child played alone.”)

ang and si

The words ang and si are among the most basic markers in Filipino grammar. The ang marker is used to point out a word as the focus of a sentence.

  • Guro ang babae. (“The woman is a teacher.”)
  • Magaling ang estudyante. (“The student is good.”)
  • Nasa labas ang kotse. (“The car is outside.”)

The marker si, on the other hand, is used to indicate the name of a person as the focus.

  • Guro si Rodel sa UP. (“Rodel is a teacher at UP.”)
  • Estudyante si Ace sa Ateneo. (“Ace is a student at Ateneo.”)
  • Si Andrew ang nagmamaneho ng kotse. (“Andrew is the one driving the car.”)

The marker si becomes sina if the subject is plural.

  • Nag-aaral sina Emily and Jonas. (“Emily and Jonas are studying.”)
  • Aalis na sina Jordan at yung kaibigan niya. (“Jordan and his friend are leaving.”)
  • Nakarating na sina mama at papa ng Maynila. (“Mom and Dad have arrived in Manila.”)

mga

The Tagalog particle mga is one of the most useful basic Filipino words to learn. In English grammar, the pluralization of words means either adding -s or –es to the end of a word, changing the spelling of the word altogether, or retaining its original spelling. In Tagalog, the only way you can transform a word into its plural form is by adding mga before it. 

  • mga tao (“people”)
  • mga kamay (“hands”)
  • mga bahay (“houses”)

There are cases when the number of the noun is understood from the context, and mga is not necessary.

  • Kumakain ba ng gulay? (“Do you eat vegetables?”)
  • Maraming basura sa daan. (“There’s a lot of trash on the road.”)
  • Magpunas ka ng paa. (“Wipe your feet.”)

A Guy Running in the Forest

Hinabol kita, kaso ambilis mo. (“I tried to run after you, but you were too fast.”)

8. Catch More Filipino Beginner Words at FilipinoPod101.com!

Today, you’ve learned some of the most useful Tagalog beginner words! If you feel that we’ve missed anything, or if there are other basic words you want us to cover next time, do let us know in the comments section.

Before you leave, don’t forget to check out other articles and Filipino lessons for beginners here at FilipinoPod101.com. You’ll be happy to find out that there are more resources like this blog post that can help you build your vocabulary and practice your Filipino grammar skills.

Here at FilipinoPod101, our goal is to make learning the Tagalog language a lot easier and more convenient for you. For example, our MyTeacher service for Premium PLUS members allows you to have 1-on-1 lessons with a Filipino teacher. 

So, what are you waiting for? Sign up now and begin your journey to Filipino language fluency!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Filipino

The Most Common Filipino Filler Words

Thumbnail

Remember the last time you had to say something important, but you ended up forgetting the exact words you were planning to say? How about the time you were going to comment about something, but somehow, you just couldn’t utter the right words? What saved you from embarrassment during those moments? Let me guess—uhm—filler words! Yes, we’re talking about those short meaningless sounds that help you collect your thoughts or fill in the little pauses between your sentences.

While fillers are a common point of disagreement in the world of public speaking, there’s not a language in the world that makes do without them. It makes sense, then, to become familiar with Filipino filler words when learning Tagalog. Fillers make up a huge part of the daily conversations of the Filipino people. 

In this entry, we’ll introduce you to some of the most common filler words used in the Filipino language. We’ll also outline the pros and cons of using them in your speech. So, uhm, are you ready? Let’s get right to it!

A Woman in a Wedding Dress Looking Concerned

When asked if you use filler words all the time: “Ah, eh. I do?”

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Filipino Table of Contents
  1. What are filler words and why do we use them?
  2. A List of Filipino Filler Words
  3. Should you use filler words?
  4. Learn About Filipino Filler Words and More at FilipinoPod101.com!

1. What are filler words and why do we use them?

Fillers are short words or sounds we often use in conversations to “fill” pauses when speaking. Some filler words are actually useful, while others are rather meaningless. Filipinos use a lot of filler words in their conversations, many of which have an equivalent in English. Other cultures have their own version of these words, too. 

If you’re wondering whether it’s possible to speak Filipino without using filler words, the answer would be yes. However, there are certain situations where you can’t afford not to use them. For example, while you should avoid using fillers if you’re broadcasting or delivering a speech in public, they can come in handy during your daily conversations with native speakers. 

We use filler words in Filipino the same way they’re used in other languages. We use them when we need to think about our answers and to let people know we’re not done talking yet. We also use them to make our statements sound less harsh. That last point is important, as Filipinos are quite sensitive. If you feel that what you’re about to say is too straightforward, using fillers can help you rephrase your sentence so that it doesn’t come across too strong.


2. A List of Filipino Filler Words

Now that you’re familiar with the concept of fillers and how they’re used, it’s time to learn the top 15 filler words in Tagalog! 

#1

Filler WordLiterallyEnglish Equivalent
Ano“What”“Uhm”

This is the most common filler word Filipinos use when they’re trying to remember something. It’s usually preceded by “uhm” or “ahh” and it’s used as a substitute for whatever the speaker is trying to remember, whether it’s a person, an object, a place, or an event.
  • Hinahanap ka ni ano…nakalimutan ko ang pangalan niya. 
    “Someone was looking for you. It was uhm…I forgot his name.”

  • Ano…oo pupunta kami dun. 
    “Uhm…yes, we’re going to be there.”

When you’re trying to remember a person’s name, you say Si ano
  • Si ano…si Anna! 
    “It was uhm…it was Anna!”
When you’re trying to remember anything other than the name of a person, you say Yung ano:
  • Yung ano…yung katrabaho ko. 
    “It was uhm…my colleague.”
Two variants of this filler are inaano and anuhin, which could mean almost anything. Both are in verb form and could imply doing something to someone. For instance, if someone is bothering you, you could tell that person:
  • Huwag mo akong anuhin! 
They would already understand that what you’re trying to say is, “Stop doing that to me!” He could reply with:
  • Hindi kita inaano! 
    “I’m not doing anything to you!”

#2

Filler WordLiterallyEnglish Equivalent
Kasi“Because”“It’s because…uhm”

We most often use kasi when trying to explain something. It’s often associated with being defensive, like if the speaker is trying to justify one’s actions or is hiding something. Also, it usually comes with the previous filler word we discussed: ano.
  • Eh kasi…uhm…hindi ko napansin na may nakasulat na bawal. 
    “It’s because…uhm…I didn’t notice that there was a warning sign there.”

  • Ano kasi…ahh…kasi na low-bat yung cellphone ko kaya hindi ako nakasagot. 
    “Ah it’s because…uhm…my mobile phone died, that’s why I wasn’t able to reply.”

#3

Filler WordLiterallyEnglish Equivalent
Ayun“That one”“There you go!” / “So…yeah”

One of the more frequently used Tagalog filler words, ayun could mean one of two things depending on when it’s used in a sentence. As an interjection, it’s what you exclaim when you’ve finally remembered what you were going to say (or when someone has helped you to remember). It’s equivalent to Archimedes exclaiming, “Eureka!”

A: Hiniram niya yung ano…yung ano…uhm. (“She borrowed my uhm…my uhm…”)
B: Yung kamera mo? (“Your camera?”)
A: Ayun! (“That’s it!”)

As a filler, it’s often used as a conclusion to something the speaker is trying to explain, such as the consequence of an action:
  • Bumagsak siya. Hindi kasi siya nag-aral, kaya…ayun. 
    “He failed. He didn’t study, so…yeah.”
In some cases, it’s used to express a sigh of resignation.

A: Ano na nangyari sa manliligaw mo? (“So, what happened to the guy courting you?”)
B: Ayun…sumuko na lang bigla. (“Sigh…he just quit.”)

One Schoolgirl Whispering Something in Another Schoolgirl’s Ear

Hindi kasi nag-aral. Ayun…bagsak tuloy siya. (“She didn’t study. So…yeah…she failed.”)


#4

Filler WordLiterallyEnglish Equivalent
Kuwan“That thing”“Uhm”

Kuwan originates from the Spanish word ¿Cuál?, meaning “which.” Like the filler word ano, it’s often used to replace the name of a person or thing that the speaker has forgotten momentarily. It has no direct English translation, although it could be considered equivalent to the English filler “uhm.”

Filipino speakers use this word when they’re not sure about the proper term for something. In many cases, it’s used to replace a word that’s considered taboo, particularly one that’s related to sex or sexuality.

Close friends use this word as a secret code when they want to speak openly without other people understanding what they’re trying to imply.
  • Kunin mo nga yung…yung kuwan…yung pitaka ko. 
    “Could you please get me my uhm..my uhm…my wallet.”

  • May binigay pala yung messenger na kuwan…memorandum. 
    “By the way, the messenger gave a…uhmm…a memorandum.”

  • Alam mo, niregaluhan daw ni kuwan si kuwan ng mamahaling relo nung kaarawan niya! 
    “You know what, you-know-who gave you-know-who an expensive watch on her birthday!”

#5

Filler WordLiterallyEnglish Equivalent
Parang“Supposedly”“It’s like…” / “Like”

Parang is the combination of the word para (which means “seems like”) and the ligature ng. As a filler word, it’s used when the speaker is trying to describe something but can’t seem to find the right words.
  • Parang…hindi ko maipaliwanag eh. 
    “It’s like…I can’t explain it.”

  • Maganda yung napuntahan namin! Parang…basta maganda siya! 
    “The place we went to was awesome! It was like…it’s simply beautiful!”

  • Yung parang…alam mo yun… 
    “It’s like…you know it…”

#6

Filler WordLiterallyEnglish Equivalent
Basta!“Enough”

Basta is another word of Spanish origin, meaning “Enough said!” or “Stop it!”

In Filipino, it could mean many different things depending on how you’re using it in a sentence. Here are some of its uses:

Just to let you know. 
  • Basta, nandito lang ako pag kailangan mo ako. 
    “Just to let you know, I’m just here whenever you need me.”
As long as / Whenever
  • Magagawa ko ang lahat basta kasama kita. 
    “I can do anything as long as you’re beside me.”
Especially.
  • Basta Filipina, maganda! 
    “Filipina women are especially beautiful!”
I’d rather not tell.
  • Ah, basta! Sikreto naming dalawa yun. 
    “I’d rather not tell! It’s our secret.”
That’s enough!
  • Basta! Sundin mo na lang ang sasabihin ko! 
    “That’s enough! Just do as I say!”

A Woman Making an Arrogant Face and being Snobby

Ah, basta! Sikreto naming dalawa yun. (“I’d rather not tell! It’s our secret.”)

#7

Filler WordLiterallyEnglish Equivalent
Ngek!“Yikes” / “Oh” / “Eh”

Ngek is primarily a Filipino slang word which could mean “Yikes!” or “Eek!” When you hear a Filipino saying ngek, it either means they made a mistake or that they’re disagreeing with what another person is saying. 
  • Ngek. Paano mo nasabi, eh wala ka naman dun? 
    “Eh? How can you say that when you were not there?”
It could also be an onomatopoeia that imitates the sound of a game show buzzer, indicating that the time is up or that the player got the answer wrong. 

As a filler, it’s used when the speaker is trying to deny an accusation against them.
  • Ngek…hindi ah. Hindi ko sinabi yun. 
    “Oh my, no…I never said that.”

  • Ngek…baka ibang tao yun. 
    “Duh…it must be somebody else.”

    One effective way to study filler words is to learn how they sound. Hear how Filipino words are usually pronounced by checking out the FilipinoPod101 YouTube channel!

#8

Filler WordLiterallyEnglish Equivalent
Ah oo“Ah yes…”“I see…”

Ah oo is like saying, “Yes, yes!” Filipinos use it to quickly let the other party know that they’re agreeing with what they’re saying or that they’re making a point. Using this filler word also serves as a way to let someone know that you’ve figured something out or that you’re finally getting what they’re trying to convey.
  • Ah oo! Tama ka! 
    “Ah, yes! You’re absolutely right!”
Try to imagine, too, a Filipino talking to someone over the phone and hearing that person saying:
  • Ahh…oo…hmm…tama…ahh okay… 
    “Ahh…yes…hmm…I see…”

#9

Filler WordLiterallyEnglish Equivalent
Diba?“Is it not?”“Right?”

Diba, also spelled di’ba or di ba, is a contraction of Hindi ba, which literally means “Is it not?” Hindi is the Tagalog word for “not.” Ba, on the other hand, has no direct English equivalent. It’s an intensifier that’s used when forming a question. For instance:
  • Kumain ka na ba? 
    “Have you eaten yet?”

  • Papasok ka pa ba kahit malakas ang ulan? 
    “Are you still going to work despite the heavy rain?”
Diba is one of the most common expressions you need to know when you’re learning Filipino. You can place it at the beginning or the end of a sentence when you’re asking someone for confirmation.
  • Taga dito ka, diba? 
    “You’re from around here, right?”

  • Diba ikaw yung asawa ni Mary? 
    “You’re Mary’s husband, right?”
As a filler, diba is mainly used to confirm information.
  • Narinig niyo nung sinabi ko yun, diba? Diba, Jen? Diba, Mike?
    “You heard me when I said it, right? Right, Jen? Right, Mike?”

  • Gusto mo siya no? Aminin mo na. Diba, diba, diba? 
    “You like him, don’t you? Admit it. Right, right, right?”

#10

Filler WordLiterallyEnglish Equivalent
O, ha?“Told ‘ya!” / “See?”

O, ha is sometimes used in conjunction with the previous filler word, diba. You can use this expression as a response to someone who has agreed with you after disagreeing at first. You can also use it to show detractors that you’re not easily discouraged and that they were wrong to tell you that you amount to nothing.

A: Tama ka. Tatlong taon pa lang ang nakalipas, hindi apat. (“You were right. It’s only been three years, not four.”)
B: O, ha? (“Told you so.”)
  • Natanggap ako sa trabaho! O, ha? 
    “I got hired! Told ‘ya!”

  • O, ha? Diba? Sabi ko sa’yo eh! 
    “See? Right? Told ‘ya!”

#11

Filler WordLiterallyEnglish Equivalent
Naman

Naman is one Filipino word that’s very difficult to translate to English. You could say that it has no direct English equivalent, as this filler could mean different things depending on how you use it in a sentence. For instance, you could use it to make a contrast, to give emphasis, or even to tone down a request. As a filler word, it could mean, “not again.” When someone is being a nuisance, for example, you could say:
  • Naman. 
    “Here we go again.”
Interestingly, it’s also used by a person who’s being annoying to say they’re just joking around:
  • Naman ito. Binibiro lang kita. 
    “Oh you…I was just teasing.”

A Man Wearing Overalls and Standing with His Hands on His Hips

O ha? Sabi ko sa’yo bagay sakin itong suot ko eh! (“I told ‘ya these overalls would suit me!”)

    Need to know the Filipino equivalent of a particular English word? Try out the FilipinoPod101 Filipino Dictionary!

#12

Filler WordLiterallyEnglish Equivalent
Alam mo yun?“You know that?”“You know”

“You know” is one of the most commonly used filler words in English. Its equivalent filler in Filipino is Alam mo yun, which is used in the same manner. 
  • Ang ibig kong sabihin…alam mo yun… 
    “I mean…you know…”
In some cases, it’s used to express annoyance:
  • Ang tagal kong naghintay tapos ang init-init pa. Alam mo yun? 
    “I waited there for so long, and the fact that it was so hot…you know what I mean?”

  • Huwag mo siyang pautangin. Hindi yan nagbabayad…alam mo yun? 
    “Don’t lend him anything. He doesn’t pay…you know.”

  • Alam mo yun? Yung gusto mo ng makauwi tapos wala kang masakyan? 
    “You know that feeling when you want to get home so badly but you can’t grab a ride?”

#13

Filler WordLiterallyEnglish Equivalent
Ganito“This”“It’s like this” / “Here”

Ganito is a word that you use when you’re showing someone how to do something. When showing a foreigner how to cook rice, for instance, a Filipino would say:
  • Ganito magluto ng kanin. 
    “This is how you cook rice.”
It could also mean, “This is how things are,” such as in the famous Tagalog slogan:
  • Ganito kami sa Makati. 
    “This is how we are in Makati.” / “This is how we do things in Makati.”
As a filler word, ganito is often used when the speaker is trying to describe a circumstance or event, or when they’re attempting to establish a fact.
  • Ganito, hindi ako ang nagsabi na kunin niya ang pera. 
    “It’s like this, I’m not the one who said that he should get the money.”

  • Ganito, bakit hindi na lang tayo sumang-ayon na huwag sumang-ayon sa isa’t-isa? 
    “Here, why don’t we just agree to disagree?”

  • Ganito na lang. Samahan mo na lang ako. 
    “Let’s just do it this way. Why don’t you just accompany me?”

#14

Filler WordLiterallyEnglish Equivalent
Hala“Uh-oh” / “Oh no” / “Really?”

Hala is a word with a thousand meanings. It’s mainly an interjection or an exclamation of warning:
  • Hala ka! Anong ginawa mo? 
    “You’re in trouble! What have you done?”
It’s what you would say when you’re about to witness (or are witnessing) a disaster:
  • Hala! Nasusunog yung bahay! 
    “Oh no! The house is on fire!”
It’s also an expression of panic:
  • Hala! Nakalimutan ko ang mga papeles! 
    “Uh-oh! I forgot to bring the documents!”
It functions as a filler word when used to express disbelief:

A: Pasensya ka na, pero hindi ka nakapasa. (“I’m sorry, but you didn’t pass.”)
B: Hala. Imposible. (“Oh no. That’s impossible.”)

It can also indicate sarcasm: 

A: Ikaw na daw ang bagong team leader sabi nila. (“They say you’re going to be the new team leader.”)
B: Hala? Sigurado sila? (“Really? Are they sure?”)

#15

Filler WordLiterallyEnglish Equivalent
Naku / Hay Naku“Oh my” / “Ugh!”

Linguists say naku came from Nanay ko, which literally means “My mother.” Its variant is Nakupo, which comes from Nanay ko po! It’s what someone would exclaim when they’re in trouble and need their mom on their side.
  • Nakupo! Mapapatay ako ni boss! 
    “Oh my! My boss is going to kill me!”

  • Naku, nakuu, nakuuu! Bakit ba kasi hindi siya nakinig. 
    “Oh my, oh my, oh my! Why didn’t he just listen?”
This expression also appears as Hay naku, with hay being the sound of sighing. It functions as a filler when someone is disappointed and about to burst into anger, or when they want to remain calm when they’re about to explode.
  • Hay naku! Makaalis na nga. 
    “Ugh! I’d better leave now!”

A Woman with a Deeply Concerned Look on Her Face Biting Her Knuckles

Naku, nakuu, nakuuu! Ana na naman itong pinasok ko?
(“Oh my, oh my, oh my! What have I gotten myself into this time?”)

3. Should you use filler words?

Fillers may come in different forms, but they all seem to serve the same purpose. This is true regardless of which language we’re talking about. The question, however, is whether or not it’s okay to use filler words in Filipino. First, let’s take a look at some of the pros of using fillers when speaking.

1 – Filler words can make you sound like a native speaker.

A native speaker will always speak in the colloquial variety, and when they do, you can expect a lot of filler words to be sprinkled throughout their conversation. You’ll impress your Filipino listeners when you use filler words because it will make you sound authentic.

2 – Filler words can help you insert yourself into a conversation more naturally.

It can be a difficult task to insert oneself into a group conversation without being impolite. A well-placed Ah oo… or Ganito… in the middle of a colleague’s pause can be an effective way to break into a conversation.

3 – Filler words can help you “hold the floor” so people know you’re not done speaking yet.

When speaking in public (such as in a business meeting), pausing in the middle of your speech instead of using a filler word might make people assume that you’re done speaking. This could cause others to jump in and interrupt you. Using the right filler word can be a great way to tell people that you’re not finished speaking.

This time, let’s take a look at three downsides to using excessive filler words.

1 – Excessive use of filler words can be distracting to both you and your listeners.

A few fillers here and there can have some benefits, but using too many can be distracting. When you say Alam mo yun (“You know”) at the end of every sentence, your listeners will shift from listening to you to taking note of how many times you’ve said Alam mo yun.

2 – Filler words can unnecessarily lengthen your sentences.

Filler words may be short, but using too many of them will make your sentences longer. Not a good thing when you’re giving a report that’s supposed to be precise and direct.

3 – Using filler words can make you look unconfident and less credible.

If you’ve noticed, most Filipino filler words mentioned here are used when you’re trying to remember or explain something. Using ano, kasi, and diba excessively will make you come across as inauthentic or insincere because they make you sound as if you need to justify everything you’re saying.

A Woman in a White Tank Top Holding Her Hands Out to Signal She’s Not Done Speaking

Filler words can help you “hold the floor” so people know you’re not done speaking yet.
Ano…sandali…hindi pa ako tapos magsalita. (“Uhm..wait…I’m not done talking.”)

4. Learn About Filipino Filler Words and More at FilipinoPod101.com!

So…uhm…what did you think of our entry on common filler words in Filipino? Did you know that you can learn so much more here at FilipinoPod101.com? With us, you can take your skills in Tagalog to the next level using our wide range of resources. All of our lessons and materials are designed to help you develop your comprehension skills in Filipino.

There are many good language learning platforms online, but what separates FilipinoPod101 is its innovative approach to teaching the Filipino language. Each lesson here can be tailored to your needs so that you don’t miss a step in your journey toward mastering this beautiful language. From video lessons to audio lessons, from PDF lesson materials to blog entries like this one, you can rest assured that there’s an approach to suit your preferences. 

FilipinoPod101 is also one of the few, if not the only, language learning platforms that provide 1-on-1 lessons. This is done through our MyTeacher service for Premium PLUS students, which allows you to have personal lessons with a real Filipino teacher. With this approach, you can learn Filipino the fast, easy, and fun way!

Did we miss anything on our list? Is there one filler word you want to learn more about? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments section!

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Filipino Love Phrases: How to Say “I Love You,” in Tagalog

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Filipinos are known to be very romantic. In fact, Filipinos are ranked as the fourth most romantic lovers in the Asia-Pacific, despite the reality that the Filipino culture of courtship has significantly evolved over the past several decades. 

Before, a young Filipino man would serenade the love of his life to express his feelings for her in a gesture called harana. Courtship slowly shifted from the traditional serenading to phone calls and love letters. The grand arrival of the internet and the mobile phone eventually gave way to online dating. 

So, in modern times, how does one say “I love you,” in Tagalog?

Despite the gradual changes to courtship and dating in the Philippines, what remains are the utterances used in expressing one’s feelings and the passion behind them.

Whether you’re planning to have a romantic relationship with a Filipino or already have one, it’s vital for you to learn some of the most common Tagalog love phrases. And that just scratches the surface of what you’re going to learn in this article!

A Statue of Cupid

O Love! Thou all-omnipotent one,
Who sporteth ev’n with sire and son;
Once sworn to thee, a heart then on
Defies all else: thy will be done.
– Francisco Balagtas, 1788-1862

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Filipino Table of Contents
  1. Confessing Your Affection: Pick-up Lines and More
  2. Falling in Deeper: Saying “I Love You,” and More
  3. Take it One Step Further: “Will You Marry Me?” and More
  4. Filipino Endearment Terms
  5. Must-know Filipino Love Quotes
  6. Learn More Important Tagalog Phrases with FilipinoPod101!

1. Confessing Your Affection: Pick-up Lines and More

The Filipino term for courtship is panliligaw. Unlike in many Western societies, courtship in Philippine culture is indirect and a bit more subdued. Men don’t want to come off as mayabang (“presumptuous” or “arrogant”) or presko (the term literally means “fresh,” but in this context, it means “aggressive”), so when they’re interested in a woman, they have to be discreet and somewhat mysterious at first.

The courtship starts with the manliligaw (the one who courts) asking the nililigawan (the one being courted) out on a date, oftentimes with a chaperone. But even before that, the young man must know to choose his words carefully in order to avoid rejection.

Pwede bang malaman ang pangalan mo?“May I know your name?”
While courtship in the Philippines often happens between two people who are familiar with each other or have known each other for a long time, it’s not unusual for two strangers to enter courtship and fall in love. If you’re interested in a person, you should always start by asking for that person’s name. If the other person is interested, they might give you their name, and you can take things from there.

Pwede bang hingin ang phone number mo?“May I have your phone number?” “Is it okay if I ask for your phone number?”
Texting and online messaging are the primary means of communication in the Philippines. If you want to keep in touch with a girl you like, what better way than to ask for her phone number? Or, if you’d like to ask for her social media name, you can say:

Pwede ba kitang i-add sa social media? / “Can I add you on social media?”

May gagawin ka ba…?“Will you be busy…?”
A Filipino guy won’t directly say to a girl that he likes her. Instead, he’ll show interest by asking her:

May gagawin ka ba sa Sabado? / “Will you be busy this coming Saturday?” 

Or:

May gagawin ka ba mamayang gabi? / “Will you be busy tonight?”

It’s an indirect way of saying, “Let’s go out on a date. I want to get to know you more.”

Gusto sana kitang yayain na lumabas.“I was wondering if you would like to go out with me.”
This is what you say when the girl responds with, “I don’t have any plans yet. Why?” 

By this time, the girl already has a hint that you’re interested in her. If she’s also interested in you, she’ll say yes. Even if she’s not interested (yet), she might still say yes to get to know you more.

Gusto kita. “I like you.” 
Traditionally, Filipino women didn’t like it when their manliligaw moved too fast in terms of courtship. But with the passing of time and the infiltration of Western influence on the Philippine culture of courtship and dating, it’s now common for two individuals to enter into a romantic relationship without having to go through the long process of panliligaw. When a young man sees a lady he likes, he asks for her name and phone number, and then directly says to her:

Gusto kita. / “I like you.” 

He can also say:

Type kita. / “You’re my type.”

Most Filipinas are still very conservative, though, and prefer men who play by the rules. Some would even prefer a guy who’s torpe (someone who doesn’t know how to court, extremely shy, or simply playing innocent) over someone who’s too direct.

That said, it’s not uncommon to hear phrases like:

Matagal na kitang gusto. / “I have liked you for a long time.” 

This usually comes from a guy who has finally mustered the courage to express his affections, oftentimes after being exposed.

And if the girl also likes him, she answers with:

Matagal na rin kitang gusto. / “I feel the same way.”

Pwede bang umakyat ng ligaw?“Can I court you?” 
This is where the actual courtship takes place. 

Perhaps you’re wondering why the word umakyat is used here. The root word is akyat, which means “to climb.” Houses in the Philippines during the Spanish era usually had multiple levels. This was true both for the Bahay na Bato (concrete house) and the bahay kubo (nipa house). When a man planned to court a woman, he would do so by serenading her with an acoustic guitar. He would call out toward the window of the second level where the woman’s room was, and from there, the young woman would look down at the young man as he began to serenade her. After all the singing, the man would ask for the lady’s permission by saying:

Maaari ba akong pumanhik? / “Can I go up?”

If the woman was interested, she would say:

Sige, pasok ka. / “Sure, come inside.”

This phrase of “going up to court someone” has been a part of Filipino tradition since, and until now, it’s the same expression used by men when asking permission to court a girl.

Pwede ba kitang maging kasintahan? “Would you be my girlfriend?”
The first stage of courtship culminates with the man asking the woman this question. This is the part where the man expects to receive the woman’s matamis na ‘oo’ or “sweet ‘yes’” so they can officially be together.

Asian Coworkers Chatting with Each Other After Work

“Hi, I’m Will. God’s will.”

    This lesson will help you learn how to introduce yourself in Filipino.

2. Falling in Deeper: Saying “I Love You,” and More

In this section, you’ll learn how “I love you,” is actually said in Filipino, plus more expressions used for showing affection between two lovers.

Mahal kita. “I love you.”
To confess your love in Filipino, you use these two simple words. If you follow our blog, you’ve probably come across some topics where we’ve explained how the pronoun kita works. It’s actually the subject ko (“I”) and the object ka (“you”) combined. It stands for ko ka, which is never used but always replaced with kita. So, when you say Mahal kita, you’re actually saying, Mahal ko ka, which is literally “Love I you.”

But what if you want to say to someone that you love them very much? In that case, you could say:

Mahal na mahal kita. / “I love you very much.”

Here, we see a reduplication of mahal. To express extravagant love without reduplication, you could say:

Sobrang mahal kita. / “I love you very much.”

Hindi kita mabura sa isipan ko.“I can’t get you out of my head.”
This is what you say to someone to let them know that you’re crazy about them. The word bura is Tagalog for “erase,” so this expression basically means, “I can’t erase you from my head,” with “head” being the word isipan, which is literally “mind.”

Sabik na sabik na ako sa iyo.“I miss you very much.”
The word sabik means “eager,” so by saying that you are sabik about somebody, you’re saying that you’re eager to see that person. There’s no direct translation in Tagalog for the word “miss” or “missing” in terms of an emotional longing, so we use the Filipino word for “eager” instead. Most Filipinos nowadays seldom use the word sabik, so you can just say: Miss na miss na kita.

Baliw na baliw ako sa’yo.“I’m so crazy about you.”
Lovesickness can make anyone go crazy. There are simply times where it’s impossible to wrap your arms around the person you’re in love with. This is especially true among Filipino couples who are in a long-distance relationship.

Sobrang in lab ako sa iyo.“I’m so in love with you.” 
This is just another way of telling someone you’re crazy about them. In lab is a loanword, or rather a loan expression, from the English “in love.” This is an informal phrase.

Gustong-gusto kitang makita.“I want to see you badly.”
When you miss someone badly, the only thing you want is to see them again soon. That’s where this expression comes in. Another version is: 

Gustong-gusto na kitang makasama/makapiling. / “I want to be with you so badly.”

Ikaw ang lahat sa akin.“You are everything to me.”
This may sound cliche, but each culture probably has its own version of this expression. Filipinos don’t use this in regular conversations; it’s only used in formal contexts, like when you’re writing a poem or a love letter. This five-word romantic expression is also the title of a song popularized by Filipino singer Martin Nievera in the 90s. And yes, the song perfectly embodies the message that the expression is trying to convey.

A Man Whispering Something in a Woman’s Ear

Sobrang in lab ako sa iyo. / “I’m so in love with you.”


3. Take it One Step Further: “Will You Marry Me?” and More

Pagkahaba-haba man daw ng prusisyon, sa simbahan din ang tuloy. 
“The procession may be long, but it will surely still end up in the church.”

This famous Filipino proverb perfectly describes traditional Filipino courtship, particularly how arduous and long the process can be when the rules of the game are strictly followed. At the end of the day, it’s not the guy who’s richer and better-looking who wins, but the one who perseveres until the end. Before the grand church procession happens, however, one must first learn how to ask the million-dollar question in Filipino. But first, let’s meet the parents!

Gusto kitang ipakilala sa mga magulang ko.“I’d like you to meet my parents.”
It’s a common saying in the Philippines that when you’re courting a girl, you’re also courting her entire family, particularly her parents. When a girl invites you to come over to her place to meet her parents, it means she likes you. On the other hand, when it’s the guy who makes the invitation, it means he’s serious about the relationship. It’s not always the case, but this is one of the first signs that a guy plans to propose real soon.

Magpakasal na tayo.“Let’s get married.”
The Filipinos have adopted the Western tradition of proposing marriage with the giving of an engagement ring, sometimes in public. Nevertheless, a simple Magpakasal na tayo (“Let’s get married”) should be sufficient.

Gusto kitang pakasalan“I want to marry you.”
This is another version of the previous phrase. This one is a bit indirect, though, and may come off as a simple desire to get married rather than an actual proposal. 

Pakasalan mo ako.“Marry me.” 
This one’s more straightforward. Even though courtship in Filipino culture begins slowly, when the right time comes, the man should not be afraid to show his true intentions.

Mo is an indirect object pronoun that means “you.” Literally, Pakasalan mo ako is “Marry you me.”

Papayag ka bang magpakasal sa akin? “Will you marry me?”
For those of you wondering how to say “Will you marry me?” in Filipino, this is probably the closest that you can get. 

Papayag is the future tense of the verb payag, which means “to conform” or “to agree.” In this context, its closest translation in English is “willing.” In English, the question would sound like: “Are you willing to get married to me?”

Pakakasalan kita. “I will marry you.”
Nothing could be more direct than this one. It’s not a question but a statement, a sort of promise even. If you want to reassure a Filipina that you intend to marry her, then tell her this.

Magsama na tayo.“Let’s move in together.”
Filipinos are very conservative and religious. Some people say this is a result of the Philippines having been under Spanish rule for over 300 years. Others say it’s just that conservatism is a trait of Asian people. Whatever the reason, it’s clear that living together before marriage is a practice that’s not widely accepted in the Philippines. People are becoming more open-minded nowadays, however, and it’s not unusual for couples to live together and even start a family before marriage.

Mag-anak na tayo.“Let’s have kids already.”
It’s common to find three generations living together in a Filipino household. Since the Philippines is primarily an agricultural country, great importance is given to child-rearing. The more children there are in a family, the greater the chance that the family’s livelihood will be sustained. However, there has been a shift in the mindset of young Filipino couples nowadays when it comes to having children. For most couples, career should be given priority. But once either of the two feels it’s time to have kids, they would say: 

Gumawa na tayo ng anak. / “Let’s start making babies.”

A Man on One Knee Proposing to a Woman on a Bridge

Papayag ka bang magpakasal sa akin? / “Will you marry me?”


4. Filipino Endearment Terms

Filipinos never use Tagalog terms of endearment. Such terms can only be found in literature, or are sometimes heard spoken by the older generation. Nowadays, Filipino couples make use of English terms to address each other romantically. They use terms like “honey,” “babe,” “darling,” or “sweetheart.” But for the sake of this lesson, allow us to show you some of the most common Filipino terms of endearment.

Irog“Darling,” “Beloved,” “Dear”
Irog is an old Filipino term which could mean “darling,” “beloved,” or “dear.” No one uses this term in regular conversations, though. You’ll mostly encounter this word as a lyric in a love song. Here’s one line from the song Solomon by Filipino indie band Munimuni:

O irog dinig mo ba
Ang pagtibok ng aking puso?

“O darling, do you hear 
the beating of my heart?”

Sinta“Love,” “My love”
Sinta is another old-fashioned term of endearment that is synonymous with “love.” Calling someone sinta is like saying in English, “my darling.” It’s the root word of kasintahan, which means “girlfriend” or “boyfriend.” Just like irog, you will seldom hear the word sinta used in normal conversations.

Mahal“Love”
One of the definitions of the Filipino word mahal is “expensive” or “valuable.” Interestingly, the word is also the Filipino word for “love.” When you tell someone Mahal kita, you’re essentially saying that the person is dear to you.

Pangga“My love”
Pangga is a variant of the Visayan term palangga, which means “to love” or “to have a strong affection for someone.” It’s the equivalent of the Tagalog mahal, and while it’s Cebuano and Hiligaynon in origin, it’s now very common to hear it spoken by Tagalog-speaking people.

Beh“Baby”
Beh is a Filipino slang term for “baby.” It’s often used between two lovers, but it’s not uncommon to hear it being used between very close friends, particularly between two females.

5. Must-know Filipino Love Quotes

In the past, Filipino love quotes were mostly from classic Tagalog love songs, movies, or literature, such as those written by the great Filipino poet, Francisco Balagtas. These days, you’ll usually get them from what the younger generations refer to as hugot. This is the Filipino term for “pull out,” like when you’re pulling money from a deep pocket. If you search the web using the keyword “Filipino love quotes,” you’ll be amazed that most of the results are not purely classic love quotes, but modern “hugot lines.” These lines are usually given birth by deep emotional experience, such as falling in (or even out of) love. 

Now that you have some cultural context, here are some of the most common love quotes in Filipino…

Ang puso ko ay pumili, at ang pinili ay ikaw.“My heart made its choice, and it chose you.”
It’s not uncommon for a Filipina woman to have more than one suitor. Even until a couple of decades ago, it was a usual occurrence that two or even three suitors would visit a girl in her home at the same time. The first one to arrive would court first, and the rest would wait for their turn like true gentlemen. At the end of the day, the girl would make her choice. Only the best man would win.

Ibibigay ko ang lahat sa’yo, maging ang araw at ang buwan, pati bituin ay aking susungkitin.“I’ll give you everything, the sun, the moon, and even the stars in the sky.”
This is one of the oldest Filipino pick-up lines. It may not guarantee success nowadays, but there are probably still a lot of Filipinas out there who prefer this kind of romantic line over something cheesy like, “Is your dad a terrorist? ‘Coz you’re the bomb!”

Ang pag-ibig parang taxi, agawan.“Love is like queuing for a taxi. People fight to get a ride.”
This is a more modern Filipino love quote. The person who invented this probably had to overcome several obstacles and competitors just to get the attention of the woman he loves. I’m not sure if he ended up successful, but it’s interesting that he compared love to the taxi queuing system in the Philippines, which requires you to be patient and assertive at the same time if you want to get a ride.

Nang dumating ka sa buhay ko, naging makulay ang mundo ko.“When you came into my life, my world became colorful.”
What a beautiful description of what it means to find love! Indeed, for many of us, the only thing that could light up our world is the love of our life!

Mag-ingat sa lalaking matamis ang dila.“Beware of sweet talkers.”
Scams and scammers are rampant these days, but did you know that love scams are not new? Filipino men are known to be malambing (“sweet”), but girls will know when you’re genuine with your intentions or are simply sweet-talking them. Avoid being matamis ang dila or you’ll come off as a player.

A Man and Woman Having Drinks on a Date

Kay tamis ng kanyang mga salita! / “How sweet his words are!”

6. Learn More Important Tagalog Phrases with FilipinoPod101!

This has been a long lesson on how to say “I love you,” in Tagalog, and we could still go on and on because there are actually many more love phrases in Filipino and cultural details to explore! 

To learn more important Filipino phrases, why not just create your account on FilipinoPod101.com? With FilipinoPod101, you’ll learn more than just romantic Filipino phrases and Tagalog pick-up lines. Here, you’ll learn the basics of Filipino grammar, including how to construct sentences properly, pronounce difficult Tagalog words, and appropriately apply Filipino expressions to any situation.

FilipinoPod101 is unlike any other online language learning platform. Here, you can study lessons that are tailored to perfectly match your requirements. And with our MyTeacher service for Premium PLUS members, you can learn how to speak fluent Tagalog in no time with the help of a Filipino teacher who will provide you with guidance and ongoing assessment. 

What are you waiting for? Become part of the FilipinoPod101 community today! And if you found this post helpful, don’t hesitate to let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!

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Ultimate Guide to Tagalog Negation: Saying No in Filipino

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Filipinos have a reputation for not being able to refuse or say no to a request. Some see this as a negative trait, but one reason Filipinos generally avoid saying no is because they view it as rude. Others attribute this habit to the Filipino culture of hiya (sense of shame) or the avoidance of losing face. But it’s also probably because Filipinos are just that amicable.

Despite that, Filipinos do have a word for “no,” and yes, they know how to use it and make a refusal if they feel like they’re being taken advantage of. In relation to that, this article is all about Filipino negation and how to say no in Tagalog. 

You’ll learn…

  • …the most common words used in Filipino negation.
  • …how to formulate a negative response to a question.
  • …more Tagalog words and phrases used to form negative sentences in Filipino.

I know you’re excited, so let’s get to it!

A Woman in a Long-sleeved Yellow Shirt Crossing Her Arms and Thinking

Hindi. Hindi ako yun. (“No. That wasn’t me.”)

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Filipino Table of Contents
  1. Filipino Negation: The Basics
  2. Negating a Sentence in Filipino
  3. Giving a Negative Response to a Question
  4. More Negating Filipino Words and Phrases
  5. Learn About Filipino Negation and Much More with FilipinoPod101

1. Filipino Negation: The Basics

Before we discuss the rules for negating a statement in Filipino, let’s first talk about common Filipino negation words and expressions.

1 – Hindi 

The most common word used in negation in English is “no” or “not.” The equivalent word in Tagalog is hindi.

A: Gusto mo bang mag-alaga ng pusa? (“Do you want a cat as a pet?”)
B: Hindi. (“No.”)

A: Napanood mo yung laro kanina? (“Did you see the game earlier?”)
B: Hindi. (“No, I didn’t.”)

2 – Wala

Another common word used in negation is “none,” or in Filipino, wala.

  • Pautang naman. May pera ka ba diyan? (“Why don’t you lend me some money. Do you have some cash?”)

There are a few ways you can respond to this:

1. Wala. (“I don’t.” / “I have none.”)
2. Wala akong pera. (“I don’t have any money.”)


3 – Huwag

The third most common word for negation is “don’t,” which in Tagalog is translated as huwag.

  • Huwag mong gawin yan. (“Don’t do it.”)
  • Huwag kang magkalat dito. (“Don’t make a mess here.”)

A Woman Holding Her Coin Purse Upside Down to Show She Has No Money

Pasensya na, pero wala akong pera. (“I’m sorry, but I don’t have any money.”)

2. Negating a Sentence in Filipino

Negating a sentence in Filipino is quite simple. In most cases, we just follow the standard Filipino word order/sentence structure with only a few minor considerations. Here’s an example:

Positive SentenceNegation
Naiintindihan kita. (“I understand you.”)Hindi kita naiintindihan. (“I do not understand you.”)

In this case, we simply add the appropriate word for forming the negative version of the sentence, which is hindi or “do not.” Take note that in Filipino, the word of negation is almost always placed at the beginning of the sentence, unlike in English where it usually comes after the subject. 

Also take note that, when used in this context, hindi comes right before the dual personal pronoun kita, which is a combination of the subject ko (“I”) and the object ka (“you”). That explains why it has changed places with the verb naiintindihan (“understand”) in the sentence. 

Literally, Hindi kita naiintidihan is “Do not I-you understand.”

Let’s take a look at another example:

Positive SentenceNegation
Sasamahan kita. (“I will accompany you.”)Hindi kita sasamahan. (“I will not accompany you.”)

Here are more examples, this time using the negation word wala.

Positive SentenceNegation
May pagkain dito. (“There is food here.”)Walang pagkain dito. (“There is no food here.”)

Positive SentenceNegation
May sasabihin ako sa iyo. (“I have something to tell you.”)Wala akong sasabihin sa iyo. (“I’ve got nothing to say to you.”)

And finally, here are a couple of examples using the negation word huwag.

Positive SentenceNegation
Dalawin mo kami bukas. (“Come visit us tomorrow.”)Huwag mo kaming dalawin bukas. (“Don’t visit us tomorrow.”)

Positive SentenceNegation
Kalimutan mo siya. (“Forget about her.”)Huwag mo siyang kalimutan. (“Don’t forget about her.”)

Again, you’ll notice that the negation is placed at the beginning of the sentence, right before the pronoun mo (“you,” “your”). Meanwhile, the verb exchanges places with the pronoun siya (“he,” “she”).

Literally, Huwag mo siyang kalimutan is “Do not you her forget.”

A Therapist Comforting an Upset Client

Huwag mo siyang kalimutan. (“Don’t forget about him.”)


3. Giving a Negative Response to a Question

Filipinos are friendly by nature. They love to talk and aren’t afraid to start a conversation. When you’re meeting a Filipino for the first time, be prepared to answer tons of questions. You can’t expect to answer every question with an affirmative, though, so it would help if you knew the basics of giving a negative response in the Tagalog language. It’s a good thing that responding with a “no” or making a refusal in Filipino is pretty simple.

For instance, when you’re asked, 

  • Marunong ka bang mag-Tagalog? (“Do you know how to speak Tagalog?”)

You respond with, 

  • Hindi ako marunong mag-Tagalog. (“I don’t know how to speak Tagalog.”)

To be more polite, you can add pasensya (“sorry”) at the beginning of the sentence.

  • Pasensya, pero hindi ako marunong mag-Tagalog. (“I’m sorry, but I don’t know how to speak Tagalog.”)

Or, when you’re asked, 

  • Sa iyo ba ito? (“Is this yours?”)

You could answer by saying, 

  • Hindi sa akin iyan. (“That is not mine.”)

In most cases, a simple hindi or “no” is enough.

What if you’re asked if you want something or not? Let’s say, 

  • Gusto mo bang pumunta doon? (“Do you want to go there?”)

You could answer this question by saying, 

  • Ayaw kong pumunta doon. (“I don’t want to go there.”)

Here, we use the negation ayaw, a word used to express dislike or refusal. In most cases, the contraction for ayaw ko is used—ayoko.

  • Ayoko ng baboy. (“I don’t like pork.”)
  • Ayoko nang magmahal. (“I don’t want to fall in love anymore.”)

Just as with the case of hindi, a simple ayoko (“I don’t like”) is also enough most of the time. In formal situations, however, the more polite way to answer is with a complete sentence instead of a single word or expression.

A Waitress Serving a Couple Salad

Hindi ako kumakain ng karne ng baboy. (“I don’t eat pork.”)

    Learn how to refuse politely with this lesson from FilipinoPod101.

4. More Negating Filipino Words and Phrases

Hindi pa tayo tapos, mga kaibigan.
We’re not done yet, friends.

Aside from the ones we’ve already covered, there are still a few more words and expressions we can use to form negative sentences in Filipino. Let’s take a look at some of the most common words for Tagalog negation.

1 – Hindi pa

Hindi pa is the Tagalog equivalent of “not yet.” You can use this to express that something needs to be done or is currently being done, but has not yet been completed.

A: Tapos ka na bang magtrabaho? (“Are you done working?”)
B: Hindi pa. Matagal pa ‘to. (“Not yet. This is going to take a while.”)

A: Nakapunta ka na ba ng Norway? (“Have you been to Norway?”)
B: Hindi pa. Pero gustong-gusto ko makapunta doon balang-araw. (“Not yet. But I really want to go there someday.”)

2 – Walang may

The English equivalent of this expression is “no one” or “there is none.” Here, wala means “none,” while may generally refers to something being existent. Literally, walang may is “none have” or “none there is.” Let’s take a look at how we can use this in a sentence.

  • Walang may gustong kumupkop sa aso. (“There is no one who wants to adopt the dog.”) Or: (“No one wants to adopt the dog.”)
  • Walang may ganang tumulong sa kanya. (“No one cares about helping him.”)

3 – Hindi kailanman

Kailanman is the Filipino word for “ever.” Combined with the negation word hindi or “no,” it can be translated as “never.” This expression is never used in normal conversations, though, and is only used in writing.

  • Hindi kailanman nabigo ang pag-ibig. (“Love has never failed.”)

Depending on the structure of the sentence, the two words can be separated with kailanman placed at the end of the sentence,

  • Hindi sila nagkalayo kailanman. (“They have never been apart.”)

Or at the beginning,

  • Kailanman ay hindi sila nagkalayo.

4 – Hindi maaari / Hindi pwede

The Filipino words maaari and pwede are synonyms and both refer to something being possible. We pair it with the negation word hindi to express that something is impossible, cannot be done, or should not be done.

  • Hindi pwedeng magkamali ang mahal na hari. (“The king cannot/does not make a mistake.”)
  • Hindi ka pwedeng magmaneho ngayon. (“You can’t drive right now.”)

5 – Ayaw na / Hindi na

Both ayaw na and hindi na could be translated as “no longer.” The word na here acts as an emphatic marker denoting that something is to be cancelled or discontinued.

  • Ayaw na nilang maglaro. (“They no longer want to play.”) Or:  (“They don’t want to play anymore.”)
  • Hindi na ako aasa sa kanila. (“I will no longer rely on them.”)

6 – Wala na

Wala na literally means “none already.” You can use this expression when you want to say that something no longer exists or has already run out.

  • Wala na tayong bigas. (“We’ve run out of rice.”) Or: (“We have no more rice.”)
  • Wala na silang nagawa pa. (“There was nothing they were able to do.”)

What if you wanted to emphasize the fact that you don’t want something or are strongly denying something? In Filipino grammar, this is achieved through reduplication. The following three expressions could all mean “Absolutely not.” 

7 – Hinding-hindi

You could use this reduplication of hindi or “no” if you never want to do something (or do it ever again).

  • Hinding-hindi ako mahuhulog sa kanya! (“I will never fall for him!”)
  • Hinding-hindi na ako iinom ng alak! (“I will never drink alcohol again!”)

8 – Ayaw na ayaw

Ayaw is an expression of dislike. You say ayaw na ayaw if you don’t like someone or something very much, or if you’re disgusted about something.

  • Ayaw na ayaw ko sa mga pusa! (“I really don’t like cats!”)
  • Ayaw na ayaw kong may gumagamit ng tsinelas ko! (“I really don’t like it when someone else uses my flip-flops!”)

9 – Huwag na huwag

You’ve learned that huwag is the equivalent of “do not.” By saying huwag na huwag, you’re saying that you strongly disagree about someone doing something.

  • Huwag na huwag mo nang uulitin ito! (“Never do this again!”)
  • Huwag na huwag mong ipagsasabi ang sikreto ko ha? (“Don’t you ever tell anybody about my secret, okay?”)

A Little Girl Whispering Something to an Older Girl

Huwag na huwag mong ipagsabi ang sikreto ko ha? 
(“Don’t you ever tell anybody about my secret, okay?”)

    Get to know more ways of forming a negative sentence in the Filipino language with this lesson.

Learn About Filipino Negation and Much More with FilipinoPod101

Saying no, making a refusal, or denying something is not always easy but oftentimes necessary. It can be even more challenging when you’re learning how to do it in a foreign language. You miss one word or you get the tone wrong, and you end up coming out as rude or impolite. But then that’s why FilipinoPod101 is here. 

With FilipinoPod101, you’ll learn more than just Filipino negation. You’ll learn the proper way to construct a sentence, pronounce Tagalog words, make conversations, and more via a lesson path that’s tailored to your learning preferences.

By signing up for a free account today, you’ll be given access to free learning resources, including vocabulary lists, audio recordings, and various lessons on the Filipino language that correspond to your current skill level. All this is designed to help you become fluent in Tagalog! 

But that’s not all. One of the most exciting things about joining FilipinoPod101 is that you can even have your own personal tutor with our Premium PLUS MyTeacher service. This feature will help you learn Filipino through a guided learning system where you get to receive real-time feedback from a real Filipino teacher, providing you with the assurance that you’re constantly progressing.

That’s all for this entry! If you feel that there are any important words or expressions we missed, don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments section! Enjoy learning here at FilipinoPod101.com!

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Why learn Tagalog? Here are 10 compelling reasons.

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Why learn Tagalog or Filipino when there are other languages to choose from? If you’re studying Tagalog as a second language, there’s a chance that you’ve been asked this question once or twice. But even if you’re still in the process of deciding whether to study Tagalog or not, this is a valid question to ask yourself.

Is the Filipino language so significant that you should spend more than 1000 hours to learn and master it? As a Filipino, I would say that our language may not be too sophisticated, but there are more reasons to study it than you could think of. From widening your professional network to making new friends or finding more opportunities for romance, there are just so many reasons for you to consider it.

In this blog post, we’ll talk about the top 10 reasons why it makes sense to study the language of the Pearl of the Orient Seas. You’ll soon find out why knowing how to speak one of the most dynamic languages in the world is worthy of your passion!

A Man Studying Late at Night with Coffee

Is Filipino so significant that you should spend 1000 hours studying it? Absolutely!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Filipino Table of Contents
  1. The Philippines is rich in culture and beauty.
  2. Filipino is an interesting language to learn.
  3. It will deepen your connection with the Filipino people.
  4. It’s a stepping stone to learning more languages!
  5. Filipinos are all over the world!
  6. The Philippines is one of Asia’s hottest tourist destinations.
  7. Learning Tagalog will open up more opportunities for you.
  8. Learning a new language has many self-improvement benefits.
  9. You’ll have something to pass on to the next generation.
  10. Filipino / Tagalog is not that difficult to learn.
  11. Learning Filipino is Easier and More Fun with FilipinoPod101!

1. The Philippines is rich in culture and beauty.

Filipino is the national language of the Philippines, and it’s spoken by 45 million people. This is more than enough reason to learn the Filipino language. But besides the fact that Filipino is widely spoken worldwide, a more important reason to learn the language is that those who speak it belong to a country that’s rich in culture and beauty.

That said, the Philippine culture is worthy of your time and attention. Studying it is enriching, and being able to understand and speak the Filipino language will further improve your experience as you explore the history of the Philippines.

The Filipino culture is a fascinating one. Of all the peoples in the world, Filipinos are known to be among the most resilient—if not the most resilient. They always manage to rise above obstacles; even when faced with the most difficult of challenges, they always pick themselves up and move on.

Filipinos also hold tradition and heritage in high regard. Family life is especially important. Special occasions, such as festivals, reunions, or birthday celebrations should never be missed.

If you want to study Philippine culture, knowing even just basic Tagalog can be very useful in understanding the history, customs, and traditions of the Filipino people.


2. Filipino is an interesting language to learn.

The diversity of the Philippines as a culture makes its language very interesting to learn. For example, the Filipino language actually developed through a complex process. What does this mean? If you don’t know it already, Filipino/Tagalog is not a pure language. That’s because the Filipino race is made up of various ethnic groups, each influencing the national language in some way. 

Even the early ancestors of the Filipinos were not originally from the archipelago, but were Negritos from Asia who arrived in the country through land bridges. These people had their own language, but they later adopted the language of other races who also came to settle in the Philippines from neighboring countries. 

Moreover, as part of the Austronesian family of languages, the Filipino language has been influenced by Malay, Indonesian, Sanskrit, Chinese, and many others. Its development was also significantly impacted by the Spanish colonization of the Philippines, as well as the arrival of the Americans and the Japanese. And for those who love to study languages and their origins, this collection of facts should be an exciting reason to study Filipino!

3. It will deepen your connection with the Filipino people.

There’s a huge chance that you know someone who’s Filipino, whether it’s a colleague, a friend, a romantic partner, or even a relative. (Who knows, you may even have Filipino blood flowing in your veins!) Learning the language will definitely help take your relationships with these people to a deeper level. 

As you might know already, language is our superpower. It’s the key to the success of the human species. It’s the key to the effectiveness of any relationship. In a way, it’s because of language that we are who we are. 

When you speak the same language as the people you’re communicating with, the connection goes beyond simply being able to understand each other. When you’re a foreigner and you speak to a Filipino in his or her language, you’re acknowledging that person’s uniqueness. And that leaves a lasting impression that helps strengthen your bond with them.

One of the things you’ll surely appreciate when you visit the Philippines is the hospitality of the Filipino people. In particular, you’ll find the older generation to be the best people to talk to. Talking with the lolos and lolas (elders) will surely be an enriching experience for you. They’re the ones who have lived through many of the historical changes in the country, and they won’t hesitate to share with you all their amazing encounters from the past several decades!

An Old Asian Couple

Talking to the lolos and lolas will surely be an enriching experience for you!

4. It’s a stepping stone to learning more languages!

Tagalog is a bit more difficult to learn than French or Italian. In one of our blog posts, we mentioned that it takes a total of 1100 hours to learn and master the language, so once you master it, there’s no stopping you from learning more languages—even the more difficult ones! 

In that sense, it will help boost your confidence. If you were able to overcome the complexity of Tagalog verb conjugation or the pronunciation difficulties posed by some Tagalog words, what could stop you from learning other languages?

5. Filipinos are all over the world!

The Philippines has a population of 110 million people, 10 million of which currently live outside the country either as immigrants or overseas contract workers. A great reason as to why you should learn Tagalog is that doing so will help you communicate with Filipinos all around the world. 

There’s just no denying that Filipinos are everywhere. You go to work, and one or two of your colleagues or higher-ups are Filipinos. You attend the church service on Sunday and many of the attendees are Filipinos. You probably know this already, but Filipinos are very religious and won’t miss the opportunity to be at church on a Sunday. You’ll also find them in the park or the children’s playground. You’ll find them in the malls and on the street. The guy next door may even be a Filipino! 

So, if you come to think of it, there’s always that chance you’re going to have to communicate with a Filipino on a daily basis—no matter which part of the world you’re in. And while most Filipinos are good communicators in English and could easily learn any language or dialect, it would be great if you could speak and understand Tagalog yourself and be able to communicate with them in their own language.

6. The Philippines is one of Asia’s hottest tourist destinations.

There’s no question that the Philippines is one of the best tourist spots in the world. I have no doubt that it’s even on your bucket list! Learning the language of the locals will help you get the most out of your experience as you visit the country as a tourist. 

Of course, it’s possible to enjoy your tour of the country while speaking only English since most Filipinos understand the language. In fact, aside from the beautiful beaches, awesome surfing spots, and mesmerizing tourist attractions, one of the reasons many foreigners love visiting the country is that they can get by with English alone. If you want to make a lasting impression, though, you’ll want to invest time in learning Tagalog, even if it’s just the basics.

You’ll also have a more convenient time getting around if you know Tagalog. When riding the jeepney, for instance, you won’t have to wonder what bayad (fare), sukli (change), or para (stop) means. You’ll also amaze the locals with your Tagalog speaking skills as you converse with them, whether that’s asking them for directions or telling them how beautiful the Philippines is!

A Guy Surfing

With over 7,000 islands and a coastline of 36,279 km, the Philippines is home to some of the best surfing spots in the world!


7. Learning Tagalog will open up more opportunities for you.

Whether it’s getting a job, being promoted at work, finding more business partners, or even making new friends, more doors will open for you in the Philippines if you can speak Tagalog well. The Philippines may be a developing country and the work system may not be as efficient compared to that of other countries. However, the main advantage of working here is that the cost of living is generally low. In fact, that’s one of the reasons many foreigners decide to live, study, or work in the Philippines.

You could already live comfortably in many cities within the archipelago on $800 a month. And yes, it’s possible to earn more than that here in the country if you know which opportunities to take advantage of. And knowing how to speak Filipino is definitely one way to open more doors for you!

8. Learning a new language has many self-improvement benefits.

Aside from simply being able to understand and speak a new language, learning a language other than your native tongue can bring many self-improvement benefits.

A- You will become a better listener.

Anyone can easily express what they feel with words, but not everyone has the skill to listen. And listening is a very important life skill. If you want to have an authentic connection with another person, for instance, you’ll want to learn how to listen without interrupting. One way you can develop that skill is by learning a new language. When doing so, you have no choice but to master the art of listening, as listening is important if you want to master the accent, tone, and pronunciation of a word. 

B- Your creativity will improve.

Learning a new language is a lot like piecing a puzzle together. When you’re just starting, you may be able to understand several words—but not all—and this forces you to be more creative with your approach. It’s not a surprise that a particular study shows bilinguals think outside the box more than monolinguals do.

A Group of Friends Having Dinner and Drinks Together

Learning a new language can make you a better listener.

C- You will learn things faster.

No mental training is superior to learning a new language. It stretches your cognitive agility to the limit, and without a doubt, this form of mental exercise can do more for your brain than you know. It improves your memory retention, helps your brain absorb information better, enhances your focus, and helps significantly reduce your learning curve. That’s because language learning forces your brain to take in fresh information and not simply re-learn something that you already know.

D- You will be more self-confident.

I mentioned earlier that learning Tagalog will increase your self-confidence when it comes to learning more languages. And that translates to other areas of your life, too! Learning a language means dealing with obstacles  and problems you’ve never faced before. This develops within you a mental toughness that will help get you through any life challenges you may encounter in the future.


9. You’ll have something to pass on to the next generation.

One of the most important benefits of learning Tagalog is that it gives you a legacy to pass on to the next generation. This is especially true if you’re a Filipino who was born and raised outside of the Philippines and would like to rediscover your heritage. Yes, there are millions of Filipinos living outside the Philippines, but many of them wouldn’t know how to respond to Kumusta ka? (“How are you?”)

But then, there’s more to passing on the heritage of the Filipino language to your children than simply making sure they know how to speak their nation’s language. By learning Filipino and teaching it to the future generation, you’re also standing up for what your ancestors fought for. Men like Dr. Jose Rizal shed ink and blood to preserve the Filipino identity. If not for brave heroes like him, the Filipinos wouldn’t be enjoying the freedom they have now. And remember: If not for men like him, who knows what the national language of the Philippines would be?

10. Filipino / Tagalog is not that difficult to learn.

This isn’t to say that Filipino is easy to master. But it is easier to learn compared to some languages, especially if English is your first language. Some sources rank Tagalog as the tenth easiest Asian language to master, making it easier than Thai, Korean, Mandarin, and Japanese. Here are some reasons why you won’t have a difficult time learning Filipino:

  • Filipino uses the Latin script.
    The modern Filipino alphabet is composed of 28 letters, and this includes all 26 letters of the ISO basic Latin alphabet. The Spanish Ñ and the digraph Ng make up the two additional letters. And in case you’re wondering, the five vowel sounds are pretty much the same as in English, and there are only 16 consonant sounds in contrast to the 21 in English.
  • The words are pronounced the way they’re spelled. 
    This is one of the best aspects of the Filipino language. It’s a phonetic language, so learning how words are pronounced won’t really involve a lot of tongue-twisting on your part.
  • Most Filipino words have a direct equivalent in English and other languages.
    This makes learning vocabulary very simple. Yes, there are a few words here and there that are unique to the Filipino language, but most words have an equivalent in English. Add to that the fact that many Filipino words have been borrowed from more than a dozen other languages.
  • Filipino word order / sentence structure is flexible.
    Filipino follows the V-S-O (Verb – Subject – Object) word order, but what makes it unique is that there are up to six ways you can write or say a specific sentence while still conveying the same meaning.

Verb conjugation may be a little bit trickier, but at the end of the day, learning all these things is much like learning how to drive or play a sport. It may be challenging at first, but the more you practice, the more you’ll get used to it—and before you know it, it’s become second nature to you!

Four Kids Playing with Bubbles and Laying in the Grass

Learning Filipino gives you an opportunity to pass on a legacy to the next generation.


11. Learning Filipino is Easier and More Fun with FilipinoPod101!

I was serious when I said learning Filipino is not that difficult. Things can get even easier if you have someone to help you with your journey of studying and mastering the language of the Philippines. 

You’ve probably come across many language learning systems and are wondering where to learn Tagalog online for the best experience. I can reassure you that you’ve never found anything quite like FilipinoPod101. With us, you can make your Tagalog learning experience easier and a lot more exciting! 

Start by signing up for a free account today. Once you’re in, you’ll gain access to a wide range of free resources you can use to start your learning journey. This is in addition to other useful tools, such as a Filipino dictionary, lists of Tagalog vocabulary, and various lessons like those found on our blog page.

One reason we’re confident to say that learning Filipino is easy and that you should start today is that FilipinoPod101 offers a special Premium PLUS feature: MyTeacher. With MyTeacher, you can learn the Filipino language through a guided learning system where you’ll have one-on-one interaction with a real Filipino teacher. This means you’ll constantly be receiving guidance and feedback, making sure you’re always leveling up!

I hope you enjoyed this post on why you should learn Tagalog. Don’t hesitate to let us know what you think by dropping your thoughts in the comments section! Cheers!

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Learn the Different Tenses in Filipino Here!

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Grammatical tense is an important tool that helps us express time as it relates to actions or states of being. As such, mastering the different tenses in Filipino will help you establish effective communication in both written and oral forms. 

The challenge when it comes to Filipino grammar, though, is that the tenses are quite dissimilar from those found in English. As you might imagine, learning Filipino verb conjugation can be quite a formidable task! 

The good news is that there’s a systematic way to study and master the different verb tenses in Filipino. We already have a post about Tagalog verb conjugation that you might want to go through, but we’re going to touch on that a bit here, as well. 

First, let’s give you a brief introduction to the different Filipino tenses.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Filipino Table of Contents
  1. Introduction to Tenses in Filipino
  2. The Present Tense
  3. Past Tense
  4. Future Tense
  5. Verb Conjugation and Auxiliary Verbs Summary
  6. Learn More Than Just Verb Tenses with FilipinoPod101!

1. Introduction to Tenses in Filipino

If you’ve been following our blog, you’ve probably read a few times that conjugating Filipino verbs can be a bit more complex than conjugating, let’s say, English verbs. Again, that’s because Filipino verb conjugation is not limited to conjugating verbs based on tense. In Filipino grammar, verbs are also conjugated based on their focus, mood, and aspect. 

We’re not going to deal with those other factors in this post, however. Today, we’ll simply deal with tenses. 

There are three major verb tenses in Filipino: 

  • Past
  • Present
  • Future

At first glance, it would seem that Filipino tenses are just the same as English tenses. You might be tempted to think that translating an English verb in either of the three tenses would give you its equivalent in Filipino. However, that’s not always the case because it depends on the word you’re conjugating. We’ll get into that as we move forward.

Now, let’s get into the first verb tense in Filipino.

2. The Present Tense

The present tense, or kasalukuyan in Tagalog, is a tense expressing an action that’s being done at the moment. It can also be used to express an action done habitually.

In English grammar, there are four aspects of the present tense. However, this is not the case in Filipino. 

One thing you need to understand about Tagalog verb conjugation is that Tagalog verbs are conjugated through the use of affixes (panlapi). In our article on Tagalog verb conjugation, we discussed that Tagalog verbs are grouped based on how they’re conjugated and named based on the affix used to conjugate them.

We have: 

  • MAG verbs
  • MA verbs
  • UM verbs
  • IN verbs
  • I verbs

In the present tense, a verb can be conjugated using the affix nag, na, um, in, or i depending on the root word.

Root VerbPresent Tense
aral 
“study”
nag-aaral 
(actor focus)
Nag-aaral ako ng Pilipino. 
“I am studying Filipino.”
kain 
“eat”
kumakain 
(actor focus)
Kumakain ako ngayon. 
“I am eating right now.”
kinig 
“listen”
nakikinig 
(actor focus)
Nakikinig si Kurt ng balita. 
“Kurt is listening to the news.”
bigay 
“give”
binibigay 
(object focus)
Binibigay niya sa akin ang kanyang sweldo. 
“He gives me his salary.”
sulong 
“promote”
isinusulong 
(object focus)
Isinusulong ng gobyerno ang paggamit ng face mask sa pampublikong lugar. 
“The use of face masks in public is being promoted by the government.”

While there are no direct equivalents of the four English present tense aspects in Filipino, it’s possible to translate verbs in these aspects to Filipino. Refer to the examples below:

Simple PresentI study Filipino. Nag-aaral ako ng Pilipino.
Present ContinuousI am studying Filipino.Nag-aaral ako ng Pilipino.
Present PerfectI have studied Filipino.Nakapag-aral ako ng Pilipino.
Present Perfect ContinuousI have been studying Filipino (for two years now).Nag-aaral ako ng Pilipino (ng mga dalawang taon na).

Notice that the verbs in the examples above are in actor focus. Things change when the verbs are in object focus. For instance, the simple present tense “I study Filipino,” will become Inaaral ko ang Pilipino, which is in the continuous tense.

Someone Handing Over a $100 Bill

Binibigay niya sa akin ang kanyang sweldo. (“He gives me his salary.”)

    Knowing the basic sentence structure of the Filipino language is important in learning how to conjugate Tagalog verbs.

3. Past Tense

The past tense (nagdaan) is a tense expressing an action that took place in the past. 

A verb can be conjugated in the past tense using the affix nag, na, um, in, or i depending on the root word.

Root VerbPast Tense
aral 
“study”
nag-aral 
(actor focus)
Nag-aral ako ng Pilipino. 
“I studied Filipino.”
kinig 
“listen”
nakinig 
(actor focus)
Nakinig siya ng audio lesson. 
“He listened to an audio lesson.”
kain 
“eat”
kumain 
(actor focus)
Kumain ako kaninang umaga. 
“I ate this morning.”
bigay 
“give”
binigay 
(object focus)
Binigay niya sa akin ang kanyang sweldo. 
“He gave me his salary.”
hinto 
“stop”
inihinto 
(object focus)
Inihinto na ang proyekto. 
“The project was stopped.”

English grammar has four aspects of the past tense, none of which have a direct equivalent in the Filipino language. However, it’s possible to translate verbs in these tenses to Filipino. Refer to the examples below:

Simple PastI studied Filipino. Nag-aral ako ng Pilipino.
Past ContinuousI was studying when she called.Nag-aaral ako ng tumawag siya.
Past PerfectI had studied Filipino before we decided to move to the Philippines.Nakapag-aral ako ng Pilipino bago kami nagdesisyon na lumipat sa Pilipinas.
Past Perfect ContinuousI had been studying Filipino (for two years already when we met).Nag-aaral ako ng Pilipino (ng mga dalawang taon na noong magkakilala kami).

Notice that the form of the sentences in the present perfect and past perfect are similar in Filipino grammar. In English, the distinction between the two would be in the form of the verb “to have,” which is “have” or “has” in present perfect and “had” in past perfect. The past perfect will also have a clause for the second action, prior to which the first action had been completed.

In Filipino, there is no equivalent for the verb “to have,” so you can identify the past perfect via the clause describing the second action in the sentence, which only appears in this form of the past tense.

A Baby Being Fed Baby Food

Kumain ako kaninang umaga. (“I ate this morning.”)

4. Future Tense

Similar to the future tense in English, the Filipino future tense (hinaharap) expresses an action or event that is yet to happen or be completed.

A verb can be conjugated in the future tense using the affixes mag, ma, in, and i. However, there are instances when an affix is not added, but the first syllable of the word is repeated instead. Take, for example, the verb punta (go): it becomes pupunta (will go) in the future tense.

Root VerbFuture Tense
aral 
“study”
mag-aaral 
(actor focus)
Mag-aaral ako ng Pilipino. 
“I will study Filipino.”
kinig 
“listen”
makikinig 
(actor focus)
Makikinig siya ng audio lesson. 
“She will listen to an audio lesson.”
kain 
“eat”
kakain 
(actor focus)
Kakain ako mamaya. 
“I will eat later.”
bigay 
“give”
ibibigay 
(object focus)
Ibibigay niya sa akin ang kanyang sweldo. 
“He will give me his salary.”
paliwanag 
“explain”
ipapaliwanag 
(object focus)
Ipapaliwanag din ang lahat. 
“Everything will eventually be explained.”

Now, let’s see how we can translate Tagalog verbs in the future tense to the four types of English future tenses.

Simple FutureI will study Filipino. Mag-aaral ako ng Pilipino.
Future ContinuousI will be studying Filipino.Mag-aaral ako ng Pilipino.
Future PerfectI will have studied by that time.Nakakapag-aral na ako sa mga panahon na ‘yan.
Future Perfect ContinuousI will have been studying here in the Philippines for five years in 2022.Nakapag-aral na ako dito sa Pilipinas ng limang taon pagdating ng 2022.

A Woman Listening to Something with Headphones

Makikinig siya ng audio lesson. (“She will listen to an audio lesson.”)


5. Verb Conjugation and Auxiliary Verbs Summary

We already have an entire blog post dedicated to Tagalog verb conjugation, but since we’re talking about tenses, let’s take this opportunity to learn just a little bit about how to conjugate verbs in Filipino. 

In English grammar, verbs are conjugated not only based on tense but also based on six different persons. This is not the case with Tagalog verbs. 

Each verb in Tagalog belongs to a group (as described earlier in this article), and this group plays a role in how the verb is conjugated. We discuss this in great detail in our verb conjugation article, so for now, we’ll focus more on how verbs conjugate for each tense. 

1 – Conjugating Tagalog Verbs in the Present Tense

In one of our examples, we used the word aral, or “study,” and its present tense form nag-aaral. We can conjugate the root verb in the present tense by reduplicating the first syllable of the root verb and then attaching the prefix nag before it. Thus, aral becomes nag-aaral. Please note that some verbs take the hyphen when conjugated, although there aren’t many of these verbs. Now, let’s take a look at more examples:

turo (teach)nagtuturo (teaching)
sulat (write)nagsusulat (writing)
pahinga (rest)nagpapahinga (resting)

Now, to conjugate in the present tense using the affix na, simply reduplicate the first syllable of the root verb and attach na before the newly formed word: 

nood (watch)nanonood (watching)
tulog (sleep)natutulog (sleeping)
buhay (live)nabubuhay (living)

Remember that some actor focus verbs in the present tense also use the affix um, such as in the word kumakain (eating). In this case, we reduplicate the first syllable and insert the affix um after the first letter of the newly formed word. Thus, kain becomes kumakain. Here are more examples:

hinga (breathe)humihinga (breathing)
tayo (stand)tumatayo (standing)
talon (jump)tumatalon (jumping)

We also conjugate verbs in the present tense using the affix in, particularly when the verb is in object focus. We used the word binibigay (giving) in one of our examples. To conjugate it, we reduplicated the first syllable and inserted the affix in before the root verb. Thus, bigay became binibigay. Here are more examples:

tawag (call)tinatawag (calling)
sabi (say)sinasabi (saying)
putol (cut)pinuputol (cutting)

Verbs in the present tense using the affix i are a bit tricky since there’s no clear formula involved. What’s clear, though, is that the affix is found at the beginning of the word and the first syllable of some words is reduplicated. Also, the words using this affix are object focus verbs. Study the following words to see what we mean:

pakilala (introduce)ipinapakilala (being introduced)
pahayag (declare)ipinapahayag (being declared)
bunyi (celebrate)ipinagbubunyi (being celebrated)


2 – Conjugating Tagalog Verbs in the Past Tense

Now, let’s take a look at some rules for conjugating Filipino verbs in the past tense. Just like the present tense, the past tense uses the affixes nag, na, um, in, and i.

To conjugate a verb in the past tense using nag, we simply attach the affix to the root verb. The word aral, for instance, becomes nag-aral. Some words receive the hyphen during conjugation, and aral is one of them. Let’s check out more examples below:

turo (teach)nagturo (taught)
sulat (write)nagsulat (wrote)
pahinga (rest)nagpahinga (rested)

We can also use the affix na to conjugate in the past tense. To do this, we simply add it to the beginning of the root verb. Take a look at the following examples:

nood (watch)nanood (watched)
tulog (sleep)natulog (slept)
buhay (live)nabuhay (lived)

The rule is the same when conjugating in the past tense using the affix um. Refer to the table below:

hinga (breathe)huminga (breathed)
tayo (stand)tumayo (stood)
talon (jump)tumalon (jumped)

The rule for using the affix in when conjugating in the past tense is similar to that for the present tense, only this time, the first syllable is not reduplicated.

tawag (call)tinawag (called)
sabi (say)sinabi (said)
putol (cut)pinutol (cut)

This time, let’s take a look at how the past tense is formed using the affix i

pakilala (introduce)ipinakilala (was introduced)
pahayag (declare)ipinahayag (was declared)
bunyi (celebrate)ipinagbunyi (was celebrated)


3 – Conjugating Tagalog Verbs in the Future Tense

The future tense is the easiest of the three to conjugate. As mentioned, we conjugate Tagalog verbs in the future tense using the affixes mag, ma, in, and i

To conjugate using the affix mag, what we do is reduplicate the first syllable of the root verb and add mag to the beginning. Let’s see how we can do that with our previous examples:

turo (teach)magtuturo (will teach)
sulat (write)magsusulat (will write)
pahinga (rest)magpapahinga (will rest)

The rule for conjugating in the future tense using the affix ma is pretty much the same. Observe the following examples:

nood (watch)manonood (will watch)
tulog (sleep)matutulog (will sleep)
buhay (live)mabubuhay (will live)

Now, to conjugate verbs in the future tense using the affix in, we simply reduplicate the first syllable of the root verb and attach in to the end of the word. 

tawag (call)tatawagin (will call)
sabi (say)sasabihin (will say)
putol (cut)puputulin (will cut)

In some cases, hin is used instead of in, such as in the case of sabi in the example above. The same is true for the root verb basa (read), which becomes babasahin in the future tense.

Finally, let’s conjugate in the future tense using the affix i. Here are some examples:

pakilala (introduce)ipakikilala (will be introduced)
pahayag (declare)ipapahayag (will be declared)
bunyi (celebrate)ipagbubunyi (will be celebrated)

And one more thing: Filipino sentences do not make use of auxiliary verbs. It’s long been taught that ay is a form of the copula “to be,” but we know now that this is not the case. Based on recent sources, it’s more like a replacement for a slight pause. When looking at direct translations, however, it would seem that ay is the equivalent of the verb “is,” such as in the following sentence:

  • Si Loisa ay nag-aaral ng Pilipino.
    “Loisa is studying Filipino.”

A Woman being Recognized in Front of People in a Business Meeting

Ipakikilala na siya bilang bagong presidente ng kumpanya.
(“She will finally be introduced as the new company president.”)


6. Learn More Than Just Verb Tenses with FilipinoPod101!

In this lesson, we’ve discussed the importance of studying the three main tenses of verbs in the Filipino language. We’ve also learned that conjugating Tagalog verbs is a bit different from conjugating verbs in English. We understand if this is quite overwhelming at first, but then that’s where FilipinoPod101 comes in. 

FilipinoPod101 uses a unique style of teaching Filipino grammar, allowing you to learn Filipino through a variety of lessons not limited to reading materials, audio lessons, and video classes. FilipinoPod101 provides free learning resources for anyone who’s starting their journey in learning the language of the Philippines. 

If you sign up today, you’ll gain access to these resources and more! Of course, there’s also the MyTeacher service for Premium PLUS members; this allows you to receive one-on-one lessons and non-stop feedback from a native Filipino-speaking teacher through your smartphone or tablet via our app. 

So, how was this lesson on Filipino verb tenses? Let us know in the comments section!

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How Long Does it Take to Learn Tagalog?

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There’s probably no country that sends its people to work overseas more than the Philippines. And although it’s largely a country where people tend to leave and decide to settle abroad, it also attracts quite a good number of foreigners. In March 2019, some 714,000 foreign visitors were reported to have visited the Philippines. Headlines may say that living here isn’t a good idea, but foreigners who’ve experienced life in the archipelago say otherwise.

Considering foreigners’ appreciation of the Philippines and the Filipino language’s international reach as a spoken language, it’s not hard to see why more and more foreigners are looking for ways to learn Tagalog fast.

But how long does it take to learn Filipino, really? And what’s the best way to start studying the language?

These are just a couple of the questions frequently asked by non-Filipino speakers who wish to learn the language, and we’ll discuss them here today.

A Woman in Red Polka Dot Dress Holding a Luggage on a Dirt Road

Learning a new language is not a destination, but a journey.


Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Filipino Table of Contents
  1. How Long Does it Take to Achieve the Beginner Level?
  2. How Long Does it Take to Achieve the Intermediate Level?
  3. How Long Does it Take to Achieve the Advanced Level?
  4. Nothing is Too Hard with FilipinoPod101 on Your Side!

1. How Long Does it Take to Achieve the Beginner Level?

Learning the Filipino language might be easy or difficult, depending on who you ask. Some say Tagalog is easy to learn compared to other languages, while others say it’s a complicated language to study and become familiar with. The reason for this disparity is that there are so many factors involved in the process of learning and mastering a new language. Regardless of how slowly or quickly you can pick it up, one thing remains constant: you need to start at the bottom (a.k.a. the beginner level).  

At the beginner level, you can understand very basic Tagalog phrases and know how to use everyday expressions. You also know how to introduce yourself and others, as well as how to ask and give answers to questions about personal details. These details include information such as where you live, how old you are, and so on. You can also interact in a simple way as long as the person you’re talking to speaks slowly and clearly.

What You Will Learn at the Beginner Level

The Filipino alphabet is based on the ISO basic Latin alphabet, with the addition of the Spanish ñ and the digraph ng. Unless your native language isn’t based on the Latin script, you can virtually skip this part and proceed to learn some core Filipino words and expressions. This includes words used in greetings, numbers, days, months, body parts, animal names, and the like. You’ll also learn how to introduce yourself at this level, as well as how to ask basic questions (such as asking for directions).

How to Get There

Wondering how to learn basic Tagalog effectively? If you’re studying on your own, you’ll want to develop goals and strategies that will help you reach the beginner level and eventually the intermediate and advanced levels. In this regard, you only need to remember three things: Plan, Track, and Evaluate. 

  • Plan your goals first, and then plan what strategies you’ll use to achieve them. 
  • Track your progress every day to see how well you’re doing. 
  • Evaluate yourself after a week or two to see whether you have achieved your goals. Take note of which strategies worked and which ones didn’t. Repeat the entire process, adjusting your goals if necessary.

A Businessman Making Plans and Tracking Progress

Learning a language like Filipino requires careful planning.

Since you’re just starting to build your vocabulary, you’ll want to focus on familiarizing yourself with everyday Tagalog words. This means you’ve got to have flashcards on hand at all times. Practice pronouncing the words correctly, making sure your voice is loud enough for your ears to hear. Speaking of hearing, you should also listen to audio lessons as part of your daily schedule. And most importantly, have some practice conversations with a native speaker as often as you can.

Beginner Level Tip: 

Practice with a native speaker as soon as possible. This is a crucial step to becoming fluent in Tagalog. 

How many hours do you need to spend studying Filipino to get to the beginner level? 

This depends on several factors. Let’s assume that you’re fluent in English. In this case, it will take you around 150-200 hours to learn basic Filipino (that is, if you study at least one hour per session on a daily basis). That includes memorizing basic Filipino words, learning how they’re used in a sentence, and having a practice session with a native speaker.

Two Students Chatting with Each Other in a Classroom

Practice with a native speaker as soon as possible. 
This is a crucial step to becoming fluent in Tagalog.

2. How Long Does it Take to Achieve the Intermediate Level?

Let’s say you’ve already spent 200 hours studying basic Filipino. By this time, you should be ready to proceed to the intermediate level. 

Once you reach the end of this level, it will be easier for you to understand important points about subjects related to work, school, and similar matters. You’ll also find it easier to produce simple sentences about topics that are familiar to you. 

You will be more comfortable expressing yourself, particularly in terms of describing events and things you’ve experienced. You might also be more fluent around this time, able to interact more spontaneously with native speakers.

What You Will Learn at the Intermediate Level

At this level, you’ll start learning more Filipino words and expressions, but this time, the words you’ll learn are not limited to the names of things or places. You’ll also learn words used to describe actions and experiences, as well as those used to describe a person or situation. In addition to taking your vocabulary to another level, you’ll also learn grammatical tenses and verb conjugation. Add to that the Filipino parts of speech and sentence structure, and you have a good idea of what your studies should focus on at this point.

How to Get There

There are still a lot of core Filipino words for you to learn at this level, so don’t do away with those flashcards yet. Aside from simply memorizing words and their meanings, practice pronouncing the words, too. It’s also important to learn them in context, as new words are more meaningful (and more memorable) this way. When memorizing a particular word, try using it in a sentence or a story. It also helps to study vocabulary based on a specific topic or theme.

If you’re wondering how to learn Filipino words outside of flashcards, keep in mind that you can learn more words and their pronunciation by listening to audio lessons. By now, you should be able to watch Tagalog films or TV programs with subtitles. This is also the best time to read Tagalog literature. You don’t necessarily have to read Noli Me Tangere or Banaag at Sikat; you can instead find reading materials with content appropriate to your level and relevant to your learning goals.

For best results, do all these things in addition to having regular practice conversations with a native speaker.

Intermediate Level Tip: 

The key to becoming fluent in Tagalog is to practice your listening skills. Listen carefully to how a native speaker would pronounce words, break down sentences into parts, and try to understand each word. Repeat the process until you’ve familiarized yourself with Tagalog words, how they’re pronounced, and how they’re used in a sentence.

Bonus Tip: 

It’s important to imitate the accent and intonation of a native speaker, as they both carry the emotions the speaker wishes to convey.

    By now, you should be able to post social media comments the Filipino way. This lesson should be able to help you with that.

How long will it take for you to get from the beginner level to the intermediate level? To achieve this, you’ll need to spend another 250-300 hours of studying.

A Man Studying in a Library

Find reading materials with content appropriate to your level and relevant to your learning goals.

3. How Long Does it Take to Achieve the Advanced Level?

Congratulations! You’re now ready for the advanced level. 

Once you master this level, you’ll be almost as fluent in Filipino as you are in your own language. You’ll now be able to produce well-structured, detailed sentences on any subject, whether simple or complex. You’ll also be able to understand demanding texts and their implicit meaning. In addition, you’ll be comfortable expressing yourself spontaneously without having to grasp for words. You can also use Filipino now for professional and academic purposes and not just for casual conversations.

What You Will Learn at the Advanced Level

Expanding your vocabulary doesn’t stop after you complete the intermediate level. Most native speakers know at least 15,000 word families, so it should be your goal to become familiar with at least 10,000 words in the language to reach the advanced level. This time, your approach will be more advanced, too. You won’t simply memorize words, but also learn the grammar and gain a deeper understanding of the Filipino culture.

How to Get There

In addition to the habits you formed to get to the beginner and intermediate levels, you must now start speaking and writing with a Filipino tutor who can guide you and offer you feedback. You’ll want to look for more Tagalog books, as well. Several authors write in contemporary Tagalog, such as Bob Ong and Edgar Calabia. If you’re going to visit a bookstore in the Philippines, head straight to the Filipiniana section where you will find a collection of books that are strong in history, economics, literature, sociology, and political science.

Advanced Level Tip: 

Filipino grammar books are okay, but that’s the only thing they can teach you—grammar. When studying a language, it’s important to learn what a native speaker would actually say in real situations, and not just repeat sentences you read from books. 

    At the advanced level, you should already know how to conduct business using the Filipino language. This lesson should help you prepare!

So how long does it take to learn Tagalog fluently? To go from the intermediate level to the advanced level, you’ll need to study for another 550-600 hours.

Again, your learning speed will depend on several factors, and the numbers here are just estimates. They’re particularly based on the numbers provided by the Foreign Service Institute, which is the center for foreign-language learning in the United States government. According to their research, Tagalog is a Category III language and takes a total of 1100 hours to learn. That means Tagalog is more difficult to learn than French, Italian, or Spanish!

A Woman Dressed in Graduation Attire and Holding a Diploma

Tagalog is a Category III language and takes a total of 1100 hours to master.

Nothing is Too Hard with FilipinoPod101 on Your Side!

Learning Filipino is a journey that starts with a single step. And just like with any other journey, the best way to get to your destination is to travel with a map. In this case, your map is FilipinoPod101! Yes, it’s possible to reach the advanced level and start speaking fluent Tagalog like a native speaker. You can do this largely on your own, but with an expert to guide you and give you feedback along the way, you’ll be able to learn Tagalog fast.

Want to save time and money as you learn the Filipino language and discover the culture? Sign up with FilipinoPod101 today! Here, you’ll get access to free learning resources you won’t find elsewhere, as well as access to exclusive lessons from our Lesson Library. Our Innovative Language 101 app will also give you a way to view your lessons and track your progress anytime, anywhere.

Need a personal teacher to guide you through lessons tailored to your specific needs and goals? Our MyTeacher service will take care of you! With this Premium PLUS feature, you’ll receive continuous feedback on your progress, so you’ll know exactly where you are in your journey toward mastering Filipino.

So, what did you think of this post? Were we able to answer your question on how to learn Tagalog faster? Let us know in the comments section! 

Happy learning!

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30 Filipino Proverbs for Everyday Life

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The Filipino culture is saturated with all kinds of traditions, beliefs, and superstitions, many of which are either illogical or impractical. Despite this, it’s also rich in proverbs that contain ageless wisdom. Known as salawikain in Tagalog, Filipino proverbs are bits and pieces of knowledge passed down orally from one generation to another. Their main purpose is to relate perceptions and little truths that have been tested through time.

There are many things from my childhood I will never forget. Among them are the Filipino proverbs that were taught to me by my parents and elders, and the ones I read from the once-popular Tagalog children’s magazine Pambata, which featured a comic strip entitled ‘Mga Salawikain ni Lolo Brigido.’

In this article, allow me to share with you some of the most celebrated proverbs that Filipinos have grown to love over the years.

A Man in Deep Study

Ang kapaitan ng pag-aaral ay mas kanais-nais kaysa kapaitan ng kamangmangan.
“The bitterness of studying is preferable to the bitterness of ignorance.”

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Filipino Table of Contents
  1. Proverbs About Character and Wisdom
  2. Proverbs About Life and Living
  3. Proverbs About Work and Success
  4. Proverbs About Relationships
  5. Miscellaneous Filipino Proverbs
  6. Learn Filipino Proverbs Plus Much More With FilipinoPod101!

1. Proverbs About Character and Wisdom

Every culture has its own ideals concerning how one should act, and its own ideas of what it means to be wise. So what better way to begin our Filipino proverbs list than with some proverbs on character and wisdom? 

#1

FilipinoAnuman ang gagawin, pitong beses iisipin.
Translation“Whatever you do, think about it seven times.”
This old Filipino saying is a reminder that every action has a consequence. Filipinos are known for being procrastinators, but we can be impulsive in many ways as well. Filipino parents who have grown in wisdom often use this very proverb to tell their young and more daring offspring not to be hasty when making decisions.

Huwag kang mag padalos-dalos. Bago ka mag desisyon, mag-isip ka muna ng pitong beses.
“Don’t rush. Think carefully before you make a decision.”

#2

FilipinoAng hindi lumingon sa pinanggalingan, hindi makakarating sa paroroonan.
Translation“He who forgets where he came from will never reach his destination.”
This proverb is usually attributed to Dr. Jose Rizal, although there’s evidence it didn’t originate from him. There’s no question that this is one of the most popular Filipino proverbs, and one that’s often on the lips of Filipino people. There are several ways it can be interpreted, but many people use it to refer to the importance of repaying a favor.

Matuto kang lumingon sa pinanggalingan mo. Kung hindi dahil sa akin, hindi ka aasenso ng ganito.
“Learn to look back where you came from. If it wasn’t for me, you wouldn’t be as successful as you are today.”


#3

FilipinoAng karanasan ay mabuting guro.
Translation“Experience is the best teacher.”
Probably every culture has a version of this proverb. It reminds us that life is a series of experiences, a series of learning opportunities.

Ayaw mo kasing makinig, kaya ngayon, ang pinagdaanan mo na ang nagturo sa iyo.
“You didn’t want to listen, so now your experience became your teacher.”

#4

FilipinoUbos-ubos biyaya, pagkatapos nakatunganga. 
Translation“Spend lavishly and you end up with nothing.”
The word ubos is Filipino for “nothing is left.” It’s repeated here to emphasize a point. In this case, it’s used to refer to spending all your blessings in one go. Nakatunganga, on the other hand, is “to be idle.” It can also refer to the act of staring blankly into space, the exact expression someone has on their face after learning they have no money left.

Bakit mo inubos ang pera mo? Nakatunganga ka diyan ngayon.
“Why did you spend all your money? Now, you don’t know what to do.”

#5

FilipinoWalang nakasisira sa bakal kundi sariling kalawang.
Translation“Nothing destroys iron except its own rust.”
This proverb has two meanings, although the first one is similar to the second. It’s a metaphor that could mean no one can hurt you as much as the people who know you well, such as a family member or close friend. In the same manner, no one can destroy your reputation as much as you can—that is, if you keep on doing what is wrong and dishonorable.

Sisirain ka ng sarili mong kalawang kapag hindi ka nagbago.
“Your own rust will destroy you if you don’t mend your ways.”

#6

FilipinoLaging nasa huli ang pagsisisi.
Translation“Regret is always at the end.”
No one regrets their action at first. Being sorry about something always comes after the damage has been done. If you think about it, this proverb complements our first proverb (the one about pondering deeply about a decision before acting on it). 

Pag-isipan mo ‘yan ng pitong beses. Tandaan mo, laging nasa huli ang pagsisisi.
“Evaluate your next step very carefully—think about it seven times. Remember, regret is always at the end.”

A Sad Child Being Punished

Laging nasa huli ang pagsisisi.
“Regret is always at the end.”

2. Proverbs About Life and Living

We all strive to live the best life we can, but it’s not always easy and our path is not always clear. Here are some Filipino proverbs about life and living to give you some cultural perspective on the topic. 

#7

FilipinoAng buhay ay parang gulong, minsang nasa ibabaw, minsang nasa ilalim. 
Translation“Life is like a wheel: Sometimes you’re up, and sometimes you’re down.”
They say life is full of ups and downs, and we can’t expect to be happy all the time. This proverb is a reminder of that truth. The earlier you come to terms with it, the fewer frustrations you’ll have in life. A popular version of this proverb is: Ang buhay ay weather-weather lang. (Life is like the weather.)

Huwag kang makampante. Nasa ibabaw ka ngayon, pero hindi mo alam baka bukas nasa ilalim ka na.
“Don’t be overconfident. You may be at the top now, but you never know if you’re going to be at the bottom tomorrow.”


#8

FilipinoNasa Diyos ang awa, nasa tao ang gawa. 
Translation“To be merciful is God’s; to act is man’s.”
The bahala na mentality, or the concept that the future is up in the air, is deep within the psyche of the Filipino people. Many Filipinos fail to reach their true potential because of this.

“I did my best. I’ll just pray that God will do the rest?”

This proverb is a direct rebuke to that mentality, and it’s very similar to the famous motto, “God helps those who help themselves.”

Kumayod ka kung gusto mong umasenso. Nasa Diyos nga ang awa, pero nasa tao ang gawa!
“Work hard if you want to succeed. God is gracious, but nothing will happen to you if you remain idle!”

#9

FilipinoHabang may buhay, may pag-asa.
Translation“As long as there is life, there is hope.”
Filipinos are among the most resilient of peoples, and this proverb speaks of this truth. Various threats loom so largely every day that we sometimes feel that our situations are hopeless. But if one thing is true, it’s that we should never lose hope as long as there is breath in our lungs.

Alam ko nahihirapan ka na, pero huwag mong kalimutan na habang may buhay, may pag-asa.
“I know you’re having a very difficult time, but never forget that as long as there is life, there is hope.”

#10

FilipinoPag may hirap, may ginhawa.
Translation“When there is a difficulty, there is also a relief.”
This is somewhat similar to the previous proverb about life being full of ups and downs. Most assuredly, life is full of paradoxes and dilemmas. But even if we’re facing hardships right now, we should never forget that we’ve also experienced many good things in the past—and we’ll experience more in the days to come! So don’t lose hope. A wise man once said, “Should we accept from God only good and not adversity?”

#11

FilipinoKalabaw lang ang tumatanda. 
Translation“Only carabaos grow old.”
There’s a reason that the carabao, or the water buffalo, is the national animal of the Philippines. As a symbol of hard work, the carabao is a tough, powerful, and tireless beast. But even an animal as majestic as the carabao grows old and eventually dies. Our grandparents used to quote this proverb to remind everybody that growing old is all in the mind and that anyone can stay as young and strong as they want by maintaining a positive outlook on life. In other words, “Age is just a number.”

Lola, tama na ang trabaho. Magpahinga ka na.
Hmp! Kalabaw lang ang tumatanda!

“Grandma, you need to get some rest from work.”
“Hmph! Only carabaos grow old!”

#12

FilipinoAng masamang damo ay matagal mamatay.
Translation“Weeds don’t die easily.”
This proverb has long been used to describe evil people, particularly why they always seem to live longer. It’s somewhat related to the question, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” and its opposite, “Why do good things happen to bad people?” 

Indeed, we often perceive the wicked to be prospering more than they deserve, but let us not forget that both good and bad are part of life. Perhaps one of the purposes of this proverb is to remind us that it’s impossible to completely rid our lives of evil. All we can do is accept this fact, resist evil, and strive to be better individuals. 

Meanwhile, some people quote this proverb after narrowly escaping death. 

Huwag kayong mag-alala sa akin. Masamang damo ako.
“Don’t be too worried about me. I don’t die easily.”

Three Old Women and an Old Man Laughing and Playing Cards

Kalabaw lang ang tumatanda.
“Only carabaos grow old.”

3. Proverbs About Work and Success

Every culture has something to say about the value of hard work and what it takes to be successful. Below are some common Filipino proverbs on the topic to inspire and motivate you! 

#13

FilipinoHangga’t makitid ang kumot, matutong mamaluktot. 
Translation“Learn how to curl up while the blanket is short.”
Blankets are an important part of life in the Philippines. They protect not only against the cold, but also against mosquitoes and other bugs. In poor communities, a blanket can be a luxury. This proverb advises that if your blanket is too short, learn to bend your knees so that it can cover your entire body. In other words, learn to adjust to your circumstances. 

As we’ve already learned, life has its ups and downs. Be content with what you have at the moment. Work hard and save until you reach the point where you can indulge in a bit of luxury.

Matuto ka munang mamaluktot habang naghahanap ka pa lang ng trabaho.
“Learn to save first while you’re still looking for a job.”

#14

FilipinoPag may tiyaga, may nilaga. 
Translation“If you persevere, you will reap the fruits of your labor.”
In rural Philippines, the nilaga or stew is considered a reward after a hard day’s work. If a Filipino worker doesn’t work hard enough, he won’t have enough money to buy the ingredients for this nutritious dish. This proverb motivates us to work hard because if we persevere, success—and perhaps a delicious bowl of nilaga—will be waiting for us at the end. 


#15

FilipinoDaig ng maagap ang masipag. 
Translation“Promptness wins over diligence.”
To be maagap means to be proactive. You can be hardworking and persevering, but if you’re not mindful of what’s going on around you, you’ll risk losing your work and its potential rewards. 

Be a hardworking individual. Be excellent in what you do and never quit until you’ve completed your task. But in the process, don’t forget to stay alert and ready. In the end, a quick-witted person will win over someone who seems to work non-stop.

#16

FilipinoAng kita sa bula, sa bula rin mawawala.
Translation“What comes from bubbles will disappear in bubbles.”
In a time when get-rich-quick schemes are becoming more and more rampant, nothing could be more valuable than this proverb. The word bula is Filipino for “bubble.” And as you know, bubbles can be attractive and mesmerizing sometimes. But just as fast as they appear, so do they disappear in the blink of an eye. Don’t fall for schemes that promise quick riches. As the saying goes, the way to get rich quickly is to do it slowly.

#17

FilipinoAng umaayaw ay di nagwawagi, ang nagwawagi ay di umaayaw. 
Translation“A quitter never wins; a winner never quits.”
There’s a time to quit and there’s a time to persevere and endure. This is a very straightforward proverb, reminding us that it ain’t over till the fat lady sings. After all, no one who quit prematurely became a champion in life.

Huwag kang aayaw kaagad dahil ikaw din ang matatalo sa huli.
“Don’t quit easily because you’ll only end up being the loser in the end if you do.”

#18

FilipinoPera na, naging bato pa.
Translation“What you thought was money turned out to be stone.”
This is an expression of regret, often said by people who thought they were able to make a profit out of something. In the end, what they thought was a genuine opportunity turned out to be a scam. An excellent reminder that true success cannot be obtained overnight.

Nagsisi ako na sumali ako sa negosyo na ‘to. Pera na naging bato pa.
“I regret joining this business. The money I invested simply turned into stone.”


Beef Nilaga

Pag may tiyaga, may nilaga.
“If you persevere, you will reap the fruits of your labor.”

4. Proverbs About Relationships

Lasting relationships are some of the most precious things in life, but they can also be the most trying. Here are a few Filipino proverbs about love, family, and friendship to give you some perspective. 

#19

FilipinoAng matapat na kaibigan, tunay na maaasahan. 
Translation“You will know a true friend in time of need.”
Perhaps you’re more familiar with, “A friend in need is a friend indeed.” 

It’s easy to attract people into our lives when we’re experiencing success. But when everything seems to be falling apart, these so-called friends will be nowhere to be found. Those who are truly loyal to us are those who will stay by our side to support us, even when they know they’ll get nothing in return.

#20

FilipinoAng pag-aasawa ay hindi biro, ‘di tulad ng kanin, iluluwa kung mapaso. 
Translation“Marriage is not a joke. It is not like food that you can spit out when it is too hot to chew.”
Marrying a person means marrying their entire family. This is especially true in a culture like that of the Philippines, where married couples tend to live together with either of the couple’s side of the family. True enough, strife between husband and wife often involves family members from each side. But then, this old Filipino proverb helps us understand that marriage is a lifetime commitment and not something you can throw away once you get tired of its flavor.

-Isasauli ko na siya sa nanay niya.-Anong akala mo sa relasyon niyo?
Parang kanin na pag napaso ka iluluwa mo lang?

-“I’m going to return her to her parents.”
-“What do you think of your relationship? Do you think it’s like rice that you can simply spit out when you get burned?”

#21

FilipinoAnak na di paluluhain, ina ang patatangisin.  
Translation“An undisciplined child will leave his mother in tears.”
This is the Filipino equivalent of the Biblical proverb that says, “He who spares the rod hates his son.” Spanking a child for bad behavior may be taboo in Western countries, but in the Philippines, it has been common practice to hit a child with a stick as a form of discipline. Many Filipinos forty years old and above would tell you they’re thankful that they lived in a generation when it was okay to hit a child to keep them in check. That’s not to say that it’s still okay today. After all, there are many ways to discipline an unruly child. What this proverb is telling us is that children should never be spoiled if they are to grow up bringing honor to their parents and themselves.

#22

FilipinoHindi magbubunga ng santol ang mabolo. 
Translation“The mabolo tree will not bear a santol fruit.”
Speaking of honor, in Asian countries like the Philippines, society places much importance on honoring one’s parents. This proverb is used in both a positive and a negative sense. 

When society sees a child growing up to become as successful and noble as his parents, they conclude that the fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree. If that same child ended up going the opposite direction, he would be labeled a “black sheep,” a “rotten fruit” that is just as rotten as the tree he had fallen from.

#23

FilipinoPagkahaba-haba man daw ng prusisyon, sa simbahan din ang tuloy.  
Translation“The procession may be long, but it will surely still end up in the church.”
As a primarily Catholic country, the Philippines has several religious festivals, most of which are celebrated with long processions. No matter how long and slow the procession may be, one can be sure that its final destination is the church. 

Filipinos liken long engagements to a religious procession. For some couples, it takes years before the decision to finally settle down is made. The journey toward marriage may be full of ups and downs, but like religious processions, they end up in front of the church altar where they say their “I do’s.”

#24

FilipinoKapag binato ka ng bato, batuhin mo ng tinapay.
Translation“When someone throws a stone at you, throw back a piece of bread.”
This reminds us of one of the sayings in Scripture: “If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” 

In life, you’ll encounter people who will oppress you and do their best to bring you down. It’s tempting to take vengeance against such people, but no proverb is more full of wisdom than this one, telling us not to retaliate. What will we gain if we fight fire with fire? The best way to deal with conflict is to neutralize the situation. As a famous man once wrote, “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” 


A Newly Married Couple Running between Rows of Cheering Family Members

Pagkahaba-haba man daw ng prusisyon, sa simbahan din ang tuloy.  
“The procession may be long, but it will surely still end up in the church.”

5. Miscellaneous Filipino Proverbs

To wrap up, here are a few more Tagalog proverbs for the road. 

#25

FilipinoMadaling sabihin, mahirap gawin.  
Translation“Easier said than done.”
This particular proverb is often directed toward proud people who always fall short of accomplishing the very thing they proudly boasted of being able to do with ease. Such people often miscalculate the difficulty of a task, put off doing it, and then end up realizing they shouldn’t have been overconfident.

#26

FilipinoAng taong nagigipit, sa patalim kumakapit. 
Translation“A desperate person will cling to a knife.”
There’s a moral dilemma to this proverb. Would you sentence a man who had committed a crime, or would you pardon him because he only did what he did because he had to feed his family? Let us know in the comments section how you would interpret this proverb.

#27

FilipinoAng taong walang kibo, nasa loob ang kulo. 
Translation“A quiet person hides his anger.”
Have you ever noticed that the calmer a person looks on the outside, the more capacity that person has for mischief? A colleague may seem peaceful because he doesn’t talk a lot. But be careful when dealing with that person, because one reason he may be reserved is that he doesn’t know how to express himself. And more often than not, it’s those kinds of people whose emotions are raging inside. They’re like a volcano that has remained dormant for a long time, only to erupt violently without warning.

Mag-ingat ka kay Dante. Nasa loob ang kulo niyan.
“Be careful with Dante. He may seem calm, but he can be very violent.”

#28

FilipinoAng naglalakad nang matulin, pag natinik ay malalim. 
Translation“A person who walks fast will have a deeper wound when he is pricked.”
We live in a generation where we’re bombarded with lies telling us that bigger and faster are better. As a result, we often prefer fast food over home-cooked meals; we sign up with get-rich-quick programs instead of working hard from the bottom up. 

This proverb encourages us not to be hasty, but to take things slowly, thinking carefully about our actions. He who hurries often gets wounded the deepest, so don’t get distracted by false promises of shortcuts and quick success.

#29

FilipinoMagbiro ka sa lasing, huwag sa bagong gising.  
Translation“Throw a prank on a drunk man, but never on someone who has just woken up.”
It’s not uncommon to see prank videos on the internet these days, and the two groups of people we often see falling victim are those who are drunk and those who are deep asleep. If you’ve ever been startled awake, you know for sure that it’s not a pleasant feeling. You’ve probably even wished you were drunk because it would have made the situation easier to forget. 

Before the age of the internet and before online pranks became popular, this proverb reminded Filipinos never to prank someone who’s sleeping or had just woken up. Our ancestors had been there, and they realized the results weren’t pretty.

#30

FilipinoAng taong naniniwala sa sabi-sabi ay walang tiwala sa sarili.  
Translation“The person who believes in rumors has no self-confidence.”
A more popular version of this proverb goes, Ang maniwala sa sabi-sabi, walang bait sa sarili. In English, “The person who believes in rumors has no common sense.” 

Indeed, a person who easily believes what they hear or read about has no self-respect. And there’s no better generation to begin applying this proverb than the one we’re in, where fake news and internet hoaxes run amuck.

    → Boost your confidence with this lesson on improving your Filipino speaking skills.

A Child Drawing a Mustache and Beard on Their Sleeping Father

Magbiro ka sa lasing, huwag sa bagong gising.
“Throw a prank on a drunk man, but never on someone who has just woken up.”

6. Learn Filipino Proverbs Plus Much More With FilipinoPod101!

We’ve talked about some of the most famous Filipino proverbs here, but did you know that you can learn even more with FilipinoPod101? Add more Tagalog words to your arsenal, improve your pronunciation, and fall even deeper in love with Filipino culture by signing up with FilipinoPod101. Here, you’ll find unlimited resources that will help you in your Filipino language studies.

And if you want to speed up your learning, you can always avail yourself of MyTeacher, a FilipinoPod101 Premium PLUS feature that pairs you up with your own personal teacher. He or she will give you one-on-one lessons and continual feedback, so you’ll know how much you’re improving.

Before you go: Did we forget any Filipino proverb that you believe should be on this list? Feel free to let us know in the comments, or discuss your favorite ones with your fellow Filipino learners!

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Manila Travel Guide: The Top 10 Places to Visit in Manila

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Manila may not be the same since the lockdown started, but what remains is the fact that it’s one of the best and most important places to visit in the Philippines. This is especially true if you have a desire to study the language and culture of the Filipinos. 

In this Manila travel guide, we’ll take a look at the top ten places to visit in Manila. Whether or not you’ve been to Manila before, you’ll find this guide invaluable. Here, you’ll learn the best times to visit the region, which landmarks and tourist spots to see, and which words and phrases to use when conversing with the locals.

So, fasten your seatbelts, and let’s take a ride to the capital of the Philippines—Manila!

Metro Manila at Night.

Metro Manila at night.


Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Filipino Table of Contents
  1. Before You Go
  2. Must-See Places for a 1-3 Day Trip
  3. Highly Recommended Places for a 4-7 Day Trip (or Longer)
  4. Survival Filipino Phrases for Travelers
  5. Make Your Manila Tour More Meaningful by Learning Tagalog

1. Before You Go

Before Manila became the great city it is today, it was a walled settlement for Muslims during the late sixteenth century. When the Spanish arrived in 1571, the settlement was destroyed; in its place was built another walled settlement, this time a city called Intramuros. Since then, Manila has been the capital of the Philippines.

Today, Metro Manila has a land area of 42.88 km² (or 16.56 mi.²) and is home to 1.78 million residents. It’s a highly urbanized area and is considered the most densely populated city proper in the world. Every year, the city welcomes over a million tourists, with major destinations including Rizal Park, the Cultural Center of the Philippines Complex, and the historic Intramuros.

Planning to visit Manila soon?

There’s really no “best time” to visit Manila. There are only two seasons in the Philippines—dry and rainy—and it’s up to you to decide which season you think is best for traveling. Some people love taking tours during the summer months, while others don’t really care about getting wet. As for me, I prefer to tour the place during the Christmas season (December-January) when it’s cooler and there are more attractions to see. 

You’re lucky if you have friends or relatives in Manila who would be kind enough to let you stay at their place free of charge, although there are many affordable hotels and Airbnbs in Manila. I lived in Manila for a season, and I have visited the place with my family every year for the past ten years. You could say that I’m an expert when it comes to touring the country’s capital. 

That said, allow me to give you some practical tips I’ve learned over years of back-and-forth trips to Manila:

1. Travel light.

I can’t stress this enough. Whether you’re staying in Manila for a couple of days or a full two months, remember to carry with you only what can be considered truly essential. 

I take my family with me to Manila every year and spend two to three weeks there. In the past, we would carry two large suitcases, fearing we would lack clothes to wear. Over the years, we’ve learned that it’s possible to travel with only a few essentials. 

I suggest you carry two to three sets of dri-fit shirts and a pair of pants. Manila can be hot and humid, and dri-fit shirts will keep you cool. These things also dry quickly, so you can be sure you won’t run out of fresh clothes to wear. Most importantly, these clothes are a lot lighter than most fabrics.

2. Check the weather.

The Philippines has a tropical climate, which means it rains all year round—yes, even on some days during the summer. There’s always a chance that it’s going to rain. Before heading out, make sure you’ve checked your favorite weather-prediction app to see what the weather will be. I recommend wearing comfortable clothing if there’s no chance of rain, although it’s always good to have your umbrella on hand just in case.

3. Check Google Maps in advance.

Get the most out of Google Maps or any other map application you may have installed on your phone. Manila is a big city, and you’ll want to be familiar with the streets and landmarks before you start your trip. I can’t count how many times using a map has helped me find the places I needed to visit with ease. It’ll also come in handy when you need to find the nearest restaurant or cafe for a quick bite.

4. Wear comfortable footwear.

You’re going to do a lot of walking, especially if you’re planning to visit Intramuros and Rizal Park, so be sure to wear comfortable sneakers. Flip-flops are okay, too, but I wouldn’t recommend them if you’re planning to go someplace crowded like Divisoria or Quiapo. As for me, I usually wear a pair of boots or sneakers when going around Manila. Sneakers are perfect when you need to keep a light-footed pace. Boots, on the other hand, will make sure your toes are protected in busy and crowded places.

5. Consider using public transportation.

Unless you’re traveling with a child or someone with a disability, I would recommend using public transportation when touring Manila. It will not only let you experience the entire trip like a local would, but it will also save you from a lot of headaches induced by looking for a spot to park.

6. Bring enough water (and snacks!).

You’ll be losing a lot of bodily fluids from either the heat or humidity, so make sure you carry enough water with you. Don’t forget to bring some snacks, too, in case you get hungry in the middle of your stroll.

7. Be aware of rush hour times.

This is arguably the best travel tip anyone could give you regarding your visit to Manila. You’re probably aware that Manila has one of the worst traffic situations on the planet, and the city even ranks as one of the top ten worst places to drive in the world. It’s good to schedule your arrival at the airport in the morning, because the roads usually get busy and crowded starting at around five in the afternoon.

8. Observe safety in crowded places.

We all need to observe safety when going out these days, but not considering any viral or bacterial infection you might acquire, you need to be alert when roaming the streets of Manila. I suggest that you leave all jewelry behind when going out. And like me, you might want to wear a small fanny pack around your waist (hidden under your shirt) to store your phone and some cash.

This does bring us to an important question: Is it safe to visit Manila? 

Yes, Manila is safe for tourists. But just as you would do in any country you were visiting, you’ll want to be aware of your surroundings when touring Manila. 


2. Must-See Places for a 1-3 Day Trip

Manila may not have picturesque sceneries of mountains, or seas, or waterfalls, or sunsets, but that doesn’t mean it’s lacking in iconic tourist attractions! You’ll be amazed that there are, hidden amid the traffic and the crowds, beautiful landmarks and attractions in Manila that are a must-see for first-time visitors. 

1 – Intramuros

When speaking of Manila tourist spots and attractions, the Walled City of Intramuros always seems to come up first. I got the chance to visit this historic place several months ago, and the experience was just breathtaking! 

The word Intramuros came from Intra, which means “within,” and Muros, or “fortification.” In short, Intramuros means “within walls.” Did you know that the entire 64 hectares of Intramuros used to be the city of Manila? All the other regions outside the walls of the city were considered probinsya, or “province.” The walls were first constructed in the sixteenth century under the initiative of a Jesuit Priest named Antonio Sedeno. The walls were built to protect the city from constant threats from foreign invaders.

One day is enough to enjoy most of the beautiful spots inside Intramuros, although you might want to spend up to three days here to fully experience the place. I suggest you start your tour at Fort Santiago. Here, you’ll find the Jose Rizal Museum, where the hero was detained right before his execution. This spot alone will already take you an hour or two, so you’ll want to start your tour very early in the morning. From there, you can head straight to the Manila Cathedral—but not until after you’ve caught a quick glimpse of Plaza Roma just in front of the church.

You should be hungry by this time, but thankfully, there are many restaurants and cafes to choose from. Once you’ve had your fill, go straight to Casa Manila, a small mansion made of stone and wood that depicts the colonial lifestyle during the Spanish era. If you still have time, don’t miss the Bahay Tsinoy Museum, which is just a block away from Casa Manila. You can tour the entire place by foot, but in case you get tired, there are always e-trikes (electric tricycles) for your convenience.


2 – Luneta Park

Anyone who has only seen Luneta Park in pictures would think that it’s simply a 58-hectare piece of land with a bronze statue of the national hero of the Philippines at the center. But your perspective will change once you see it in person, and you’ll realize that it’s full of beautiful scenery, shaded with trees and dotted with fragrant flowers.

Located in Ermita, Manila, this park stands in what used to be Bagumbayan; it’s adjacent to Intramuros and faces the shores of Manila Bay. It’s in this very place where Jose Rizal was executed on December 30, 1896, and so the park is also officially known as Rizal Park. 

If you’re visiting this place, I suggest you head straight to the Rizal Execution Site. The entrance fee is only Php 20 (about 0.40 USD). Inside, you’ll be welcomed by an oversized diorama that depicts notable events in the life of Rizal, including his execution. Take time to experience zen inside the Japanese garden and be transported to old Peking inside the Chinese garden. And don’t forget to take a selfie with the famous Rizal Monument, albeit only from a distance.

3 – National Museum Complex

The National Museum Complex consists of the National Museum of Natural History, the National Museum of Anthropology, and the National Museum of Fine Arts. These three are all located within the vicinity of Rizal Park and are constructed with a Neoclassical architectural design. 

The National Museum of Fine Art is just six minutes away from the entrance of Intramuros, if you’re traveling on foot. It’s here where you’ll find the famous Juan Luna painting, the Spoliarium. Other important works you’ll get to see here are the Parisian Life (also by Luna) and the Assassination of Governor Bustamante and His Son by Félix Resurrección Hidalgo. 

Walk another three to five minutes and you’ll reach the National Museum of Anthropology, which houses ethnological and archaeological artifacts, including costumes, tools, and carvings. Wondering what language and script the early Filipinos used? Head straight to the fourth floor of the museum, and there you’ll find the Baybayin Gallery, where artifacts of ancient and traditional scripts of the Philippines are displayed.

If you’re a nature-lover, you’ll definitely fall in love with the National Museum of Natural History. This is the twin building of the National Museum of Anthropology and it’s located at the southern side of the Agrifina Circle in Rizal Park. Here, you’ll enjoy six floors of different species of plants and animals found in the Philippines, with each gallery representing a different ecosystem where those species are found.

Entrance to The National Museum Complex is free, but be aware that you’ll be required to leave your backpack at the counter. Also, touring one building alone will take you a couple of hours or even more, so you’ll want to set aside one day to visit all three museums.

3. Highly Recommended Places for a 4-7 Day Trip (or Longer)

Staying longer than a couple days? Here are other things to visit in Manila once you’re done seeing Intramuros, Rizal Park, and The National Museum Complex.

4 – Bonifacio Global City

Bonifacio Global City, or BGC among the locals, is an emerging business district within the city of Taguig in Manila. The place is named after the Filipino hero Andres Bonifacio and used to be a part of the Philippine Army Camp. This 240-hectare city is popular among locals and tourists alike, considering that it’s more modern-looking than its surrounding cities. It’s a melting pot of pop culture and is one of the best places to visit in Manila at night for its vibrant nightlife. 

Aside from residential buildings, BPO companies, malls, and restaurants, other places to visit at BGC with the family are the Mind Museum, the MiracleArt Happy Museum, Lego Certified Store BGC, and KidZania Manila.

You won’t run out of options when it comes to hotels since there are more than a dozen choices for lodging in BGC. Buses, jeepneys, and taxis are also available as modes of transportation.

5 – Resorts World Manila

If you want to experience some world-class entertainment, then the Resorts World Manila is for you. It’s conveniently located across the Terminal 3 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport and is home to a variety of prestigious, world-renowned hotel brands, including Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, Hilton, and Belmont. 

For many people, the first thing that comes to mind when they hear “Resorts World” is “casino.” Indeed, this place offers world-class gaming, but what piques my interest about RW Manila is the Newport Performing Arts Theatre. Here, you can see live production shows, concerts, and musical plays.

If you plan to visit RW Manila, here’s a complete guide on how to get there.

6 – Quiapo Church

Constructed in Baroque style, the Quiapo Church is one of the most historic religious landmarks in Manila and the Philippines in general. One reason is that it houses the Black Nazarene, an image of the suffering Christ that’s considered to be miraculous. In fact, the church is properly called Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene, although it’s canonically known as the Parish of Saint John the Baptist.

Three times a year, a procession is held in honor of the Black Nazarene. The largest of these three is the January 9 Traslación (“transfer”), a solemn re-enactment of the image’s transfer from its original shrine in Intramuros to the Quiapo Church, its current location.

Every Friday, a novena for the Black Nazarene is held in the church, and it’s attended by thousands of Roman Catholic devotees. Getting to the church won’t be difficult. You only need to find a way to the LRT 1 station either by bus or jeepney. Alternatively, you can take a cab since it’s only nine minutes away if you’re coming from Intramuros or nearby areas.

7 – Cultural Center of the Philippines

For those who are interested in learning more about the unique culture and art of the Philippines, the Cultural Center of the Philippines is the place to see. It’s located at Roxas Boulevard, just fifteen minutes away from Terminal 2 of Ninoy Aquino International Airport. Founded in 1966, this performing-arts center was designed by the great Filipino architect Leandro Locsin.

The center provides information about theatre in the Philippines and has been a reliable venue for classical music and ballet for a long time now. It promotes local and indigenous artists, although it has also hosted several international artists, such as New York Philharmonic, Bolshoi Ballet, and the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra.

There are two main theatres in the complex, both able to accommodate theatre performances as well as show films. Libraries and galleries are located on the third floor of the building. If you wish to see pre-Spanish Philippine art exhibits, then head to the fourth floor.

Visit the CCP website to stay updated on shows and events.

8 – Ayala Museum

This state-of-the-art museum, located at the heart of Makati City in Manila, features four floors of wonderfully curated Filipino culture exhibits. Another must-see attraction if you’re bringing the entire family with you, the Ayala Museum highlights sixty dioramas that present a stunning visual narrative of the Filipino people. For years, this exquisite presentation has been the nucleus of every Ayala Museum visit. There’s also the super collection of indigenous textiles representing communities of indigenous Filipinos from the Cordilleras in the north and Mindanao in the south.

You’ll also get to enjoy an exclusive art collection of the works of Fernando Zobel, the man behind the Ayala Foundation and the Ayala Museum itself. Within the collection, you’ll find paintings, sketches, and photographs of the artist.

Perhaps the highlight of the museum is the exhibition of over 1,000 gold objects that date back to as early as the tenth century. A visit here is truly unique, as many of the artifacts here have never been revealed to the public. That said, taking pictures inside the “Gold of Ancestors” gallery is prohibited.

To learn more about the Ayala Museum, feel free to visit their website’s About page.

9 – SM Mall of Asia

Filipino shopping malls are insane, and the SM Mall of Asia is proof of that. After a day’s tour in some of the top Manila spots mentioned here, take some time to shop and dine at one of the largest shopping malls in the country. You can get all the essentials you’ll need for your Manila stay here. It’s not your average shopping mall, though. Inside, you can also enjoy some unique activities and experiences, such as the SM Skating Rink, an Olympic-sized skating rink where skating competitions are sometimes held. Or, how about visiting the SM MOA By the Bay Amusement Park? Yes, that’s how big this mall is! 

The best thing about this place is that you won’t have to look elsewhere for places to stay while in Manila, as there are condominium units for rent just within the premises. Oh, and by the way, SM MOA is an average of only thirty minutes away by car from most of the attractions mentioned in this article.

10 – Binondo, Quiapo, and Divisoria Markets

A tour of Manila wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the three most popular markets in the area: The Binondo, Quiapo, and Divisoria Markets. 

Binondo is known as the Chinatown of Manila. Some even say it’s the oldest Chinatown in the world, having been established in the sixteenth century. This place is famous for what is known as the “Binondo Food Crawl.” In fact, you can’t call yourself a true-blue foodie until you’ve gone to Binondo. Don’t miss this place if you want to try some of the most mouthwatering authentic Chinese dishes in the world!

Go up north from the Binondo Market and a fifteen-minute walk away is Divisoria. Here, you’ll get to experience a taste of “the real Manila.” This place is one of the busiest in the area because this is where the locals go shopping for really cheap products, be it clothing, cell phone cases, bags, or food. It used to be noisy and chaotic, but thanks to the efforts of the government, it’s much cleaner and more organized now.

From here, you can walk toward the Bambang LRT station and take the train headed south. Get off by the Carriedo Station, head east another six to seven minutes by foot, and you’ll see the Quiapo Market. You’ll realize that the Quiapo Market is just in front of the Quiapo Church, so coming here is hitting two birds with one stone. Just like Divisoria, Quiapo Market is home to some great finds in terms of clothes, accessories, electronic items, and of course, food!


4. Survival Filipino Phrases for Travelers 

Filipinos are hospitable people, and Manileños are no exception. You can approach a local anytime you need help and you can expect to be accommodated 100% of the time. As long as you know English, you don’t need to worry about communication issues, since most Filipinos can speak and understand the language. But locals will still appreciate you learning a few basic Tagalog phrases, especially if your English isn’t fluent. 

Here are some Filipino survival phrases you can use to make your Manila tour a lot more fun and convenient.

Kumusta po kayo?“How are you?” / “Hello.”
Maraming salamat po.“Thank you very much.”
Paalam!“Goodbye!”
Paumanhin po.“Excuse me.”
Mabuti.
Ayos ito.
“Good.”
“This is very good.” / “This is okay.”
Paumanhin, pero hindi ko po maintindihan.“Pardon, but I can’t understand.”
Pwede po bang malaman kung saan may palikuran?“May I know where the restroom is?”
Magkano po ito?“How much is this?”
Bigyan po ninyo ako nito.
Gusto ko po nito.
“Please give me some of this.”
“I want some of this.”
Tulong!“Help!”

Notice that the word po is present in almost all of these phrases. That’s because it indicates politeness or respect, and should be used when speaking to a stranger (especially someone who’s older).


Two Ladies Buying Outfits

Magkano po ito? (“How much is this?”)

Make Your Manila Tour More Meaningful by Learning Tagalog

Visiting Manila and touring all the beautiful attractions it offers will be worth your while, whether you can speak Filipino or not. However, wouldn’t you agree that your Manila travels would be more meaningful after learning Tagalog first

With FilipinoPod101, you can learn the fundamentals of the Filipino language in just a short amount of time. We offer all the resources you’ll need to study the basics, including pronunciation, grammar, and vocabulary.

Want to speed up your learning progress? No problem! FilipinoPod101 offers the MyTeacher guided learning system, which allows you to enjoy a learning process exactly tailored to your needs. FilipinoPod101 also has a YouTube channel that’s regularly updated to provide fun and engaging audio and visual lessons for our aspiring learners.

To experience all of this and more, sign up now for a free account on FilipinoPod101.com! And if you liked this post, feel free to show your appreciation in the comments section below!

By the way: Which of these locations do you most want to visit, and why?

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