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Speak Like a True Local with These Advanced Tagalog Phrases

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The origin of Tagalog vocabulary and its significant grammatical differences compared to English make it relatively difficult for many people to master. The Foreign Service Institute has listed Tagalog as a Category III language, making it as challenging to learn as Hebrew, Greek, and Russian. The good news is that everything should be smooth sailing once you’ve gotten past the hurdles of things like verb–pronoun relationships, verb conjugation, vocabulary, and pronunciation. And, if you’re reading this guide on advanced Tagalog phrases, it means you’ve gotten past those hurdles. It also means you’re ready to take on more challenging aspects of the Filipino language.

Don’t worry: challenging doesn’t always mean complex, and advanced doesn’t necessarily mean intimidating. In this guide, you’ll encounter words and phrases that you won’t typically hear in everyday speech. Here, you’ll be introduced to expressions reserved for things like academic writing, resume writing, and formal business meetings. Moreover, you’ll have the opportunity to express your ideas and opinions more effectively by learning advanced Filipino idioms.

A Man Climbing a Mountain

Are you ready to take the challenge?

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Filipino Table of Contents
  1. Useful Phrases for Formal Speech and Writing
  2. Power Phrases for Resumes
  3. Smart Phrases for Business Meetings
  4. Advanced Idioms, Sayings, and Proverbs for Everyday Usage
  5. How FilipinoPod101 Can Help

1. Useful Phrases for Formal Speech and Writing

The following phrases are not something you’ll get to use or hear every day. They are often used in formal speech and writing. You may not always be given the opportunity to use them, but when the right time comes, it’s better that you have them in your arsenal of advanced Filipino phrases.

Una sa lahat“First of all”
Una sa lahat, nais kong kilalanin…
“First of all, I would like to acknowledge…”

Ayon sa / Ayon kay – “According to”
Ayon sa pananaliksik…
“According to research…”

Bagkus – “On the contrary,” “Rather”
Bagkus, ang problema na ito ay maaari sanang maiwasan.
The problem, rather, is supposed to be preventable.

Bukod dito “Moreover” Literally: “Besides this”
Bukod dito, mahalagang maunawaan natin ang mga layunin ng pag-aaral na ito.
“Moreover, it is vital for us to know the objectives of this study.”

Nang sa gayon – “So as to,” “In order to”
…nang sa gayon ay maisulong ang patuloy na pananaliksik ukol sa paksang ito.
“…so as to promote ongoing research on this topic.”

Sa madaling salita – “In other words”
Sa madaling salita, ang proyekto ay dapat na mapondohan sa lalong madaling panahon.
“In other words, the project must be funded as soon as possible.”

Ganun din “In the same manner”
Ganun din, hindi ito nangangailangan ng espesyal na pagsasanay.
“In the same manner, it doesn’t require any special training.”

Gayunpaman – “However”
Gayunpaman, marami ang hindi nakakaalam nito.
“However, many are not aware of this.”

Sa kabila nito – “Nevertheless”
Sa kabila nito, hindi tayo dapat magmadali sa paggawa ng mga konklusyon.
“Nevertheless, we must not be in haste to make conclusions.

Sa kabaliktaran – “By contrast”
Sa kabaliktaran, ang mga tumanggap ng gamot ay nagpakita ng mga palatandaan ng paggaling.
“By contrast, those who received the drug showed signs of recovery.”

A Group of Scientists Doing Some Research

Ayon sa pananaliksik…(“According to research…”)


2. Power Phrases for Resumes

Formal or business writing in the Philippines is primarily done using the English language. In the Philippines, having a good command of English gives one the advantage of securing a job. Being able to speak English fluently is seen as equivalent to being able to effectively interact with other cultures. That doesn’t mean you can’t write your resume in Filipino. If you’re a foreigner, being able to write a resume in fluent Tagalog is a sign of knowledge and dedication. It will show the employer that you’re serious about your application and are also creative and willing to think outside the box.

Kakayahang magtrabaho nang may mataas na antas ng kawastuhan
“Ability to perform with a high degree of accuracy”

Kakayahang magkamit ng namumukod-tanging resulta sa mga proyekto
“Ability to achieve outstanding project results”

Magpakita ng positibong imahe
“Projects a positive image”

Makipag-usap nang malinaw at may kabuluhan
“Communicates clearly and concisely”

Gamitin ang buong kakayahan
“Uses ability to the fullest”

Magpakita ng malikhaing imahinasyon
“Displays creative imagination”

Kakayahang gumawa ng matatag na desisyon na may kumpyansa sa sarili 
“Ability to make firm decisions with confidence”

Tunay na maaasahan at mapagkakatiwalaan sa pagtupad ng mga tungkulin
“Exceptionally reliable and trustworthy in accomplishing tasks”

Kakahayang bumuo ng makabaong diskarte at pamamaraan sa pagkumpleto ng proyekto 
“Ability to develop new strategies and methods for completing a project”

Inuuna ang interes ng organisasyon bago ang personal na kaginhawaan
“Places organizational interest ahead of personal convenience”

Man Showing Ability to Multitask

Palagi kong ginagamit ang aking buong kakayahan.
“I always use my ability to the fullest.”


3. Smart Phrases for Business Meetings

While English may be the primary means of communication in the Philippine corporate world, Tagalog steals the limelight during business meetings. Unless there are any non-Filipino speakers at the conference, everyone is free to use a mix of English and Tagalog as a medium for expressing their thoughts and opinions. That said, it’s always an advantage to know some formal Filipino words and expressions when at a meeting, as it gives the impression that you know what you’re talking about and that you’re there to do business.

Simulan ang pagpupulong – “To start the meeting”
Simulan na natin ang pagpupulong.
“Let’s start the meeting.”

Talakayin ang mungkahi – “To discuss the proposal”
Nais kong talakayin natin ang iminungkahi ni Ginoong Rodriguez.
“I would like us to discuss what Mr. Rodriguez has proposed.”

Isulong ang proyekto – “To promote the project”
Kailangan na nating maisulong ang proyekto sa lalong madaling panahon. 
“We need to move the project forward as soon as possible.”

Makabagong estratehiya – “Innovative approach”
Sa araw na ito, mag-iisip tayo ng mas makabagong istratehiya.
“Today, we will think of a more innovative approach.”

Pamunuan ang kalakaran“To lead the trend”
Maaari nating pamunuan ang mga kalakaran sa ekonomiya sa halip na sumunod lamang. 
“We can lead the trends in the economy instead of simply following.”

Matugunan ang takdang-petsa“To meet the deadline”
Huwag kang mag-alala. Magagawa nating matugunan ang takdang-petsa. 
“Don’t worry. We will be able to meet the deadline.”

Napakaraming rekisitos “Red tape” Literally: “So many requirements”
Mahirap maiwasan ang napakaraming rekisitos, ngunit hindi ito imposible. 
“It’s hard to avoid the red tape, but it’s not impossible.”

Magbigay-pugay “To give honor”
Bago ang lahat, nais kong magbigay-pugay sa ating punong tagapamahala.
“Before anything else, I would like to give honor to our chief executive.”

Tubong lugaw  – “a business enterprise with returns far exceeding the investment
”Literally: Profit from selling porridge
Subukan natin ang ideya ni Diane. Maliit man ang kita, pero tuloy-tuloy. Tubong-lugaw, ika nga.
“Let’s try Diane’s idea. The income for each sale may be small, but it’s sustainable. Soon, our returns will far exceed what we’ve invested.” 

Maging maagap “To be proactive”
Maging maagap tayo sa pagpili kung paano gagamitin ang mga oras natin. 
“We need to be proactive in how we use our time.”

A Group of People in a Meeting

Maaari nating pamunuan ang mga kalakaran sa ekonomiya sa halip na sumunod lamang.
“We can lead the trends in the economy instead of simply following.”


4. Advanced Idioms, Sayings, and Proverbs for Everyday Usage

The Filipino language has some of the most captivating idioms and proverbs. Referred to as salawikain or sawikain in Tagalog, sayings or idioms play an essential role in Filipino culture. They are passed down from one generation to another, primarily through oral tradition, and are often humorous (or even bizarre) while still offering practical wisdom from older times.

Itaga mo sa bato. – “Mark my words” 
Literally: “Hack it against a rock”
Hahanapin mo din ako pag wala na ako. Itaga mo iyan sa bato. 
“You will look for me when I’m gone. Mark my words.”

Maghahalo ang balat sa tinalupan. “All hell will break loose.”
Literally: “The peel will mix with the ones peeled”
Pag nalaman kong niloloko niyo ako, maghahalo ang balat sa tinalupan.
“When I find out that you’re trying to fool me, all hell will break loose.”

Namamangka sa dalawang ilog – “Cheating”
Literally: “Rowing a boat on two rivers at the same time”
Ayan ang napapala mo sa pamamangka mo sa dalawang ilog.
“That’s what you get for cheating.”

Pupulutin sa kangkungan – “End up in a dumpster”
Literally: “Will be picked up from a cluster of water spinach”

Note: In the Philippines, the bodies of victims of summary executions are often thrown in ponds covered by a dense growth of water spinach.
Pupulutin ka sa kangkungan kapag hindi mo inayos ang buhay mo.
“You might end up in a dumpster if you don’t behave.”

Kahit lumuha ka ng dugo – “You won’t be forgiven no matter what you do”
Literally: “Even if you shed tears of blood”
Hindi kita pagbibigyan kahit lumuha ka pa ng dugo. 
“I will never grant your desire, not even if you shed tears of blood.”

Naghahabi ng kuwento “Exaggerating,” “Telling a lie”
Literally: “Weaving a story”
Mahilig talaga maghabi ng kwento si Joel makakuha lang ng kliyente.
“Joel will do anything to attract clients, even weave a fascinating story.”

Suntok sa buwan – “A task that is next-to-impossible to accomplish”
Literally: “A punch to the moon”
Ang mahulog ang loob niya sa akin ay suntok sa buwan.
“To have her fall in love with me is next to impossible.”

Harangan man ng sibat – “No matter what it takes”
Literally: “Even when stopped by a spear”
Hindi nila iuurong ang kaso harangan man sila ng sibat.
“They will not drop the case no matter what happens.”

Maghanap ng karayom sa gitna ng dayami – “To do a seemingly impossible task”
Literally: “To look for a needle in the middle of a haystack”
Sa sitwasyong iyan ay parang naghahanap lamang siya ng karayom sa gitna ng dayami.
“The way things are going, it seems that he’s just wasting his time on something that’s impossible to accomplish.”

Magdildil ng asin – “Be so poor that you have to eat salt (with rice) for meals,” “To be poor as a rat”
Literally: “Bunch up salt with one’s fingers”
Mag-aral ka nang mabuti kung ayaw mong magdildil ng asin habangbuhay.
“Study hard if you don’t want to end up poor as a rat.”

A Hand Peeling Some Carrots

Maghahalo ang balat sa tinalupan.
“All hell will break loose.”

    ➜ Access this lesson to learn more common Filipino idioms.

5. How FilipinoPod101 Can Help

Congratulations! With these advanced Filipino phrases, you’ll be able to communicate in Tagalog more fluently and more confidently! Are there other advanced Tagalog words and phrases you wish we had  included on this list? Let us know in the comments. 

That said, you know that the phrases on this list are not all there is. Here at FilipinoPod101, you can further enhance your skills with lessons from our archives and other free resources. You can rest assured that there’s a lesson tailored to your needs, whether it’s about vocabulary, key Filipino phrases, or grammar.

And speaking of tailored lessons, if you wish to take a more personalized approach to learning Filipino, you can do just that with MyTeacher. This service is included with a Premium PLUS subscription, and it gives you access to exclusive lessons and lets you enjoy 1-on-1 coaching with a professional Filipino teacher. With this approach, you’ll be able to track your progress in real time and have someone guide you in choosing the most appropriate learning path based on your needs. 

Sign up with FilipinoPod101 now to enjoy all these features and more!

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

The Ultimate Guide to Intermediate Filipino Phrases

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You’re reading this guide for one reason—you’re ready to move on to the next level of Filipino proficiency! And there is no better feeling than being more confident with a language that you’ve worked hard to master. Now that you’ve gotten past the beginner stage, it’s time for you to learn a few intermediate Filipino phrases that you can naturally use in conversations.

The words and phrases you learned at the beginner level will serve as the foundation of your continued Filipino studies. The ones you’ll learn this time will help you have more fluent conversations with native speakers. They’ll also guide you through conversations when native speakers use expressions that are normal to them but may be unfamiliar to you.

We will specifically introduce you to phrases you can use to: 

  • Talk about past events
  • Make plans for the future
  • Provide reasons and explanations
  • Make recommendations or complaints

Finally, we’ll teach you which phrases to use as responses during daily conversations.

Four Friends Having a Conversation while Having Coffee Drinks

The phrases you’ll learn here will help you have more fluent conversations with native speakers.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Filipino Table of Contents
  1. Let’s Talk About the Past!
  2. How About the Future?—Making and Changing Plans
  3. I’ll Tell You Why—Giving Explanations and Citing Reasons
  4. …And Why Not—Making Recommendations and Complaints
  5. Talaga! And Various Responses for Everyday Conversations
  6. Etiquette Phrases for Social and Business Settings
  7. Go a Level Higher with FilipinoPod101!

1. Let’s Talk About the Past!

Filipinos love to socialize. When they do, you can expect the atmosphere to be filled with kwentuhan (the act of sharing stories). To avoid feeling out of place, you should learn how to talk about your own past experiences in Filipino. If you’ve come across our entry on Filipino verb conjugation, you should have an idea of how to conjugate Tagalog verbs to form the past tense. The following list of intermediate Filipino phrases should also help you share your own kwento (stories).

Namasyal kami kahapon.
We went to see places yesterday.
Literally: Strolled we yesterday.

Ang saya-saya namin!
We had lots of fun!
Literally: Very happy we!

Notice how the word saya (fun) was reduplicated in this sentence. In Filipino grammar, the full reduplication of a word indicates intensity. Take note, too, that the same sentence could be translated as “We are very happy,” which is in the present tense. In this case, identifying whether the statement is in the past or present tense will depend on the context.

Doon ako nagtatrabaho dati.
I used to work there.
Literally: There I worked before.

Dalawang linggo akong hindi nakalabas.
I wasn’t able to go out for two weeks.
Literally: Two weeks I wasn’t able to go outside.

The word Linggo also means “Sunday” in Filipino. You’ll know which is which since the first letter for “Sunday” is capitalized.

Bumisita sila rito noong makalawa.
They came over the other day.
Literally: Visited them here two days ago.

Apat na taon na kaming nakatira dito.
We’ve been residing here for four years.
Literally: Four years already we living here.

Nagbakasyon kami sa Dubai noong pasko ng 2017.
We went for a vacation in Dubai on the Christmas of 2017.
Literally: Had vacation we in Dubai on Christmas of 2017.


A Job Interview

Doon ako nagtatrabaho dati. (“I used to work there.”)

2. How About the Future?—Making and Changing Plans

Filipinos are quite flexible. We love making plans, but we don’t mind making changes if the situation calls for it. 

Talking about the future in Filipino is just as simple as talking about the past. All you need to do is mind your verb conjugation. Below are several intermediate-level Tagalog phrases you can use to make or change plans with your new Filipino friends. 

Pwede ka ba sa Linggo?
Are you available this coming Sunday?
Literally: Available you on Sunday?

Pwede bang sa Sabado na lang tayo magkita?
Would it be possible for us to meet on Saturday instead?
Literally: Can Saturday only we meet?

Kape tayo bukas!
Let’s have coffee tomorrow!
Literally: Coffee us tomorrow!

Perhaps you’re wondering how the word kape (“coffee”) functions here as a verb. In formal speech, this sentence is supposed to be Magkape tayo bukas, with the prefix mag- indicating that the verb is in the future tense. In informal speech, shortening a word is often acceptable. Also, in colloquial Filipino, it’s not unusual for some nouns to be used as verbs. Other examples include mag-gitara (to play the guitar), mag-telepono (to use the phone), and mag-bus (to take the bus).

Anong oras tayo magkikita?
What time shall we meet?
Literally: What time we will meet?

Baka pwedeng sa makalawa ka na lang umalis.
Perhaps you should stay with us for two more days.
Literally: Maybe it’s possible two days from now you will leave.

Notice how the word makalawa in this sentence means “in the next two days.” As shown in one of the previous examples, it could also mean “two days ago.”

Sa ibang araw na lang natin pag-usapan.
Let’s just talk about it some other time.
Literally: Next time only we talk about.

Pasensya ka na pero may gagawin ako sa Sabado.
I’m sorry, but I have something to do on Saturday.
Literally: Sorry you but doing something I on Saturday.

The word pasensya is also the word for “patience.” For this reason, you could also use it when asking someone to be patient with you.

A Guy Talking on the Phone and Watching TV with a Remote in His Hand

Pasensya ka na pero may gagawin ako sa Sabado. (“I’m sorry, but I have something to do on Saturday.”)

3. I’ll Tell You Why—Giving Explanations and Citing Reasons 

You can expect any conversation to reach a point where you’ll have to give an explanation about a choice you made. There’s no specific formula for doing so, as it could be as simple as giving a quick reason or as complex as citing your entire rationale. It helps that the Filipino sentence structure is similar to that of English and that most conjunctions used in English have direct equivalents in Filipino. To get you started, we have listed below a few intermediate phrases in Filipino for giving your reasons. 

Ginawa ko iyon dahil yun ang tama. 
I did it because it was the right thing to do.
Literally: Did I that because it was right.

Pinili ko ito dahil una sa lahat, alam kong gusto mo ang kulay. Pangalawa, kasya siya sa bulsa mo. At pangatlo, sulit ang presyo. 
I chose this because first of all, I know you love the color. Second, it fits in your pocket. And third, it’s worth the price.
Literally: Chose I this because first of all, know I like you the color. Secondly, fits it in your pocket. And thirdly, it’s worth the price.

Sana makasama kayo para marami tayo. 
I hope you can come so we can all have fun.
Literally: Hopefully you can join so there’s many of us.

Most Filipinos are highly extroverted. As they say, the more the merrier!

Huwag kang maingay para hindi magising ang bata.
Don’t be too loud so that the baby doesn’t wake up.
Literally: Don’t you noisy so not wake up the child.

Napagod ako kaya hindi na ako sumama.
I was so tired, so I decided to stay.
Literally: Tired I so didn’t I come along.

4. …And Why Not—Making Recommendations and Complaints

We’ve established that Filipinos love to share stories. Filipinos are very friendly, and we will share our life experiences even with complete strangers! That’s what makes us great at giving recommendations (and non-recommendations). One thing you should know about giving recommendations and making complaints in Filipino is that we often use full reduplication. Oftentimes, this is to convey intensity or to emphasize how much we liked or disliked an experience. Examine the phrases below along with their literal translations to better understand this concept.

Subukan mo yung pagawaan ng sasakyan sa may kanto. 
Try the car repair shop on the corner.
Literally: Try you the maker of vehicles there in the corner.

Ito na ang pinakamasarap na adobo na natikman ko!
This is the most delicious adobo I have ever tasted!
Literally: This is already the most delicious adobo tasted by me!

Hinding-hindi ka magsisisi sa pagpunta dun!
You will never regret going there!
Literally: Never ever you will regret in going there!

Masarap ang kape nila!
Their coffee is great!
Literally: Delicious the coffee of theirs!

Huwag na huwag mong subukang pumunta sa lugar na yun!
Never ever try to go to that place!
Literally: Do not you try going to place that is there!

Kailangan pa nilang pagbutihin ang serbisyo nila.
They still need to improve their service.
Literally: Need still they improve the service of theirs.

A Businesswoman Exiting a Store with an Umbrella and a Cup of Coffee

Masarap ang kape nila. (“Their coffee is great!”)

    No one wants to be around a person who always complains. However, it’s another thing to know how to make complaints in order to raise awareness and promote improvement. Learn how to make complaints in Filipino on our website.

5. Talaga! And Various Responses for Everyday Conversations

Now, let’s go over some responses used in everyday conversations. These are the phrases you’ll hear or use yourself to express surprise, excitement, annoyance, or disappointment.

1 – Talaga?!

A: Namasyal kami kahapon. (“We went to see places yesterday.”)
Literally: Strolled we yesterday.

B: Talaga? Saan kayo pumunta? (“Really? Which ones?”)
Literally: Really? Where you went?

2 – Ang galing!

A: Marunong na siyang magbisikleta. (“He now knows how to ride a bicycle.”)
Literally: Know already he/she to ride a bicycle.

B: Wow! Ang galing naman! (“Wow! That’s really impressive!”)
Literally: Wow! Very good!

3 – Magandang balita yan!

A: Sa wakas! Makakauwi na si Tatay! (“Finally! Dad will be able to come home!”)
Literally: In the end! Coming home already Father!

B: Magandang balita yan ah! (“That’s good news!”)
Literally: Good news that is!

4 – Grabe!

A: Walong taon na kaming hindi nagkikita ni Teddy. (“Teddy and I haven’t seen each other in eight years.”)
Literally: Eight years already us have not see each other Teddy.

B: Grabe. Ang tagal-tagal na. (“Gosh. It’s been so long.”)
Literally: That’s serious. It’s so long already.

5 – Astig!

A: Diyan ako nagtatrabaho dati. (“I used to work there.”)
Literally: There I worked before.

B: Astig! Kaya pala ang galing mo pagdating sa mga kompyuter. (“Cool! So that’s why you’re so good with computers.”)
Literally: Tough! That’s why good you are when it comes to computers.

6 – Sayang!

A: Pasensya ka na pero may gagawin ako sa Sabado. (“I’m sorry, but I have something to do on Saturday.”)
Literally: Sorry you but doing something I on Saturday.

B: Sayang naman. May ibibigay sana ako sa iyo. (“Too bad. I was going to give you something.”)
Literally: What a waste. There is something to give hopefully I to you.

7 – Niloloko mo ba ako?!

A: Pwede bang sa Sabado na lang tayo magkita? (“Would it be possible for us to meet on Saturday instead?”)
Literally: Can Saturday only we meet?

B: Niloloko mo ba ako? Alam mong may trabaho ako pag Sabado. (“Are you kidding me? You know I have work on Saturdays.”)
Literally: Are you fooling me? Know you that have work I when Saturday.

8 – Mabuti naman kung ganon.

A: Makakalabas na daw ako sabi ng doktor. (“The doctor said I could go out.”)
Literally: Go out already I said the doctor.

B: Mabuti naman kung ganon. (“That’s good to know.”)
Literally: Good if that is the case.

Someone Whispering a Secret

Talaga?! (“Really?!”)


6. Etiquette Phrases for Social and Business Settings

There’s no question that Filipinos are hospitable. We place high value on politeness and respect, especially in formal settings. The following are useful intermediate Filipino phrases to learn by heart so you’ll know just what to say when you’re in a social or business setting.

Pasok po kayo.
“Please come in.”
Literally: Enter you.

A more formal way of saying this is to use the word tuloy (“to continue”) instead of pasok (“to enter”).

Ikinagagalak ko kayong makilala. 
“Pleased to meet you.”
Literally: Pleased I you to know.

Maupo po kayo. 
“Please have a seat.”
Literally: Have a seat you.

Walang anuman.
“You’re welcome.”
Literally: It’s nothing.

Sabihin niyo lang po kung may mga katanungan kayo.
“Please let us know if you have questions.”
Literally: Say you if there are questions you.

Salamat po sa pagbisita. 
“Thank you for coming.”
Literally: Thank you for visiting.

Inaasahan ko ang tugon ninyo.
“I look forward to hearing from you.”
Literally: Expecting I the response of you.

Ingat po kayo sa biyahe.
“Have a safe trip!”
Literally: Take care you in trip.

An Older Man Welcoming a Family of Three into His Home

Tuloy po kayo. (“Please come in.”)


7. Go a Level Higher with FilipinoPod101!

We’ve covered some of the most useful intermediate Filipino phrases in this article. If there is a useful intermediate Filipino phrase or expression that you feel should have been included in this entry, let us know in the comments. 

Meanwhile, did you know that you could learn more and improve your language skills by signing up for FilipinoPod101? At FilipinoPod101.com, you can get exclusive access to even more resources designed to help you take your Filipino speaking skills to another level. You can rest assured that there are lesson materials and learning tools to suit your needs, from video presentations and audio lessons to vocabulary lists and blog entries just like this one.

Speaking of which, don’t forget to try out MyTeacher, a Premium PLUS service that provides personal 1-on-1 coaching so that you can enjoy lessons that are tailored to your needs and goals. 

Happy learning!

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

Refine Your Tagalog with Our Filipino Podcast List

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Listening is the most important part of learning a new language. Yes, you need to master the basics of writing and speaking, but everything should start with listening. Even newborn babies go through a period of silence where all they do is listen to and absorb the sounds around them. 

It’s no secret that Filipino (or Tagalog) is a difficult language to master. One easy aspect of learning Filipino, however, is that the words are spelled as they’re pronounced. This makes listening to Filipino podcasts easy and enjoyable, even for relatively new learners. And if you’re wondering whether there are any Filipino-made podcasts that are worth listening to, you may be surprised to discover that there are actually a lot

Filipinos are among the best communicators in the world. In this entry, we’ll introduce you to some of the most sought-after podcasts from Filipino creators. From sports and comedy to relationships and current issues, you can rest assured that there’s something out there made exactly for a Filipino learner like you!

A Woman Lying in the Grass with Her Eyes Closed and Headphones on

Listening is the most important part of learning a new language.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Filipino Table of Contents
  1. Benefits of Using Podcasts to Learn Filipino
  2. The Best Podcasts for Learning Filipino
  3. Tricks for Learning Filipino More Effectively with Podcasts
  4. Enhance Your Comprehension Skills with FilipinoPod101

1. Benefits of Using Podcasts to Learn Filipino

Ask learners of any language what they want to improve first, and you’ll get “speaking” nearly a hundred percent of the time. Seldom will you encounter students who are as eager to improve their listening and comprehension skills as they are their speaking skills. And that’s understandable. After all, there’s nothing more exciting than finally being fluent in a language we’re studying. However, what most students fail to recognize is that fluency all starts with comprehension. 

So, how can listening to popular Filipino podcasts help you tap into your listening skills (and subsequently, your speaking skills)? 

1. By listening to podcasts to learn Filipino, you’ll be able to understand native speakers a lot better when they speak. That’s comprehension. 

2. The more you listen to how words are pronounced, the more your own pronunciation skills will improve. Listening to Filipino podcasts means spending time learning the proper accent for speaking in Tagalog. 

3. You’ll master how words should be connected and how they should flow when you’re speaking. This will allow you to sound more like a native speaker and a lot less like Google’s AI translator. Now that’s fluency!

Convinced? Then let’s check out some of the best Tagalog podcasts you should start listening to.

Two Businesswomen Chatting and Laughing in an Outdoor Setting

Listening to podcasts will help you understand native speakers a lot better.


2. The Best Podcasts for Learning Filipino 

1. The Linya-Linya Show 

Level: Beginner to Intermediate
Theme: Comedy

First on our list is The Linya-Linya Show. It’s the perfect podcast for those who are just starting to learn Filipino, as the hosts speak in a clear manner and at a moderate speed in most episodes. This is a lighthearted podcast featuring Filipino writer Ali Sangalang and comedian Victor Anastacio. At the time of this writing, the show has a total of 159 episodes. In each one, the duo talks about random yet meaningful things that an average Filipino experiences on a daily basis: fatherhood, motorcycles, rap battles, and even antics from their own youths. 

2. Ganap: An Okay Fight Podcast 

Level: Intermediate to Advanced
Theme: Comedy, Filipino Culture

What happens when you turn a Filipino drinking session into a podcast? Ganap: An Okay Fight Podcast is what you get. 

This Filipino comedy podcast may have only fourteen episodes, but it should be enough to introduce you to Filipino culture. Not to mention that each episode is an excellent tool for improving your listening skills. Why? As mentioned, the episodes are technically drinking sessions that were recorded and aired online. That means you can often expect to hear more than one voice speaking at the same time. But since it’s a regular merrymaking activity, you can expect the language to be limited to what you’d hear Filipinos use on a normal day.

3. Tsaastrology

Level: Intermediate to Advanced
Theme: Comedy, Astrology

With over a hundred episodes, Tsaastrology presents a unique approach to podcasting. It’s an improv comedy podcast hosted by three friends who talk about everything—not just under the sun but under the entire cosmos, so to speak. However, each episode focuses on a specific horoscope, with the hosts giving advice about love, relationships, career, and life in general. You can expect to hear some Taglish (as you would in any other Filipino podcast), but you can rest assured that 90% of the conversations are in Filipino.

4. The Wrestling-Wrestling Podcast

Level: Advanced
Theme: Sports, Wrestling

You probably weren’t expecting to find a podcast about wrestling here, and definitely not one that’s Filipino-made. But, believe it or not, entertainment wrestling is as big in the Philippines as it is in any other country. The Wrestling-Wrestling Podcast is proof of that. Hosted by three veteran Pinoy podcasters, The WW Podcast has been around since 2014. I would say that this particular podcast is best for advanced learners; it requires careful listening as the hosts switch between English and Tagalog all the time.

5. PumaPodcast

Level: Intermediate to Advanced
Theme: Current Issues

PumaPodcast is a podcast like no other. It’s not an individual show that focuses on one major theme, but rather a curation of multiple podcasts dealing with a range of subjects. Listening to each episode will not only help you improve your comprehension of the Filipino language, but it will also keep you up-to-date on the latest happenings in the Philippines and around the world. The hosts and their guests often mix English and Tagalog, so feel free to key in on the points where the speakers are using 100% Tagalog.

6. Boiling Waters PH 

Level: Beginner to Intermediate
Theme: Dating & Relationships

Boiling Waters PH is the go-to podcast for people seeking relationship advice. According to the two unnamed male hosts, the podcast deals with all the stuff about dating and relationships that people don’t usually dare to talk about. There are instances in each episode where the hosts and their guests speak in English, but 95% of the podcast is pure Tagalog. And since this show talks about love, expect the choice of vocabulary to be uncomplicated. So yes, if you’re a beginner, this is one of the podcasts you should listen to.

English Words Typed on Several Small Slips of Paper

Listening to Filipino podcasts will help you master how words should flow when you’re speaking.


7. Ang Walang Kwentang Podcast 

Level: Beginner to Intermediate
Theme: Current Issues, Pop Culture

The term walang kwenta literally means “useless” in English. But if there’s one word to describe Ang Walang Kwentang Podcast, it’s definitely not that one—that is, if your goal is to learn Filipino. The podcast is hosted by well-known Filipino filmmaker Antoinette Jadaone and writer/actor/spoken word artist Juan Miguel Severo. There are about a hundred episodes centering on various subjects, most of which are related to pop culture and trending issues. Both of the hosts speak in Tagalog 95% of the time, which makes this the perfect podcast for those who want to enjoy entire episodes without having to skip around.

8. Walwal Sesh 

Level: Beginner to Intermediate
Theme: Mental Health, Dating & Relationships

One of the best Filipino podcasts to listen to while you’re in the car or commuting via bus or train, Walwal Sesh revolves around the topics of love, mental health, equality, and the things that really matter. The three hosts know what they’re talking about, each having a medical background. One of them is actually a medical doctor, so you can rest assured that they’re precise when talking about self-care, anger management, sex, and depression. What you’ll love about this podcast is that the hosts rarely interrupt each other, which will allow you to really concentrate on each word as you listen.

9. Creepsilog 

Level: Beginner to Intermediate
Theme: Horror, Crime, Mystery

For those of you who are into horror and murder mysteries, Creepsilog is the perfect Pinoy podcast for you. The series has some touches of humor to it, which makes it even more interesting. Hosted by Gideon Mendoza and Glenn Tabarejos, Creepsilog now has over 170 episodes under its belt. The fascinating stories in each episode should motivate you to listen intently and to research the meaning of new words and expressions—that way, you can more easily figure out how each plot goes down. You’ll find this notable Filipino podcast on Spotify.

10. Telebabad Tapes

Level: Beginner to Intermediate
Theme: Relationships, Filipino Culture

The term telebabad is a 90s expression that refers to the habit of teenagers back then to spend especially long hours on the phone. As the title of the podcast suggests, Telebabad Tapes revolves around topics one would not hesitate to spend hours discussing. The show is hosted by husband-and-wife duo Wincy Ong and Cj de Silva. Each episode is usually centered around a pop-culture item, whether that be a song, movie, or special occasion. It then progresses into a more serious discussion about that item. If you want to find out what it meant to be a Filipino teen back in the 90s, this is the podcast for you. Oh, and the hosts converse in fluent Tagalog 95% of the time, making this podcast a great tool for boosting your comprehension skills.

11. FilipinoPod101

Level: Beginner to Advanced
Theme: Language Learning

What better way to learn Filipino than by listening to a podcast that directly teaches the language? FilipinoPod101 offers a wide range of podcast episodes that focus on different aspects of the Filipino language. What makes FilipinoPod101 audio lessons unique is that they’re designed to make learning fun and enjoyable. That means you can’t expect lessons that come straight out of textbooks, but ones that you can apply right away. For instance, there are lessons about words related to eating, ways to learn new words, and how to talk about your daily routine in Filipino. 


12. Woke Up PH

Level: Advanced
Theme: Politics, Current Events

Woke Up PH is a one-of-a-kind podcast. Its main aim is to “wake up” the country’s youth to the issues that are most pressing for the Filipino people. The subjects discussed in each episode are especially relevant to young people. The podcast has only 12 episodes (all aired in 2019), but each one exudes so much insight that’s still relevant two years later. Most of the episodes are in English, with only a few featuring Filipino dialogue. Just pick the ones that you believe will help you with your Filipino-language studies the most. We can’t not include it on this list, as it’s actually one of the most noteworthy Filipino-made podcasts right now.

A Radio DJ with Headphones on

Hosts of Filipino podcasts speak fluent Tagalog, which means you won’t have a hard time following every word they say.

3. Tricks for Learning Filipino More Effectively with Podcasts

We’ve established that listening to podcasts is one of the best ways to take your comprehension skills to the next level. We’ve also presented you with the top Filipino podcasts to help you improve your Tagalog. Now, here are some tips on how you can learn more effectively with the podcasts on our list.

1 – Pick a podcast that talks about your interests.

While it’s true that you’ll benefit from podcasts regardless of their theme, there’s an advantage to listening to those that cover the stuff you’re interested in. Being interested in the topics at hand will motivate you to listen intently so that you don’t miss anything. 

2 – Find the right time to listen.

Sure, you can listen anytime and anywhere. That’s one advantage of using podcasts to learn Filipino. However, it’s going to be difficult to retain anything when you’re tired or sleepy. As much as possible, you’ll want to listen to your favorite podcast at the times when you’re most alert. This will allow you to focus on the content better and increase your chances of remembering what you’ve heard.

3 – Don’t hesitate to rewind when necessary.

I remember when the internet didn’t exist yet, and we had to keep on rewinding and playing our favorite song on the cassette player just to pick up the lyrics. That’s a good technique when learning a language via a podcast. There will always be times when the person you’re listening to is speaking too fast or mumbling their words. Every time you fail to catch a word or phrase, don’t hesitate to click the rewind button to listen again.

4 – Take notes.

When there’s a word you don’t understand, don’t just press “rewind” to listen again. Be sure to write words down, too, particularly those that are not familiar to you. Taking notes is an effective study strategy as it forces you to pay attention. Aside from simply writing down new words, you can also write down your thoughts on the podcast or even draft a summary. This will help you understand and remember things better.

5 – Play it in the background as often as you can.

One advantage of listening to podcasts to learn Filipino, or any language for that matter, is that you can play episodes in the background while you’re doing other things. I know multitasking is not a good idea in general, but being a passive listener has its benefits at times. Many of the songs you probably know by heart today were songs you used to hear on the radio. Even if you didn’t intentionally listen to them, you became familiar with the lyrics over time. The same principle works here, provided that you take time to listen to each episode again and again.

6 – Find a friend you can learn with.

Finally, find someone you can learn with. It could be a fellow Filipino learner, or it could be a Filipino friend who can help explain to you what difficult words, phrases, and expressions mean. Learning with someone who knows the language is an advantage as you get to receive instant feedback and insights. Not to mention that it’s more fun to learn in a small group setting.

Four Friends

It’s more fun to learn Filipino with friends.


4. Enhance Your Comprehension Skills with FilipinoPod101

That’s it for our list of the best Tagalog podcast shows for improving your comprehension skills. There are definitely a lot more, and if you know a couple that didn’t make this list, comment their names below so we can all check them out.

Before you leave, don’t forget to go through our free learning resources here at FilipinoPod101.com. You now know that we even have our own podcast to help you improve your Filipino! 

But that’s not all. Here at FilipinoPod101.com, you can have access to a wide range of features designed specifically to help you master the Filipino language. One such feature is MyTeacher, a Premium PLUS service that lets you learn Filipino 1-on-1 with your own personal instructor. Want to take your language skills to the next level?

Join FilipinoPod101 now!

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Tagalog Phrases for Beginners

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Being able to advance from one level to the next when learning a new language is so satisfying. Nothing beats the excitement of knowing that you’ll soon be able to communicate using a language other than your own. This is especially true when learning Filipino, a language influenced by so many other languages. Before you can move on to the next level, though, you’ll first need to master Tagalog phrases for beginners. There is no skipping this step.

The good news is that basic Filipino phrases are not that difficult to pick up. Most Filipino words have direct English translations, and the word order is also similar to that of English. Moreover, in this article, we have prepared more than a couple dozen basic Filipino phrases for beginners that you’ll find invaluable as you journey toward mastery of the Filipino language. To finish strong in your language learning race, you need to start strong.

We’ll start with the fundamentals of how to greet people and introduce yourself, and then we’ll cover some indispensable phrases to use when you’re out shopping or dining with friends. Finally, we’ll introduce you to essential phrases for an emergency.

People Lined Up and Getting Ready for a Race

To finish strong in your language learning race, you need to start strong.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Filipino Table of Contents
  1. Greetings and Self-introductions
  2. Courtesy Phrases & Social Expressions
  3. Dining & Shopping Phrases
  4. Asking for Help
  5. Learn Filipino Beginner Phrases and More at FilipinoPod101.com!

1. Greetings and Self-introductions

While Filipinos are friendly and hospitable, most relationships within the Filipino culture have formal beginnings. When meeting someone for the first time, it’s important to be polite and respectful, not only with your words but also with your body language. Whenever appropriate, greet someone with a soft handshake. This is not necessary when you’re simply asking for directions, though, or when acknowledging someone you’re familiar with on the street. Below are some of the most common Filipino greetings to use when meeting someone.

Kumusta?
“Hello.” / “How are you?”

Magandang araw. 
“Good day.”
Literally: Beautiful day.

Magandang umaga.
“Good morning.”
Literally: Beautiful morning.

Magandang tanghali.
“Good noon.”
Literally: Beautiful noon.

Magandang hapon.
“Good afternoon.”
Literally: Beautiful afternoon.

Magandang gabi.
“Good evening.”
Literally: Beautiful evening.

Always remember to use po when addressing someone older or higher in rank than you. Also, instead of using the first person singular (ka, mo, or kita), use the third person plural (kayo, nila, or inyo) to convey politeness.

Mabuti naman po. Kayo po? 
“I’m fine. And you?”
Literally: Fine also. You?

Just like in other cultures, introducing yourself and asking the other person their name (or the other way around) is the first thing to do when meeting someone new. 

Anong pangalan mo?
“What’s your name?”
Literally: What is name your?

Pwede ko bang malaman ang pangalan mo?
“May I know your name, please?”
Literally: May I know the name your?

Ano pong pangalan nila? [Formal]
“May I know your name, please?”
Literally: What name their?

Ako si (name).
“I am (name).”

Ako nga pala si (name).
“I am (name), by the way.”
Literally: I by the way am (name).

(Name) pala ang pangalan ko.
“My name is (name), by the way.”
Literally: (Name) by the way the name my.

With the number of ways you can structure sentences in Filipino, you might be wondering which one of these phrases you should use. The truth is that you can use any of them, as they are all appropriate for both formal and informal situations. Here are some useful Tagalog phrases for introductions that will show you how flexible the Filipino sentence structure is:

Taga saan ka?
“Where are you from?”
Literally: From where you?

Taga (residence) ako.
“I am from (residence).”
Literally: From (residence) I.

Saan ka nakatira?
“Where do you live?”
Literally: Where you live?

Sa (residence) ako nakatira.
“I live in (residence).”
Literally: In (residence) I live.

While asking someone’s age in other cultures may be considered rude, in the Philippines, it’s okay to do so even when you’ve just met the person. However, you have to time it correctly and wait until the other person seems to have become more comfortable with your conversation. A straightforward way to ask someone their age would be:

Ilang taon ka na?
“How old are you?”
Literally: How many years you already?

Some Filipinos may be taken aback by this, but they will still give you a response if they feel you can be trusted with sensitive information. A less aggressive approach would be to say:

Maaari/Pwede ko bang malaman kung ilang taon ka na?
“May I know how old you are?” / “Would you mind if I asked your age?”
Literally: May I know if how many years you already?

If you’re the one being asked, you could answer with something like this:

Trenta na ako.
“I am thirty years old.”
Literally: Thirty already I.

To express your pleasure of meeting someone, you could say:

Ikinagagalak kong makilala ka. [Formal]
“It is my pleasure to meet you.” / “It is nice to meet you.”
Literally: With pleasure I know you.

And finally, don’t forget the most important Filipino greeting of all:

Mano po.
Use this phrase when performing the pagmamano gesture.

A Businesswoman Introducing Two of Her Colleagues to Each Other

Ikinagagalak kong makilala ka. (“It is my pleasure to meet you.”)


How to Address People

An important part of basic Filipino greetings and self-introductions is the proper use of honorifics. Here are the fundamental Filipino honorifics you should be familiar with:

Mama
This is a term used to address an older male you’re not acquainted with.

Ale
This is a term used to address an older female you’re not acquainted with.

Kuya
This term means “big brother,” but it’s also used to address a male stranger.

Ate
This term means “big sister,” but it’s also used to address a female stranger.

Ginoo [Formal]
“Mr.”

Ginang [Formal]
“Ms.”

When attached to a name, a linker is used between the title and the name of the person, particularly for the term mama. For instance, “Ice cream man” would be Mamang sorbetero, and “Mr. Supervisor” would be Ginoong Tagapamahala.

2. Courtesy Phrases & Social Expressions

Not only are Filipinos hospitable, but they are also courteous and polite. When in the Philippines, you’ll notice that the people here tend to be very warm and friendly. Be sure to express your own friendliness and politeness by using the following courtesy phrases and social expressions.

Pasok ka.
“Please come in.”
Literally: Enter you.

Pasok po kayo. [Formal]
“Please come in.”
Literally: Enter you all.

Mawalang galang po.
“Excuse me.”
Literally: Without disrespect.

Paumanhin po. / Ipagpaumanhin po ninyo.
“I’m sorry.”

Ipagpatawad po ninyo. / Patawad po. 
“Please forgive me.”
Literally: Please pardon you all.

Salamat. 
“Thank you.”

Maraming salamat.
“Thank you very much.”
Literally: Many thanks.

Salamat po. [Formal]
“Thank you.”

Walang anuman.
“You’re welcome.”
Literally: It’s nothing.

Pakiusap. 
“Please.”

Magkita tayo ulit.
“See you soon.”
Literally: Meet us again.

Kitakits. [Slang]
“See you!”

Hanggang sa muli. 
“Until next time.”
Literally: Until the once more.

Ingat. 
“Take care.”

Sige!
“Sure!”

Walang anuman.
“You’re welcome.”

Walang problema. 
“No problem.”

Paalam! 
“Goodbye!”

Pagpalain ka sana.
“I wish you good luck!”
Literally: Be blessed you hopefully.

Binabati kita!
“Congratulations!”
Literally: I am greeting you.

A Couple Greeting and Inviting Another Couple into Their Home

Pasok kayo. (“Please come in.”)


3. Dining & Shopping Phrases

Filipinos love to eat! And shop! That means there are a lot of wonderful places for you to shop and dine during your stay in the Philippines. The following beginner phrases in Tagalog will prove useful whether you’re dining in prestigious restaurants or simply buying something from the sari-sari (“miscellaneous”) store. 

1 – When Dining

Kain tayo.
“Let’s eat.”
Literally: Eat us.

Nagugutom na ako.
“I’m hungry.”
Literally: Hungry already me.

Pwede kong makita ang menu? 
“May I see the menu?”
Literally: Allowed I see the menu?

Pwede mo ba akong bigyan ng… 
“Could you give me some…”
Literally: Allowed you I give of…

Gusto ko ng…
“I’d like to have…”
Literally: Like I of (something)…

Pahingi ng tubig.
“May I have some water, please?”
Literally: Please give water.

Ang sarap nito! 
“This is delicious!”
Literally: Delicious this is!

Busog na ako. 
“I’m full.”
Literally: Full already I am.

2 – When Shopping

Magkano po ito?
“How much is this?”
Literally: How much this?

Mayroon ba kayo ng…
“Do you happen to have…”
Literally: There is you have…

Saan banda ang mga panlalaki/pambabae/pambata?
“Where is the men’s/ladies’/kids’ section?”
Literally: Which location is for men/women/kids?

Pwede mo akong kunan ng size 29?
“I’d like a size 29, please.”
Literally: Will you get me a size 29?

Mayroon kayong size 10 ng sapatos na ito?
“Do you have a size 10 for this pair of shoes?”
Literally: Is there you size 10 of shoes that this?

Saan ako pwedeng magbayad para sa mga ito? 
“Where can I pay for these items?”
Literally: Where I can pay for all of this?

Magkano lahat ang babayaran ko? 
“How much is my bill?” / “How much will I pay altogether?”
Literally: How much all of payment my?

Someone Handing Over Their Credit Card to Pay for Something in a Store

Magkano lahat ang babayaran ko? (“How much will I pay altogether?”)


4. Asking for Help

Whether you’re in an emergency or simply want to ask someone to translate a difficult word for you, it’s important to know the exact words to say when asking for help. You’re in good hands in the Philippines because Filipinos are always ready and willing to help without asking anything in return. Arm yourself with these basic Tagalog phrases for travel so you’ll always know how to get help when you need it. 

1 – When Communicating

Marunong ka bang mag-Tagalog?  
“Can you speak Tagalog?”
Literally: Knowledgeable you to speak Tagalog?

Nakakaintindi ka ba ng Tagalog? 
“Do you understand Tagalog?” 
Literally: Can understand you of Tagalog?

Oo, nakakaintindi ako ng Tagalog. 
“Yes, I understand Tagalog.”
Literally: Yes, can understand I of Tagalog.

Hindi ako marunong mag-Tagalog.
“I don’t know Tagalog.”
Literally: Cannot I know to speak Tagalog.

Marunong akong mag-Tagalog nang kaunti. 
“I know a bit of Tagalog.”
Literally: Knowledgeable I to speak Tagalog a bit.

Hindi ko maintindihan. 
“I don’t understand.”
Literally: Do not I understand.

Pakiulit ng sinabi mo. 
“Please repeat what you said.”
Literally: Please repeat of what said you.

Ano ang ibig sabihin ng salitang ito? 
“What does this word mean?”
Literally: What is desired to say of word this?

2 – When Asking for Directions

Nawawala ako.
“I’m lost.”
Literally: Lost I.

Alam mo ba kung saan banda ang embahada? 
“Do you know where the embassy is?”
Literally: Know you if where location of embassy?

Saan po banda ang istasyon ng bus? 
“Where is the bus station?”
Literally: Where location the station of bus?

Paano po pumunta sa kalye na ito? 
“How do you get to this street?”
Literally: How get to street that this?

Saan ang pinakamalapit na kainan? 
“Where is the nearest restaurant?”
Literally: Where the nearest that place to eat?

3 – When in an Emergency

Tulong! 
“Help!”

Tulungan ninyo ako! 
“Help me!”
Literally: Help you all me!

Pakitulungan niyo po ako! 
“Please help me!”
Literally: Please help you all me!

Tumawag kayo ng pulis! 
“Call the police!”
Literally: Call you all of police!

Tumawag kayo ng ambulansya! 
“Call an ambulance!”
Literally: Call you all of ambulance!

Kailangan ko ng doktor! 
“I need a doctor!”
Literally: Need I of doctor!

A Tourist Asking Someone for Directions

Paano po pumunta sa kalye na ito? (“How do you get to this street?”)


5. Learn Filipino Beginner Phrases and More at FilipinoPod101.com!

So, what did you think of our collection of Tagalog phrases for beginners? If you feel like there are other phrases we should have included on this list, let us know in the comments below. 

If you want to learn more than just basic Filipino phrases for beginners, you can always sign up to become part of the FilipinoPod101 community. Here at FilipinoPod101.com, you can learn the Filipino language in a fun and engaging way. All of our lessons—from the free resources and blog posts, to the audio and video lessons—are designed to meet the needs of learners at all levels.

Looking for a course with lessons tailored to your needs? You can get that with MyTeacher, a Premium PLUS service that grants you the privilege of learning Tagalog with a dedicated Filipino teacher. With this feature, you can enjoy 1-on-1 lessons and receive real-time feedback and guidance.

So, sign up now and get ready to speak Filipino like a native!

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Gain Filipino Fluency with These Advanced Tagalog Words

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The fact that you’re here to master advanced Tagalog words is proof that you’re ready to be as fluent in Filipino as you are in your mother tongue. It also means you’ve been studying Filipino for about a thousand hours already! Yes, according to the Foreign Service Institute, a language like Filipino takes approximately 1100 hours to learn.

What does this step forward mean for you? It means that you’ll be more comfortable producing well-structured sentences regardless of the subject matter. You’ll also have an easier time understanding texts with implicit meaning. Most importantly, you’ll be more confident expressing your ideas spontaneously because you won’t have to grasp for the right words anymore.

In this article, we’ve prepared a list of advanced Tagalog vocabulary words that you can use in the academic field, the business field, the medical field, and even the legal field. Also, we’ve put together a small collection of alternative words you can use to make your writing more vivid and to express yourself better in various situations.

A Woman Giving a Presentation

Express yourself with more confidence by learning advanced Tagalog words.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Filipino Table of Contents
  1. Advanced Academic Words
  2. Advanced Business Words
  3. Advanced Medical Words
  4. Advanced Legal Words
  5. Alternative Words to Make an Impression
  6. Learn More Advanced Tagalog Words with FilipinoPod101!

1. Advanced Academic Words

The following is a list of advanced Tagalog academic words. The words here are generally acceptable for academic use in the Philippines and may come in handy if you wish to apply to a university in the country. Many of these are high-frequency vocabulary words, which means they don’t have multiple meanings as regular Filipino words do. Others are considered part of a “rich vocabulary,” which means they are finer forms of familiar Tagalog words that may have more than one meaning. And finally, there are some words here that are specific and often found in textbooks and other forms of informational texts.

akademya (noun)MeaningNakapagtapos siya sa akademya noong isang taon.
academy A place of study in a special fieldHe graduated from the academy last year.

pangangalap (noun)MeaningMahirap ang kalagayan ng pangangalap ngayong panahon ng pandemya.
recruitmentThe act of finding new people to join an organizationThe situation of recruitment is difficult during this time of pandemic.

kontrobersiya (noun)MeaningNapapaligiran tayo ng mga hamon at kontrobersiya.
controversyA public discussion involving strong disagreementChallenges and controversies surround us.

magkaugnay (adjective)MeaningAng isip at ang puso ay lubhang magkaugnay.
relatedBelonging to the same group or familyThe mind and the heart are closely related.

magkawing (adjective)MeaningAng dalawang ideya na ito ay magkawing.
interlocked / linkedTwo things interconnected or locked togetherThese two ideas are linked together.

pangkalahatan (adverb)MeaningAng mga kasamahan niya sa pangkalahatan ay maaasahan.
generallyIn a general mannerHis colleagues are generally dependable.

ulat (noun)MeaningHuwag basta-basta maniniwala sa mga ulat nila.
reportA written or spoken account regarding an eventDo not easily believe their report.

pahayag (noun)MeaningIto ang nakasulat sa kanyang pahayag.
articleA piece of writing included in publicationsThis is what was written in her article.

paksa (noun)MeaningIyon daw ang pinakamagandang na nabasa ni Lisa hinggil sa paksa.
topicThe matter being dealt with in a text or discourseIt was the best Lisa had read on the subject, according to her.

sanhi (noun)MeaningAno ang sanhi ng kanyang biglaang pagkamatay?
causeA person or thing that gives rise to a certain conditionWhat was the cause of his sudden demise?

kataliwasan (noun)MeaningLahat ng tuntunin ay may kataliwasan.
exceptionSomething that is not includedAll rules have an exception.

unibersidad (noun)MeaningNagtapos siya sa isang prestihiyosong unibersidad.
universityAn institution of higher learningHe graduated from a prestigious university.

pagpipilian (noun)MeaningMaraming pwedeng pagpilian sa mga produkto niya.
optionSomething that may be chosenThere are many options from (among) her products.

dalas (noun)MeaningPinahalagahan ni Ted ang dalas ng pagdalaw ni Diane.
frequencyThe rate at which something occursTed appreciated the frequency of Diane’s visits.

porsyento (noun)MeaningMalaking porsyento ang nabawas sa kita niya.
percent / percentageAn amount that is the proportion of a larger wholeA large percentage was deducted from his income.

A Man Shaking Hands with a Teacher as He Receives His Diploma

Nagtapos siya sa isang prestihiyosong unibersidad. (“He graduated from a prestigious university.”)


halimbawa (noun)MeaningKaunti lang ang naibigay niya na mga halimbawa.
exampleA written exercise for illustrating a ruleShe was only able to give a few examples.

taya (noun)MeaningAyon sa taya ng mga dalubhasa, ang krisis na ito ay hindi magtatapos sa lalong madaling panahon.
estimateAn approximate calculation of the value of somethingAccording to the estimates of experts, this crisis is not going to end soon.

suma (noun)MeaningNagulat siya sa suma ng kanyang dapat bayaran.
sumThe total resulting from the addition of two or more numbersHe was surprised at the sum of the amount he had to pay.

saklaw (noun)MeaningLimitado ang saklaw ng kanilang artikulo.
range / scopeThe extent included or coveredTheir article was limited in scope.

larangan (noun)MeaningSabik si Sheldon gumawa ng pangalan para sa kanyang sarili sa larangan ng pisika.
domain / fieldA field of knowledgeSheldon was eager to make a name for himself in the field of physics.

mungkahi (noun)MeaningNakinig siya sa mungkahi ng kanyang guro.
recommendation / suggestionAn idea put forth for considerationShe listened to her teacher’s suggestion.

palabaybayan (noun)MeaningMahina si Raul sa palabaybayan.
spellingThe accepted forming of words from lettersRaul is not that good at spelling.

proyekto (noun)MeaningNatapos ang proyekto makalipas lamang ang tatlong buwan.
projectA planned undertaking designed for achieving a particular goalThe project was completed after only three months.

tagumpay (noun)MeaningNakamit niya ang matagal nang inaasam na tagumpay.
successThe desired outcome of an undertaking or accomplishment of a purposeHe finally achieved the long-awaited success.

punong-guro (noun)MeaningBinisita ni Dan ang punong-guro na si Mrs. Zamora.
head teacher / principalThe chief executive officer or director of an educational institutionDan visited Mrs. Zamora, the principal.

kwalipikado (adjective)MeaningHindi siya kwalipikadong magtrabaho.
qualifiedA person recognized as having the quality to perform a particular jobHe was not qualified to work.

talata (noun)MeaningBasahing mabuti ang talata bago sagutin ang mga katanungan.
paragraph A series of sentences dealing with a topicRead the paragraph carefully before answering the questions.

talaan (noun)MeaningHindi mahanap ni Elsa ang talaan ng mga kailangan niyang gawin.
list / recordA piece of paper used for recordkeepingElsa could not find the list of things she needed to do.

paraan (noun)MeaningWala nang mas mainam na paraan kaysa dito.
methodA systematic procedure for accomplishing somethingThere is no better method than this.

ranggo (noun)MeaningMataas na ang ranggo niya sa hukbo.
rankA position in a hierarchy, especially of the armed forcesHe had a high rank in the army.

lagda (noun)MeaningKailangan ang iyong lagda sa mga papeles na ito.
signatureA person’s name written with his or her own handYour signature is needed on these papers.

takdang-aralin (noun)MeaningAyaw niyang gawin ang kanyang takdang-aralin.
homeworkSchoolwork required to be done at homeHe doesn’t want to do his homework.

pananaliksik (noun)MeaningAng pananaliksik ay pinamunuan ni Dr. Gomez.
researchA systematic investigation aimed at the establishment of factsThe research was headed by Dr. Gomez.

pagsusulit (noun)MeaningKailangan nilang makapasa sa pagsusulit.
examA formal test of a person’s knowledge regarding a particular subjectThey need to pass the exam.

A Doctor Consulting with a Patient

Nakinig siya sa mungkahi ng kaniyang doktor. (“She listened to her doctor’s recommendation.”)


asignatura (noun)MeaningKalaunan, naging malinaw ang mga mahihirap na asignatura para kay Alfonso.
subjectA branch of knowledge taught in academic institutionsThe difficult subjects eventually became clearer to Alfonso.

kaalaman (noun)MeaningAng pag-aalaga ng mga bata ay nangangailangan ng higit pa sa iyong sariling kaalaman.
knowledgeInformation acquired by an individual through education or experienceRearing children needs more than your own knowledge.

talakayan (noun)MeaningAng koponan ay nagkaroon ng isang mahabang talakayan.
discussionA conversation regarding a certain topicThe team had a lengthy discussion.

paglilinang (noun)MeaningAng lupa ay sumailalim sa isang mahirap na proseso ng paglilinang.
cultivationThe act of cultivatingThe land underwent a difficult process of cultivation.

pagsasalaysay (noun)MeaningWalang nakinig sa kaniyang pagsasalaysay.
narrationThe process of narrating a storyNo one listened to his narration.

dalubhasa (noun)MeaningSiya ay dalubhasa sa usapin ng politika.
expertA person who has authoritative knowledge and skill in a particular areaHe was an expert in matters of politics.

2. Advanced Business Words

As you become more advanced in Tagalog, you might start considering a job or career in the Philippines. The words below will help you make a solid impression and succeed in your chosen field, wherever your dreams take you. 

negosyo (noun)MeaningNakapagsimula siya ng sariling negosyo sa murang edad na dalawampu’t apat.
businessA commercial operationHe was able to start his own business at the young age of twenty-four.

salapi (noun)MeaningAng proyekto ay nangangailangan ng malaking halaga ng salapi.
moneyA medium of exchange used for paymentThe project requires a large amount of money.

tubo (noun)MeaningHindi niya inasahan ang ganoon kalaking tubo.
profitA financial gainHe didn’t expect such a huge profit.

buwis (noun)MeaningPalagi niyang binabayaran ang kanyang buwis.
taxAn obligatory contribution to state revenueHe paid his taxes regularly.

samahan (noun)MeaningSi Arnel na ang bagong pinuno ng kanilang samahan.
organizationAn organized body of people with a specific aim or purposeArnel is the new leader of their organization.

propesyon (noun)MeaningTanong ni Dan, “Ano ang pinakamahusay na propesyon para sa akin?”
professionA paid occupationDan asked, “What is the best profession for me?”

propesyonal (noun)MeaningIsa nang propesyonal na basketbolista si Marlou.
professionalA person engaged in a learned professionMarlou is now a professional basketball player.

kumpanya (noun)MeaningIpinamana sa akin ni Papa ang kanyang kumpanya.
companyA commercial organizationDad bequeathed his company to me.

dokumento (noun)MeaningNabigo siyang isumite ang mga dokumento.
documentA piece of writing conveying important informationHe failed to submit the documents.

papeles (noun)MeaningNatambakan si Karla ng mga papeles sa opisina.
paperworkRoutine recordkeeping work involving documentsKarla was overwhelmed with paperwork in the office.

tagapamahala (noun)MeaningNawalan sila ng magaling na tagapamahala.
supervisorAn administrative officer in charge of a business operationThey lost a great supervisor.

pagpupulong (noun)MeaningDumalo silang lahat sa pagpupulong.
meetingAn assembly of organization members for discussionThey all attended the meeting.

promosyon (noun)MeaningNakuha ni Roger ang promosyon noong nakaraang linggo.
promotionThe act of being raised in rank or positionRoger got the promotion last week.

A Man Staring in Disbelief at a Huge Stack of Paperwork

Natambakan si Ben ng mga papeles sa opisina. (“He was overwhelmed with paperwork in the office.”)


pag-aari (noun)MeaningIbinenta niya ang lahat ng kanyang pag-aari at bumalik sa sariling bansa.
assetThe property of a personHe sold all his assets and returned to his country.

nalugi (verb)MeaningMuntik na siyang malugi.
bankrupt / suffered lossTo be reduced to bankruptcyHe almost went bankrupt.

kita (noun)MeaningMalaki ang kita sa negosyong ito.
earningMoney obtained in return for offering a product or serviceThe profit in this business is considerable.

diskarte (noun)MeaningAnong diskarte ang ginamit mo para sa pagpapaunlad ng iyong kumpanya?
strategyA careful method or planWhat strategy did you use for growing your company?

kasunduan (noun)MeaningNaging matagumpay ang nangyaring kasunduan.
negotiationA discussion aimed at reaching an agreementThe negotiations were successful.

ahente (noun)MeaningSi Joey ay mapagkakatiwalaang ahente.
agentOne authorized to act in the place of anotherJoey is a trustworthy agent.

kontrata (noun)MeaningPumirma siya ng bagong kontrata sa kumpanya.
contractA binding agreement between two or more partiesHe signed a new contract with the company.

kalakal (noun)MeaningHindi madali ang paghakot ng mga kalakal sa ganitong panahon.
goodsCommodities sold in a businessTransporting goods is not easy during these times.

produkto (noun)MeaningNatatangi ang kanilang mga produkto.
productAnything manufactured for saleTheir products are unique.

taghirap (noun)MeaningNgayon ay panahon ng taghirap para sa maraming tao.
economic difficultyA period of economic declineThese are difficult times for a lot of people.

industriya (noun)MeaningNasa isang dekada na sila sa industriya.
industryA group of profit-making enterprisesThey have been in the industry for a decade now.

puhunan (noun)MeaningAng negosyong ito ay nangangailangan ng isang malaking puhunan.
capitalMoney used for starting a businessThis business requires huge capital.


3. Advanced Medical Words

Below are several medical words in Filipino for advanced learners. You’ll find these terms useful whether you plan to study medicine in the Philippines or have an upcoming doctor’s appointment. 

pagamutan (noun)MeaningHalos dalawang buwan din siya sa pagamutan.
hospitalAn institution providing medical careHe was confined to the hospital for almost two months.

impeksyon (noun)MeaningGumaling na ang impeksyon na dulot ng kanyang sugat.
infectionThe process or state of being infectedThe infection caused by his wound has healed.

dugo (noun)MeaningKinailangan ni Jane magpasalin ng dugo.
bloodBody fluid in humans and animals that transports oxygen and nutrients throughout the body via the circulatory systemJane had to have a blood transfusion.

nalapnos (verb)MeaningNalapnos ang malaking bahagi ng kanyang balat dahil sa sunog.
peeled offThe process of the skin being peeled off due to extreme heatA large part of his skin was peeled off as a result of the fire.

bakuna (noun)MeaningTumulong sila sa pagbibigay ng bakuna sa daan-daang katao.
vaccineA substance used to stimulate antibodies for the purpose of providing immunity against sicknessThey helped give the vaccine to hundreds of people.

duwal (verb)MeaningAng kanyang pagsusuka ay sinusundan ng isang pakiramdam ng labis na pagduwal.
nauseaThe sensation of wanting to vomitHis vomiting was followed by a feeling of extreme nausea.

plema (noun)MeaningAng paghinga ng tuyong hangin ay maaaring maging sanhi ng pamumuo ng plema sa baga.
phlegmA viscous substance secreted by the mucous membraneBreathing in arid air can cause a buildup of phlegm in the lungs.

pigsa (noun)MeaningIsang misteryosong karamdaman ang nagbalot sa kanyang katawan ng mga pigsa.
a boil on the skinAn inflamed swelling on the skinA mysterious illness enveloped his body with boils.

sipon (noun)MeaningHuwag kang magpaulan at uso na naman ang sipon ngayon.
common coldA viral infection of the upper respiratory tractDon’t get yourself wet in the rain as it’s the cold season already.

bukol (noun)MeaningMay nakapang maliit na bukol si Nora sa kanyang likod.
lump or tumorA localized area of swelling in any part of the bodyNora felt a small lump on her back.

virus (noun)MeaningHindi siya nahawa ng virus.
virusAn infectious agent of small size and composition that causes illness or diseaseHe was not infected with the virus.

ubo (noun)MeaningGumaling na ang matinding ubo ni ate.
coughA sudden expulsion of air from the lungs that serves as the body’s natural mechanism of clearing the air passagesMy sister’s severe cough has healed.

katarata (noun)MeaningInoperahan siya dahil sa katarata.
cataractAn eye condition that gradually causes the lens of the eyes to become opaqueHe was operated on for cataracts.

binat (noun)MeaningManatili ka sa kama para hindi ka mabinat.
relapseA deterioration in someone’s health after a temporary improvementStay in bed so you won’t have a relapse.

benda (noun)MeaningBinalot nila ng benda ang kamay niyang nasugatan.
bandageA strip of cloth used to bind an injured part of the bodyThey wrapped his injured hand with a bandage.

gamot (noun)MeaningKailangan kong mag-imbak ng mga gamot para sa hika.
medicineA compound used for the prevention or treatment of an illnessI need to stock up on asthma medications.

sintomas (noun)MeaningUnti-unting nawala ang mga sintomas niya.
symptom A manifestation of an underlying sicknessHis symptoms gradually disappeared.

buntis (adjective)MeaningNagalak silang malaman na buntis si Laura.
pregnantHaving a child developing in the uterusThey were excited to learn that Laura was pregnant.

impatso (noun)MeaningAng tsaa ay mabuti para sa impatso.
indigestionA difficulty in digesting foodTea is good for indigestion.

bituka (noun)MeaningMay sakit siya sa bituka.
intestineThe tubular part of the digestive tract connecting the stomach and the anusHe has a disease in the intestines.

kombulsyon (noun)MeaningHuwag maglagay ng anuman sa bibig ng iyong anak para subukang pigilin ang kombulsyon.
convulsionA sudden violent, often involuntary, movement of the bodyNever put anything in your child’s mouth to try to stop the convulsion.

turok (noun)MeaningAng mga turok ng insulin ay tumutulong na makontrol ang antas ng glucose sa dugo.
injectionA thing being injected into the body as a form of medical treatmentInsulin shots help regulate blood glucose levels.

butlig (noun)MeaningTinubuan ng makati at mahapding butlig ang braso ni Karen.
rashAn area of redness and slight swelling on the skinAn itchy, burning rash developed on Karen’s arm.

A Nurse Preparing a Vaccine for an Old Man at the Hospital

Tanging ang bakuna na lamang na ito ang makakatulong sa kanya. (“Only this vaccine will be able to help him now.”)

pulikat (noun)MeaningNagkaroon siya ng pulikat habang tumatakbo.
crampA painful, involuntary muscle contractionHe had a cramp while running.

kirot (noun)MeaningNakaramdam siya ng kirot sa kanang bahagi ng kanyang tiyan.
sharp painA sudden, intense spike of localized painHe felt pain in his right abdomen.

manggagamot (noun)MeaningSa wakas! Nakahanap din sila ng magaling na manggagamot.
doctorOne who is qualified to practice medicineFinally! They were able to find a good doctor.

reseta (noun)MeaningNakalimutan niya ang reseta niya sa bahay.
medical prescriptionA written instruction by a doctor authorizing a patient to be provided medicineHe forgot his prescription at home.

trangkaso (noun)MeaningHindi siya nakalabas nang dahil sa trangkaso.
fluA contagious viral infection of the respiratory passagesHe was not able to leave because of the flu.

operasyon (noun)MeaningBukas nakatakda ang kanyang operasyon.
operationSurgery performed on a patientHis operation is scheduled for tomorrow.

pangunahing lunas (noun)MeaningSa Red Cross Club natutunan ni Lea kung paano magbigay ng pangunahing lunas.
first aidInitial help given to an injured personLea learned how to apply first aid at the Red Cross Club.

4. Advanced Legal Words

Whether you’re preparing for law school in the Philippines, want to learn more about the Philippine judicial system, or find yourself in the middle of an unfortunate misunderstanding, these advanced Filipino words will prove useful. 

abogado (noun)MeaningSi Rommel ay isang magaling na abogado.
lawyerA person qualified to practice lawRommel is a great lawyer.

naabswelto (verb)MeaningNaabswelto siya dahil napatunayan na wala siyang sala.
acquitTo free someone of a criminal chargeHe was acquitted because he was found to be innocent.

akusado (noun)MeaningPinalaya nang pansamantala ang akusado.
defendant / accusedAn individual or company accused in a court of lawThe accused was briefly released.

alegasyon (noun)MeaningHindi totoo ang kanilang mga alegasyon.
allegationAn assertion that a person has done something illegalTheir allegations were false.

areglo (noun)MeaningAng kumpanya ay nagbayad ng humigit-kumulang isang milyon sa mga multa at areglo.
settlement / compromiseAn official agreement made to resolve a disputeThe company paid approximately one million in fines and settlements.

asunto (noun)MeaningLimang asunto ang naihain laban kay Edgar.
lawsuit / caseLegal action to be decided in a court of lawFive lawsuits had reportedly been filed against Edgar.

benepisyaryo (noun)MeaningTatlong benepisyaryo ang naghihintay sa kanya.
beneficiaryA person receiving a benefit or advantage from somethingThree beneficiaries are waiting for him.

kapabayaan (noun)MeaningAng kapabayaan sa mga anak ay maaaring humantong sa malaking problema ng pamilya.
negligenceFailure to take proper care of someone or somethingNeglect of children can lead to serious domestic problems.

kapatawaran (noun)MeaningNakatanggap siya ng kapatawaran para sa kanyang mga krimen.
pardonThe remission of legal consequences of a convictionHe received pardon for his crimes.

karapatang-pantao (noun)MeaningAng ginawa nila ay labag sa karapatang-pantao.
human rightsFundamental rights belonging to a human beingWhat they did was a human rights violation.

kasabwat (noun)MeaningNahuli ang kasabwat ni Cardo sa krimen.
accompliceA person associated with another in performing a crimeCardo’s accomplice was caught.

kolateral (noun)MeaningInilagay niya ang kanyang tindahan bilang kolateral upang makalikom ng pera.
collateralProperty pledged by a borrower to protect the lenderShe put up her store as collateral to raise the money.

kaso (noun)MeaningPagkalipas ng sampung taon, muling binuksan ang kaso.
caseLegal action to be decided in a court of lawAfter ten years, the case was reopened.

kustodiya (noun)MeaningSi Jane ay inilagay sa kustodiya ng kanyang ina.
custodyAn immediate charge exercised by a personJane was placed under her mother’s custody.

danyos (noun)MeaningNagbayad siya ng dalawang milyong piso bilang danyos sa pamilya ng biktima.
damagesMonetary compensation imposed by law for injury or lossHe paid two million pesos in damages to the victim’s family.

magdemanda (verb)MeaningNapilitan siyang magdemanda laban sa kanyang amo.
to sue / to file a lawsuitA process by which a legal court makes a decision to settle a disputeHe was forced to file a lawsuit against his boss.

depensa (noun)MeaningMahina ang naging depensa niya sa kaso.
defenseA challenge against allegations proposed regarding a criminal actionHis defense in the case was weak.

desisyon (noun)MeaningKailangan maihain ang desisyon ng korte bago pa matapos ang araw.
verdictThe decision of a jury on an issue in a criminal caseThe court’s verdict must be filed before the end of the day.

ebidensya (noun)MeaningNasa kanila ang lahat ng ebidensya na kailangan nila.
evidenceInformation used to establish facts in a legal investigationThey have all the evidence they need.

hatol (noun)MeaningAng kanyang hatol ay habambuhay na pagkakulong.
sentenceThe punishment assigned to an individual found guilty by a courtHis sentence was life in prison.

A Mother Receiving Kisses from Her Two Children

Ang dalawang bata ay inilagay sa kustodiya ng kanilang ina. (“The two children were placed in the custody of their mother.”)

hukom (noun)MeaningBihira ka lang makahanap ng mabuting hukom.
judgeA public official who decides cases in a court of lawYou rarely find a good judge.

lisensya (noun)MeaningAng kanyang lisensya ay nakumpiska dahil sa isang paglabag.
licenseA permit issued by authority to do a particular thing or to own and use somethingHis license was confiscated due to a violation.

litigasyon (noun)MeaningNagawa nilang makaiwas sa litigasyon.
litigationThe process of settling a dispute in a court of lawThey were able to avoid litigation.

maysala (noun)MeaningAyaw makipagtulungan ng biktima sa maysala.
guilty / offenderA person justly chargeable with a crimeThe victim refused to cooperate with the offender.

motibo (noun)MeaningInaalam pa rin ang motibo sa krimen.
motiveA reason for doing somethingThe motive for the crime is still being determined.

multa (noun)MeaningMalaki ang multa sa paglabag ng batas na ito.
fineMoney exacted by authority as a penalty for breaking the lawThere are large fines for violating this law.

nasasakdal (noun)MeaningTinanggihan ng hukuman ang katwiran ng nasasakdal.
plaintiffOne who brings a case against another in a court of lawThe court rejected the plaintiff’s argument.

paglilitis (noun)MeaningMabilis natapos ang paglilitis.
trialThe formal examination of the facts of a case before a competent tribunalThe trial ended quickly.

5. Alternative Words to Make an Impression

Whether you’re taking a Tagalog proficiency exam, writing an essay for school, or giving an oral presentation, one way you can make an impression is by showcasing a broad selection of stellar vocabulary. In this section, we present to you a list of Filipino adverbs, verbs, conjunctions, prepositions, and other words you can use as more compelling alternatives to simpler words. 

1 – Alternative Adverbs

tamawastoGamitin ng wasto ang iyong kaalaman.
correctlycorrectlyUse your knowledge correctly.

espesyal natatangi Siya ay isang natatanging musikero.
uniquelyuniquelyHe is a uniquely talented musician. 

magkahiwalay magkabukod Magkabukod silang dumating.
separatelyseparatelyThey arrived separately.

talagasadyaSadyang mabilis magsalita si Aristotle.
verysimplyAristotle simply talks fast.

kaunti bahagya Ibinaba niya ng bahagya ang bintana ng kotse.
slightlyslightlyShe slightly lowered the window of her car.

doon sa dako roonSa dako roon ay maraming tubig.
over thereover thereThere is a lot of water over there.

kahit saansa lahat ng dakoMayroong mga paalala ng kaligtasan sa lahat ng dako.
everywhereeverywhereThere are safety reminders everywhere.

mabilis matulin Tumakbo siya nang matulin para mahabol ang bus.
fastfastHe ran fast to catch the bus.

dahan-dahanbanayad Banayad na umihip ang hangin sa mukha ni Mandy.
slowlysoftly / gentlyThe wind blew lightly on Mandy’s face.

malapit nasa lalong madaling panahonMalalaman nila ang katotohanan sa lalong madaling panahon.
soonsoonThey will know the truth soon.

kaagad kagyat Ang iyong mungkahi ay maaaring kagyat na makaantig ng interes.
immediatelyimmediatelyYour proposal may arouse immediate interest.

hindi masyadobahagya Ang mga petsa ay magkaiba nang bahagya.
barelya littleThe dates vary a little.

kamuntik halos Naaalala niya kahit pagkalipas ng halos isang dekada.
almostalmostShe remembers even after almost a decade.

palagi pirme Pirme niyang pinagmamasdan ang larawan ng asawa.
alwaysconstantlyHe constantly looked at his wife’s picture.

kadalasan karaniwan Karaniwan ay wala siyang imik.
usuallyusuallyHe is usually silent.

hinding-hindihindi kailanmanAng pag-ibig ko sa’yo ay hindi kailanman magbabago.
neverneverMy love for you will never change.

2 – Alternative Verbs

inabuso minaltrato Naalala niya kung paano siya minaltrato ng kanyang asawa.
abusedmistreatedHe remembers how his wife mistreated him.

pinatay kinitilan ng buhayLimang katao ang kinitilan ng buhay sa trahedyang naganap.
killedkilledFive people were killed in the tragedy.

magnakaw mandambong Sinamantala niya ang sitwasyon upang mandambong at manloob.
to stealto plunderHe took advantage of the situation to plunder and loot.

kumilos umayosUmayos kang kagalang-galang.
to actto actAct like a gentleman.

umalis lumisan Huwag kang lumisan nang basta-basta.
to leaveto leaveDon’t just leave.

kantahin awitin Awitin natin ang paborito mong kanta.
to singto singLet’s sing your favorite song.

namatay pumanaw Pumanaw ang matalik mong kaibigan.
diedpassed awayYour best friend has passed away.

umiwas lumayo Lumayo ka sa masamang impluwensya upang hindi ka mapahamak.
to avoidto fleeStay away from bad influences so you won’t get in trouble.

nasira napinsala Dalawampu’t-dalawang bahay ang napinsala ng bagyo.
brokendamagedTwenty-two houses were damaged by the typhoon.

sumali umanib Umanib sila sa hari.
to jointo enlist / to be allies withThey allied themselves with the king.

bumisita dumalaw Dumalaw ka sa amin palagi.
to visitto visitCome and visit us always.

nakatira nananahan Nananahan kami nang matiwasay bago sila dumating.
livingdwellingWe were dwelling in the land peacefully before they arrived.

gustuhin hangarin Hangarin mo na maging katulad niya.
to wantto aspireGo and aspire to be like him.

magtago magkimkim Mahirap magkimkim ng sama ng loob.
to hideto harborIt is difficult to harbor resentment.

sinayang nilustay Nilustay niya ang pera ng kanyang ama.
wastedsquanderedHe squandered his father’s money.

isinaksak itinarak Itinarak niya ang tabak sa lupang tigang.
stabbedthrustedHe thrusted his sword into the parched ground.

itinayo itinatag Itinatag niya ang kumpanya para makatulong sa mga mahihirap.
builtestablishedHe established the company to help the poor.

ikutin pihitin Pilit mang pihitin ang busol ay hindi niya mabuksan ang pinto.
to rotateto twistEven if he tried to turn the knob, he could not open the door.

3 – Alternative Conjunctions

dahil sapagkat Huwag kang matakot sapagkat ako’y naririto.
becauseforDo not be afraid, for I am here.

pero datapuwat Ang sabi niya ay mahal niya ako. Datapuwat, kailangan niyang lumayo.
buthoweverHe said he loves me. However, he had to stay away for a while.

kahit bagaman Bagaman wais, hindi matalino si Lumen.
even thoughalthoughAlthough clever, Lumen was not that intelligent.

kahit nagayunman/gayunpamanHindi ako mayaman. Gayunpaman, alam kong magtatagumpay ako.
even thoughneverthelessI am not rich. Nevertheless, I know I will succeed.

ngunitsubalitBulag si Sabel, subalit nakikilala niya ang tinig ko.
buthoweverSabel is blind, but she recognizes my voice.

kahit anoanuman Anuman ang sabihin nila, susuportahan pa rin kita.
whateverwhateverWhatever they say, I will still support you.

kaya dahil diyan Wala siya dito. Dahil diyan, iminumungkahi ko na bumalik ka bukas.
sothereforeHe is not here. Therefore, I suggest you come back tomorrow.

para upang Kailangan mong magtrabaho upang makaraos.
so thattoYou have to work to survive.

kung kayaanupa’t (ano pa at)Mabagal siyang kumilos. Anupa’t hindi niya sila naabutan.
that is whythereforeHe moved very slowly. Therefore, he was not able to catch up with them.

imbes bagkus; sa halipHindi lamang ito isang laro, bagkus ito ay buhay ko.
insteadratherThis is not just a game; rather, it is my life.

kung kapag Kapag nahanap mo ang tamang daan, huwag ka nang lilingon pa.
ifonceOnce you find the right path, do not ever look back.

4 – Alternative Prepositions

tungkol ukol Ano ang pananaw mo ukol sa sitwasyong ito?
aboutonWhat is your view on this situation?

laban salabag saLabag sa kalooban niya ang nangyari.
againstagainstWhat happened was against his will.

ayon saalinsunod saAlinsunod sa patakaran ng paaralan, kailangan masuspende ng mag-aaral.
according toin accordance withIn accordance with school policy, the student must be suspended.

sa tabisa pilingAng gusto ko ay palagi kang nasa piling ko.
besidewithI want you to always be with me.

iyanyaon Yaon ang sabi niya kay Sebastian.
thatthatThat’s what he told Sebastian.

Three Young Japanese People Singing Karaoke and Drinking Beer

Awitin natin ang paborito mong kanta! (“Let’s sing your favorite song!”)

Learn More Advanced Tagalog Words with FilipinoPod101!

There you have it: our list of advanced Tagalog words! This is not an exhaustive list, so if you feel like we missed any good words you know, please share with us in the comments! 

We know that you’re excited to apply what you’ve learned here, but you also probably know that this is not the end of your Filipino learning journey. There is still so much more to learn, not only about the language but also about the culture of the Philippines. That’s where FilipinoPod101 comes in.

At FilipinoPod101, you can expand your vocabulary and refine your grammar skills with the help of various free resources, blog posts, word banks, and more! FilipinoPod101 employs an innovative approach to helping students learn Filipino, so you can rest assured that all the lessons are unique and dynamic. Not to mention that you can have lessons tailored to your needs, as well. All that via our MyTeacher service. Go ahead and sign up now!

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Boost Your Vocab with These Intermediate Tagalog Words

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It takes 200 hours of studying basic Filipino grammar and vocabulary for students to reach the intermediate level. So, if you’re reading this right now, you deserve a round of applause—it means you’re ready to take things to the next level!

By the end of this lesson, you’ll find it a lot easier to comprehend everyday words and expressions about people and work. You’ll also learn new words in a variety of categories that you can use to describe people, things, your emotions, and even the weather. 

We’re talking about around 300 intermediate Tagalog words and phrases, which is a lot. A great way to master these words is to use them in context. It’s also ideal to study them by theme, which is why we’ve categorized them this way throughout the article. 

Now, we have a lot of words to learn and get down pat. Let’s get started!

Four Friends Chatting Around a Table

A great way to master intermediate Filipino words is to use them in context.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Filipino Table of Contents
  1. Mga Bilang (Numbers)
  2. Mga Pangngalan (Nouns)
  3. Verbs
  4. Adjectives
  5. Pang-abay (Adverbs)
  6. Pang-Ukol (Prepositions)
  7. Mga Pangatnig (Conjunctions)
  8. Auxiliary Words and Particles
  9. Refine your Tagalog vocabulary skills with FilipinoPod101!

1. Mga Bilang (Numbers)

Now that you’ve mastered the basic numbers from 1 to 10 in Filipino, it’s time to learn the teens and the numbers beyond them. When counting from 11 to 19 in Filipino, just add the prefix labing to the numbers 1-9. Labing is a contraction of labi (“excess”) and ng (“of”), and it refers to the excess of ten. For instance, the number 11 is one unit in excess of ten, so that would be labing + isa (“one”), or “one more than ten.”

1 – From 11 to 19


11labing-isa
12labindalawa
13labintatlo
14labing-apat
15labinlima
16labing-anim
17labimpito
18labingwalo
19labinsiyam

2 – From 20 to 90

Counting beyond the teen numbers is not difficult in Filipino. The formula is to add the suffix -pu, which is short for sampu (“ten”), to the numbers in the tens place. For instance, the number 20 is dalawampu, which basically means “two tens” or “two multiplied by ten.” Keep in mind that some numbers need the linker na.

30tatlumpu
40apatnapu
50limampu
60animnapu
70pitumpu
80walumpu
90siyamnapu

3 – Counting to the Thousands (and Beyond)

“Hundred” is daan in Tagalog, so counting in hundreds simply means adding this word to the numbers in the hundreds place. Keep in mind that we use the linker ng in number words that end in vowels. Moreover, the d in daan changes to r when the linker used is na, which is placed after words that end in consonants. 

100isang daan
200dalawang daan
300tatlong daan
400apat na raan
500limang daan
600anim na raan
700pitong daan
800walong daan
900siyam na raan

Counting in thousands and millions is just as easy. For thousands, you just use the word libo (“thousand”), and for millions, you use the word milyon (“million”).

1,000isang libo
2,000dalawang libo
5,000limang libo
7,000pitong libo
10,000sampung libo
100,000isang daang libo
1,000,000isang milyon

An Image of the Philippines

Ang Pilipinas ay may mahigit pitong libong mga isla! (“The Philippines is made up of over 7,000 islands!”)


2. Mga Pangngalan (Nouns)

Here’s a list of intermediate-level nouns, or pangngalan, to add to your vocabulary.

1 – Time


FilipinoEnglish
dekadadecade
siglocentury
milenyomillenium
semestresemester
panahonperiod
hating-gabimidnight
madaling-arawwee hours

2 – People


FilipinoEnglish
pangalanname
apelyidofamily name
palayawnickname
magulangparent
balaeparent of one’s son- or daughter-in-law
biyenanfather- or mother-in-law
manugangson- or daughter-in-law
bayawbrother-in-law
hipagsister-in-law
amainstepfather
inainstepmother
dalagasingle woman
binatasingle man
kasintahanlover
nobyoboyfriend
nobyagirlfriend
kamag-anakrelative
kaibiganfriend
barkadagang
kalaroplaymate
kapamilyafamily member
kapitbahayneighbor
ninonggodfather
ninanggodmother
bilasbrother-in-law’s wife or sister-in-law’s husband
kaklaseclassmate
mamaman
alewoman
batachild
taoperson
kakilalaacquaintance
katrabahocoworker
amoboss / employer
katulongmaid
tauhanstaff

3 – Professions


FilipinoEnglish
basurerogarbage collector
guwardiyasecurity guard
tsuperdriver
tinderomale merchant / salesman
tinderafemale merchant / saleslady
barberobarber
manikuristamanicurist
bumberofireman
artistaactor / actress
abugadolawyer
karpinterocarpenter
magsasakafarmer
tuberoplumber
mekanikomechanic
magnanakawburglar
kusinerocook
tagalinisjanitor
pilotopilot
manggagawaworker
mangingisdafisherfolk
dentistadentist
paripriest

4 – Various Nouns


FilipinoEnglish
awtoridadauthority
bataslaw
alagapet
halamanplants
punotrees
pananimcrops
kotsecar
bahayhouse
teleponotelephone
bisikletabicycle
motormotorbike
dyipjeepney
sasakyanvehicle
pitakawallet
damitclothing
pantalonpants
sapatosshoes
tsinelasflip-flops

Dirty Flip-flops

Paki-iwan ng madumi mong tsinelas sa may pintuan. (“Please leave your dirty flip-flops by the door.”)


3. Verbs

At the beginner level, you learned a number of commonly used action words and auxiliaries. But what if you want to express a more nuanced idea or add flair to your writing? Below, you’ll find several intermediate Tagalog verbs you can start practicing right away! 

The great thing about Filipino verbs is that the rules for conjugation remain the same, no matter the verb’s level of difficulty. Filipino verbs are grouped according to how they’re conjugated. You’ll observe that most of the verbs we used in this list are -UM verbs. We’re not going to go into detail regarding what -UM verbs are, but you can always visit our blog entry on Filipino verb conjugation to learn more about them. 

FilipinoEnglish
magtalagato assign
magpakabait to behave
manatili to remain
magpaiwan to stay
huminga to breathe
sumabogto burst / to explode
kumbinsihinto convince
maniwalato believe
gumuhitto draw
magpinturato paint
mag-alagato take care
magdesisyonto decide
tumuklasto discover
magsayato enjoy
magburato erase
matakotto be afraid
lumipadto fly
umurongto shrink / to move back
sumukoto surrender / to give up
sumukato vomit
magbiroto joke; to pull a prank
humalikto kiss
magpaalamto ask permission / to say goodbye
umorderto give an order
umutosto give a command
magtiponto gather
kumulektato collect
maglagayto put
magtanggalto eliminate / to get rid of
mag-alisto remove
sumuntokto punch
magdagdagto add
magbawasto subtract
mag-ayosto fix / to arrange
umikotto rotate
lumingonto look back
baliinto break
sirainto destroy
ayusinto fix
kumantato sing
sumayawto dance
sumunodto follow
pumustato place a bet
maglaroto play
maglinisto clean
umasikasoto attend to
gumamotto mend
pumatayto kill
gumantito take revenge
magpatawadto forgive
magmahalto love
magsanayto train
manganakto have a child
manaloto win
mataloto lose
mamalengketo go to the market
mag-igibto fetch some water

A Heavy Rain Falling onto Green Plants

Mabuti at umulan. Hindi ko na kailangang mag-igib. (“Thank goodness it rained. There’s no need for me to fetch some water.”)


4. Adjectives

We’ve already introduced you to a few basic Filipino adjectives in our previous articles. For the intermediate level, we’ve doubled the number of items on our list. And if this is still not enough, you can always check out our list of the 50 most common Filipino adjectives with audio recordings. 

1 – Adjectives Describing Objects


FilipinoEnglish
tumpakaccurate
sinaunaancient
pangkaraniwanordinary / average
magkaparehosimilar
kumplikadocomplicated
napakalakihuge / very large
napakaliittiny / very small
sapatsufficient
bagonew
lumaold
malambotsoft
matigashard
magaspangrough
makinissmooth
maliwanagbright
madilimdark
sariwafresh
mabigatheavy
magaanlight
mahalexpensive
muracheap
abot-kayaaffordable
malaboblurry / hazy
makitidnarrow
tuyodry
basawet

2 – Adjectives Describing People


FilipinoEnglish
magalingawesome / great
matalinointelligent
mahirappoor
mayamanrich
matapangbrave
duwagcowardly
malakasstrong
madaldaltalkative
mabaitkind
mabutigood
masamabad
gastadorspender
matipidthrifty
kuripotstingy
singkitwith slanted eyes
kulotwith curly hair
malandiflirty
bobodumb
mayabangarrogant / humbug
mapagpakumbabahumble
kalbobald
batayoung
matandaold

3 – Adjectives Describing Emotions


FilipinoEnglish
natatakotafraid
nag-aalalaworried
naiinggitenvious
kalmadocalm
naiinisannoyed
nababagotbored
nandidiriloathsome / grossed out
nagulatshocked / surprised
natatawaamused
naaaliwentertained
sabikexcited
mapayapapeaceful
kabadonervous
mahinahonrelaxed
kuntentosatisfied
nasasaktanhurting
pagodtired
naguguluhanconfused
naiiritairritated
balisaanxious

4 – Adjectives Describing the Weather


FilipinoEnglish
mabagyostormy
napakainitvery hot
napakaginawvery cold
napakalamigvery cool
preskocool
mahamogfoggy
hindi maulapcloudless

A Man Staying Up Late to Study with Coffee

Hindi pa siya kuntento kaya nag-aral pa siya ng nag-aral. (“He wasn’t satisfied, so he studied more and more.”)

5. Pang-abay (Adverbs)

Adverbs are called pang-abay in Filipino. While there are only five types of adverbs in English, the Filipino language has up to twelve types. We have a separate article covering Filipino adverbs in more detail if you’d like to study the topic further. In the meantime, here’s a list of the most useful everyday Filipino adverbs for the intermediate level.

1 – Time & Frequency


FilipinoEnglish
kadalasanusually
tuwingevery time / whenever
kinabukasantomorrow / the day after
araw-arawevery day / daily
palagialways
minsanonce in a while
bihirararely
isang besesonce
dalawang besestwice
saon
kapagwhen / whenever
hangganguntil
kahaponyesterday
bukastomorrow
ngayonnow
ngayong arawtoday
mamayalater

2 – Manner


FilipinoEnglish
mabilisquickly
dahan-dahanslowly
mahinahoncalmly
puwersahanforcefully
kaagad-agadimmediately
mahigpittightly
malakasloudly
tahimiksilently

3 – Place


FilipinoEnglish
wala saanmannowhere
kahit saananywhere
kung saan-saansomewhere / everywhere
sa itaasabove
sa ibababelow
sa ibabawover / on top
sa duloat the end
doonthere
ditohere

4 – Measure


FilipinoEnglish
maramimany / plenty
kauntifew / a little
sapatenough
kalahatihalf
halosalmost

A Father Hugging His Young Daughter before Leaving for Work

Mahigpit niyang niyakap ang kanyang anak. (“He hugged his daughter tightly.”)

6. Pang-Ukol (Prepositions)

The next set of intermediate Tagalog words we’ll look at are prepositions, or pang-ukol in Filipino. They help expand the meaning of a sentence by stating where or when something is, what time something occurred, what caused an action to happen, and so on, in relation to another person or thing. Here’s a list of the most common Filipino prepositions.

FilipinoEnglish
ngof
saon
niof (non-focus marker)
kayto (singular)
kinato (plural)
ayon saaccording to
para safor
tungkol sa/kayabout

7. Mga Pangatnig (Conjunctions)

We already covered some of the most common Filipino conjunctions in our entry on Filipino beginner words. As mentioned, there are as many of them in Filipino as there are in English. Here are more words to add to your arsenal.

FilipinoEnglish
saka, patiand
oor
ngunitbut
kapagif
dahilbecause

The thing about Filipino conjunctions is that their difficulty lies not in their function but in how often they’re used. For instance, the conjunction ngunit (“but”) means the same thing as kasi. However, between the two, the latter is more commonly used in everyday speech, while the former is often used in literature.

8. Auxiliary Words and Particles

The Filipino language has enclitic particles that convey important nuances in meaning. Some of them don’t have direct translations in English, and some are used in conjunction with other enclitic particles. The following is a short list of some of the most common and most important Filipino enclitic particles used in everyday speech. Learning how to incorporate these into your conversations is a great way to improve your Tagalog as you approach the intermediate level. 

FilipinoEnglish
pastill
ngaindeed
nanow / already
din/rintoo / also
daw/rawit is said / I’m told
bainterrogative marker

The meaning of each particle varies slightly depending on how it’s used in a sentence. Let’s take the particle pa, for example:

  • Ayaw ko pa. (“I don’t want to yet.”)

In this example, pa is used to emphasize that the speaker is not yet ready to do something.

  • Dagdagan mo pa. (“Please add more.”)

In this example, pa is used to emphasize that the speaker is requesting that a particular action be continued or that its intensity be increased.

Meanwhile, the particle ba is one of those untranslatable Tagalog words. It’s often found at the end (or near the end) of an interrogative sentence, particularly yes-no questions.

  • Kumain ka na ba? (“Have you eaten yet?”)
  • Nagluto ka ba? (“Did you cook?”)
  • Naririnig mo ba ako? (“Can you hear me?”)

A Woman Entering a Crowded Elevator

Bababa ba? (“Going down?”)

9. Refine your Tagalog vocabulary skills with FilipinoPod101!

Allow us to give you a pat on the back for reaching the end of this intermediate Tagalog vocabulary guide! If you believe there are more words that should have been on this list, let us know in the comments below.

Wait, don’t leave just yet! We know you’re excited to use your newly acquired knowledge, but what if we told you that you can learn even more? That’s right! With FilipinoPod101, you can learn more than just vocabulary. We can help you refine your grammar skills and broaden your cultural knowledge, so that you can reach the advanced level soon and become a fluent Tagalog communicator!

Yes, that is possible with all the free resources available here on our website—not to mention all of our audio and video lessons, our list of over 2000 Filipino vocabulary words, and our Filipino-English dictionary! And if you sign up, you’ll gain access to one of our most sought-after features—MyTeacher. MyTeacher is a Premium PLUS service that allows learners like you to enjoy 1-on-1 lessons with a professional Filipino teacher. It’s designed to tailor lessons according to the needs of our students, so you can enjoy learning at your own pace and in your own style. 

We can’t wait to see you become part of the FilipinoPod101 community!

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Filipino Animal Names

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The Philippines is home to over 50,000 different animal species, many of which are endemic to the archipelago. In the last decade, sixteen new species of mammals have been discovered in the country, and the rate of endemism is likely to rise. Because of this, it’s only natural for Tagalog learners to study the names of animals in Filipino—especially those animals that are native to the Philippines. 

Filipinos are animal lovers by nature. Because the Philippines is primarily an agricultural country, a large portion of the population lives in rural areas where animals (both domesticated and wild) roam free.

In this guide, you’ll learn the names of over 80 animals in Filipino, from common housepets (and pests) to farm animals…and from the largest mammals to the tiniest bugs and insects. We’ll also teach you the names of animal body parts in Filipino, as well as a few useful animal-related idioms in Tagalog. (For instance, what does itim na tupa mean?)

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

Several Types of Pets

Filipinos are animal lovers by nature.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Filipino Table of Contents
  1. Animals in the Home
  2. Animals on the Farm
  3. Animals in the Wild (Land Animals)
  4. Animals in the Water (Marine and Freshwater Animals)
  5. Bugs and Insects
  6. Birds, Reptiles, and Amphibians
  7. Animals at the Zoo
  8. Animal Body Parts
  9. Filipino Animal-Related Idioms and Expressions
  10. Improve Your Vocabulary with FilipinoPod101!

1. Animals in the Home

Filipinos have long been considered dog lovers, and you’ll seldom see a home in the Philippines without one. 

In many cultures, dogs are considered best friends—but in the Philippines, the practice of keeping dogs as pets goes beyond this concept. Here, dogs are primarily kept as a means of warding off burglars and intruders. They’re like a furry alarm system of sorts. 

Over the past two decades, the practice of keeping cats has also become popular in the country. And while it’s illegal to keep exotic animals as pets, it’s not unusual to find a tarantula or scorpion in glass enclosures in some homes.

aso“dog”
pusa“cat”
kuneho“rabbit”
daga“rat” / “mouse”
loro“parrot”

In case you’re wondering if it’s common for Filipino families to keep guinea pigs, hamsters, or bearded dragon lizards, the answer is yes. However, there are really no Tagalog equivalents for their names.


2. Animals on the Farm

Half of the population of the Philippines is found in rural areas. This means it’s not uncommon to see children playing with goats or sheep, or riding behind water buffalos and horses. Many Filipino families whose main source of income is farming (i.e., planting crops) also raise fowls, including chickens, ducks, geese, and turkeys. Some families also raise pigs and cows to supplement the family income. Below is a list of the names of common farm animals in Tagalog.

kalabaw“water buffalo”
Although the carabao, or the Philippine water buffalo, has long been held as the country’s national animal, it is not recognized as such by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts. Though its national status is unofficial, it’s one of the most significant animals in Filipino culture; many claim that it symbolizes the hardworking nature of the Filipinos.
baka“cow”
kambing“goat”
baboy“pig”
manok“chicken”
tandang“rooster”
sisiw“chick”
kabayo“horse”
tupa“sheep”
pato“duck”
bibi“duckling”
gansa“goose”
pabo“turkey”
pugo“quail”

    Speaking of family, this lesson will help you learn how to talk about your family in Filipino.

Someone Plowing with Carabao

The carabao is a symbol of the hardworking and persevering nature of the Filipino people.

3. Animals in the Wild (Land Animals)

The forest area of the Philippines has significantly decreased since the 1960s. Today, only seven million hectares of the country’s land is forested. What’s sad is that less than one million hectares of forested land remain untouched. The good news is that the country is making significant advances toward reforestation. Having said that, here’s a list of animals you’ll find in the wild and their names in Filipino.

usa“deer”
baboy-ramo“boar”
paniki“bat”
unggoy“monkey”
oso“bear”
lobo“wolf”
ardilya“squirrel”
There’s a species of squirrel that’s endemic to the Philippines—the Philippine tree squirrel—which can be found in the islands of Palawan, Bohol, Samar, Leyte, and Siargao. Interestingly, there has been a squirrel invasion in Metro Manila lately, which experts believe is the result of some people illegally breeding squirrels in the city.

About the Filipino name, the word is of Spanish origin, meaning “chipmunk.” Today, Filipinos usually refer to the animal as iskwirel.

    Palawan is a top destination for tourists in the Philippines. Learn more about this beautiful island teeming with wildlife in this lesson here.

4. Animals in the Water (Marine and Freshwater Animals)

The waters of the Philippines are a popular destination for divers, considering their impressive range of marine life. The country’s list of freshwater animals is just as impressive. Here are the most common marine and freshwater animals in the Philippines with their equivalent Filipino names.

pating“shark”
balyena“whale”
dugong“sea cow”
lumba-lumba“dolphin”
pugita“octopus”
pusit“squid”
hipon“shrimp”
ulang“lobster”
alimango/alimasag“crab”
salungo“sea urchin”
The sea urchin is also referred to as santol-santolan in Tagalog, which is a reference to the round-shaped fruit of the Santol tree.
talaba“oyster”
tahong“mussel”
kabibe“clam”
tulingan“tuna fish”
bangus“milkfish”
igat“eel”
hito“catfish”
karpa“carp”


5. Bugs and Insects

There are over 20,000 species of insects in the Philippines, 70% of which are native to the archipelago. Many of them (like the red fire ant) are quite invasive. Nevertheless, one cannot deny that a lot of these bugs actually make the world a better place to live in. Familiarize yourself with the Filipino names of the most common insects and bugs you’ll find in the Philippines.

langgam“ant”
langaw“fly”
lamok“mosquito”
kuto“head lice”
pulgas“flea”
gagamba“spider”
putakti“hornet” / “wasp”
ipis“cockroach”
bubuyog“bee”
paru-paro“butterfly”
gamu-gamo“a small moth”
alitaptap“firefly”
salagubang“beetle”
The term kuliglig is most commonly associated with cicadas, although it’s also used to refer to crickets. It’s probably because of the chirping sound the cricket makes, which is sometimes mistaken for the same noise produced by cicadas.
garapata“tick”
tipaklong“grasshopper”
tutubi“dragonfly”
For red perchers, which are a larger species of dragonfly, the term used is tutubing baka or tutubing kalabaw. As you’ve learned, baka is Filipino for “cow,” while kalabaw is Filipino for “water buffalo.” Both terms are rather appropriate for describing this larger-sized variety of the insect.

Meanwhile, for the smaller cousin of the dragonfly, which is the damselfly, the term is tutubing karayom. Karayom is the Filipino term for “needle,” which perfectly describes the needle-like appearance of the damselfly’s abdomen.
uod“caterpillar” / “insect larva”
In Filipino, any worm-like creature is referred to as uod, whether it’s an earthworm, a caterpillar, or a maggot.
higadThis refers to caterpillars, too, but most particularly to itchy worms.
anay“termite”
alupihan“centipede”
suso“snail”
surotThis refers to bugs in general, but most particularly to bed bugs.

A Little Kid Looking at a Caterpillar on a Leaf through a Magnifying Glass

In Filipino, any worm-like creature is referred to as ‘uod.’

6. Birds, Reptiles, and Amphibians

There are over 600 species of birds that are endemic to the Philippines, as well as up to 80 species of amphibians and over 150 species of reptiles. The following lists of animals in Filipino represent but a few of them. 

A- Birds

agila“eagle”
lawin“hawk”
tagak“heron”
kalapati“pigeon” / “dove”
sisne“swan”
buwitre“raven”
uwak“crow”
kuwago“owl”
maya“sparrow”

B- Reptiles and Amphibians

ahas“snake”
sawa“python”
bayawak“monitor lizard”
pagong“turtle”
hunyango

This refers to any tree-dwelling lizard that can change the color of its skin at will. Most Filipinos use this term to refer to chameleons.
butikiThis is a general term for small lizards or the common house gecko.
tuko“tokay gecko”
The term tuko is derived from the sound the tokay gecko makes. According to superstitions, you can know if it’s going to rain or not by counting the number of times the tokay gecko croaks. If it ends in an odd number, then it’s definitely going to rain soon.
palaka“frog”

A Gecko

In the Philippines, it’s believed that the number of times a tokay gecko croaks will tell you whether it’s going to rain soon or not.

7. Animals at the Zoo

Many animals that are popular around the world are not endemic to the Philippines. That doesn’t mean you won’t find any of them here. Here’s a list of wild animals in the Philippines you’ll only find in captivity:

leon“lion”
tigre“tiger”
elepante“elephant”
soro“fox”

If you’re wondering about animals like giraffes, cheetahs, jaguars, chimpanzees, and hippopotamuses, you’ll also find them in captivity here, usually in zoos. However, there really aren’t any Filipino terms for these animals. We just call them by their English names, sometimes with a Filipino accent. For instance, you’ll hear “giraffe” being pronounced as dyirap.

8. Animal Body Parts

Now, let’s look at some words you might use while describing or talking about animals in Filipino. Here’s a vocabulary list of animal body parts you need to become familiar with:

buntot“tail”
pakpak“wing”
balahibo“feather” / “fur”
kaliskis“scale”
palikpik“fin”
pangil“fang”
kuko“nail” / “claw”
sungay“horn”
tuka“beak”
galamay“tentacle”
talukabthe shell of a turtle, in particular
koronathe crown of birds or fowls

9. Filipino Animal-Related Idioms and Expressions

Like most cultures, that of the Philippines has no shortage of animal-related idioms and expressions. Here are the most common ones:

Filipino expressionMay daga sa dibdib
Literal translation“Having a mouse inside one’s chest”
This expression is often used to refer to someone who’s being fearful or nervous.

Para kang may daga sa dibdib. 
“You’re such a coward.”

Filipino expressionKasing dulas ng hito
Literal translation“As slippery as a catfish”
This refers to a clever person who just can’t be caught in the act. A similar idiom in English would be “as slippery as an eel,” which refers to a person from whom you can’t get a straight answer—a person who cannot be trusted.

Ang dulas talaga ni Cardo. Parang hito. 
“Cardo is as slippery as a catfish.”

Filipino expressionBalat-kalabaw
Literal translation“Carabao-skinned” or “Carabao hide”
This expression refers to a person with skin as thick as that of a carabao or water buffalo. In other words, one who is insensitive and shameless.

Balat-kalabaw ka. Hindi ka na nahiya. 
“You’re such a thick-skinned person. Don’t you ever feel shame?”

Filipino expressionUtak bolinao
Literal translation“Bolinao-brained” or “Fish brain”
This is an idiom used to mock someone with low intelligence. Utak means “brain” in Filipino, and bolinao is the Tagalog name of the Philippine anchovy, a very small marine water fish.

Hindi mo nasagutan? Utak bolinao ka talaga. 
“You weren’t able to answer it? You’re such a fish-brain.”

Filipino expressionUtak-talangka
Literal translation“Crab-brained”
Yes, there’s “fish brain” in Filipino, and there’s also “crab brain.” Unfortunately, this expression has been associated with Filipinos for a long time now, with Filipinos themselves claiming many of their countrymen have what’s referred to as a “crab mentality,” or the attitude of pulling others down just to get to the top.

Huwag tayong maghilahan pababa. Huwag tayong utak-talangka. 
“Let’s stop pulling each other down. It’s time we got rid of our crab mentality.”

Filipino expressionItim na tupa
Literal translation“Black sheep”
This is the exact equivalent of the English idiom used to describe a disreputable member of a family or community.

Sa mata ng Ama ako’y isang itim na tupa. 
“I’m a black sheep in the eyes of the Father.”

Filipino expressionAhas
Literal translation“Snake”
Like in most cultures, the snake is often associated with people who have a questionable reputation—someone who would strike you without you knowing it. A traitor, in other words.

Ahas ka talaga, Manuel. Niloko mo ako! 
“You’re such a snake, Manuel! You tricked me!”

Filipino expressionMabahong isda
Literal translation“Stinky fish”
This is from a line of a famous poem wrongly attributed to Dr. Jose Rizal. This is not a common Filipino idiom, but based on the context of the poem, someone is mabahong isda if they should be ashamed of their lack of love for their own language and country.

Filipino expressionKapag pumuti ang uwak at umitim ang tagak
Literal translation“When the crow turns white and the heron turns black”
This is an expression that means something is impossible and will never happen. Sometimes, using only the first part (or only the second part) is enough to make your point.

Pakakasalan lang kita kapag pumuti na ang uwak. 
“I will marry you when the crow turns white.”


Someone Holding a Catfish in Water

Kasing dulas ng hito (“As slippery as a catfish”)

10. Improve Your Vocabulary with FilipinoPod101!

Did you find this list of the names of Filipino animals helpful? Let us know in the comments! 

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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.

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

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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

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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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