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Mouthwatering Filipino Food to Try When in the Philippines

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Filipinos probably love eating more than any other group of people in the world. To give you an idea, there are restaurants in the Philippines that serve “unlimited rice,” more popularly known as “unli-rice.” And while food is the basis of social life for the hospitable Filipinos, there’s also no question that Filipino food is delectable.

People in most cultures eat three meals a day with some snacks in-between. A typical Filipino eats in this order: coffee and bread upon waking up to warm the stomach; breakfast at around seven in the morning; some snacks at ten; lunch at noon; coffee break with snacks at three in the afternoon; dinner at six-thirty in the evening; and midnight snacks before going to bed. Not to mention that every major meal is followed by dessert. 

In this article, we’ll present to you some of the most mouthwatering Filipino foods you need to try next time you’re in the Philippines.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Let's Cook in Filipino Table of Contents
  1. Must-Try Dishes in Filipino Restaurants
  2. Unique Filipino Food
  3. Food-Related Vocabulary
  4. Bonus: Simple Recipes to Make Authentic Filipino Food at Home
  5. Learn More About The Filipino Language and Culture With FilipinoPod101

A Large Bowl of White Rice

Restaurants in the Philippines serving “unli-rice” is proof that Filipinos love to eat!

1. Must-Try Dishes in Filipino Restaurants

The past two decades have seen the booming of the restaurant business in the Philippines. That, too, is evidence that we Filipinos love to eat. If you’re visiting the country for the first time and would love to try the restaurants here, you should definitely order one of these dishes.

Afritada

Afritada is a braised dish made with either beef, chicken, or pork. It’s one of the many Filipino dishes influenced by Spanish culture. In fact, the name afritada comes from the phrase a fritada, which means “to fry” in Spanish.

While you can use pork or beef when making afritada, the most popular version in the Philippines is the Apritadang Manok or Chicken Afritada. Aside from the meat, the main ingredients of this delicious dish are carrots, bell peppers, and potatoes. Green peas, string beans, and pineapple can also be added depending on your tastes.

Here’s a detailed guide on how to cook this flexible Filipino dish: Chicken Afritada Recipe.


Bulalo

Bulalo is one of the Philippine’s emblematic dishes. It’s a soup dish in which beef shank and bone marrow are cooked until the fat and collagen have melted into the broth. Corn on the cob, pechay (snow cabbage), onion, garlic, scallions, ginger, and fish sauce are used to enrich the soup’s flavor.

It’s believed that this soup dish originated in Tagaytay, specifically Taal, where the temperature is cooler and where the best cows in the country are being raised.

Check out this Bulalo recipe from FoodNatics if you want to know how to prepare this humble cowman’s stew.

Bicol Express

For years, it was thought that this popular Filipino dish originated from Bicol. But recently, a food blogger suggested that the dish was actually born in the kitchen of a restaurant in Malate, Manila, owned by Cely Kalaw who was dubbed the “Mother of Pinoy Buffets.” Regardless of where it originated, there’s no question that it’s one of the dishes that define the Philippines.

Bicol Express is pork stew cooked with coconut milk, chili, and shrimp paste. It was named after the passenger train that traveled from Manila to Bicol, a region known for its spicy cooking. What makes this dish unique is its spicy flavor, which makes it a favorite pulutan (food to be eaten with liquor). It’s actually known in Bicol as sinilihan, which means “spiced with chili.”

This unique Bicol Express recipe will surely get you excited to try this tasty dish!

Crispy Pata

When it comes to Filipino food, delicacies like this one really steal the spotlight.

Every pork-lover’s delight, crispy pata can be compared to the German Schweinshaxe. It’s cooked by deep-frying pig knuckles. The result? Crunchy skin on the outside and tender meat on the inside.

It isn’t that simple, though. Before you fry the pig leg, you need to simmer it in spices until it becomes tender. You then refrigerate it overnight to dry. Only then can you deep-fry it to moist, juicy perfection with golden,  crispy skin.

Be sure to check out this Crispy Pata recipe for a more detailed guide on how to prepare this “sinful” delicacy.

Crispy Pata

Crispy Pata (© BrokenSphere / Wikimedia Commons, under CC BY-SA 3.0)

Dinuguan

Dinuguan is a flavorful stew made of pork offal simmered in a dark gravy of pig’s blood and vinegar. The term dinuguan came from the root word dugo, which means “blood.” Some say the dish is pre-Hispanic. Others say it was introduced during the Spanish era in the Philippines. 

Whatever the case, it’s clear that the dish was “invented” at a time when refrigeration was not an option, so every part of a butchered animal had to be put to good use. Today, dinuguan is one of the most well-known Filipino dishes. And the fact that it’s served whenever and wherever there’s some sort of festivity definitely helps its reputation.

Here’s a simple Dinuguan recipe for you.

A Bowl of Dinuguan

Dinuguan, or Filipino pork blood stew, is best served with puto (rice cake) (Photo by George Parrilla, under CC BY 2.0).

Kare-kare

Kare-kare is a unique Filipino dish in that it’s cooked with peanut sauce. Some people even use peanut butter for it. It’s basically beef and oxtail cooked with some vegetables including pechay, eggplant, and green beans.

The Kapampangans (an ethnolinguistic group of Filipinos from the provinces of Pampanga, Tarlac, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, and Zambales) are often credited for kare-kare. This is not surprising, since they can cook the best version of this tasty dish. However, historical records are claiming that kare-kare was introduced to Northern Luzon by elite classes of Muslim people from the South.

There’s also a theory that kare-kare was derived from the curry dish that Indian cooks served their British masters, which was introduced to the Philippine shores in the seventeenth century.

Today, kare-kare has evolved from being food for the elites to being a comfort food for every Filipino regardless of class. This episode of GMA Public Affairs features the many different ways you can prepare kare-kare.

Mechado

Inspired by Spanish culinary methods, Mechado is beef stew simmered in tomato sauce. It’s similar to afritada, but Mechado uses beef rather than chicken. The stew is often confused with kaldereta, another Filipino dish that involves cooking beef in tomato sauce and liver spread.

Sources say that the term mechado came from the Spanish word mecha, which means “wick.” Others claim it’s from another Spanish word, mechar, meaning “to put oil.”

Mechado is a simple dish and anyone can easily prepare it. Don’t believe me? This Mechado recipe should convince you.

Mechado

Mechado (© BrokenSphere / Wikimedia Commons, under CC BY-SA 3.0)

Pinakbet

Pinakbet is an indigenous dish from the Ilocos Region, the historic homeland of the Ilocanos and Pangasinan people. It got its name from pinakebbet, an Ilocano term meaning “shriveled.” Of all the dishes in the Philippines, pinakbet is perhaps the one that symbolizes Filipino values the most. 

For one, the dish is traditionally made by first harvesting the vegetable ingredients (eggplant, okra, bitter melon, garlic, onions, tomatoes, string beans, green chili, and winged beans) from the family backyard. They are then washed and prepared immediately to keep their freshness. 

Back in the day, harvesting vegetables in one’s garden was a sign of warmth and honesty. It also provided an opportunity to have friendly conversations with neighboring families. Nowadays, you can easily purchase the ingredients with one trip to the grocery store. You can then browse the Internet when you get home to find the best Pinakbet recipe online. However, there’s no doubt that there are still places in the Philippines where families prepare this palatable dish the traditional way.

You can also try this Pinakbet with Lechon Kawali recipe by Joyful Kitchen.

Someone Holding Raw Coffee Beans in Their Hands

In many regions in the Philippines, families enjoy the privilege of harvesting their own food.

Sinigang

No other Filipino dish is more mouthwatering—literally—than sinigang. This sour-tasting soup gets much of its flavor from tamarind. Its method of cooking is rather flexible, as it can be cooked with pork, beef, shrimp, fish, and sometimes even chicken. Most of the time, however, it’s made with pork ribs. And aside from tamarind, other ingredients include string beans, kangkong (water spinach), eggplant, radish, red onion, finger chili, and fish sauce. 

In the past, preparing sinigang meant climbing a huge tamarind tree first. Nowadays, people use different agents to give sinigang its sour taste. Some use raw mango, guava, or calamansi. People in Negros and Panay use batuan (Garcinia binucao). And if you have no access to organic ingredients, you can always use sinigang tamarind mix. Use this Sinigang recipe if you want to try cooking this flavorful dish yourself.


2. Unique Filipino Food

It’s difficult to think that a country like the Philippines would have anything unique come out of it, considering that it’s been under the rule and influence of more than one culture within 500 years. And yet, when it comes to cuisine, the Philippines may just surprise you.

Balut

Balut possibly originated from China and it’s also a delicacy in other parts of Asia. However, the Philippines is most known for having this exotic street nutriment as a national food. 

Balut is a fertilized duck egg, aged between 12 and 20 days. There’s a saying among Filipinos that only real men eat the more developed balut fetus. Many even consider it to be an aphrodisiac. A lot of people are repulsed by the unappetizing appearance of this Filipino street food, but once you’ve tried it, you’ll say that it’s disgustingly delicious.

Halo-Halo

Halo-halo is the ultimate treat during summer in the Philippines. It literally means “mix-mix” and it’s made with shaved ice, sweetened beans, sweetened gelatin, fruit slices, and evaporated milk. It’s then topped with a scoop of ice cream and mixed. It’s said that halo-halo is the Pinoy version of the Japanese kakigori, except that halo-halo has more ingredients. 

Speaking of ingredients, some restaurants in the Philippines serve “special” halo-halo, which has more scoops of ice cream and contains a few leche flan (the Pinoy version of the European Crème caramel) cubes, as well as a piece of barquillo.

The fact that halo-halo has been featured in several international TV shows is proof of just how unique and well-known this Filipino dessert is.

Halo-halo

Halo-halo

Adobo 

Adobo is (unofficially) the national dish of the Philippines. It refers to a cooking method that involves marinating and stewing pork or chicken (more often chicken) in a mixture of soy sauce, vinegar, and spices. There are many versions of the Filipino adobo, but the basic ingredients are the same. Some add pineapple while others use siling haba (finger chili). 

It’s up to you what you want to put in your own version of adobo. But if you want to try the standard version, stick to soy sauce (which gives it its dark color and saltiness), vinegar (which flavors and tenderizes the meat), and garlic, onions, bay leaves, and pepper for sautéeing the meat.

Kwek-Kwek 

Kwek-kwek is actually a variation of tokneneng, a Filipino street food made by deep-frying hard-boiled eggs covered in orange batter. The only difference between the two is that tokneneng uses duck egg while kwek-kwek uses quail egg. 

Local legend has it that this popular street food was invented when a balut vendor accidentally dropped her goods. To save what remained of her merchandise, she rolled the eggs in flour and fried them. 

Visit town plazas or bus stations in the Philippines if you want to have a taste of this one-of-a-kind Filipino snack.

Kwek-kwek

Kwek-kwek

Lechon Baboy

Lechon is not unique to the Philippines per se, but there are probably no people in the world who treasure this method of cooking more than the Filipinos. And while the term lechon refers to a roasted piglet, it’s also used in the Philippines to refer to roasted chicken or turkey. Back in the day, it was piglets that were being roasted; as time went by, the size of the pig got bigger. Nowadays, lechon is a staple for special occasions and are always present at fiestas, birthday parties, weddings, and reunions.

    This lesson will help you learn more about the unique cuisine of the Philippines!

Lechon, or Roasted Piglet

Lechon is a staple at fiestas, birthday parties, weddings, and reunions in the Philippines.

Puto-Bumbong

If you’ve ever attended the Simbang Gabi in the Philippines, you’ve probably come across this purple Filipino snack served outside church cathedrals during the Christmas season

There’s not enough information as to where this tasty kakanin originated, but some say it was brought to the Philippines from Mexico by explorers Urdaneta and Legaspi. Puto refers to steamed glutinous rice, while bumbong refers to “bamboo cannon.” This bamboo cannon, or tube, is what the flour mixture is poured into. It’s then wrapped in a piece of cloth and cooked in a steamer. 

No bamboo steamer? No problem. This video will show you how to make puto bumbong at home.

3. Food-Related Vocabulary

Now, let’s take a look at some common food-related words and expressions. We’ll cover everything from how to order Filipino food to words you need for cooking.

Let’s start with some words related to eating:

  • kain (“to eat”)
  • kanin (“steamed rice”)
  • ulam (“viand”)

*Note: While rice is the main staple food in the Philippines, ulam is an essential component of every meal. Any dish eaten with rice can be considered ulam in the Philippines. There’s no exact English term for it, but “viand” is what’s often used to describe it.

  • plato/pinggan (“plate”)
  • kutsara (“spoon”)
  • tinidor (“fork”)
  • kutsilyo (“knife”)
  • baso (“glass”)
  • merienda (“snacks”)
  • kakanin (“sticky rice snacks”)
  • panghimagas (“dessert”)

1 – Inviting Someone to Eat

  • Tara, kain tayo. (“Come on, let’s eat!”)
  • Doon tayo kumain sa bagong restaurant. (“Let’s try the new restaurant at the corner.”)
  • Mag take-out tayo. (“Let’s take out some food.”)
  • Mag merienda muna kayo. (“You guys have some snacks first.”)

2 – When Eating at a Restaurant

  • Patingin ng menu. (“May I take a look at the menu, please?”)
  • Mayroon ba nito? (“Is this available?”)
  • Bigyan mo kami ng… (“We will have…”)
  • Pwede bang makuha ang bill? (“May we have the bill, please?”)

3 – Talking About Food

  • Gutom na ako. (“I’m hungry.”)
  • Gusto ko nang kumain. (“I really want to eat now.”)
  • Gulay lang ang kakainin ko. (“I’m only going to eat vegetables.”)
  • Dagdagan mo pa ang kanin mo. (“You should get more rice.”)
  • Ang sarap! (“Delicious!”)
  • Medyo maalat siya. (“It’s a bit salty.”)
  • Kulang siya sa lasa. (“This one’s a bit bland.”)
  • Busog na busog ako! (“I’m so full!”)

A Woman about to Eat a Salad

Tara, kain tayo. (C’mon, let’s eat.)

4 – Cooking Vocabulary

The verb “to cook” and the adjective “cooked” share the same root in Tagalog, which is luto. Note that the verb has a longer vowel sound.

  • luto (“to cook”)
  • lutô (“cooked”)
  • hilaw (“raw”) or (“needs more cooking”)
  • sunog (“burnt”)
  • saing (“to steam rice”)
  • prito (“to fry”)
  • gisa (“to saute”)
  • sangkutsa (“to pre-cook”)
  • paksiw (“to cook in vinegar broth”)
  • laga (“to boil meat”)
  • ihaw (“to grill”)
  • sangkap (“ingredient”)
  • hiwa (“to slice”) or (“to cut”)
  • karne (“meat”)
  • gulay (“vegetables”)
  • kawali (“pan”)
  • kaldero (“cooking pot”)

Here’s an additional list of Tagalog words about food and eating.

4. Bonus: Simple Recipes to Make Authentic Filipino Food at Home

In this section, I’m going to share with you two Filipino recipes: one for the national dish of the Philippines—chicken adobo—and another for the popular Kapampangan dish, sisig.

A- Chicken Adobo Recipe

Chicken adobo is so popular that there are now so many different versions of it. What I’m going to show you, however, is how to cook authentic chicken adobo. 

You will need:

  • 2 lbs. cut-up chicken pieces
  • 5 cloves garlic (chopped)
  • 3 pcs. dried bay leaves
  • 4 tbsp. white vinegar
  • 8 tbsp. soy sauce
  • ¼ tsp. salt (optional)
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. whole peppercorn
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 3 tbsp. cooking oil

Directions

Step 1 Heat the pan.

Step 2 Add oil into the pan and cook the garlic until golden brown.

Step 3 Add the chicken and saute until the skin turns light brown.

Step 4 Add the bay leaves, soy sauce, and vinegar and cover the pan. Leave to a boil for 10 to 15 minutes. 

Step 5 Turn off the stove and add the pepper. Your chicken adobo is now ready.

Note: This is the simplest way to cook chicken adobo. You can also use onion in addition to garlic, as well as annatto powder. It’s also important to note that in many provinces in the Philippines, people use native chicken, although they require a little bit more time to cook since native chicken meat is tougher.

B- Pork Sisig

Pork sisig is actually one of the dishes you need to try here in the Philippines. Just like kare-kare, it’s a Kapampangan dish and is a cuisine staple of the people of Pampanga. In fact, in 2017, the city government of Angeles City declared pork sisig an intangible heritage. The term sisig is said to have been first mentioned in a Kapampangan dictionary, which dates back to the seventeenth century. 

The dish is prepared by first boiling a pig’s head until it becomes tender. Portions of the head are then chopped and either grilled or broiled. It’s then served on a sizzling plate, spiced with chopped onions. This is the traditional way to prepare sisig, although there are more popular versions today. Here’s a recipe for one of those versions:

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. pig ears
  • ¼ lb. chicken liver
  • 1 pc. egg
  • 1 ½ lb. pork belly
  • 1 pc. onion (minced)
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp. ground black pepper
  • 3 tbsp. chili flakes
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 pc. lemon
  • ½ cup butter
  • 3 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 6 cups water
  • 3 tbsp. mayonnaise

Directions

Step 1 Pour water in the pan and bring to a boil. Add salt and pepper.

Step 2 Add pig’s ear and pork belly and simmer until tender (40 minutes to 1 hour).

Step 3 Remove the meat from the pot and drain excess water.

Step 4 Grill boiled pig’s ear and pork belly and chop into fine pieces once done.

Step 5 Melt the butter in a wide pan and add onions. Cook onions until soft.

Step 6 Add chicken liver, crushing it in the pan while cooking.

Step 7 Add chopped pig’s ear and pork belly and cook for 12 minutes.

Step 8 Add soy sauce, garlic powder, and chili, and mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Step 9 Add mayonnaise and mix it with the rest of the ingredients.

Step 10 Serve on a plate topped with chopped spring onions and raw egg.

Pork Sisig

Pork sisig was declared an intangible heritage of Angeles City, Pampanga in 2017.

5. Learn More About The Filipino Language and Culture With FilipinoPod101

You’re probably drooling by now after seeing all those images of mouthwatering Filipino dishes. And while learning about Filipino food, you were also learning about Filipino culture—an important component of your language studies. If you want to expand your knowledge of the culture and language of the Philippines, there’s no better place to go than FilipinoPod101.com.

FilipinoPod101 offers an innovative approach to learning Filipino. From core Filipino vocabulary to pronunciation and basic word order, FilipinoPod101 has all the lesson materials you need to learn Filipino in a fun and engaging way. With the variety of lessons provided for you, you’ll start speaking Filipino after only one lesson. If you have a Premium PLUS account, you can also use our MyTeacher service, which provides one-on-one coaching and personalized feedback to further accelerate your learning.

There you have it for our top must-try Filipino dishes. Let us know in the comments if there are any dishes you believe should have been on our list!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Let's Cook in Filipino

Fundamental Tagalog Grammar Rules For Learners

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Filipino is a beautiful language, but it cannot be learned and mastered overnight. 

If you want to master grammar in Tagalog and speak like a native Filipino, you need to have a strong foundation. That means studying the language in-depth and learning the most basic concepts before advancing to the more difficult parts.

Well, if you want to familiarize yourself with the Filipino grammar basics, you’ve come to the right place. On this page, we’ll present you with the fundamentals of Filipino grammar, from sentence formation to pronunciation.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Filipino Table of Contents
  1. General Rules
  2. Nouns
  3. Pronouns
  4. Verbs and Tenses
  5. Adjectives
  6. Level Up Your Filipino With FilipinoPod101

1. General Rules

There are four general aspects of the Filipino language you need to be familiar with before you can begin studying the rest. Let’s start with how words are formed and connected in Filipino.

1 – Roots and Affixes

Roots and affixes are the main ingredients of Tagalog words. Affixes are added to roots to change the meaning or aspect of a word, particularly of verbs.

The affix -in, for instance, can be added to the verb root kain (eat), to change it to its past or imperative form.

RootPastImperative
kainkinainkainin

Some Tagalog root words can also be combined to craft a new word.

araw (day) + gabi (night)araw-gabi (day and night)

New words can also be formed by repeating certain roots. In this case, a hyphen is used as a separator.

isa (one)isa-isa (one by one)
gaya (imitate)gaya-gaya (a person who imitates)
halo (mix)halo-halo (a mixture of different things)
araw (day)araw-araw (every day)

Finally, affixes can be added to the beginning, middle, or end of a root word to form new nouns, verbs, adjectives, or adverbs.

  • tag-ulan (rainy season)
  • kahapon (yesterday)
  • mahangin (windy)
  • tumawid (crossed)
  • mabenta (marketable)
  • iyakin (crybaby)

2 – Sentence Structure

Tagalog word order is a bit different from that of English, and is much simpler in a sense. For instance:

English SentenceFilipino TranslationLiteral Meaning
The car is beautiful.Maganda ang kotse.Beautiful the car.

Here, the particle marker ang is used to mark the noun that comes after it as the subject of the sentence. 

You could also say, Ang kotse ay maganda, which is a direct translation of the example. However, this particular sentence pattern is used only in formal writing and not in casual conversations.


3 – Pronunciation and Sounds

Replaceable Sounds

We’ve discussed Tagalog pronunciation in detail in one of our recent blog entries, but we haven’t yet touched on the topic of replaceable sounds. Under certain conditions, some Tagalog vowel sounds can be replaced.

The /i/ sound, for instance, can be changed to the /e/ sound:

  • lalaki (man, male) → lalake
  • hindi (no) → hinde
  • mabuti (good) → mabute
  • mabait (friendly) → mabaet
  • madami (plenty) → madame

The /e/ sound can also be changed to the /i/ sound. This usually happens when the last syllable is immediately followed by a word:

  • sige na (come on, go ahead) → sigi na

And then there’s the changing of the /o/ sound to the /u/ sound:

  • total (after all) → tutal

This also happens when the last syllable is not followed by a pause:

  • Ano pa? (What else?) → Anu pa?
  • Botika (Drugstore) → Butika

Keep in mind that the change in sound is only applied to spoken language; they keep their original spelling in written form.

Syllable Repetition

One thing that’s unique about the Filipino language is the repetition of syllables in words, particularly when conjugating verbs. The word awit (to sing), for instance, becomes aawit (will sing) in its future tense. 

The rules for syllable repetition are simple. If the syllable begins with a vowel, the first vowel alone is repeated.

amin (admit)aamin (will admit)
iwan (leave behind)iiwan (will leave behind)
uwi (go home)uuwi (will go home)

Now, if the syllable begins with a consonant, the first consonant and the first vowel are repeated.

balik (return)babalik (will return)
sayaw (dance)sasayaw (will dance)
kain (eat)kakain (will eat)

A Child Playing with Colored Wooden Blocks

Roots and affixes are the building blocks of Tagalog words.

4 – Markers

Markers play an important role in Tagalog grammar. These are short words that indicate what role a word is playing in a sentence. The three main markers are ang, ng, and sa.

The Ang Marker

The four ang markers are: ang, si, sina, and ang mga.

The ang marker is used to mark a word as the focus of a sentence. 

Matalino ang babae.The woman is smart.
Magulo ang usapan.The discussion was a mess.
May limang anak ang lalaki.The man has five children.

However, it’s not used to mark people’s names. We use the si marker for that one.

Masipag si Marco.Marco is hardworking.
Nagbabasa si Denise sa loob ng kwarto niya.Denise is reading inside her room.
Nasa opisina si Roxanne.Roxanne is in the office.

Take note that the si marker is only used to mark singular names. To indicate the names of two or more people, we use sina.

Nasa labas na sina Paul at Aileen.Paul and Aileen are already outside.
Dumating kanina sina Rudy.Rudy and company arrived earlier.
Hindi nakauwi sina JR at Lisa.JR and Lisa were not able to make it home.

What about ang mga? Well, we use this marker to mark a word that’s in its plural form.

Naglalaro ang mga bata.The kids are playing.
Nagliparan ang mga ibon.The birds have flown away.
Biglang nagsidatingan ang mga tao.The people suddenly started arriving.

The Ng Marker

The ng markers are: ng, ni, nina, and ng mga.

Ng is used to indicate possession, with the name of the possessor coming right after the marker.

bahay ng presidentehome of the president
pagkain ng pusafood of the cat
aklat ng estudyantebook of the student

It’s also used to mark a direct object that is not the focus.

Naghanap ng trabaho si Anton.Anton went looking for a job.
Bumili ng bahay ang pamilya ni Marc.Marc’s family bought a house.
Binigyan niya ako ng maraming pera.He gave me a lot of money.

The Sa Marker

The sa markers are: sa, kay, kina, and sa mga.

Sa is used to mark location, direction, future time, and the beneficiary of an action in a sentence.

LocationMay pagtitipon sa bahay ko.There’s a party at my house.
DirectionPumunta siya sa Maynila.He went to Manila.
Future timeDadating si Mico sa Martes.Mico will arrive on Tuesday.
Beneficiary of an actionNagluto siya para sa asawa niya.He cooked for his wife.

2. Nouns

Nouns are the most important words you can learn when you begin studying a language. But they can only benefit you if you know how to use them! In this section, we’ll cover a couple of basic Filipino grammar rules concerning nouns and their usage.

1 – Gender

Filipino is considered a gender-neutral language. That said, there are no equivalents for the words “he” and “she” in Tagalog.

In the following sentences, siya is used to refer to both the male subject and the female subject.

  • Siya yung sinasabi ko. (He was the one I was talking about.)
  • Umalis siya para bumili ng pagkain para sa amin. (She went to buy some food for us.)

In these examples, niya is used for the pronouns “he” and “she,” serving as a substitute for an unfocused actor.

  • Kinuha niya ang telepono ko. (He took my phone.)
  • Hinugasan niya ang kanyang mga kamay. (She washed her hands.)

2 – Plurals

In English grammar, regular nouns in their singular form are changed into their plural form by adding -s at the end of the word. In Filipino grammar, a word is made plural by placing the marker mga before the word.

EnglishFilipino
SingularPluralSingularPlural
birdbirdsibonmga ibon
carcarskotsemga kotse
treetreespunomga puno


3. Pronouns

In Filipino grammar, pronouns are categorized in the same manner that English pronouns are. However, it’s important to note that not all English pronouns have a direct equivalent in Tagalog. Tagalog pronouns are unique in that they’re divided into three groups—the same groups that are used to classify markers—ang, ng, and sa.

1 – Ang pronouns are the focus in a sentence.


EnglishFilipinoExample
“I”ako (singular first person)Ako ang nag-ayos ng problema niya.
“I am the one who fixed his problem.”
“you”ikaw (singular second person)Ikaw ang hinahanap nila.
“You are the one they are looking for.”
“he” / “she”siya (singular third person)Siya ang may pakana ng lahat.
“She is the mastermind of all this.”
“we”tayo (inclusive) / kami (exclusive) (plural first person)Nanalo tayo.
“We won.”
“you all”kayo (plural second person)Dapat pumunta kayo lahat dun.
“You all should go there.”
“they”sila (plural third person)Umuwi na sila.
“They went home already.”

2 – Ng pronouns replace unfocused nouns in a sentence.


EnglishFilipinoExample
“my” / “of me”ko (singular first person)Natupad ang kahilingan ko.
“My wish was granted.”
“your” / “of you”mo (singular second person)Nasa labas ang mga kaibigan mo. “Your friends are outside.”
“his” / “her” / “of him” / “of her”niya (singular third person)Nahanap niya ang nawawala kong aso.
“He found my lost dog.”
“our” / “of us”namin (exclusive) / natin (inclusive) (plural first person)Isinauli namin ang kotse.
“The car was returned by us.”
“your” / “of you”ninyo (plural second person)Nariyan na ang mga grado ninyo.
“Your grades are now available.”
“their” / “of them”nila (plural third person)Malayo ang opisina nila.
“Their office is quite far.”

3 – Sa indicates an unfocused direction and location in a sentence; it also indicates possession.


EnglishFilipinoExample
“me” / “my”akin (singular first person)Nasa akin ang anak mo.
“Your daughter is with me.”
“you” / “your”iyo (singular second person)Tatawag ako sa iyo bukas.
“I am going to call you tomorrow.”
“him” / “his” / “her” / “hers”kanya (singular third person)Nasa kanya ang mikropono.
“The microphone is with him.”
“us” / “our”amin (exclusive) / atin (inclusive) (plural first person)Amin ito.
“This is ours.”
“you” / “your”inyo (plural second person)Sa inyo yata ito.
“This is probably yours.”
“them” / “their”kanila (plural third person)Kanila na lang yang pagkain.
“Give the food to them.”

4 – Kita

In instances when “I” (ko) acts as the doer and “you” (ka) functions as the object, the pronoun kita is used. The best example is the statement, Mahal kita (“I love you”), or literally, “You are loved by me.” 

Here are more examples where kita (“I…you”) is used:

  • Nakita kita sa TV. (I saw you on TV.)
    Lit. “You were seen on TV by me.”
  • Tinatawag kita kanina. (I was calling you earlier.)
    Lit. “You were called by me earlier.”
  • Kaibigan kita. (You are my friend.)
  • Tuturuan kita. (I will teach you.)
  • Bibigyan kita ng pabuya. (I will give you a reward.)

A Guy Whispered Something to a Girl

Tuturuan kita ng Filipino. (“I will teach you Filipino.”)


4. Verbs and Tenses

Verbs are arguably the most difficult aspect of Tagalog grammar. Non-Tagalog speakers might find them complicated at first as they don’t work the same way that English verbs do. The good news is  that, in Filipino grammar, tenses work pretty much the same way as those in English. 

Basically, Tagalog verbs are made up of a verb root and an affix. In order to change the meaning or tense of the verb, an affix can be added to the beginning, middle, or end of the verb root.

1 – Verb Groups

Tagalog verbs are grouped according to how they’re conjugated. They can either be mag-, ma-, um-, in-, or i- verbs. 

Below are examples of how words are conjugated in each group:

-Mag Verb

Root VerbPastPresentFutureImperative
aral (to study)nag-aral (studied)nag-aaral (studying)mag-aaral (will study)mag-aral (study)

-Ma Verb

Root VerbPastPresentFutureImperative
kinig (to listen)nakinig (listened)nakikinig (listening)makikinig (will listen)makinig (listen)

-Um Verb

Root VerbPastPresentFutureImperative
kain (to eat)kumain (ate)kumakain (eating)kakain (will eat)kumain (eat)

-In Verb

Root VerbPastPresentFutureImperative
tawag (to call)tumawag (called)tumatawag (calling)tatawag (will call)tumawag (call)

-I Verb

Root VerbPastPresentFutureImperative
inom (to drink)uminom (was drank)iniinom (being drank)iinumin (will be drank)inumin (drink)

2 – Verb Repetition

Tagalog verbs can be repeated when expressing a prolonged action. This is a unique characteristic of Filipino grammar. When verbs are repeated in this manner, the two words are linked by nang.

Kain nang kain si Raul.Raul keeps on eating.
Sumigaw nang sumigaw si Tanya.Tanya kept on shouting.
Iyak nang iyak si Joy.Joy keeps on crying.

A Man with Plenty of Foods

Kain nang kain si Raul. (“Raul keeps on eating.”)


5. Adjectives

Adjectives are the spice of language. This section will teach you what you should know before using them yourself.

1 – Adjective-Noun Identicals

Some Tagalog adjectives are identical to nouns in both spelling and meaning, although they differ in pronunciation with the noun having a long vowel sound.

NounAdjective
buhay (life)buhay (alive)
gutom (hunger)gutom (hungry)
hirap (poverty)hirap (struggling)
pagod (tiredness)pagod (tired)
sunog (fire)sunog (burnt)

2 – Adjective Gender

There are a number of Tagalog adjectives used to describe female individuals. These words usually end in /a/.

MaleFemale
ambisyoso (ambitious)ambisyosa
bobo (stupid)boba 
bungangero (vociferous)bungangera
luku-luko (crazy)luka-luka
suplado (snobbish)suplada

3 – Degrees of Adjectives

In Tagalog grammar, adjectives are sometimes repeated when describing a noun in the intensive degree. 

  • In the superlative degree, pinaka is usually added before the word, as in pinakamaganda (the most beautiful). 
  • Meanwhile, napaka is used to describe something to an intensive degree, as in napakaganda (very beautiful). 

This can also be achieved by repeating the root word, as in magandang-maganda or ang ganda-ganda.

Take note that if the root word ends in a vowel, -ng is attached to it—but only to the first appearance of the word, and not the repetition.

batang-batavery young
basang-basavery wet
litong-litovery confused
sirang-siraextremely worn out
tuwang-tuwavery happy

On the other hand, if the root word ends in a consonant, the two words are linked by na.

atat na atatvery eager
gutom na gutomvery hungry
laos na laosvery obsolete
malinis na malinisvery clean
pagod na pagodvery tired

A Woman Thinking Something while Studying

Litong-lito ka na ba? Bakit hindi mo subukan ang FilipinoPod101?
(“Are you very confused already? Why don’t you try FilipinoPod101?”)

6. Level Up Your Filipino With FilipinoPod101

These are just some of the basic concepts of Tagalog grammar. There is definitely a lot more to the Tagalog language than these foundational rules. If you want to take things to another level, FilipinoPod101 is here for you.

There are free resources available to you on FilipinoPod101.com, but if you want to benefit from exclusive lessons and lesson materials, become a Premium member today. If you sign up now, you’ll get instant access to some exclusive materials that will help you in your Tagalog learning journey. Some of the things you’ll get to enjoy are the exclusive lessons from our Lesson Library, interactive lesson quizzes, and the MyTeacher feature that lets you have your own personal teacher who will provide you with a professional assessment and a personalized learning program.

That’s it for this post. If you have any questions about grammar in Tagalog, don’t hesitate to ask us in the comments section!

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Be Inspired By This List of Tagalog Quotes and Proverbs

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Writers often use quotes to develop a piece of writing they’re working on, be it an article, poem, essay, or novel. Whether you’re a writer or not, learning quotes and sayings from other cultures can benefit you in more ways than one. If you’re learning the Filipino language, for instance, studying Tagalog quotes and sayings will give you a better grasp of both the language of the Filipino people and their culture.

Filipinos are a very expressive people, and they express their thoughts and emotions through art, particularly in music or literature. They also use quotes or proverbs to share wisdom, express a sentiment, give a lecture, or even try to win an argument.

There are several ways that Filipinos convey a message through these sayings. One way is through a tradition called balagtasan, which is a debate in the form of poetry. Perhaps the most common way, though, is through storytelling. In rural areas, once upon a time, Filipino kids would gather around their lolo (“grandfather”) or lola (“grandmother”) and wait for them to tell stories filled with proverbs, called salawikain.

Today, proverbs are still a part of daily conversations for Filipino people. In this article, we’ll present you with Filipino quotes about life, love, friendship, family, and more. To ensure you get a good mix, we’ve included both native Filipino quotes and the Filipino translation of quotes from other languages.

Let’s get started.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Filipino Table of Contents
  1. Quotes About Success
  2. Quotes About Life
  3. Quotes About Time
  4. Quotes About Love
  5. Quotes About Family
  6. Quotes About Friendship
  7. Quotes About Food
  8. Quotes About Health
  9. Quotes About Language Learning
  10. Bonus: Famous Quotes From Tagalog Movies
  11. Learn More Than Just Tagalog Quotes With FilipinoPod101!

1. Quotes About Success

Do you have big plans for the future or an upcoming project you’re concerned about? Let’s kick off our list with some popular Filipino quotes about work and success that are sure to inspire you.

1. Ang pagiging dukha ay hindi hadlang sa tagumpay. 

“Poverty is not a hindrance to success.”

The Filipino people are not a stranger to poverty. Many rich and famous Filipinos today who started from the bottom, such as the Pinoy boxing pride Manny Pacquiao, understand that the true hindrance to success is not poverty, but the unwillingness to think big and get out of a state of helplessness.

2. Kapag may itinanim, may aanihin. 

“If you sow something, you will harvest something.”

This may be similar to the saying “What you sow is what you reap,” or “You get what you deserve,” but it best represents the idea that if you plant while the weather is nice, you’ll have something to eat when the storm comes and you can’t leave the house. 

It reminds me of the parable of the ant and the grasshopper, where the carefree grasshopper mocked the ant for gathering food in the summer. In the end, when the rainy season came, the grasshopper had nothing to eat, while the ant was safe underground with the abundant resources it had collected months prior.

3. Hindi tayo makakasulong kung pahihintulutan nating hilahin tayo pabalik ng nakaraan. 

“We cannot move forward if we allow the past to pull us back.” 

These were the words of President Rodrigo Duterte during the 2016 State of the Nation Address. His message is simple: If we want to succeed and progress, we must stop looking back, pointing fingers, and blaming others. Rather, we must move on and strive to reach the goal ahead of us.


A Woman Cultivating Her Garden

Kapag may itinanim, may aanihin. (“If you sow something, you will harvest something.”)

2. Quotes About Life

Life is a mystery that people the world over have been trying to piece together since the beginning of time. Here are some quotes in Filipino concerning life and all that lies therein.

4. Ang negatibong tao ay nakakakita ng problema sa bawat pagkakataon. Ang positibong tao ay nakakakita ng pagkakataon sa bawat problema. 

“The pessimist finds difficulty in every situation. The optimist finds an opportunity in every difficulty.” 

This is a popular quote often attributed to a number of great names, including Winston Churchill. It highlights the importance of positivity. 

The Filipino people, in particular, are very resilient. Even in times of disaster, you’ll see them smiling and even making light of their situation. There are some who see this as a defense mechanism, but one reason Filipinos remain strong as a people is their craftiness and creativity, as well as their habit of looking at the brighter side of things.

5. Hindi mahalaga kung gaano katagal ka nabuhay. Ang mahalaga ay kung paano ka nabuhay. 

“It doesn’t matter how long you’ve lived. What matters is how you’ve lived your life.”

This saying has the same meaning as the famous quote, “It’s not the years in your life that count, but the life in your years.” It also reminds me of the final words of Nathan Algren (Tom Cruise) in the film The Last Samurai. When the emperor asked Algren to tell him how Katsumoto (Ken Watanabe) died, he replied: “I will tell you how he lived.”

6. Wala nang mas masahol pa kaysa sa pagbalik sa normalidad. 

“Nothing could be worse than a return to normality.”

This is a line from Arundhati Roy’s latest essay entitled, The Pandemic is a Portal. I included this on our list because it’s an excellent reminder that the circumstances we’re facing right now are offering us a chance to evaluate ourselves, and that we should come out of it as different people.

    Are you curious about daily life in the Philippines? Check out our vocabulary list of Tagalog words related to everyday activities.

3. Quotes About Time

Time is what binds us to our own mortality. Here are some Filipino time quotes, native and translated, to give you some cultural perspective on how Filipinos view this phenomenon. 

7. Ang pinakamagandang regalong iyong maibibigay sa taong mahalaga sa iyo ay oras. 

“The best gift you can give someone you care for is your time.”

Not all people value time, and some value material things more. However, if there’s one way you can show someone that you truly care for and value them, it’s by giving them quality time.

8. Aanhin pa ang damo kung patay na ang kabayo? 

“What is grass good for if the horse is already dead?”

This is a very popular Filipino saying that pertains to relief or help that arrived too late. It’s equivalent to the expression, “Closing the barn door after the horse has bolted.” It refers to an attempt at preventing something only after the damage has been done.

9. Ang oras ay ginto. 

“Time is gold.” 

A timeless classic, I must say. Every culture probably has this proverb in some form or another, and that only shows how valuable and precious time is—it must not be taken for granted. Ironically, Filipinos have a reputation for always being tardy, thus the expression “Filipino Time.” But did you know that this is not an accurate representation of the Filipino people? Just go to the Philippines or visit countries where Filipinos thrive, and you’ll see that most Filipinos actually value their time and that of others.


4. Quotes About Love

Are you madly in love with someone? Or maybe you’re a hopeless romantic? Either way, we think you’ll enjoy these Filipino quotes about love!

10. Pagsasama nang tapat, pagsasama nang maluwat. 

“Faithfulness breeds longevity.” 

Literally: “Being together in faithfulness, being together for eternity.”

Integrity is the most important thing in a relationship. Integrity breeds trust, and trust, in turn, breeds longevity.

11. Ang pag-ibig, pigilan man, ay makakahanap ng paraan. 

“Love, though hindered, will find a way.”

Filipinos are very passionate people. Not even death itself could scare a Filipino man who’s in love. 

There’s a similar Tagalog saying that goes, “Pag-ibig, ‘pag pumasok sa puso nino man, hahamakin ang lahat masunod ka lamang.” This one was written by the Filipino great Francisco Balagtas y de la Cruz, a prominent poet during the Spanish colonial period in the Philippines. The line basically says that a man in love will endure anything just to do love’s bidding.

12. Ang pag-ibig ang dapat manahan sa puso ng bawat nilalang. 

“Love should dwell in the heart of every creature.”

This speaks more of ‘agape,’ or unconditional, love and has nothing to do with romantic love. It means what it says—that every person should have love in their hearts if there is to be real peace in the world.

5. Quotes About Family

Family is a cornerstone of any society, so it should come as no surprise that there are plenty of Filipino family quotes that discuss the nature of familial relationships. 

13. Pahalagahan mo ang pamilyang meron ka, dahil hindi sa lahat ng panahon ay nariyan sila. 

“Cherish the family you have, because they are not always there.”

We often despise the family we were born into, especially if we grew up with much difficulty in life. This saying is a reminder that when worse comes to worst, it’s our family who will always be there for us.

14. Ang pagmamahal ng isang pamilya ay pwede mong matagpuan kahit sa hindi mo kadugo. 

“Family is not always about blood.”

We value our blood relatives because they’re the ones who have been with us since the day we came into this world. However, there are times when other people treat us better, which is what this message is conveying.

15. Ituring mo ang iyong pamilya bilang kaibigan, at ituring mo naman ang iyong mga kaibigan bilang pamilya.

“Treat your family as friends, and treat your friends as family.” 

Your family members are the first real friends you make in this life. In the same manner, your real friends are like your family. They love you unconditionally and treat you with respect.

Friends Talking to Each Other

Ituring mo ang iyong mga kaibigan bilang pamilya. (“Treat your friends as family.”)


6. Quotes About Friendship

Friends are one of life’s greatest joys and necessities. Check out these Filipino friendship quotes and see if you can relate! 

16. Wag kang humanap ng kaibigang makakaintindi sa’yo. Hanapin mo ang kaibigang hindi ka maiintindihan pero hindi ka iiwan. 

“Don’t look for a friend who will understand you; look for one who might not understand you but will not leave you, nonetheless.”

There are two important themes this quote touches on: loyalty and acceptance. A true friend will remain loyal to you even after learning of your weaknesses. Don’t just look for any friend; look for friends who will accept you for who you are and remain loyal to you until the end.

17. Sa panahon ng kagipitan nakikilala ang tunay na kaibigan. 

“Hard times reveal true friends.”

This quote doesn’t need a lot of explaining. It’s when you’re at rock bottom that you really discover who your genuine friends are.

18. Ang taksil na kaibigan ay higit na masama kaysa kaaway. 

“A treacherous friend is worse than an enemy.” 

There’s nothing worse than having someone you thought was a friend betray you. This quote is saying that sometimes, it’s better to have someone saying to your face that they hate you than to have someone sweet-talking you when you’re around and then stabbing you the moment you turn your back.


7. Quotes About Food

Can you get any deeper into a culture than knowing how it thinks about food? Here are some Filipino food quotes to get you thinking (and hungry!). 

19. Kung magbibigay man at mahirap sa loob, ang pinapakain ay hindi mabubusog. 

“Feeding someone reluctantly will only leave the other person with an empty stomach.” 

This is similar to Solomon’s proverb that goes, “Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith.” Indeed, if you’re going to give, do it not out of compulsion, but out of your own willingness. A small amount given out of love will fill not only the stomach, but also the heart.

20. Makulay ang buhay sa gulay. 

“Life is colorful with vegetables.”

The Philippines is an agricultural country, with most citizens living in rural areas and supporting themselves through farming. This saying is a testament to how crucial farming is to Filipinos, as well as how important vegetables are as a daily staple for every Filipino family.

21. Hayaan mong maging gamot ang iyong pagkain, at maging pagkain ang iyong gamot. 

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” 

This quote is from the Greek physician Hippocrates, known as the Father of Medicine. It’s said that he used these words in reference to certain herbs and spices, particularly garlic, which he prescribed to his patients to prolong their life.

A Sweet Couple Preparing Salad

Hayaan mong maging gamot ang iyong pagkain. (“Let food be thy medicine.”)

8. Quotes About Health

Health should be a person’s first priority, because only in good health can one accomplish more important goals. Here are a few quotes in Filipino on the topic.

22. Ang kalusugan ay kayamanan.

“Health is wealth.” 

This is a common saying that every culture probably has. It’s very catchy in both English and Tagalog because of the rhyming of the two main words. Indeed, the only way we can have the power to produce wealth is if our health is intact.

23. Ang kalusugan ay parang pera. Madalas ay hindi natin alam ang halaga nito hanggang sa ito ay mawala sa atin. 

“Health is like money. Oftentimes, we have no idea of its true value until it’s gone.”

This is somewhat similar to the previous quote. Health, like wealth, is often taken for granted. When we have plenty, we don’t seem to worry about what the future may bring; oftentimes, this leads us into letting our guard down when it comes to our health. The lesson: Don’t take your health for granted. Work hard, but don’t forget to rest and recharge.

24. Isang malusog na pangangatawan, mahinanon na pag-iisip, tahanan na puno ng pag-ibig—hindi nabibili ang mga bagay na ito—bagkus, ang mga ito ay pinaghihirapan. 

“A fit body, a calm mind, a house full of love—these things cannot be bought—they must be earned.” 

This quote reminds us that there are things in life that cannot be bought with money. Health, family, and relationships—these things are priceless. They’re not cheap, though. If you want to have a healthy mind and body, as well as healthy relationships, you need to be intentional. This means taking charge of what you eat, what you feed your mind, and how you spend time with the people you care about the most.


9. Quotes About Language Learning

What better way to motivate you in your language studies than by introducing you to some Filipino quotes about language learning?

25. Ang mga limitasyon ng aking wika ay nangangahulugan ng limitasyon ng aking mundo.

“The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.”

We grow up speaking one language. The more we explore the world, either through traveling or by reading, the more language we learn. If we only know one language, it’s either because we didn’t travel enough or we didn’t read enough.

26. Habang pinapanatili ng isang tao ang wika nito, pinapanatili nito ang mga marka ng kalayaan. 

“While a people preserves its language, it preserves the marks of liberty.” 

Oddly enough, these words were spoken by Jose Rizal. Despite being able to speak over twenty languages, he understood the importance of saving and preserving one’s mother tongue. Rizal wasn’t discouraging the use of foreign languages, as is evidenced by his being a polyglot. What he was saying is that while you learn the languages of other nations, you have to see to it that you don’t forget your own.

27. Siya na hindi nakakaalam ng mga wikang banyaga ay walang nalalaman tungkol sa kanyang sarili. 

“He who knows no foreign languages knows nothing of his own.” 

This quote by writer and statesman Johann Wolfgang von Goethe simply emphasizes the importance of learning a language other than your own. When you limit yourself to one language, you also limit yourself and your potential. On the contrary, learning more than one language opens a whole new world of opportunities for you.

10. Bonus: Famous Quotes From Tagalog Movies

To close, let’s look at a few popular Filipino movie quotes!

28. Walang himala! Ang himala ay nasa puso ng tao! – Nora Aunor, Himala (1982)

“There is no miracle! The miracle is in the heart of man!”

When it comes to quotes from Tagalog films, nothing could be more famous than this line by the “Superstar” of Philippine cinema, Nora Aunor. The line is from the film Himala, where Aunor played a young girl who could perform miracles. At the end of the film, she confesses that there are no miracles and that supernatural things are only man’s inventions.

29. Isang bala ka lang! – Fernando Poe Jr., Isang Bala Ka Lang (1983)

“You’d only take one bullet!” / “It would only take one bullet to take your life.”

This line is from the film of the same name. In the film, the late actor Fernando Poe, Jr., played the character of an honest cop who didn’t mind going head-to-head with dirty politicians. At one point in the movie, he points his finger at the face of a corrupt congressman and says to him: “Stop pretending that you’re a nice guy. You’d only take one bullet!”

30. “Trabaho lang ito, walang personalan.” – Rudy Fernandez, Markang Bungo, The Bobby Ortega Story (1991)

“It’s all just business. Don’t take it personally.”

The late Rudy Fernandez was considered one of the top action stars in Philippine cinema in the eighties and nineties. In his film Markang Bungo (Skull Mark), he played the character of Bobby Ortega, the chief of police of Baguio City from 1985 to 1987. Ortega was renowned for his crime-busting career, which significantly brought down the crime rate in Baguio City by 95%. He respected no one regardless of their status and would hunt down anyone who was going against the law. He argued that he was only doing his job as a cop. Thus the line, “It’s all business. Don’t take it personally.”

31. “Mahal mo ba ako dahil kailangan mo ako, o kailangan mo ako kaya mahal mo ako?” – Claudine Barretto, Milan (2004)

“Do you love me because you need me, or do you need me because you love me?”

This line certainly sent some romantic excitement down the spines of many Filipinos when the film first came out some sixteen years ago. The film starred two of the best actors of Philippine cinema, Piolo Pascual and Claudine Barretto. Pascual played the character of Lino, a young man who followed his missing wife in Milan. There, Lino met another Filipina named Jenny (played by Barretto). Their friendship evolved into a love affair, which was later put to the test. If there’s one scene in the movie that viewers will never forget, it’s definitely the one where Jenny asked Lino whether he loved her because he needed her, or if he needed her because he loved her.

32. “Oo na ako na. Ako na. Ako na ang mag-isa!” – Jennylyn Mercado, English Only, Please (2014)

“Alright, I admit it. It’s me. I’m the one who’s single!”

English Only, Please is a romcom starring Derek Ramsey and Jennylyn Mercado, who won the Best Actor and Best Actress awards for the film, respectively, during the 40th Metro Manila Film Festival. Mercado played the role of an English tutor named Tere who was hired by Julian Parker (Ramsey’s character) to translate a letter he was writing for his ex-girlfriend into Tagalog. In the middle of the film, Mercado’s character was in line for the jeepney when the dispatcher shouted that there was only room for one more person. He said that anyone in the line who was single should take the opportunity, to which Tere replied, “Oo na ako na. Ako na. Ako na ang mag-isa!” (“All right, I admit it. It’s me. I’m the one who’s single!”). It’s witty lines like this that made the film memorable, and of course, won it several awards.

A Cute Dog

“Oo na ako na. Ako na. Ako na ang mag-isa!”

    Did you know that watching Tagalog films is one of the best ways to learn Filipino? 

11. Learn More Than Just Tagalog Quotes With FilipinoPod101!

Phew! That was a long list of Tagalog quotes! But we know that you want more! And that’s the very reason that FilipinoPod101 is here. 

FilipinoPod101 can offer you much more than the Tagalog quotes about life we covered. At FilipinoPod101.com, you can dig deeper into the Tagalog language and learn more about Tagalog grammar, pronunciation, sentence patterns, and more.

We also offer a one-of-a-kind approach to learning Tagalog. Aside from free learning resources, you can also enjoy up-to-date blog articles, learn basic and advanced Tagalog vocabulary, and have a mobile app that lets you take your lessons with you. By becoming a member, you can have full access to exclusive lessons from our Lesson Library and learn through a lesson pathway designed to suit your needs. Add to that the MyTeacher feature that lets you interact with a personal teacher, who will guide you through your program and assess your progress.

So, what did you think of our list of Tagalog quotes? Let us know by leaving a comment below!

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Filipino Business Phrases for Speaking Professionally

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The Philippines is a multicultural country and is highly influenced by Western culture. This means that it’s not uncommon to hear people speaking their own language mixed with other dialects and foreign languages, particularly English. In fact, in some organizations, employees are encouraged to use English as the primary means of communication. Nevertheless, that shouldn’t stop you from learning Filipino business phrases.

Most job interviews in the Philippines are done in English, but Tagalog (mixed with a little bit of English, of course) is still the main language used in the workplace, particularly within the National Capital Region. If you wish to find employment in the Philippines as a foreigner, there are a few things that will be required of you by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), although speaking fluent Tagalog isn’t one of them.

You might need to use a lot of Tagalog, however, in regular conversations with colleagues, or even with clients and supervisors. For that very reason, it’s quite important for any non-Tagalog speakers wanting to find employment in the Philippines to learn and master basic Tagalog business phrases. Let’s get right to it, then!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Business Words and Phrases in Filipino Table of Contents
  1. Nailing a Job Interview
  2. Interacting with Coworkers
  3. Sounding Smart in a Meeting
  4. Handling Business Phone Calls and Emails
  5. Going on a Business Trip
  6. Enter the Filipino Corporate World More Confidently with FilipinoPod101

1. Nailing a Job Interview

Job Interview

You will seldom encounter companies in the Philippines that use Tagalog as the primary language when conducting interviews. This is especially true since the Philippines is home to nearly a thousand registered BPO companies, more than half of which are call centers. But that shouldn’t keep you from learning how to speak and understand Tagalog, because even if that’s the case, many interviewers don’t conduct interviews purely in English, either. 

But how would you know whether you should speak English or Tagalog? The key is to observe the interviewer from the very beginning. If the interviewer interjects a Tagalog word, then that’s a sign that it’s okay to use Taglish, a code-switching between Tagalog and English.

Using the Magic Word “Po”

If you’ve been studying the Filipino language and culture for some time now, you probably know already how important the expression Po (or Ho) is as a sign of courtesy. It’s especially crucial to use this expression when you’re in a corporate setting, particularly when you’re being interviewed for a job position.

Greetings and Self-Introductions

First, let’s cover how to start things off with your interviewer using proper Filipino business etiquette.

A- Saying Hello

  • Hello po. (“Hello.”) 

This is the standard greeting in Filipino. Take note that there’s no direct translation for the word “hello” in Tagalog, so the English word is often used either on its own or with the expression po.

  • Magandang umaga / hapon / gabi. (“Good morning / afternoon / evening.”)
  • Ikinagagalak ko po kayong makilala. (“I am glad to meet you.”)
  • Kumusta po kayo? (“How are you?”)

It’s customary in the Philippines to ask a person how they’re doing when meeting them for the first time. To learn more about how and when to use this greeting, be sure to check out our entry on How to Say Hello in Tagalog.

B- Saying Goodbye

  • Paalam. (“Goodbye.”)
  • Mauna na po ako. (“I will leave now.”) 

In some cultures, saying goodbye after a meeting is enough. In the Philippines, though, “goodbye” is usually followed by a polite statement that’s used to ask permission to leave.

Talking About Professional Experience

Depending on the company and the position you’re applying for, your interviewer may or may not ask you a lot of questions. Whichever the case is, you always need to be ready to give an answer.

C- Common Questions

  • Ano ang nag udyok sa’yo na mag-apply dito? (“What prompted you to apply here?”)
  • Paano ka tumugon sa stress? (“How do you respond to stress?”)
  • May mga nais ka bang itanong? (“Do you have any questions to ask?”)
  • Anong kurso ang tinapos mo? (“What course did you finish?” or “What degree do you have?”)

D- Possible Answers

  • Nagustuhan ko po ang misyon at pangitain ng inyong kumpanya. (“I fell in love with your company’s mission and vision.”)
  • Kalmado po akong klase ng tao. Kung kinakailangan, hindi ako takot humingi ng tulong. (“I am a calm person. But I don’t hesitate to ask for help when necessary.”)
  • Wala na po akong nais itanong. Salamat po. (“I don’t have additional questions. Thank you.”)
  • Nakapagtapos po ako ng kursong Psychology. (“I have a degree in Psychology.”)

Talking About Strengths

  • Hindi po ako basta-basta sumusuko sa mga hamon. (“I don’t easily give up on challenges.”)
  • Mabilis po akong matuto. (“I can learn quickly.”)
  • Hindi po ako mahirap turuan. (“I am not hard to teach.”)
  • Magaling po akong makisama. (“I am a team player.”)

Politely Asking the Interviewer to Repeat a Question

  • Mawalang galang po. Maaari po bang ulitin ang tanong? (“I’m sorry, but can you please repeat the question?”)

Thanking the Interviewer

  • Maraming salamat po sa binigay ninyong pagkakataon. (“Thank you for this wonderful opportunity.”)

If the interviewer says they’re going to call you soon, you can respond with:

  • Maraming salamat po. Hihintayin ko ang tawag ninyo. (“Thank you. I will be looking forward to your call.”)
Man and Woman Discussing Something

Ang galing mo namang managalog. Pamilyar ka ba sa FilipinoPod101?
(“You’re fluent in Tagalog. Are you familiar with FilipinoPod101?”)

2. Interacting with Coworkers

There are several Filipino business terms used to refer to the workplace:

  • Kumpanya (“Company”)
  • Opisina (“Office”)
  • Trabaho (“Work”)

Of course, the specific words a person uses most often will depend on which working sector they belong to. 

For instance, the head of an engineering project might say:

  • Maraming proyekto ang kumpanya ngayon. (“The company has been receiving a lot of projects lately.”)

On the other hand, an office worker might say:

  • Medyo magulo kanina sa opisina. (“It was a bit toxic at the office earlier.”)

And someone who works on a contract basis might say:

  • Binigyan kami ng maraming trabaho kanina. (“We were given a lot of work to do today.”)

Self-Introduction

Whichever working sector you may enter, it’s always important to know how to introduce yourself in Filipino.

  • Ako nga pala si [name]. (“I’m [name], by the way.”)
  • Ikaw, anong pangalan mo? (“What about you? What’s your name?”)
  • Ikinagagalak kitang makilala. (“I’m so glad to meet you.”)

Asking for Help

Aside from being hospitable, Filipinos are helpful, too. Just use any of the following phrases if you need help in the workplace:

  • Pwede mo ba akong tulungan? (“Can you help me, please?”)
  • Alam mo ba kung ano ang ibig sabihin nito? (“Do you know what this means?”)
  • Magpapaturo sana ako sa paggamit ng bagong printer. (“I was wondering if you could teach me how to use the new printer.”)

Making Apologies

Filipinos are quite sensitive and easily sulk or hold a grudge when offended. However, most Filipinos also value relationships and wouldn’t think twice about burying the hatchet if the other party made an effort to resolve the conflict. Here’s how you make apologies in a workplace setting.

  • Humihingi ako ng paumanhin. (“I’m sorry.”)
  • Pasensya ka na at hindi kita natulungan kanina. (“I’m sorry if I wasn’t able to assist you earlier.”)
  • Pasensya po, sir. Makakaasa kayong hindi na mauulit. (“My apologies, sir. You can rest assured it won’t happen again.”)

After-Work Socialization

Filipinos are among the most hardworking people in the world. They wouldn’t mind putting in extra hours just to make sure they meet a deadline. But that doesn’t mean they don’t know how to have a good time. If you’re working with Filipinos, expect to be invited for some after-work socialization, especially if it’s a Friday.

  • Tara, mag-break muna tayo. (“C’mon. Let’s take a break for a while.”)
  • Gala tayo, guys! (“Hey guys, let’s go someplace!”)
  • Kumusta na pala yung bagong project niyo? (“So, how’s that new project you’re working on?”)
  • Congrats pala sa promotion mo! (“Congratulations on your promotion!”)
  • Magpahinga ka naman paminsan-minsan. (“Don’t forget to relax from time to time.”)
Business Phrases

3. Sounding Smart in a Meeting

While Filipinos are emotionally expressive, most of them avoid verbal confrontation—even to the point that they would hesitate to call out a wrongdoing. It’s a good thing that times are changing. Perhaps as a result of Western influence, more and more Filipinos nowadays are getting rid of this culture (called hiya, which could mean “shame” or “embarrassment”).

Most Filipino companies are actually already practicing healthy communication within the workplace, particularly during meetings. Employees are encouraged to speak their minds. They are also encouraged not to gossip and talk behind people’s backs, but rather to learn how to confront in a healthy manner. 

In this section, we’ll provide you with some useful business Filipino for meetings and presentations.

Making Suggestions

  • Pwede bang mag-suggest? (“May I offer a suggestion?”)
  • Suggestion lang, pero pwede nating gamitin ang social media para sa campaign na ito. (“It’s just a suggestion, but we could definitely use social media for this campaign.”)
  • Baka pwede nating subukan ito? (“Perhaps we could try this?”)

Agreeing or Disagreeing with Someone and Making Negotiations

  • Sang-ayon ako sa sinabi ni Dave. (“I agree with what Dave just said.”)
  • Gusto ko iyang ideya mo, Brenda. (“I like your idea, Brenda.”)
  • Maganda yang idea mo, pero… (“That’s a good idea, but..”)
  • O baka naman pwedeng ito na lang ang gawin natin? (“Or perhaps we should try this one instead?”)

Giving Presentations

  • Salamat sa pagdalo ninyo sa aking presentasyon. (“Thank you for coming to my presentation.”)
  • Sabik na sabik na akong ibahagi sa inyo ang mga bago kong natuklasan. (“I’m excited to share with you guys the new insights I have acquired.”)
  • May mga katanungan ba? (“Any questions?”)

Reporting to Supervisors

  • Ipinatatawag niyo daw po ako, ma’am? (“You were calling for me, ma’am?”)
  • May kailangan po ba kayong ipagawa, sir? (“Is there anything you’d like me to do for you, sir?”)
A Group of Officemates

Mukhang maganda iyang ideya mo, Brenda!
(“That seems to be a good idea, Brenda!”)

4. Handling Business Phone Calls and Emails

For most companies in the Philippines, it’s common practice for frontdesk personnel to answer phone calls and emails in English. But let’s just say there are still those who use Tagalog when doing so. 

Answering a Call at Work

  • Magandang araw. Paano ko po kayo matutulungan? (“Good day. How may I help you?”)
  • Sandali lang po, sir. Ipapatawag ko po siya. (“Please wait a moment, sir. I’ll have him paged.”)
  • Ipapaabot ko po ang mensahe niyo sa kaniya. (“I will convey your message to her.”)

Taking Messages

  • Wala po si Sir Adrian ngayon. Pero pwede po kayong mag-iwan ng mensahe at ipapaalam ko kaagad sa kaniya kapag nakabalik na siya. (“Mr. Adrian is not here today. But you can leave a message for him and I’ll let him know once he gets back.”)
  • Wala po si Sir Adrian ngayon, pero pwede niyo pong iwan ang numero niyo para matawagan niya kayo pag nakabalik na siya. (“Mr. Adrian is not around at the moment, but you can leave your number so he can call you back when he returns.”)
  • Paumanhin po. Pwede niyo po bang ulitin? (“I’m sorry, but could you say that again?”)

Ending a Phone Conversation

  • Makakaasa po kayong makakarating sa kaniya ang mensahe niyo. (“You can rest assured that your message will reach her.”)
  • Salamat sa pagtawag. Paalam. (“Thank you for calling. Bye.”)

Greeting Someone in an Email

  • Magandang araw, Mrs. Smith. (“Good day, Mrs. Smith.”)
  • Sana ay nasa mabuti kayong kalagayan. (“Hoping that all is well with you.”)

Wrapping Up an Email

  • Mangyaring ipaalam niyo lamang kaagad sa amin kung mayroon kayong mga katanungan. Maraming salamat. (“Please let us know if you have further questions. Thank you.”)
  • Mangyaring ipaalam niyo lamang kaagad sa amin kung interesado kayo sa proyektong ito at ng sa ganoon ay mapag-usapan pa natin nang husto ang mga detalye. Salamat. (Please let us know if you are interested in the said project and we can set an appointment to discuss the details further. Thank you.”)
A Messenger

Baka sakaling hindi niyo natanggap ang e-mail namin.
(“In case you weren’t able to receive our email.”)

5. Going on a Business Trip

And finally, here are common Tagalog phrases to use when going on an individual or company business trip.

Booking a Hotel and Tickets

  • Nais kong bumili ng ticket para sa dalawang tao. (“I’m booking a flight for two people.”)
  • Ang petsa ng alis ay ika-sampu ng Mayo. (“The departure date is the tenth of May.”)
  • Magkano ang halaga ng business suite? (“What’s the rate for the business suite?”)
  • Maaari ko bang makita ang pinakamalaking kwarto? (“May I see the largest room available?”)

Meeting Partners or Clients at the Airport

  • Magandang araw, Mr. Lee. Ako po si Ryan Gomez ng ABC Company. Ako po ang susundo sa inyo. (“Good day, Mr. Lee. I’m Ryan Gomez of ABC Company. I’m here to pick you up.”)
  • Magandang araw. Ako po si Ryan Gomez, ang ahente na ipinadala ni Mr. Alex para dumalo sa pagpupulong. (“Good day. I’m Ryan Gomez, and I’m the agent that Mr. Alex sent for the conference.”)

Checking In or Out of a Hotel

  • May reservation ako na nakapangalan kay Dr. Danny Austria. (“I have a reservation under the name of Dr. Danny Austria.”)
  • Maaari bang mag early check-in? (“Is an early check-in possible?”)
  • Paki-proseso ang aming pag check-out. Salamat. (“Please process our check-out now. Thank you.”)

Thanking Partners or Clients for Their Hospitality

  • Maraming salamat sa pag-aalaga sa amin. (“Thank you for taking care of us.”)

6. Enter the Filipino Corporate World More Confidently with FilipinoPod101

Being a part of the Filipino corporate world, whether as an employee or a proprietor, can be intimidating if Tagalog is not your first language. Of course, you can always speak in English since it’s the second language in the Philippines, but still, it would be an advantage for you to be able to understand and speak basic Tagalog.

What we’ve done so far is introduce you to some basic and advanced Tagalog business phrases, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. If you want to deepen your knowledge and comprehension—not only of Tagalog business phrases, but of the Filipino language in general—the best step for you to take is to sign up on FilipinoPod101.com.

FilipinoPod101 is a leading online resource when it comes to learning Tagalog, providing an integrative learning experience that’s not offered in traditional classrooms. Here, you’ll find lessons designed to improve your vocabulary, comprehension, pronunciation, and overall fluency. And if you want to go even deeper, you can always subscribe to a Premium PLUS account to use our MyTeacher feature and gain exclusive access to every audio and video lesson, as well as printable PDF lesson notes, your own lesson checklist, and a personal assessment from highly experienced Filipino specialists.

So, what are your thoughts about our guide on Filipino business phrases? Did we leave out any important phrases you would like to know? Let us know in the comments section!

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Learn to Speak Tagalog: YouTube Channels You’ll Love

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Did you know that as you learn to speak Tagalog, YouTube videos can be a valuable supplementary resource?

YouTube has been around for fifteen years and it’s one of the most visited websites today, with five billion videos watched per day. While it’s filled with a variety of content, YouTube isn’t only about cat videos, pranks, and celebrity vlogs. When harnessed correctly, YouTube can be a very powerful educational tool—and this certainly applies to language learning!

Regardless of which language you wish to learn and master, you can rest assured that YouTube is one of the best platforms to supplement your studies. 

In this article, we’ll present you with ten of the best Filipino YouTube channels for enhancing your Tagalog-speaking skills and overall Filipino language comprehension.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Filipino Table of Contents
  1. FilipinoPod101: The Best Way to Learn Filipino on YouTube
  2. Learn Tagalog
  3. Pinoy BK Channel
  4. Pinoy Mystery Channel
  5. Learn Tagalog with Fides
  6. Wil Dasovich
  7. Filipino Fairy Tales
  8. GMA Public Affairs
  9. The Filipino Channel
  10. Teacher Pher
  11. FilipinoPod101
  12. Learn Tagalog Faster with FilipinoPod101.com

1. FilipinoPod101: The Best Way to Learn Filipino on YouTube

There are thousands of language learning channels available on YouTube, plenty of which teach the Filipino language. But if there’s a go-to YouTube channel for learning Tagalog, it’s FilipinoPod101. For one, we offer a unique approach to learning Tagalog. We also upload video lessons regularly, so you’ll always be in the loop! Whether you want to learn new Filipino words or explore Filipino culture, the FilipinoPod101 YouTube channel should be your first stop.  

That said, there are other channels on YouTube that you can utilize to gain more knowledge about the language and culture of the Filipinos. The good news is that these are not limited to channels that focus purely on language learning. We’ve collected Filipino language YouTube channels in a variety of categories, including documentary, music, travel, and even news. 

So, without further ado, here are the top ten YouTube channels to improve the quality of your Filipino language studies. 

2. Learn Tagalog

Category: Education
Level: Beginner-Intermediate

Learn Tagalog provides a fun and practical way to learn the Filipino language. The channel was created by a Filipina based in the United States, and has been up for seven years. It specializes in vocabulary, featuring common Tagalog words as well as words you wouldn’t normally encounter in everyday conversations. Her lessons are presented in a casual yet very applied manner.

From time to time, the channel also features lessons on Ilocano. These lessons are fun because the teacher presents them in a natural manner, just as if she was simply vlogging about her daily life. There are more than two hundred video lessons available on the Learn Tagalog YouTube channel, with fresh content being uploaded at least once a month. Highlights of the channel include Word of the Day and Tagalog Phrases.


3. Pinoy BK Channel

Category: Music
Level: Beginner-Intermediate

It’s clear from checking out the videos on this YouTube channel that it’s dedicated to providing its viewers with music videos for Filipino folk songs. In fact, if you check their “About” page, they mention that their main goal is to revive the songs taught by our Lolos and Lolas (Grandpas and Grandmas). 

For four years now, Pinoy BK Channel has been providing interested learners with high-quality videos featuring some of the most-loved folk songs in the Philippines, such as Atin Cu Pung Singing, Pen Pen De Sarape, and Leron Leron Sinta. But this channel isn’t only about songs. It also features famous Filipino alamat, or legends presented in a storytelling format. 

If you’re a beginner, you won’t have any troubles learning through this channel. All of the videos come with subtitles, so if you want to learn basic Tagalog words while finding out more about Filipino culture, this is the channel for you!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hu9OCQEVMds

4. Pinoy Mystery Channel

Category: Documentary
Level: Intermediate-Advanced

If you’re into mystery, the Pinoy Mystery Channel will surely sate your cravings for the unexplained. You may or may not be aware of it, but Filipinos are superstitious people. Before the Spaniards came, our ancestors were animists who worshiped animal spirits, spirits of nature, and deities. Perhaps this is the reason that many of us are deeply religious or simply fascinated with things that can not be explained. 

Pinoy Mystery Channel is not limited to Filipino mysteries, though, and it’s not even a channel for learning Tagalog at all. However, if you want to get used to hearing Tagalog words while enjoying some mystery-based documentaries, then this is one YouTube channel you shouldn’t miss.

5. Learn Tagalog with Fides

Category: Education
Level: Beginner

One of the most popular Filipino YouTube channels for learners, Learn Tagalog with Fides has been around for six years now. While the channel only has a few videos, most of them are very useful if you’re new to learning Tagalog.

Fides, the owner of this channel, is a Filipina living and working in France. She created the channel as a way of helping non-Tagalog-speaking viewers learn the Filipino language. 

On her channel, you’ll find a variety of lessons, such as Tagalog conversations related to eating, as well as lessons on Tagalog verbs and pronouns. What’s interesting about her channel is that Fides offers video tutorials with English, Tagalog, and French subtitles, so if you’re a French- or English-speaking student who wants to learn Tagalog, this is the perfect channel for you.

6. Wil Dasovich

Category: Travel & Culture
Level: All Levels

Wil Dasovich is a Filipino-American television personality, but he’s better known today as one of the most popular Filipino YouTube vloggers. He also joined Pinoy Big Brother, although he started as a model who appeared on print and TV ads. 

He started vlogging on YouTube in 2014, and while he speaks English most of the time in his videos, there are instances when he tries to speak Tagalog (he adds subtitles for foreign viewers to help them understand what he’s saying). Not only that, but when he was just starting to learn Filipino, he actually created a series of episodes called The Art of Tagalog. 

Follow Wil and improve your Tagalog while learning more about Filipino culture at the same time!


7. Filipino Fairy Tales

Category: Education
Level: All Levels

As the name suggests, Filipino Fairy Tales is a YouTube channel that provides some of the most popular children’s stories and alamat—and not only those of the Philippines, but of other cultures, too. 

The channel was launched almost four years ago with an episode featuring the story of the Lion and the Mouse (Ang Leon at ang Daga). Don’t be fooled, though, because while this channel features mostly children’s stories, some of the words used are quite advanced for learners who are just starting out. And since they’re in story form, expect for some of the sentence structures and words to be more formal. 

Afraid you won’t be able to follow along? Don’t worry. The subtitles are embedded, so you’ll never have to wonder what the narrator is saying.

    Our entry on Fairy Tale vocabulary will surely help you become more familiar with words related to this form of literature!

8. GMA Public Affairs

Category: News
Level: Advanced

GMA Public Affairs is the fourth most subscribed-to Philippine-based YouTube channel, with 9.5 million subscribers. 

This is not surprising, since it’s owned by one of the largest television networks in the country—GMA Network—and it’s where they post clips from the top shows every day. This channel is a great source of Filipino YouTube content as most of the videos are presented in the Tagalog language. Each upload is a fun way to learn Tagalog words while staying up-to-date with what’s going on in the Philippines. 

Unfortunately, the auto-translate from Filipino to English isn’t really that accurate. But that shouldn’t deter you from using this as a tool to amp up your Tagalog, since listening plays a major role in language acquisition.

9. The Filipino Channel

Category: News
Level: Advanced

TFC first started out as a global subscription TV network based in California. It was created to cater to the needs of Filipinos abroad, with most of its shows imported from the ABS-CBN network. 

Here, you’ll find full episodes of some of the most popular television shows by ABS-CBN, including the latest news, soap operas, and documentaries.

Just as in the case of GMA Public Affairs, the auto-translation from Filipino to English in most of the videos isn’t accurate. However, TFC is still a great way to learn Tagalog while finding out more about the culture and latest happenings of the Philippines.

10. Teacher Pher

Category: Education
Level: Beginner-Intermediate

Teacher Jennifer (a.k.a. Pher) has been vlogging on YouTube for about three and a half years now. According to her “About” page, she created Teacher Pher as a way of helping her fellow teachers and mothers prepare lessons for their kids. 

Her videos are a fun way of learning Filipino, particularly Tagalog phonics and basic pronunciation of words. Her channel is not limited to teaching grammar, though. From time to time, Teacher Pher also teaches mathematics and crafts, and even takes her viewers to her classes. Once in a while, she creates videos featuring her personal life, such as showing what’s inside her teacher bag or even her most recent mountain climb.


11. FilipinoPod101

Category: Language
Level: All Levels

There are many YouTube channels that aim to help non-Tagalog speakers learn the Filipino language, but none are more efficient in their approach than the FilipinoPod101 YouTube channel. Each video by FilipinoPod101 is designed to target a specific learner. For instance, there are videos specifically for those who are just starting out, and others made only for advanced learners (such as this one). 

Our channel is also updated almost every day, and you can rest assured that unique content is added regularly to meet the needs of learners regardless of their level. We also ensure that our videos have a variety of presentations and layouts, so that you’ll never get bored watching! Most importantly, our channel features a 24/7 Lesson Stream, which allows beginners to study all they want and all they need about basic grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, and learning tips.

12. Learn Tagalog Faster with FilipinoPod101.com

We’ve presented you with the top ten Filipino YouTube channels to help you in your language learning journey. There are multiple ways to master a new language, one of which is watching videos and listening to dialogues or music in your target language. It’s not an overnight process, but spending more time using this method will definitely boost your progress.

Nevertheless, if you’re looking for a more in-depth way of studying Tagalog, then your best course of action is to sign up on FilipinoPod101.com. This is a unique language learning system that offers innovative approaches to learning Tagalog, providing learners with all the resources they need to reach their goals. That includes a comprehensive lesson library, vocabulary lists, and even an English-Tagalog dictionary. FilipinoPod101 also offers fun ways to learn Tagalog through our blog page and YouTube channel. Want to have your own personalized learning program? You can get just that with our MyTeacher feature for Premium PLUS members.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg. You can always sign up to gain access to more exciting and exclusive features!

Oh, and don’t forget to let us know in the comments which of these YouTube channels you want to watch most, and why! Did we leave out any good ones?

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Learn the Top 15 Ways to Say Goodbye in Tagalog

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Walang iwanan. There’s probably no other Filipino value that will make you love the Philippines and its people more than the one represented by this expression. It basically means that no one is left behind. 

And that’s what Filipinos are all about. Pinoys stick together as a people, which is why you’ll find a Filipino community in nearly every corner of the world. Perhaps this makes saying goodbye in Tagalog that much more significant. 

Despite the fact that Filipinos always stick together, they’re also the ones who say goodbye to each other the most. Every year, more than a million Pinoys leave the country to live and work in a foreign land—and every day, families say goodbye to each other. But as the saying goes, “No goodbyes; only see you later.”

But how exactly do Filipinos say goodbye to each other? In this article, you’ll discover the top fifteen ways to say goodbye in Filipino. Start with a bonus, and download the Must-Know Beginner Vocabulary PDF for FREE! (Logged-In Member Only)

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Filipino Table of Contents
  1. Common Ways to Say Goodbye in Tagalog
  2. Specific Ways to Say Goodbye
  3. Untranslatable Goodbye Phrases in Filipino
  4. The FilipinoPod101 Advantage

1. Common Ways to Say Goodbye in Tagalog

Most Common Goodbyes

Filipinos are known for their hospitality, so the value they place on politeness should come as no surprise. When we speak of being polite and courteous, that includes knowing when and how to greet others, as well as how to ask permission when it’s time to go. Below are some of the most common ways to say goodbye in the Filipino language.

1. Paalam. / “Goodbye.”

“Goodbye” in Tagalog is paalam. This is a formal way to bid someone farewell in Filipino, so you won’t often hear it in conversations. Instead, you’re more likely to hear it in movies and read it in Filipino literature. You’ll also hear it in songs, such as in the classic OPM song Paalam Na by Rachel Alejandro. The chorus of the song goes:

  • Paalam na aking mahal, kay hirap sabihin. / “Goodbye, my love; such difficult words to say.”

2. Hanggang sa muli. / “Until next time.”

Hanggang sa muli is the Tagalog expression for “Until next time,” with hanggang being “until” and sa muli being “again.” Like paalam, this is a formal Filipino goodbye. 

Keep in mind that “next time” is actually sa susunod in Tagalog, so it’s also correct to say: Hanggang sa susunod. 

This phrase is often used as a follow-up to paalam, which is why it’s not uncommon to hear or read: 

  • Paalam. Hanggang sa muli. / “Goodbye. Until next time.”

Interestingly, this is something you also see in English grammar.

3. Hanggang sa muling pagkikita. / “Until we see each other again.”

Like the previous two examples, this phrase is rarely used in conversational Tagalog, and is more common in songs and literature. Hanggang sa muling pagkikita means “Until we see each other again,” and it’s just another way of saying: Hanggang sa muli nating pagkikita. / “Until our next meeting.” 

4. Babay! / “Buh-bye!”

Babay is the equivalent of the English words “buh-bye” or “bye bye.” In contrast to the first three words, this one is used only when you’re comfortable with or close to the person you’re saying goodbye to. That said, you don’t say this to your boss or to one of your clients. In fact, in the Philippines, this word is mainly used by little kids or parents saying goodbye to their children before leaving for work. 

5. Bye!

Yes, many Filipinos actually use the English word “bye” instead of the Tagalog equivalent. English is a second language to most Filipinos, so it’s not surprising that most people in the Philippines use a lot of English words in their conversations. In fact, you’ll rarely hear a Filipino person nowadays conversing in pure Tagalog. 

In the Philippines, there’s a subculture referred to as “conyo.” This refers to Tagalog-speaking people who, when speaking in English, insert one or two Tagalog words into their sentences, all the while speaking with a heavy American accent.

One example is “It’s so traffic naman today,” which, when translated, means: “The traffic is unusually heavy today.”

In regular Tagalog conversations, though, it’s not unusual to hear someone saying: 

  • Bye, mauna na ako. / “Bye, I’m leaving now.”

A Drunk Man Inside a Car

“It’s so traffic naman today.”


2. Specific Ways to Say Goodbye

Now, let’s discover how Filipino people say goodbye in more specific contexts.

6. Huwag magpagabi ha? / “Don’t stay out too late, okay?”

The conservativeness of the Filipino people is evident in the way they speak. This is clear, for example, in how Filipinos often speak to their loved ones. Huwag magpagabi is often said by strict parents or elders to remind their young ones that while they’re free to spend time with their friends, they’re still expected to come home before it gets dark. 

A: ‘Nay, alis na po ako. / “Ma, I’m leaving now.”
B: Sige. Huwag magpagabi ha? / “Sure. Don’t stay out too late, okay?”

7. Uwi kaagad ha? / “Be home as soon as possible, okay?”

Under Philippine Law, a person under the age of eighteen years old is still considered a child. But in many Filipino homes, it’s still very common to hear a parent bid their twenty-five-year-old daughter: Uwi kaagad ha? It’s like the Filipino way of saying goodbye, but not really. It’s like saying goodbye to the other person, but deep in your heart, you don’t want them to leave the house at all. Uwi, by the way, is short for umuwi, or “to come home.”

A: ‘Nay, alis na po kami ng mga kaibigan ko. / “Ma, I’m leaving with my friends now.”
B: Sige. Uwi ka kaagad ha? / “Sure. Be home as soon as possible, okay?”

8. Ingat! / “Take care!”

This Filipino word for goodbye translates to “care.” When using it to say goodbye, it’s actually short for Mag-ingat ka, meaning “You take care” or simply “Take care.” It’s used all the time as a way to wish the other person well or to tell them to take care of themselves. This is especially true if the person is embarking on a long journey or traveling at night. As a reply, you could simply say Ikaw rin or “You, too.”

A Mother with Two Children

Papayagan kitang mamasyal, basta uwi ka kaagad ha? 
(“I’ll let you go out with your friends, but promise me you’ll be home early, okay?”)

9. Mauna na ako. / “I gotta run.”

Mauna na ako is used to say that you need to leave. Most Filipinos incorrectly translate this to “I’ll go ahead,” which doesn’t have any use in the Filipino language at all. In Filipino, the phrase “go ahead” is actually sige. Mauna, on the other hand, means “to go first” or “to be the first.” In the context of saying goodbye, it means to be the first to leave or that someone is leaving already.

Mauna na ako basically means any of the following:

“I gotta run.”
“I have to run along.”
“I should be running along.”
“It’s time I ran along.”

  • Guys, mauna na ako para makaiwas sa traffic. / “Guys, I should be running along, or I’m going to have to deal with heavy traffic.”

10. Diyan ka na muna. / “I gotta leave you for a while.”

Another way to say goodbye in Tagalog is: Diyan ka na muna. Most Filipinos say this when they’re in a hurry to leave. It’s like when you’re having a conversation with a friend and then you suddenly receive a text message that there’s an emergency, or you suddenly remember something that you have to do quickly.

Naku! Kailangan ko palang bumili ng gamot. Diyan ka na muna. / “Oh my! I forgot that I need to get some medicine. I gotta leave you for a while.”

A Man and a Woman Hugging Each Other

Mauna na ako. Manonood pa ako ng Ang Probinsyano. 
(“I gotta run. It’s time for my favorite primetime show—Ang Probinsyano.”)

11. Iwan na muna kita diyan ha. / “I’ll leave you here for a while, okay?”

This is a more polite way of saying the previous expression. While diyan ka na muna is proper, if it’s not put into context, it could sound a bit rude. So, if you want to play it safe, you can say: Iwan na muna kita diyan.

  • Ay, nag-text ang boss ko. Emergency daw. Iwan na muna kita diyan ha? / “Oh, my boss texted me. He said it’s an emergency. Is it okay if I leave you here for a while?”

Notice the difference?

12. Kitakits! / “See you around!”

This Filipino term for goodbye is slang for “See you around” or “See you later.” It’s short for Kita-kita na lang, with kita being the Tagalog word for “to see.” Kita-kita na lang tayo is like saying: 

“Let’s just see each other around.” 
“Let’s meet again sometime.”

  • Sige, mauna na kami. Kitakits na lang sa susunod na reunion. / “We gotta run, guys. See you again at our next reunion.”

3. Untranslatable Goodbye Phrases in Filipino

One of the most unique things about the Filipino language is that it’s rich with words and phrases that don’t have an equivalent in other languages (particularly English). The following are a few untranslatable goodbye phrases in Tagalog.

13. Sige.

The word sige can be directly translated as “sure” or “go ahead,” but in many cases, Filipinos use it as a way of saying goodbye. In such a context, it could mean “go on” when addressing another person. It could also mean “I’m leaving now.” Sige can also be used on its own when someone is acknowledging a person who’s asking permission to leave.

A: Pare, mauna na ako. / “Hey mate, I gotta run.”
B: Sige. / “Sure.”

It can also be used as an introductory word when asking permission to leave:

  • Sige, guys. Mauna na ako. / “Alright, guys. I’m leaving now.”

Some people use it to get out of an awkward situation, like when you’re stuck in a conversation with someone you don’t really want to be chatting with. You can say sige and simply walk away.

A Man Smiling

Uhm…sige.

14. O siya, siya. 

This is an expression often used by the elderly. Perhaps it’s derived from Siya nawa, which basically means “Amen” or “So be it.” Sometimes, only one siya is used:

  • O siya, mauna na kami. / This could mean: “I guess we should go now.”

Siya is doubled only for emphasis. In response to the above statement, one could say: 

  • O siya, siya. Mag-ingat kayo ha? / “Alright then. You take care of yourselves, okay?”

15. O, paano? 

The direct translation of the word paano is “how.” In the context of saying goodbye, it doesn’t make sense to ask “How?” but Filipinos use it to say something along the lines of “What now?” It’s like saying goodbye and expecting an acknowledgment from the other person.

  • O, paano? Alis na ako. / “So, what now? I should be running along.”

4. The FilipinoPod101 Advantage

By now, you should have a better idea of how to say goodbye in Filipino. However, if you want to go deeper with your studies of important Filipino greetings, your best option is to sign up on FilipinoPod101.com. With FilipinoPod101, you’ll have access to tons of lessons with real-life applications.

Add to that our various resources to help you with your vocabulary, comprehension, and pronunciation, and you have the perfect all-in-one study tool.

Need to supercharge your learning? You can take advantage of FilipinoPod101’s MyTeacher feature, a Premium PLUS feature that will help you fasttrack your way to fluency. With this option, you can enjoy one-on-one lessons with a personal teacher, as well as real-time guidance and feedback. This way, you’ll always know whether or not you’re on the right track.

O, paano? Hanggang sa muli! Until our next post! 

Don’t forget to let us know in the comments what you think about this lesson, and share with us any questions or additional insight you may have!

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A Show of Devotion: Feast of the Black Nazarene

The Philippines has a huge Christian population (with 92.5% of Filipinos identifying as Christian, around 80% of which are Roman Catholic), so it should come as no surprise that religious festivities hold great meaning here. Of particular interest is a massive holiday commonly known as the Feast of the Black Nazarene. 

In this article, you will discover the Feast of the Black Nazarene’s origins as well as how devoted Filipinos celebrate the holiday today. 

Let’s get started!

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1. What is the Feast of the Black Nazarene?

a silhouette of someone praying in repentance

Each year on January 9, millions of mga deboto (devotees) celebrate the Feast of the Black Nazarene. This is a major religious holiday in the Philippines, drawing massive crowds and much speculation. 

The Black Nazarene is a life-size statue depicting a dark-skinned Jesus bearing the cross. According to the Black Nazarene story, this statue was created by an anonymous Mexican sculptor and brought to the Philippines in 1606. While no one is certain why or how the Black Nazarene statue is so dark in color, some speculate that the statue was exposed to fire during its relocation to the Philippines. Others say that the statue is likely made of Mesquite, a type of wood known for its black color. 

The Feast of the Black Nazarene in the Philippines commemorates the date that the statue was enshrined in the Black Nazarene Church (Quiapo) in 1787. Prior to this, the statue was housed in a variety of other churches, so this permanent enshrinement was a significant moment for the Filipino people. The event is referred to as the Traslación (or Transfer).

In addition to commemorating the Traslación, this holiday is also seen as a time to pay paggalang (homage) to Jesus’s suffering.

    → To learn the names of different religions in Filipino, head over to our Religion vocabulary list!

2. Feast of the Black Nazarene Traditions

Feast of the Black Nazarene Procession

Celebrations for the Feast of the Black Nazarene really begin the night before, on January 8. This is when devotees gather together in Rizal Park to see and touch the statue, which is placed on a grandstand in the park. People also bring along their own statues of the Black Nazarene. Throughout the night, Filipinos celebrate and prepare for the following day with sermons, songs, and other festive activities. 

To show their debosyon (devotion), millions of Filipinos engage in the Nazareno parade. This prusisyon (procession) begins in Rizal Park following a mass. The statue is placed on a carriage, accompanied by several men who support and protect it—these men are known as the Sons of the Nazarene, and they wear yellow or white shirts.

To show pagpapakumbaba (humility) and their resonance with Jesus’s suffering, many Filipinos take part in this procession nakapaa (barefoot). Huge crowds follow the procession for several hours—normally just short of a full day—in order to show their devotion to Jesus. Many of those marching also try to touch the statue. 

Many of the faithful believe that the statue can perform miracles of healing, with some people reporting having been cured of disease or illness after touching the statue. Those who cannot get close enough to touch the statue themselves will often throw a panyo (handkerchief) toward the Sons of the Nazarene, who then wipe the handkerchief on the statue and toss it back. This is because the miraculous healing power is thought to be transferable to the cloth. 

In addition to those walking in the procession, there are millions of people gathered along the edge of the route to see their loved ones walking and to get a glimpse of the statue. Everyone shouts the words “Viva Señor!” during the procession to show adoration for the Nazarene.

The Feast of the Black Nazarene procession ends in Quiapo, at the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene. 

3. Holiday Confusion!

Many people assume that the Feast of the Black Nazarene is the Quiapo Church’s annual feast day. However, this is not the case—the Feast of the Black Nazarene only celebrates and reenacts the Traslación.

Rather, the feast day people are thinking of takes place on June 24. This is St. John’s Day, held in commemoration of St. John’s birthday. Filipinos celebrate this day by ‘baptizing’ each other and covering themselves in mud and dried banana leaves. Their ‘baptism’ consists of throwing or drizzling water on each other in a sort of game, though this event is known to get out of hand with people damaging others’ property. 


4. Essential Vocabulary for the Feast of the Black Nazarene

Someone Lighting a Candle in Homage

Now let’s review some of the vocabulary words from this article, plus a few more! 

  • Quiapo (Quiapo Church) – proper noun
  • Deboto (Devotee) – noun
  • Prusisyon (Procession) – noun
  • Nazareno (Nazarene) – noun
  • Panata (Vow) – noun
  • Nakapaa (Barefoot) – adjective
  • Pagpapakumbaba (Humility) – noun
  • Magsisi (Repent) – verb
  • Panyo (Handkerchief) – noun
  • Debosyon (Devotion) – noun
  • Paggalang (Homage) – noun
  • Mirakulo (Miracle) – noun

If you head over to our Feast of the Black Nazarene vocabulary list, you can also hear the pronunciation of each word to practice along with. 

Final Thoughts

The Feast Day of the Black Nazarene is one of the most important dates in the Philippines, especially among faithful Catholics. In learning about this holiday, you’ve taken a step toward better understanding Filipino culture and immersing yourself in the language. We hope you enjoyed this lesson, and that you feel inspired to continue your Filipino studies! To learn about more Filipino holidays, you can check out the following blog posts on FilipinoPod101.com:

For even more useful content on the Filipino language and culture, create your free lifetime account with us today. We provide practical lessons and other learning materials for learners at every level, so you can jump right in wherever you are on your language learning journey! 

Before you go, let us know in the comments if you celebrate a similar holiday in your country. If not, would you ever want to visit the Philippines to witness the Feast of the Black Nazarene yourself? We look forward to hearing from you.

Happy learning!

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Is Filipino Hard to Learn? Here’s All You Need to Know.

Thumbnail

The Philippines is rich in cultural history, which is why it attracts a lot of visitors. If you want to visit the country or even live there, it only makes sense for you to learn the Filipino language by heart. Now, the question is this: Is Tagalog hard to learn? This is a subjective question with no short answer. And while Filipino (sometimes referred to as Tagalog) is the country’s national language, it’s not the only system of communication used in the Philippines. After all, the Philippines is an archipelago, with each region having its own spoken language and dialect. 

Perhaps one of the proofs that Filipino isn’t that difficult to learn are the foreigners who have learned to speak it fluently. For example, vloggers Dwaine Woolley and Wil Dasovich—raised in Australia and the United States, respectively—are both known to be fluent Tagalog-speakers. 

And that’s not to mention the number of other foreigners who have made a living as actors and actresses here in the Philippines. Dayanara Torres, Sandara Park, Sam Milby, Ryan Bang—most, if not all, of these celebrities had to learn Filipino, and they’re now able to speak the language fluently. 

Why is that? Of course, they did their part by studying the language. But another reason is that Filipino is actually one of the easiest and most fun languages to learn, and we’re going to show you why.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Learning Filipino Table of Contents
  1. Is it Hard to Learn Filipino?
  2. I Want to Learn Filipino. Where Should I Start?
  3. Tips for New Filipino Learners
  4. Why is FilipinoPod101 Great for Learning Filipino?
  5. Hindi Mahirap Mag-Aral ng Filipino. (“It’s not that difficult to learn Filipino.”)

1. Is it Hard to Learn Filipino?

Kid Listening to Filipino Podcast

“It’s more fun learning Filipino.”

Like in any language, there are factors that can make Filipino hard to learn. That said, it’s actually one of the easiest languages to study and master. That doesn’t mean that you can become fluent overnight, but compared to other languages, Filipino is a bit more straightforward.

One thing that makes learning Filipino fun is that Pinoys can be very encouraging and won’t hesitate to tell you that learning the language isn’t that difficult at all. Most Pinoys will even go the extra mile to help you sharpen your skills.

Another thing that makes Filipino an interesting language to learn is that around twenty percent of the language is based on Spanish. In a way, that’s like hitting two birds with one stone.

In the following sections, we’ll talk about what things might make the Filipino language hard to learn, how to overcome those challenges, and which things about the language are super-easy! 

A- The Challenging Parts of Learning Filipino

Like I said, Filipino is not a difficult language to learn and master. But just like any other language, it has aspects to it that require more effort, which we’ve listed below.

1 – The pronunciation of some words can be a bit tricky.

While most Tagalog words are pronounced the same way as they’re spelled, some words can be a bit more challenging than others. Tao (“man”), aso (“dog”), pusa (“cat”)—these words don’t pose any challenge at all. But what about words like nakakapagpabagabag (“worrisome”) and kumukutikutitap (“twinkling”)? Or kagilagilalas (“marvelous”) and nagsisiusyosohan (“watching with curiosity”)? 

And then there are words beginning with or including the infamous “ng” sound (pronounced like the “ng” in the words “ringing” and “clinging”), as well as words including the diphthongs ay, aw, iw, oy, and uy. If these words don’t twist your tongue (and your brain), I don’t know what will.

It’s a good thing that there are ways to overcome these hurdles, as described in our Filipino Pronunciation Guide. With practice, you’ll eventually master all the nuances of Filipino pronunciation: which emphasis to use and when to use them, how to correctly syllabicate certain words, and so on.

If you want to try your hand at more hard Filipino words to pronounce, see our relevant vocabulary list!

2 – Some words don’t have direct translations in English.

Another challenging factor of learning Filipino is that some words simply don’t have direct translations, at least in English. 

Take the word tampo, for instance. Filipinos use this word to express that feeling you get when someone has disappointed you. But it goes beyond simply feeling bad toward the other person. It’s like holding a grudge, but to a lesser degree. It’s the act of ignoring the person you’re mad at, but at the same time expecting the other person to comfort you. It’s like…okay, I give up. Like I said, there’s no direct translation for this word. 

And I haven’t even mentioned words like kilig (somewhat similar to having butterflies in your stomach when you see your crush), or alimpungatan (that feeling you get when you’re suddenly awakened just moments before entering a deep state of sleep). 

But wait, there’s more!

3 – Verb conjugation can be baffling at times.

Just like in English, Filipino verbs are conjugated by attaching a variety of affixes to action words. Unlike in English, however, these affixes reflect not only tense, but also aspect, voice, focus or trigger, and a variety of other factors. For instance, in English grammar, verbs are categorized as either regular or irregular. In Filipino, verbs are categorized according to the verb group they belong to: mag-, ma-, um-, in-, and i-, not including irregular verbs. 

And then there’s the trigger system, which is a central feature of Filipino verbs. This system also makes use of the affixes I mentioned, plus a few more. The three main affixes, however, are -in, i-, and -an:

  • -in

This is used when an action is done toward the actor. For example: bitbitin (“to carry something”). It’s also used to describe actions that produce change: biyakin (“to crack open”).

  • i-

This is used when an action is done to move something away from the actor. For example: itapon (“to throw something”). 

  • -an

This is used when the action done produces a change in something’s surface: punasan (“to wipe”) or hugasan (“to wash” or “to rinse”). 

Where’s the confusion, you ask? Well, let’s take a look at this example:

  • Bitbitin mo ang sako. (“Carry the sack.”)
  • Magbitbit ka ng sako. (“Carry a sack.”)

In the English translation, only one article needed to be changed to alter the sentence’s meaning. In Filipino, however, only the word sako (“sack”) remained unchanged.

B- The Easy Parts of Learning Filipino

Now that we’ve got the difficult aspects of learning Filipino out of the way, let’s move on and look at the top reasons why learning Filipino is easy.

1 – Gender-specific pronouns do not exist in Filipino.

This can be a confusing aspect of Tagalog to some degree, but it’s also one of the easiest parts of studying the language. In Tagalog, there’s only one word used to refer to a person: siya. There’s no “he” and “she” or “him” and “her.” There’s also no “they” or “them,” but sila is used instead. 

In the same manner, there are no separate Tagalog words for “husband” and “wife.” In Tagalog, both are translated as asawa or kabiyak, meaning “spouse.”

Glass Door Signs for Female and Male Entry

In Tagalog, there is only one word used to refer to another person: “siya.”

2 – Spelling is not an issue.

Perhaps one of the easiest aspects of the Filipino language is the spelling. Unlike in many languages across the globe, in Filipino, words are spelled the way they sound. You don’t need to worry about “k” sounds that are spelled as “ch,” or “tō” sounds that are actually spelled as “teau” (as in “plateau”). There are also no “th” sounds in Tagalog as in “mouth” or “thirst.” Even lengthy words are spelled with little to no complications.

3 – Phonetics are a no-brainer.

Tagalog phonology and phonetics do have more complex aspects, such as fricatives and affricates, but since words sound just as they’re spelled, this shouldn’t be too much of a problem. All you need to do is memorize how patinig (“vowels”) and katinig (“consonants”) sound, and you’re good to go. You’ll have to deal with stresses and glottal stops later on, but for the most part, Tagalog phonetics isn’t much of a hindrance when you’re studying Filipino.

4 – It’s more fun learning Filipino.

The slogan “It’s more fun in the Philippines” has been around for years now, and the country’s Department of Tourism says it’s not going to go anywhere anytime soon. And if there’s one way to describe the Filipino language learning experience, it’s through this slogan. One reason why learning Filipino is fun is that when you’re studying the language, you’re not only learning about words and sentences—you’re also learning about the culture of the country and its people.

2. I Want to Learn Filipino. Where Should I Start?

Are you ready to embark on the journey of a lifetime, but don’t know where to start? Here’s what we recommend:

1 – Start with everyday phrases.

The best way to start learning a new language is to familiarize yourself with everyday phrases or words that you would use on a daily basis. Here are a few common Filipino expressions you can begin learning today:

  • Magandang umaga. (“Good morning.”)
  • Kumusta ka? (“How are you?”)
  • Anong oras na? (“What time is it?”)

2 – Build your vocabulary.

You can’t survive learning a new language if you don’t make the effort to build your vocabulary. Spending at least fifteen minutes a day learning a new word is enough to bring about an immediate improvement in your Filipino vocabulary skills. You can start by investing in a Tagalog dictionary. Of course, you can always download an app or study our list of 2000 Core Filipino Words. It would also be an excellent idea to keep a journal of new Tagalog words you’re learning. Writing words down on paper will help reinforce them in your memory, and you’ll have something to pull out of your reservoir during conversations.

3 – Read Filipino literature.

Memorizing words from a list is a good strategy, but reading regularly from a variety of sources is a much better way to improve your vocabulary. Don’t worry about people calling you a bookworm or a nerd. Studies have confirmed over and over that reading regularly fosters language development and helps one become much more expressive. You can check out our entry on The Power of Reading that offers a fun explanation of this process.

4 – Listen to Filipino songs.

Aside from simply reading good Filipino books, listening to OPM (Original Pilipino Music) songs is another great way to help you learn Filipino. Music can be a powerful tool for learning, not only because singing is fun and relaxing, but also because song lyrics have a way of getting stuck inside a person’s head. That said, most songs, particularly OPM, are written in a poetic manner. This means that the lyrics you hear and repeat may not map directly onto day-to-day conversations. But that’s okay. In fact, songs are a great way to learn Tagalog words in their formal structure.

    Did you know that one of the best times to learn Filipino through music is while you’re stuck in traffic?
A Taxi Driver Listening to a Filipino Lesson

Who says you can’t drive and study Filipino at the same time?

5 – Watch Filipino films.

Just like listening to OPM, watching Filipino films is a fun approach to improving your Tagalog. We have an entry on the top Filipino TV shows to watch to improve your language skills, where we mentioned that while watching Tagalog films and shows won’t make you a master of Tagalog overnight, it sure can bring your skills up a notch. Speaking of Filipino films, check out our entry on the Top 10 Filipino Movies: Jose Rizal. This film will not only help you improve your vocabulary, but also teach you more about the life of the national hero of the Philippines.

6 – Make lots of Tagalog friends.

Remember when I said that it’s more fun learning Filipino? Well, one of the main reasons is that Filipinos are more than willing to help you learn their language. We Filipinos are known to be very welcoming and friendly to strangers. What a lot of people don’t know, however, is that our hospitality doesn’t end with our making sure your stay is comfortable. 

We’re also very generous—not only with our material possessions, but also with our wisdom and knowledge. If you want to make learning Filipino much easier, just make more Tagalog-speaking friends. You’ll learn simply by having daily conversations with them. And if you’re lucky, the sincere ones will even give you language lessons for free!


3. Tips for New Filipino Learners

1 – Be committed.

Learning a language starts with the desire to learn and master something new, but if you’re going to succeed, you’ll need to commit to the task. Filipino is not a very difficult language to learn, but there will always be a learning curve when you’re first starting out. Before you even begin, make sure that you first cultivate a commitment to learning. In one of his interviews, the founder of Innovative Language, Peter Galante, said that big commitments can turbocharge one’s learning. In fact, it was his decision to commit that helped him ramp up his own progress.

2 – Be patient.

I can confidently say that you’re going to go through a lot of discouraging moments while learning Filipino. Be patient with yourself and trust the process. There will be times when you feel you’re making a lot of progress, but there will also be times when you feel you’re not advancing at all. It’s during these times that your patience matters the most. If you’re losing your patience because learning Filipino is starting to feel very difficult, just remind yourself of what Theodore Roosevelt said: “Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, and difficulty.”

3 – Be persevering.

All your hard work will come to nothing if you give up the moment the going gets tough. Commit to persevere. If you do, there’s no question that you’ll reach your goal. One thing you can do to make sure you don’t quit in the middle of your learning adventure is to remind yourself of why you’re learning in the first place. 

Why are you studying Tagalog? Why spend time and money learning a new language? The only reason we often give up on what we’re doing is that we’ve forgotten the “why” behind our “what.” At the same time, however, see to it that you’re not too hard on yourself. Don’t beat yourself up every time you make a mistake. Keep in mind that making mistakes is a part of the process. If you feel you need to take a break, don’t hesitate to do so. Sometimes, it’s all that your mind and body need to recharge.

4 – Think big.

Finally, believe in yourself. If you don’t believe that you’re going to succeed, you’re right. When you’re just starting your journey of learning Filipino, never underestimate yourself. Keep in mind that you have the potential to actually acquire a new language the same way you acquired your first. Believe in your potential, and nothing will stop you from becoming an expert in Filipino.

A Man Standing on Top of a Snowy Mountain

“Endurance is nobler than strength, and patience than beauty.” – John Ruskin

4. Why is FilipinoPod101 Great for Learning Filipino?

In addition to the four previous tips for new learners of Filipino, one of the best ways to accelerate your progress is to sign up for a FilipinoPod101 account. Here are three reasons why this language-learning system will help you speak like a native Filipino in no time.

1 – Unique Learning System

There are quite a few language-learning systems online, so why choose FilipinoPod101? Well, unlike most language-learning systems, FilipinoPod101 uses a unique method that combines techniques you won’t find in a traditional classroom. For instance, all the materials offered by FilipinoPod101—from blog articles to PDF lessons to live video tutorials—are created using a variety of writing and speaking styles. In that manner, you’ll be exposed to different elements, which is vital for developing reading comprehension, pronunciation, and even a proper accent. 

Moreover, with FilipinoPod101, you’ll be exposed to learning materials dedicated to cultural information, so that you’re not only learning about Tagalog grammar but the Filipino culture, as well.

2 – High-Quality Resources

When I say high-quality, I’m talking about lessons—written, audio-recorded, and filmed—that have been prepared by the best writers and teachers. All content offered here is fresh and up-to-date, each one designed to keep current events and pop culture in mind, so that whenever you decide to start, you can rest assured that you are given relevant lesson materials tailored to meet your needs. Most importantly, all content released by FilipinoPod101 is screened and approved by a certified Filipino teacher, so that you can be sure every time that the information you’re receiving is accurate and reliable.

3 – One-on-One Coaching

Speaking of teachers, perhaps one of the most distinct attributes of FilipinoPod101 is our MyTeacher feature. This feature allows you to sharpen your Filipino skills at a rate like no other. Imagine being able to receive non-stop feedback and corrections, as well as one-on-one interaction with a personal teacher. With this approach, you’re sure to receive the guidance necessary to grow and improve your Filipino language skills.

A Woman Teaching a Girl How to Write Something in Filipino

Sabi ko sa’yo eh. Hindi mahirap mag-aral ng Filipino
(“What did I tell you? It’s not that difficult to learn Filipino.”)

5. Hindi Mahirap Mag-Aral ng Filipino. (“It’s not that difficult to learn Filipino.”)

No, it’s not that difficult to learn Filipino, especially if you have FilipinoPod101 as your partner. As mentioned, FilipinoPod101 is a unique language-learning system that offers everything you need to learn Filipino all in one place. What’s unique about FilipinoPod101 is that your learning goes beyond reading, watching, or listening to lesson materials. If you need a quick answer to a question, you can always depend on our community of helpful students and teachers.

So, are you ready to learn Filipino? Do you have questions that weren’t answered in this article? Don’t hesitate to drop them in the comments section below! And if you believe you’re all set to embark on the journey of learning this one-of-a-kind language, sign up now!

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10 Common Filipino Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

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As a Filipino, I would say that the Tagalog language is one of the easiest languages to learn. Filipino pronunciation, for instance, isn’t rocket science, since Filipino words are pronounced the way they’re spelled. Nevertheless, it’s not unusual for students of the language to commit common Filipino mistakes. In fact, even native speakers make grammar mistakes all the time, whether in speaking or writing. But who doesn’t? 

Committing mistakes is part of learning, and even experts of the language commit an error in Filipino from time to time. The good news is that you can avoid such errors by simply being familiar with the common Filipino grammar mistakes most students make. And that’s exactly what we’re going to discuss in this article.

There are plenty of ways you can get Tagalog grammar and speech wrong, but we’ll stick to the ten most common ones in a variety of categories: pronunciation, vocabulary, word order, word usage, and various other grammar mistakes. Of course, we’ll look at some of the ways one can avoid such errors as well. 

So, if you’re ready, let’s begin!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Filipino Table of Contents
  1. Pronunciation Mistakes
  2. Vocabulary Word Mistakes
  3. Word Order Mistakes
  4. Grammar Mistakes
  5. Other Common Mistakes
  6. The Biggest Mistake
  7. Minimize Your Filipino Grammar Mistakes with the Help of FilipinoPod101

1. Pronunciation Mistakes

As mentioned, one of the best things about learning Filipino is that the words are often pronounced the way they’re spelled. Nevertheless, there are still a few common Filipino errors that students make when it comes to pronunciation. We’ve actually covered this subject in our article on Filipino Pronunciation, but it seems worthwhile to reiterate certain points. 

1 – Syllabication

One of the pronunciation errors that Filipino language students make is not using correct syllabication. More often than not, this is due to the student carrying over their accent and not using the correct Filipino accent, which can result in a word being pronounced with the incorrect number of syllables. For instance, the word tao or “man,” could be mispronounced as /taw/ instead of /ta.o/. In the same manner, the word manok or “chicken,” could be mispronounced as /ma.no.ka/ (three syllables) instead of /ma.nok/ (two syllables).

2 – Emphasis

Another aspect of Filipino pronunciation where students often err is emphasis. We’re not going to go into detail regarding this subject since we’ve covered it in our pronunciation article already. However, just to reiterate, Tagalog words are pronounced in one of four ways according to emphasis, or what is known in Filipino as diin. These four types of diin are: malumay, malumi, mabilis, and maragsa. 


2. Vocabulary Word Mistakes

While the Filipino language is quite easy to learn, it’s not one that’s free of confusion. A vocabulary mistake that even native speakers get confused with from time to time is in the usage of ng and nang. There was no strict distinction between the two words in the past, but all that has changed, and today, both foreigners and natives alike get confused as to which one to use in a given context.

3 – Ng versus Nang

NG

The two-letter word ng is the exact translation of the preposition “of,” and that’s basically how the word is used. However, it also functions as a conjunction.

Here are some sample sentences of ng used as a preposition:

  • Jed ang may-ari ng kotse. (“Jed is the owner of the car.”)
  • Masyadong maikli ang kadena ng aso. (“The chain of the dog is too short.”)

Now, here are some examples of ng used as a conjunction:

  • Bumili ka pala ng bagong bahay? (“So, you bought a new house?”)
  • Kumakain si Kent ng mansanas. (“Kent is eating an apple.”)

Using nang instead of ng in the previous sentences is a common mistake in Filipino that learners make. 

NANG

If ng is the equivalent of the preposition “of,” nang, on the other hand, is the equivalent of the conjunction “when.” Here’s how to use it correctly:

  • Naliligo ako nang biglang may kumatok sa pinto. (“I was taking a bath when someone suddenly knocked on the door.”)
  • Tumakbo siya papalayo nang makita niya akong paparating. (“He ran away when he saw me coming.”)

Nang is also used to mean “to,” “for,” or “so that.”

  • Matulog ka na nang hindi ka mahuli sa klase bukas. (“Go to bed now so that you won’t be late to class tomorrow.”)
  • Dapat magpahinga ka rin nang hindi ka palaging nagkakasakit. (“You better rest for you not to get sick often.”)

It also answers the question “How?”

  • Paano siya sumigaw? (“How did he cry out?”)
    Sumigaw siya nang malakas. (“He cried out loudly.”)
  • Paano siya namatay? (“How did he die?”)
    Namatay siya nang nakangiti. (“He died smiling.”)

Not only that, but nang also functions as a connector of action words that are repeated in a sentence. In Filipino grammar, action words are repeated when the speaker wants to emphasize a certain behavior.

  • Kain ka nang kain hindi ka naman tumataba. (“All you do is eat, and yet you never get fat.”)
  • Tulog ka nang tulog. Tumulong ka naman dito sa bahay? (“You don’t do anything but sleep. Why don’t you help around here?”)
  • Iyak nang iyak ang bata. (“The child kept on crying.”)
Man Pointing to Himself with Confused Look on His Face

‘Nang’ ba? Akala ko ‘ng’? (“What do you mean nang? I thought it was ng?”)

4 – Kumusta and not Kamusta

Filipinos tend to be flexible when it comes to using kumusta and kamusta, both of which mean “How are you?” 

Kamusta is actually the one that’s most commonly used, particularly in informal conversations. However, if you’re going to use the greeting in a formal manner, such as when writing a formal letter, a report, or lyrics for a Filipino song, then the correct version to use is kumusta. And if you’re wondering why it sounds Spanish, well, that’s because it actually came from the Spanish greeting cómo esta.

3. Word Order Mistakes

Mistakes in Filipino word order are pretty common among native English-speakers in particular. Here are two things to watch out for! 

5 – “Barok” Speak

In one of our previous articles, we talked about Filipino Word Order, and we learned that Filipino is primarily a V-S-O language. We also learned that Filipino is quite flexible in terms of word order, and can actually be inverted. That said, you won’t really find a lot of word order mistakes in spoken Filipino, although there’s something that we call “barok” speaking, wherein the speaker omits linking words necessary for crafting a complete thought. 

For instance, instead of saying Ako si John (“I am John”), the speaker would say Ako John (“Me John”). 

In some cases, the linking word ay, often used in formal or literary Filipino (S-V-O), is omitted. This, too, is an error, since the absence of ay between the subject and the verb makes the sentence sound awkward. 

For instance, removing ay from Ang bata ay kumakanta (“The child is singing”) transforms it to Ang bata kumakanta (“The child singing”), which is an incomplete thought.

6 – Use of Ba

Aside from that, another common word order mistake in Filipino grammar is in the use of the untranslatable word ba. This word is often placed at the end of an interrogative sentence, although it can also appear in the middle, depending on the sentence structure.

  1. Kumain ka na ba? (“Have you eaten already?”) 

    In this simple interrogative sentence, ba is placed at the end. A common mistake students make here is to place ba before na.

    Kumain ka ba na? (INCORRECT) ✘
  1. Kumain ba siya? (“Did he eat?”) 

    Here, ba comes before the subject or the pronoun siya. In this case, it would be incorrect to place ba after siya.

    Kumain siya ba? (INCORRECT) ✘
  1. Nasaan na ba ang susi? (“Where is the key, anyway?”) 

    Here, ba appears before the object. Placing it at the end of the sentence would make the sentence sound awkward.

    Nasaan na ang susi ba? (INCORRECT) ✘
  1. Siya ba ang sinasabi mo? (“Is he the one you were talking about?”) 

    This time, ba appears right after the pronoun siya. To move it to a different spot would, again, make the sentence sound awkward.

    Siya ang sinasabi mo ba? (INCORRECT) ✘

There are cases when you can move ba to two different spots without the sentence sounding awkward, such as in the following examples:

  • Ano ba ang kinain mo? (“What did you eat?”)
  • Ano ang kinain mo ba? (“What did you eat?”)

In the first example, ba is placed right after ano, while in the second example, it’s found at the end. It would seem that the second example is the better-sounding one since ba is usually found at the end of a sentence, but in this case, the first example would be more preferable to use.

4. Grammar Mistakes

Now, let’s talk about two of the most common grammar mistakes Filipino-learners make! 

7 – Use of ikaw, ka, and mo

Ka and ikaw both mean “you,” although you should note that the former is used more in everyday speech. Interchanging the two words is a common error among students of Filipino. For instance, instead of saying Mabait ka (“You are kind”), some students would say:

  • Mabait ikaw. (INCORRECT) ✘

Ikaw can also be used in the Filipino translation of “You are kind.” However, it should be placed at the beginning of the sentence and followed by the connector ay:

  • Ikaw ay mabait. (CORRECT)

Keep in mind that this is a more formal way of saying Mabait ka, and is not used in day-to-day conversations.

Here are more examples:

  1. Kumain ka na habang maaga pa. (“Go and eat while it’s still early.”)

Using ikaw:

  • Kumain na ikaw habang maaga pa. (INCORRECT) ✘
  • Ikaw ay kumain na habang maaga pa. (CORRECT)
  1. Naligo ka na ba? (“Have you taken a bath already?”)

Using ikaw:

  • Naligo na ba ikaw? (INCORRECT) ✘
  • Ikaw ba ay naligo na? (CORRECT)

Mo, on the other hand, is the equivalent of “your,” but when the verb in a sentence functions as an object-focused verb, mo is used instead of ka and now takes the “you” meaning.

You won’t encounter a lot of errors in the use of mo, but since it also means “you” just like ka and ikaw, it would help to understand when and how to use it in a sentence. Here are several examples of how to use it:

As a pronoun:

  • Isulat mo ang pangalan mo dito. (“Write your name here.”)
  • Nasaan na ang tatay mo? (“Where is your father?”)
  • tabi mo konti ang bisikleta mo. (“Move your bicycle a little bit.”)

When used as “you” in a sentence:

  • Pinagaan mo ang pakiramdam ko. (“You made me feel better.”)
  • Tinutulungan mo ako palagi. Salamat. (“You always help me. Thank you.”)
  • Binuksan mo ba ang binigay kong regalo? (“Did you open the gift I gave you?”)

8 – Verb Conjugation Errors

In our entry on Filipino Verb Conjugation, we talked about how Filipino verbs are conjugated using the affixes mag-, ma-, um-, in-, and i-.

A common error for students of Filipino is interchanging the affixes when conjugating verbs.

For instance, many students use mag- instead of -um when conjugating “um” verbs. Instead of saying pumunta, students would say magpunta.

The word pumunta is both the past tense and the imperative tense of the verb “go.” It would be incorrect to use mag- in this case, since punta (“go”) is not a mag- verb but an um– verb.

Here are more examples:

  1. “C’mon, let us eat!”

    Tara, magkain na tayo. (INCORRECT) ✘
    Tara, kumain na tayo. (CORRECT)
  1. “We’re moving next week.”

    Maglipat na kami sa susunod na Linggo. (INCORRECT) ✘
    Lilipat na kami sa susunod na Linggo. (CORRECT)
  1. “Why don’t you want to take a bath?”

    Bakit ayaw mong magligo? (INCORRECT) ✘
    Bakit ayaw mong maligo? (CORRECT) 
Man Standing on the Edge of Bathtub with Shower Hose

Magligo na..este, maliligo na ako. (“Time to take a bath.”)

For a more detailed review on how to conjugate Filipino verbs, you can check out our entry titled “Learn the Basics of Filipino Verb Conjugation.”

5. Other Common Mistakes

In this section, we’ll talk about common Filipino mistakes that don’t quite fit in the other categories. Let’s take a look.

9 – Ano ba talaga, kuya? (“Which one is it really, bro?”)

It’s true that Tagalog is the first language of Filipinos, particularly in Luzon, but there are details that even so-called masters of the language sometimes miss. Here are some of them:

Daw vs. Raw

The words daw and raw do not have any direct translation in English, but the best match is “it is said” or “they say.”

These words may be composed of only three characters, but they’re among the few Filipino words that cause a lot of confusion to foreign and native speakers alike. The usual question is about which version to use and when. The key lies in the word that precedes them.

You use daw if the word preceding it ends with a katinig (consonant), except in the cases of “w” and “y.”

  • Kumain daw kayo kina Andrew kagabi? (“I heard you had dinner at Andrew’s last night. Is that correct?”)

On the other hand, you use raw if the word preceding it ends with a patinig (vowel) or with a mala-patinig (vowel-sounding “w” or “y”).

  • Nasa Manila na raw sila. (“They said they’re in Manila already.”)
  • Aliw na aliw raw sila sa show ni Jo Koy! (“They said they were so amused with Jo Koy’s show!”)
Boy Scratching His Head

Ano raw? (“What was that?”)

Bukod vs. Maliban

Another word pair that most learners of Filipino get confused with is that of bukod and maliban

Bukod means “in addition to” or “besides.” 

  1. “In addition to a Master’s Degree, he also has a Doctor’s Degree.”

    Maliban sa Master’s Degree, mayroon din siyang Doctor’s Degree. (INCORRECT) ✘
    Bukod sa Master’s Degree, mayroon din siyang Doctor’s Degree. (CORRECT)

Meanwhile, maliban is the equivalent of the expression “except,” so it’s used when the object being talked about in a sentence is the only exception to something.

  1. “All of Alfonso’s children have graduated from college except for Mateo.”

    Lahat ng anak ni Alfonso ay nagtapos na ng kolehiyo bukod kay Mateo. (INCORRECT) ✘
    Lahat ng anak ni Alfonso ay nagtapos na ng kolehiyo maliban kay Mateo. (CORRECT)

Kung vs. Kapag

These are two different words, each with a direct translation in English, and yet, they’re among the Filipino words often used in place of each other. The key to avoiding this error is to become familiar with their meanings. Kung, for instance, is the Tagalog word for “if,” while kapag and its variant pag mean “when” in English.

Now, note that there is a specific situation where you can interchange them: when you’re stating a “what if” question.

For example:

  1. “What if I miss the train tomorrow?”

    Paano kung hindi ko maabutan ang tren bukas?
    Paano kapag hindi ko maabutan ang tren bukas?

If, however, you’re stating a “cause and effect” sentence, then that’s a different story.

If you’re going to use kung, then the verb has to be in the future tense.

  1. “If I miss the train tomorrow, my boss is going to kill me.”

  2. Kung hindi ko aabutan ang tren bukas, papatayin ako ng boss ko.

If you’re going to use kapag, the verb has to be in the past tense.

On the other hand, there are sentences that require the use of kung if you’re using “if,” and kapag if you’re using “when.”

  • Uuwi lang ako kung sasama ka sa akin. (“I’m going home only if you’re coming with me.”)
  • Uuwi ako kapag tinawag na ako ni nanay. (“I’m going home when mom calls me.”)

6. The Biggest Mistake


10 – Not practicing enough

Perhaps the biggest mistake you can make when learning Filipino is not spending an adequate amount of time each day practicing and brushing up on your speaking and writing skills. Language is like mathematics. If you fail to practice on a regular basis — listening to lessons, writing and rewriting, and reciting what you’ve learned—there’s very little chance that you’ll ever master it.

Making mistakes is part of learning, so as you move along in your journey of studying Filipino, always remember that it’s okay to fail. Never allow your blunders to stop you from reaching your goal. And remember, practice makes permanent!

Need more motivation? Watch the video above!

Counselor Comforting a Girl Who’s Crying

Kaya mo ‘yan. May FilipinoPod101 pa. (“You can do it. There is FilipinoPod101 still.”)

7. Minimize Your Filipino Grammar Mistakes with the Help of FilipinoPod101

Do you want to minimize your Filipino errors? Do you want to avoid common Filipino grammar mistakes that most students of Tagalog make? The secret is to sign up with FilipinoPod101, one of the best language-learning systems on the Internet today.

When you first start learning a particular language, committing grammar mistakes is inevitable. It’s all part of the process. So here at FilipinoPod101.com, we want to make sure that you finish strong. That’s why we happily provide unique tools for our students, such as the MyTeacher feature, to ensure that you make the most out of your Filipino-learning pursuit. We also provide special apps that allow you to study Tagalog whenever and wherever. You can also visit our blog page if you want to see more articles like this one.

And speaking of articles, why don’t you share with us in the comments section what you’ve learned in this post? And if you have suggestions or additional thoughts on the subject, don’t hesitate to share them with us, too!

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Araw ng Jose Rizal: Rizal Day in the Philippines

In every nation and at every point in history, there are certain names, faces, and stories that stand out from the rest. There are writers, artists, activists, and leaders whom nations herald and commemorate for years and for centuries. And there are true national heroes like the Philippines’s own Jose Rizal.

Today, we’ll talk about the Rizal Day holiday and the events it commemorates. 

Let’s get started.

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1. What is Rizal Day?

A Sketch Drawing of Jose Rizal

Observed each year on December 30, Rizal Day is a national holiday in the Philippines. It marks the date in 1896 that Jose Rizal, pambansang bayani (“national hero”) of the Philippines, was executed. 

History

For centuries, the Spanish colonized the Philippines and abused their power over the native inhabitants. This abuse began in 1521, when Ferdinand Magellan arrived in the Philippines and claimed the territory for Spain. While many Filipinos over the years had wanted kalayaan (“freedom”) from Spain, any attempted dissent proved futile.

In 1861, Jose Rizal was born and would grow up to become the country’s national hero and a martyr. 

Though Rizal worked as a doctor, he is most remembered for his makabayan (“patriotic”) works as a novelist. His two great works were titled Noli Me Tangere (“Touch Me Not”) and El Filibusterismo (“The Reign of Greed”), both of which shed light on the negative impact of the Spanish rule over the Philippines. These two novels were Rizal’s way of expressing his—and the nation’s—desire for mapayapang reporma (“peaceful reform”), though he wrote them while away in Europe. Experts believe that his novels spurred the Filipino population to act out against the Spanish government and eventually gain their freedom.

In 1892, Rizal returned to his home country and continued to fight with them toward freedom and pantay na karapatan (“equal rights”). In all this, he was never directly involved in violence or warfare. His continued dissidence led to him being exiled to Dapitan, Mindanao for three years. He eventually made his way to Cuba, where he was wrongly arrested for suspicion that he was involved in a nationalistic revolt. Rizal was convicted of the crime and his penalty was death by firing squad. He was shot to his death on December 30, 1896.

The influence of Rizal on the present-day Philippines cannot be overstated. He played a major role in leading the nation to freedom, equal rights, and dignidad (“dignity”). Most importantly, his patriotic work inspired Filipinos and gave them pag-asa (“hope”) of a better future. These are things which Filipinos today continue to enjoy; they will never forget Rizal’s name.

The very first Rizal Day observations began in 1898, when the first President of the Philippines (Emilio Aguinaldo) declared December 30 a day of national mourning. This was done to encourage commemoration of Rizal and of all Filipinos who perished under the Spanish colonial rule. 


2. Rizal Day Celebrations and Traditions

A Woman Looking Up in Hope

Rizal Day in the Philippines is a national holiday. This means that most people get the day off of work, and those who do have to work will receive double their usual wages. The day also happens to fall near the end of Christmas Break for many schools, so students and teachers are free to participate in the observations.

The largest ceremony for Rizal Day is held in Rizal Park, the park in which Rizal was shot to death. The President and Vice President of the Philippines lead these ceremonies, which involve a twenty-one gun salute and laying a wreath at the Rizal Monument. The flag is also raised and the Philippine Air Force flies overhead. The President may give a speech discussing the events of the past year and looking forward to plans for the future. Throughout the Philippines, Rizal Day is also celebrated on a smaller scale in each province, led by government officials.

Flags must be flown at half-mast on this day, and certain activities are banned. These include: cockfighting, horse racing, and jai-alai (a Basque-inspired sport similar to racquetball).

A History of Rizal Day Observations

Over the years, there have been a few Rizal Day celebrations that warrant particular recognition:

  • 1937: President Manuel L. Quezon made Tagalog the official language of the Philippines.
  • 1942: Rizal’s final poem, titled Mi último adiós, was recited in Japanese and KALIBAPI was inaugurated. 
  • 1996: To mark the 100-year anniversary of Rizal’s murder, his final steps were retraced and his death was reenacted.
  • 2000: A terrorist bombing killed 22 people and injured 100 more.

Also note that from 1936 to 1973, Rizal Day also served as the President’s inauguration day. In 1973, the inauguration date was moved to June 30. 


3. Rizal Park

Rizal Park (also called Luneta Park) is where Jose Rizal was shot to his death and where the main commemorative event takes place each year. Within the park lie the Rizal Monument and the life-size diorama of his final moments, as well as museums and gardens. 

This is a major tourist destination and a popular site for native Filipinos as well. If you plan on visiting Manila, don’t forget to walk through Rizal Park!


4. Essential Filipino Vocabulary for Rizal Day

A Group of People Holding Each Other’s Wrists

Let’s review some of the key vocabulary words from this article so you can start discussing Rizal Day in Tagalog! 

  • Noli Me Tangere – “Touch Me Not”
  • El Filibusterismo – “The Reign of Greed”
  • Kalayaan – “Freedom” [n]
  • Makabayan – “Patriotic” [adj]
  • Araw ni Jose Rizal – “Jose Rizal’s Day”
  • Pambansang bayani – “National hero” 
  • Pantay na karapatan – “Equal rights” [n]
  • Pag-asa – “Hope” [n]
  • Mapayapang reporma – “Peaceful reform” [n]
  • Dignidad – “Dignity” [n]

Remember that you can find each of these words, along with their pronunciation, on our Rizal Day vocabulary list!

Final Thoughts

Rizal Day in the Philippines is a time of solemn commemoration and reflection on the events of the past, as well as a day to appreciate the nation’s freedom. Most of all, it seeks to honor Rizal for his major role in setting the country on its path to a better future.

Who are some prominent national heroes of your country? Do you have a special day to celebrate them? Let us know in the comments! 

To continue exploring the rich Filipino culture and language, you can read these articles from FilipinoPod101.com:

This is just a small sample of everything FilipinoPod101 has to offer! From themed vocabulary lists to fun audio and video lessons, we provide tons of learning resources for aspiring Filipino learners. Create your free lifetime account today and see what we’re all about! You’ll be speaking Filipino in minutes and fluent before you know it. 

Happy learning!

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