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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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