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Speak Like a True Local with These Advanced Tagalog Phrases

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

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

A Man Climbing a Mountain

Are you ready to take the challenge?

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

1. Useful Phrases for Formal Speech and Writing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Group of Scientists Doing Some Research

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


2. Power Phrases for Resumes

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

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

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

Magpakita ng positibong imahe
“Projects a positive image”

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

Gamitin ang buong kakayahan
“Uses ability to the fullest”

Magpakita ng malikhaing imahinasyon
“Displays creative imagination”

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

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

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

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

Man Showing Ability to Multitask

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


3. Smart Phrases for Business Meetings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Group of People in a Meeting

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Hand Peeling Some Carrots

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

    ➜ Access this lesson to learn more common Filipino idioms.

5. How FilipinoPod101 Can Help

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

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

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

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

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

The Ultimate Guide to Intermediate Filipino Phrases

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

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

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

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

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

Four Friends Having a Conversation while Having Coffee Drinks

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

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

1. Let’s Talk About the Past!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


A Job Interview

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4. …And Why Not—Making Recommendations and Complaints

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. Talaga! And Various Responses for Everyday Conversations

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

1 – Talaga?!

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

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

2 – Ang galing!

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

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

3 – Magandang balita yan!

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

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

4 – Grabe!

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

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

5 – Astig!

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

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

6 – Sayang!

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

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

7 – Niloloko mo ba ako?!

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

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

8 – Mabuti naman kung ganon.

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

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

Someone Whispering a Secret

Talaga?! (“Really?!”)


6. Etiquette Phrases for Social and Business Settings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

An Older Man Welcoming a Family of Three into His Home

Tuloy po kayo. (“Please come in.”)


7. Go a Level Higher with FilipinoPod101!

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

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

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

Happy learning!

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

Tagalog Phrases for Beginners

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

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

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

People Lined Up and Getting Ready for a Race

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

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

1. Greetings and Self-introductions

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

Kumusta?
“Hello.” / “How are you?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ako si (name).
“I am (name).”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Businesswoman Introducing Two of Her Colleagues to Each Other

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


How to Address People

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

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

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

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

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

Ginoo [Formal]
“Mr.”

Ginang [Formal]
“Ms.”

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

2. Courtesy Phrases & Social Expressions

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

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

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

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

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

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

Salamat. 
“Thank you.”

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

Salamat po. [Formal]
“Thank you.”

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

Pakiusap. 
“Please.”

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

Kitakits. [Slang]
“See you!”

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

Ingat. 
“Take care.”

Sige!
“Sure!”

Walang anuman.
“You’re welcome.”

Walang problema. 
“No problem.”

Paalam! 
“Goodbye!”

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

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

A Couple Greeting and Inviting Another Couple into Their Home

Pasok kayo. (“Please come in.”)


3. Dining & Shopping Phrases

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

1 – When Dining

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2 – When Shopping

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


4. Asking for Help

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

1 – When Communicating

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2 – When Asking for Directions

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

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

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

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

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

3 – When in an Emergency

Tulong! 
“Help!”

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

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

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

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

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

A Tourist Asking Someone for Directions

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


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

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

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

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

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Gain Filipino Fluency with These Advanced Tagalog Words

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

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

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

A Woman Giving a Presentation

Express yourself with more confidence by learning advanced Tagalog words.

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

1. Advanced Academic Words

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Doctor Consulting with a Patient

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

2. Advanced Business Words

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Man Staring in Disbelief at a Huge Stack of Paperwork

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


3. Advanced Medical Words

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4. Advanced Legal Words

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Mother Receiving Kisses from Her Two Children

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. Alternative Words to Make an Impression

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

1 – Alternative Adverbs

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

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

magkahiwalay magkabukod Magkabukod silang dumating.
separatelyseparatelyThey arrived separately.

talagasadyaSadyang mabilis magsalita si Aristotle.
verysimplyAristotle simply talks fast.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2 – Alternative Verbs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3 – Alternative Conjunctions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4 – Alternative Prepositions

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

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

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

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

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

Three Young Japanese People Singing Karaoke and Drinking Beer

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

Learn More Advanced Tagalog Words with FilipinoPod101!

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

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

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

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The Most Useful Filipino Phone Call Phrases

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. The Opening Line

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

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

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

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

1 – When you’re the one calling…

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

You can follow this up with:

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

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

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

Informal

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

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

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

Formal

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

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

2. Introducing Yourself

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

1 – When making the call…

Informal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Formal

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

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

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

A Man with a Backpack Making a Call on the Payphone

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

2 – When receiving a call…

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

Formal

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

In Tagalog, that would sound something like:

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

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

3. Stating Your Reason for Calling

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

Informal

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

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

Formal

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

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

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

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

4. Asking to Speak to Someone

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

Informal

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

Formal

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

5. Asking Someone to Wait

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

Informal

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

Formal

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

6. Leaving a Message

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

Informal

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

Formal

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

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

7. Asking for Clarification

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

Informal

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

Formal

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

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

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

Or:

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

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


8. Ending the Phone Call

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

1 – Ending a call as the caller…

Informal

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

Formal

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

2 – Ending a call as the recipient…

Informal

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

Formal

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

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

A Woman Chatting on the Phone while Lying on the Floor

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

9. Sample Phone Conversations

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

1 – Informal Phone Conversation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2 – Formal Phone Conversation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rain: Rain Ledesma.

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

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

Attendant: Paalam. (“Bye.”)

3 – Formal Phone Conversation (Taglish)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rain: Nine a.m.

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

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

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

Rain: Rain Ledesma.

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

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

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

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

A Woman Making a Reservation Over the Phone

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


Learn More Than Just Phone Call Phrases with FilipinoPod101!

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

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

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

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

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

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The Most Common Filipino Filler Words

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

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

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

A Woman in a Wedding Dress Looking Concerned

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

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

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

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

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

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


2. A List of Filipino Filler Words

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

#1

Filler WordLiterallyEnglish Equivalent
Ano“What”“Uhm”

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

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

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

#2

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

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

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

#3

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

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

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

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

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

One Schoolgirl Whispering Something in Another Schoolgirl’s Ear

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


#4

Filler WordLiterallyEnglish Equivalent
Kuwan“That thing”“Uhm”

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

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

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

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

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

#5

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

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

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

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

#6

Filler WordLiterallyEnglish Equivalent
Basta!“Enough”

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

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

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

A Woman Making an Arrogant Face and being Snobby

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

#7

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

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

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

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

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

#8

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

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

#9

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

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

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

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

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

#10

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

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

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

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

#11

Filler WordLiterallyEnglish Equivalent
Naman

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

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

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

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

#12

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

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

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

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

#13

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

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

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

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

#14

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

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

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

It can also indicate sarcasm: 

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

#15

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

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

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

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

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

3. Should you use filler words?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2 – Filler words can unnecessarily lengthen your sentences.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Statue of Cupid

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Or:

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

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

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

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

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

Gusto kita. / “I like you.” 

He can also say:

Type kita. / “You’re my type.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If the woman was interested, she would say:

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

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

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

Asian Coworkers Chatting with Each Other After Work

“Hi, I’m Will. God’s will.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Man Whispering Something in a Woman’s Ear

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


4. Filipino Endearment Terms

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

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

O irog dinig mo ba
Ang pagtibok ng aking puso?

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

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

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

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

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

5. Must-know Filipino Love Quotes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Man and Woman Having Drinks on a Date

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

6. Learn More Important Tagalog Phrases with FilipinoPod101!

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

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

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

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

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Ultimate Guide to Tagalog Negation: Saying No in Filipino

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

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

You’ll learn…

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

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

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

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

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

1. Filipino Negation: The Basics

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

1 – Hindi 

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

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

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

2 – Wala

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

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

There are a few ways you can respond to this:

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


3 – Huwag

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

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

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

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

2. Negating a Sentence in Filipino

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s take a look at another example:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Therapist Comforting an Upset Client

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


3. Giving a Negative Response to a Question

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

For instance, when you’re asked, 

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

You respond with, 

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

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

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

Or, when you’re asked, 

  • Sa iyo ba ito? (“Is this yours?”)

You could answer by saying, 

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

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

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

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

You could answer this question by saying, 

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

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

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

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

A Waitress Serving a Couple Salad

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

    Learn how to refuse politely with this lesson from FilipinoPod101.

4. More Negating Filipino Words and Phrases

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

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

1 – Hindi pa

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

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

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

2 – Walang may

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

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

3 – Hindi kailanman

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

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

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

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

Or at the beginning,

  • Kailanman ay hindi sila nagkalayo.

4 – Hindi maaari / Hindi pwede

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

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

5 – Ayaw na / Hindi na

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

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

6 – Wala na

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

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

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

7 – Hinding-hindi

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

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

8 – Ayaw na ayaw

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

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

9 – Huwag na huwag

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

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

A Little Girl Whispering Something to an Older Girl

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

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

Learn About Filipino Negation and Much More with FilipinoPod101

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

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

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

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

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

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How Long Does it Take to Learn Tagalog?

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

What You Will Learn at the Beginner Level

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

How to Get There

Wondering how to learn basic Tagalog effectively? If you’re studying on your own, you’ll want to develop goals and strategies that will help you reach the beginner level and eventually the intermediate and advanced levels. In this regard, you only need to remember three things: Plan, Track, and Evaluate. 

  • Plan your goals first, and then plan what strategies you’ll use to achieve them. 
  • Track your progress every day to see how well you’re doing. 
  • Evaluate yourself after a week or two to see whether you have achieved your goals. Take note of which strategies worked and which ones didn’t. Repeat the entire process, adjusting your goals if necessary.

A Businessman Making Plans and Tracking Progress

Learning a language like Filipino requires careful planning.

Since you’re just starting to build your vocabulary, you’ll want to focus on familiarizing yourself with everyday Tagalog words. This means you’ve got to have flashcards on hand at all times. Practice pronouncing the words correctly, making sure your voice is loud enough for your ears to hear. Speaking of hearing, you should also listen to audio lessons as part of your daily schedule. And most importantly, have some practice conversations with a native speaker as often as you can.

Beginner Level Tip: 

Practice with a native speaker as soon as possible. This is a crucial step to becoming fluent in Tagalog. 

How many hours do you need to spend studying Filipino to get to the beginner level? 

This depends on several factors. Let’s assume that you’re fluent in English. In this case, it will take you around 150-200 hours to learn basic Filipino (that is, if you study at least one hour per session on a daily basis). That includes memorizing basic Filipino words, learning how they’re used in a sentence, and having a practice session with a native speaker.

Two Students Chatting with Each Other in a Classroom

Practice with a native speaker as soon as possible. 
This is a crucial step to becoming fluent in Tagalog.

2. How Long Does it Take to Achieve the Intermediate Level?

Let’s say you’ve already spent 200 hours studying basic Filipino. By this time, you should be ready to proceed to the intermediate level. 

Once you reach the end of this level, it will be easier for you to understand important points about subjects related to work, school, and similar matters. You’ll also find it easier to produce simple sentences about topics that are familiar to you. 

You will be more comfortable expressing yourself, particularly in terms of describing events and things you’ve experienced. You might also be more fluent around this time, able to interact more spontaneously with native speakers.

What You Will Learn at the Intermediate Level

At this level, you’ll start learning more Filipino words and expressions, but this time, the words you’ll learn are not limited to the names of things or places. You’ll also learn words used to describe actions and experiences, as well as those used to describe a person or situation. In addition to taking your vocabulary to another level, you’ll also learn grammatical tenses and verb conjugation. Add to that the Filipino parts of speech and sentence structure, and you have a good idea of what your studies should focus on at this point.

How to Get There

There are still a lot of core Filipino words for you to learn at this level, so don’t do away with those flashcards yet. Aside from simply memorizing words and their meanings, practice pronouncing the words, too. It’s also important to learn them in context, as new words are more meaningful (and more memorable) this way. When memorizing a particular word, try using it in a sentence or a story. It also helps to study vocabulary based on a specific topic or theme.

If you’re wondering how to learn Filipino words outside of flashcards, keep in mind that you can learn more words and their pronunciation by listening to audio lessons. By now, you should be able to watch Tagalog films or TV programs with subtitles. This is also the best time to read Tagalog literature. You don’t necessarily have to read Noli Me Tangere or Banaag at Sikat; you can instead find reading materials with content appropriate to your level and relevant to your learning goals.

For best results, do all these things in addition to having regular practice conversations with a native speaker.

Intermediate Level Tip: 

The key to becoming fluent in Tagalog is to practice your listening skills. Listen carefully to how a native speaker would pronounce words, break down sentences into parts, and try to understand each word. Repeat the process until you’ve familiarized yourself with Tagalog words, how they’re pronounced, and how they’re used in a sentence.

Bonus Tip: 

It’s important to imitate the accent and intonation of a native speaker, as they both carry the emotions the speaker wishes to convey.

    By now, you should be able to post social media comments the Filipino way. This lesson should be able to help you with that.

How long will it take for you to get from the beginner level to the intermediate level? To achieve this, you’ll need to spend another 250-300 hours of studying.

A Man Studying in a Library

Find reading materials with content appropriate to your level and relevant to your learning goals.

3. How Long Does it Take to Achieve the Advanced Level?

Congratulations! You’re now ready for the advanced level. 

Once you master this level, you’ll be almost as fluent in Filipino as you are in your own language. You’ll now be able to produce well-structured, detailed sentences on any subject, whether simple or complex. You’ll also be able to understand demanding texts and their implicit meaning. In addition, you’ll be comfortable expressing yourself spontaneously without having to grasp for words. You can also use Filipino now for professional and academic purposes and not just for casual conversations.

What You Will Learn at the Advanced Level

Expanding your vocabulary doesn’t stop after you complete the intermediate level. Most native speakers know at least 15,000 word families, so it should be your goal to become familiar with at least 10,000 words in the language to reach the advanced level. This time, your approach will be more advanced, too. You won’t simply memorize words, but also learn the grammar and gain a deeper understanding of the Filipino culture.

How to Get There

In addition to the habits you formed to get to the beginner and intermediate levels, you must now start speaking and writing with a Filipino tutor who can guide you and offer you feedback. You’ll want to look for more Tagalog books, as well. Several authors write in contemporary Tagalog, such as Bob Ong and Edgar Calabia. If you’re going to visit a bookstore in the Philippines, head straight to the Filipiniana section where you will find a collection of books that are strong in history, economics, literature, sociology, and political science.

Advanced Level Tip: 

Filipino grammar books are okay, but that’s the only thing they can teach you—grammar. When studying a language, it’s important to learn what a native speaker would actually say in real situations, and not just repeat sentences you read from books. 

    At the advanced level, you should already know how to conduct business using the Filipino language. This lesson should help you prepare!

So how long does it take to learn Tagalog fluently? To go from the intermediate level to the advanced level, you’ll need to study for another 550-600 hours.

Again, your learning speed will depend on several factors, and the numbers here are just estimates. They’re particularly based on the numbers provided by the Foreign Service Institute, which is the center for foreign-language learning in the United States government. According to their research, Tagalog is a Category III language and takes a total of 1100 hours to learn. That means Tagalog is more difficult to learn than French, Italian, or Spanish!

A Woman Dressed in Graduation Attire and Holding a Diploma

Tagalog is a Category III language and takes a total of 1100 hours to master.

Nothing is Too Hard with FilipinoPod101 on Your Side!

Learning Filipino is a journey that starts with a single step. And just like with any other journey, the best way to get to your destination is to travel with a map. In this case, your map is FilipinoPod101! Yes, it’s possible to reach the advanced level and start speaking fluent Tagalog like a native speaker. You can do this largely on your own, but with an expert to guide you and give you feedback along the way, you’ll be able to learn Tagalog fast.

Want to save time and money as you learn the Filipino language and discover the culture? Sign up with FilipinoPod101 today! Here, you’ll get access to free learning resources you won’t find elsewhere, as well as access to exclusive lessons from our Lesson Library. Our Innovative Language 101 app will also give you a way to view your lessons and track your progress anytime, anywhere.

Need a personal teacher to guide you through lessons tailored to your specific needs and goals? Our MyTeacher service will take care of you! With this Premium PLUS feature, you’ll receive continuous feedback on your progress, so you’ll know exactly where you are in your journey toward mastering Filipino.

So, what did you think of this post? Were we able to answer your question on how to learn Tagalog faster? Let us know in the comments section! 

Happy learning!

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30 Filipino Proverbs for Everyday Life

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The Filipino culture is saturated with all kinds of traditions, beliefs, and superstitions, many of which are either illogical or impractical. Despite this, it’s also rich in proverbs that contain ageless wisdom. Known as salawikain in Tagalog, Filipino proverbs are bits and pieces of knowledge passed down orally from one generation to another. Their main purpose is to relate perceptions and little truths that have been tested through time.

There are many things from my childhood I will never forget. Among them are the Filipino proverbs that were taught to me by my parents and elders, and the ones I read from the once-popular Tagalog children’s magazine Pambata, which featured a comic strip entitled ‘Mga Salawikain ni Lolo Brigido.’

In this article, allow me to share with you some of the most celebrated proverbs that Filipinos have grown to love over the years.

A Man in Deep Study

Ang kapaitan ng pag-aaral ay mas kanais-nais kaysa kapaitan ng kamangmangan.
“The bitterness of studying is preferable to the bitterness of ignorance.”

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Filipino Table of Contents
  1. Proverbs About Character and Wisdom
  2. Proverbs About Life and Living
  3. Proverbs About Work and Success
  4. Proverbs About Relationships
  5. Miscellaneous Filipino Proverbs
  6. Learn Filipino Proverbs Plus Much More With FilipinoPod101!

1. Proverbs About Character and Wisdom

Every culture has its own ideals concerning how one should act, and its own ideas of what it means to be wise. So what better way to begin our Filipino proverbs list than with some proverbs on character and wisdom? 

#1

FilipinoAnuman ang gagawin, pitong beses iisipin.
Translation“Whatever you do, think about it seven times.”
This old Filipino saying is a reminder that every action has a consequence. Filipinos are known for being procrastinators, but we can be impulsive in many ways as well. Filipino parents who have grown in wisdom often use this very proverb to tell their young and more daring offspring not to be hasty when making decisions.

Huwag kang mag padalos-dalos. Bago ka mag desisyon, mag-isip ka muna ng pitong beses.
“Don’t rush. Think carefully before you make a decision.”

#2

FilipinoAng hindi lumingon sa pinanggalingan, hindi makakarating sa paroroonan.
Translation“He who forgets where he came from will never reach his destination.”
This proverb is usually attributed to Dr. Jose Rizal, although there’s evidence it didn’t originate from him. There’s no question that this is one of the most popular Filipino proverbs, and one that’s often on the lips of Filipino people. There are several ways it can be interpreted, but many people use it to refer to the importance of repaying a favor.

Matuto kang lumingon sa pinanggalingan mo. Kung hindi dahil sa akin, hindi ka aasenso ng ganito.
“Learn to look back where you came from. If it wasn’t for me, you wouldn’t be as successful as you are today.”


#3

FilipinoAng karanasan ay mabuting guro.
Translation“Experience is the best teacher.”
Probably every culture has a version of this proverb. It reminds us that life is a series of experiences, a series of learning opportunities.

Ayaw mo kasing makinig, kaya ngayon, ang pinagdaanan mo na ang nagturo sa iyo.
“You didn’t want to listen, so now your experience became your teacher.”

#4

FilipinoUbos-ubos biyaya, pagkatapos nakatunganga. 
Translation“Spend lavishly and you end up with nothing.”
The word ubos is Filipino for “nothing is left.” It’s repeated here to emphasize a point. In this case, it’s used to refer to spending all your blessings in one go. Nakatunganga, on the other hand, is “to be idle.” It can also refer to the act of staring blankly into space, the exact expression someone has on their face after learning they have no money left.

Bakit mo inubos ang pera mo? Nakatunganga ka diyan ngayon.
“Why did you spend all your money? Now, you don’t know what to do.”

#5

FilipinoWalang nakasisira sa bakal kundi sariling kalawang.
Translation“Nothing destroys iron except its own rust.”
This proverb has two meanings, although the first one is similar to the second. It’s a metaphor that could mean no one can hurt you as much as the people who know you well, such as a family member or close friend. In the same manner, no one can destroy your reputation as much as you can—that is, if you keep on doing what is wrong and dishonorable.

Sisirain ka ng sarili mong kalawang kapag hindi ka nagbago.
“Your own rust will destroy you if you don’t mend your ways.”

#6

FilipinoLaging nasa huli ang pagsisisi.
Translation“Regret is always at the end.”
No one regrets their action at first. Being sorry about something always comes after the damage has been done. If you think about it, this proverb complements our first proverb (the one about pondering deeply about a decision before acting on it). 

Pag-isipan mo ‘yan ng pitong beses. Tandaan mo, laging nasa huli ang pagsisisi.
“Evaluate your next step very carefully—think about it seven times. Remember, regret is always at the end.”

A Sad Child Being Punished

Laging nasa huli ang pagsisisi.
“Regret is always at the end.”

2. Proverbs About Life and Living

We all strive to live the best life we can, but it’s not always easy and our path is not always clear. Here are some Filipino proverbs about life and living to give you some cultural perspective on the topic. 

#7

FilipinoAng buhay ay parang gulong, minsang nasa ibabaw, minsang nasa ilalim. 
Translation“Life is like a wheel: Sometimes you’re up, and sometimes you’re down.”
They say life is full of ups and downs, and we can’t expect to be happy all the time. This proverb is a reminder of that truth. The earlier you come to terms with it, the fewer frustrations you’ll have in life. A popular version of this proverb is: Ang buhay ay weather-weather lang. (Life is like the weather.)

Huwag kang makampante. Nasa ibabaw ka ngayon, pero hindi mo alam baka bukas nasa ilalim ka na.
“Don’t be overconfident. You may be at the top now, but you never know if you’re going to be at the bottom tomorrow.”


#8

FilipinoNasa Diyos ang awa, nasa tao ang gawa. 
Translation“To be merciful is God’s; to act is man’s.”
The bahala na mentality, or the concept that the future is up in the air, is deep within the psyche of the Filipino people. Many Filipinos fail to reach their true potential because of this.

“I did my best. I’ll just pray that God will do the rest?”

This proverb is a direct rebuke to that mentality, and it’s very similar to the famous motto, “God helps those who help themselves.”

Kumayod ka kung gusto mong umasenso. Nasa Diyos nga ang awa, pero nasa tao ang gawa!
“Work hard if you want to succeed. God is gracious, but nothing will happen to you if you remain idle!”

#9

FilipinoHabang may buhay, may pag-asa.
Translation“As long as there is life, there is hope.”
Filipinos are among the most resilient of peoples, and this proverb speaks of this truth. Various threats loom so largely every day that we sometimes feel that our situations are hopeless. But if one thing is true, it’s that we should never lose hope as long as there is breath in our lungs.

Alam ko nahihirapan ka na, pero huwag mong kalimutan na habang may buhay, may pag-asa.
“I know you’re having a very difficult time, but never forget that as long as there is life, there is hope.”

#10

FilipinoPag may hirap, may ginhawa.
Translation“When there is a difficulty, there is also a relief.”
This is somewhat similar to the previous proverb about life being full of ups and downs. Most assuredly, life is full of paradoxes and dilemmas. But even if we’re facing hardships right now, we should never forget that we’ve also experienced many good things in the past—and we’ll experience more in the days to come! So don’t lose hope. A wise man once said, “Should we accept from God only good and not adversity?”

#11

FilipinoKalabaw lang ang tumatanda. 
Translation“Only carabaos grow old.”
There’s a reason that the carabao, or the water buffalo, is the national animal of the Philippines. As a symbol of hard work, the carabao is a tough, powerful, and tireless beast. But even an animal as majestic as the carabao grows old and eventually dies. Our grandparents used to quote this proverb to remind everybody that growing old is all in the mind and that anyone can stay as young and strong as they want by maintaining a positive outlook on life. In other words, “Age is just a number.”

Lola, tama na ang trabaho. Magpahinga ka na.
Hmp! Kalabaw lang ang tumatanda!

“Grandma, you need to get some rest from work.”
“Hmph! Only carabaos grow old!”

#12

FilipinoAng masamang damo ay matagal mamatay.
Translation“Weeds don’t die easily.”
This proverb has long been used to describe evil people, particularly why they always seem to live longer. It’s somewhat related to the question, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” and its opposite, “Why do good things happen to bad people?” 

Indeed, we often perceive the wicked to be prospering more than they deserve, but let us not forget that both good and bad are part of life. Perhaps one of the purposes of this proverb is to remind us that it’s impossible to completely rid our lives of evil. All we can do is accept this fact, resist evil, and strive to be better individuals. 

Meanwhile, some people quote this proverb after narrowly escaping death. 

Huwag kayong mag-alala sa akin. Masamang damo ako.
“Don’t be too worried about me. I don’t die easily.”

Three Old Women and an Old Man Laughing and Playing Cards

Kalabaw lang ang tumatanda.
“Only carabaos grow old.”

3. Proverbs About Work and Success

Every culture has something to say about the value of hard work and what it takes to be successful. Below are some common Filipino proverbs on the topic to inspire and motivate you! 

#13

FilipinoHangga’t makitid ang kumot, matutong mamaluktot. 
Translation“Learn how to curl up while the blanket is short.”
Blankets are an important part of life in the Philippines. They protect not only against the cold, but also against mosquitoes and other bugs. In poor communities, a blanket can be a luxury. This proverb advises that if your blanket is too short, learn to bend your knees so that it can cover your entire body. In other words, learn to adjust to your circumstances. 

As we’ve already learned, life has its ups and downs. Be content with what you have at the moment. Work hard and save until you reach the point where you can indulge in a bit of luxury.

Matuto ka munang mamaluktot habang naghahanap ka pa lang ng trabaho.
“Learn to save first while you’re still looking for a job.”

#14

FilipinoPag may tiyaga, may nilaga. 
Translation“If you persevere, you will reap the fruits of your labor.”
In rural Philippines, the nilaga or stew is considered a reward after a hard day’s work. If a Filipino worker doesn’t work hard enough, he won’t have enough money to buy the ingredients for this nutritious dish. This proverb motivates us to work hard because if we persevere, success—and perhaps a delicious bowl of nilaga—will be waiting for us at the end. 


#15

FilipinoDaig ng maagap ang masipag. 
Translation“Promptness wins over diligence.”
To be maagap means to be proactive. You can be hardworking and persevering, but if you’re not mindful of what’s going on around you, you’ll risk losing your work and its potential rewards. 

Be a hardworking individual. Be excellent in what you do and never quit until you’ve completed your task. But in the process, don’t forget to stay alert and ready. In the end, a quick-witted person will win over someone who seems to work non-stop.

#16

FilipinoAng kita sa bula, sa bula rin mawawala.
Translation“What comes from bubbles will disappear in bubbles.”
In a time when get-rich-quick schemes are becoming more and more rampant, nothing could be more valuable than this proverb. The word bula is Filipino for “bubble.” And as you know, bubbles can be attractive and mesmerizing sometimes. But just as fast as they appear, so do they disappear in the blink of an eye. Don’t fall for schemes that promise quick riches. As the saying goes, the way to get rich quickly is to do it slowly.

#17

FilipinoAng umaayaw ay di nagwawagi, ang nagwawagi ay di umaayaw. 
Translation“A quitter never wins; a winner never quits.”
There’s a time to quit and there’s a time to persevere and endure. This is a very straightforward proverb, reminding us that it ain’t over till the fat lady sings. After all, no one who quit prematurely became a champion in life.

Huwag kang aayaw kaagad dahil ikaw din ang matatalo sa huli.
“Don’t quit easily because you’ll only end up being the loser in the end if you do.”

#18

FilipinoPera na, naging bato pa.
Translation“What you thought was money turned out to be stone.”
This is an expression of regret, often said by people who thought they were able to make a profit out of something. In the end, what they thought was a genuine opportunity turned out to be a scam. An excellent reminder that true success cannot be obtained overnight.

Nagsisi ako na sumali ako sa negosyo na ‘to. Pera na naging bato pa.
“I regret joining this business. The money I invested simply turned into stone.”


Beef Nilaga

Pag may tiyaga, may nilaga.
“If you persevere, you will reap the fruits of your labor.”

4. Proverbs About Relationships

Lasting relationships are some of the most precious things in life, but they can also be the most trying. Here are a few Filipino proverbs about love, family, and friendship to give you some perspective. 

#19

FilipinoAng matapat na kaibigan, tunay na maaasahan. 
Translation“You will know a true friend in time of need.”
Perhaps you’re more familiar with, “A friend in need is a friend indeed.” 

It’s easy to attract people into our lives when we’re experiencing success. But when everything seems to be falling apart, these so-called friends will be nowhere to be found. Those who are truly loyal to us are those who will stay by our side to support us, even when they know they’ll get nothing in return.

#20

FilipinoAng pag-aasawa ay hindi biro, ‘di tulad ng kanin, iluluwa kung mapaso. 
Translation“Marriage is not a joke. It is not like food that you can spit out when it is too hot to chew.”
Marrying a person means marrying their entire family. This is especially true in a culture like that of the Philippines, where married couples tend to live together with either of the couple’s side of the family. True enough, strife between husband and wife often involves family members from each side. But then, this old Filipino proverb helps us understand that marriage is a lifetime commitment and not something you can throw away once you get tired of its flavor.

-Isasauli ko na siya sa nanay niya.-Anong akala mo sa relasyon niyo?
Parang kanin na pag napaso ka iluluwa mo lang?

-“I’m going to return her to her parents.”
-“What do you think of your relationship? Do you think it’s like rice that you can simply spit out when you get burned?”

#21

FilipinoAnak na di paluluhain, ina ang patatangisin.  
Translation“An undisciplined child will leave his mother in tears.”
This is the Filipino equivalent of the Biblical proverb that says, “He who spares the rod hates his son.” Spanking a child for bad behavior may be taboo in Western countries, but in the Philippines, it has been common practice to hit a child with a stick as a form of discipline. Many Filipinos forty years old and above would tell you they’re thankful that they lived in a generation when it was okay to hit a child to keep them in check. That’s not to say that it’s still okay today. After all, there are many ways to discipline an unruly child. What this proverb is telling us is that children should never be spoiled if they are to grow up bringing honor to their parents and themselves.

#22

FilipinoHindi magbubunga ng santol ang mabolo. 
Translation“The mabolo tree will not bear a santol fruit.”
Speaking of honor, in Asian countries like the Philippines, society places much importance on honoring one’s parents. This proverb is used in both a positive and a negative sense. 

When society sees a child growing up to become as successful and noble as his parents, they conclude that the fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree. If that same child ended up going the opposite direction, he would be labeled a “black sheep,” a “rotten fruit” that is just as rotten as the tree he had fallen from.

#23

FilipinoPagkahaba-haba man daw ng prusisyon, sa simbahan din ang tuloy.  
Translation“The procession may be long, but it will surely still end up in the church.”
As a primarily Catholic country, the Philippines has several religious festivals, most of which are celebrated with long processions. No matter how long and slow the procession may be, one can be sure that its final destination is the church. 

Filipinos liken long engagements to a religious procession. For some couples, it takes years before the decision to finally settle down is made. The journey toward marriage may be full of ups and downs, but like religious processions, they end up in front of the church altar where they say their “I do’s.”

#24

FilipinoKapag binato ka ng bato, batuhin mo ng tinapay.
Translation“When someone throws a stone at you, throw back a piece of bread.”
This reminds us of one of the sayings in Scripture: “If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” 

In life, you’ll encounter people who will oppress you and do their best to bring you down. It’s tempting to take vengeance against such people, but no proverb is more full of wisdom than this one, telling us not to retaliate. What will we gain if we fight fire with fire? The best way to deal with conflict is to neutralize the situation. As a famous man once wrote, “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” 


A Newly Married Couple Running between Rows of Cheering Family Members

Pagkahaba-haba man daw ng prusisyon, sa simbahan din ang tuloy.  
“The procession may be long, but it will surely still end up in the church.”

5. Miscellaneous Filipino Proverbs

To wrap up, here are a few more Tagalog proverbs for the road. 

#25

FilipinoMadaling sabihin, mahirap gawin.  
Translation“Easier said than done.”
This particular proverb is often directed toward proud people who always fall short of accomplishing the very thing they proudly boasted of being able to do with ease. Such people often miscalculate the difficulty of a task, put off doing it, and then end up realizing they shouldn’t have been overconfident.

#26

FilipinoAng taong nagigipit, sa patalim kumakapit. 
Translation“A desperate person will cling to a knife.”
There’s a moral dilemma to this proverb. Would you sentence a man who had committed a crime, or would you pardon him because he only did what he did because he had to feed his family? Let us know in the comments section how you would interpret this proverb.

#27

FilipinoAng taong walang kibo, nasa loob ang kulo. 
Translation“A quiet person hides his anger.”
Have you ever noticed that the calmer a person looks on the outside, the more capacity that person has for mischief? A colleague may seem peaceful because he doesn’t talk a lot. But be careful when dealing with that person, because one reason he may be reserved is that he doesn’t know how to express himself. And more often than not, it’s those kinds of people whose emotions are raging inside. They’re like a volcano that has remained dormant for a long time, only to erupt violently without warning.

Mag-ingat ka kay Dante. Nasa loob ang kulo niyan.
“Be careful with Dante. He may seem calm, but he can be very violent.”

#28

FilipinoAng naglalakad nang matulin, pag natinik ay malalim. 
Translation“A person who walks fast will have a deeper wound when he is pricked.”
We live in a generation where we’re bombarded with lies telling us that bigger and faster are better. As a result, we often prefer fast food over home-cooked meals; we sign up with get-rich-quick programs instead of working hard from the bottom up. 

This proverb encourages us not to be hasty, but to take things slowly, thinking carefully about our actions. He who hurries often gets wounded the deepest, so don’t get distracted by false promises of shortcuts and quick success.

#29

FilipinoMagbiro ka sa lasing, huwag sa bagong gising.  
Translation“Throw a prank on a drunk man, but never on someone who has just woken up.”
It’s not uncommon to see prank videos on the internet these days, and the two groups of people we often see falling victim are those who are drunk and those who are deep asleep. If you’ve ever been startled awake, you know for sure that it’s not a pleasant feeling. You’ve probably even wished you were drunk because it would have made the situation easier to forget. 

Before the age of the internet and before online pranks became popular, this proverb reminded Filipinos never to prank someone who’s sleeping or had just woken up. Our ancestors had been there, and they realized the results weren’t pretty.

#30

FilipinoAng taong naniniwala sa sabi-sabi ay walang tiwala sa sarili.  
Translation“The person who believes in rumors has no self-confidence.”
A more popular version of this proverb goes, Ang maniwala sa sabi-sabi, walang bait sa sarili. In English, “The person who believes in rumors has no common sense.” 

Indeed, a person who easily believes what they hear or read about has no self-respect. And there’s no better generation to begin applying this proverb than the one we’re in, where fake news and internet hoaxes run amuck.

    → Boost your confidence with this lesson on improving your Filipino speaking skills.

A Child Drawing a Mustache and Beard on Their Sleeping Father

Magbiro ka sa lasing, huwag sa bagong gising.
“Throw a prank on a drunk man, but never on someone who has just woken up.”

6. Learn Filipino Proverbs Plus Much More With FilipinoPod101!

We’ve talked about some of the most famous Filipino proverbs here, but did you know that you can learn even more with FilipinoPod101? Add more Tagalog words to your arsenal, improve your pronunciation, and fall even deeper in love with Filipino culture by signing up with FilipinoPod101. Here, you’ll find unlimited resources that will help you in your Filipino language studies.

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Before you go: Did we forget any Filipino proverb that you believe should be on this list? Feel free to let us know in the comments, or discuss your favorite ones with your fellow Filipino learners!

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