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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!

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

30 Filipino Proverbs for Everyday Life

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

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

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

A Man in Deep Study

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

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

1. Proverbs About Character and Wisdom

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

#1

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

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

#2

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

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


#3

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

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

#4

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

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

#5

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

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

#6

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

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

A Sad Child Being Punished

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

2. Proverbs About Life and Living

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

#7

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

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


#8

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

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

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

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

#9

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

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

#10

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

#11

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

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

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

#12

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

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

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

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

Three Old Women and an Old Man Laughing and Playing Cards

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

3. Proverbs About Work and Success

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

#13

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

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

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

#14

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


#15

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

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

#16

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

#17

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

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

#18

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

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


Beef Nilaga

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

4. Proverbs About Relationships

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

#19

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

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

#20

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

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

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

#21

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

#22

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

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

#23

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

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

#24

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

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


A Newly Married Couple Running between Rows of Cheering Family Members

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

5. Miscellaneous Filipino Proverbs

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

#25

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

#26

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

#27

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

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

#28

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

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

#29

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

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

#30

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

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

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

A Child Drawing a Mustache and Beard on Their Sleeping Father

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

6. Learn Filipino Proverbs Plus Much More With FilipinoPod101!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Metro Manila at Night.

Metro Manila at night.


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

1. Before You Go

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

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

Planning to visit Manila soon?

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

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

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

1. Travel light.

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

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

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

2. Check the weather.

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

3. Check Google Maps in advance.

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

4. Wear comfortable footwear.

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

5. Consider using public transportation.

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

6. Bring enough water (and snacks!).

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

7. Be aware of rush hour times.

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

8. Observe safety in crowded places.

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

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

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


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

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

1 – Intramuros

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

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

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

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


2 – Luneta Park

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

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

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

3 – National Museum Complex

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4 – Bonifacio Global City

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

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

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

5 – Resorts World Manila

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

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

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

6 – Quiapo Church

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

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

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

7 – Cultural Center of the Philippines

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

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

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

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

8 – Ayala Museum

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

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

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

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

9 – SM Mall of Asia

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

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

10 – Binondo, Quiapo, and Divisoria Markets

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

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

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

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


4. Survival Filipino Phrases for Travelers 

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

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

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

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


Two Ladies Buying Outfits

Magkano po ito? (“How much is this?”)

Make Your Manila Tour More Meaningful by Learning Tagalog

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

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

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

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

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

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English Words Used in Filipino: How Much Taglish Do You Know?

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In your interactions with native Tagalog speakers, don’t be surprised to hear a few English words thrown in. Some refer to this mixing of the two languages as Taglish, while others call it Philippine English or Filipinism. The practice of using English words or phrases in a uniquely Filipino way has been around for decades, and it usually leaves English-speaking foreigners scratching their heads. Yes, that’s what this kind of Filipino-speak produces at times: confusion. 

If you’re a foreigner studying the Filipino language and desire to truly master it, this is one aspect of the language you must not overlook, as 99% of Filipinos speak in this manner. To help you navigate this crazy world of English words used in the Filipino language, we’ve crafted this guide to Taglish and loanwords. 

Let’s dive in!

A Man Who Is Unsure about Something

Is that Tagalog or English? Oh, it’s Taglish.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Filipino Table of Contents
  1. An Introduction to Taglish
  2. Taglish Examples
  3. Loanwords vs. Taglish
  4. English Words Derived from Filipino
  5. Expand Your Vocabulary of Tagalog and Taglish Words with FilipinoPod101

1. An Introduction to Taglish

Taglish is now a part of everyday life in the Philippines, but it wasn’t always so widely accepted. Once upon a time, people would laugh at you and mock you for speaking Tagalog mixed with English

Its prominence today either indicates that Taglish is one difficult adversary to bring down or that Filipinos are simply that malleable. Or perhaps it’s just inevitable that a mixed language such as Taglish would become a part of such a diverse, mixed-race nation.

It’s difficult to find someone who speaks pure Filipino nowadays. But perhaps that’s only because not all English words have direct equivalents in Filipino and vice-versa. And that’s how Taglish works, by the way: you simply switch from Filipino to English whenever necessary to best deliver the message you’re trying to convey. 

Let me give you an example:

If you wanted to say you’re going to be late for your class, you’d say something like:

  • “Gosh, I’m going to be late for my class.”

In pure Filipino, you can say that as:

  • Naku, mahuhuli na ako sa klase ko.

In Taglish, you say that as:

  • Naku, male-late na ako sa klase ko.

Notice how “late” was inserted into the sentence?

Here’s another example:

  • “We need to study for our exams.”

In pure Filipino, you can say that as:

  • Kailangan nating mag-aral para sa ating pagsusulit.

In Taglish, it would be something like:

  • Kailangan nating mag-study para sa exams natin.

Coño English takes this to another level. The word coño has Spanish origins, but in Filipino, it refers to the language that has originated from the younger generations of rich Filipinos from Manila. It’s also used to refer to the people who speak this language, oftentimes carrying a negative connotation.

Here are some examples of Coño English:

EnglishTagalogCoño 
You’re so good in Filipino!Ang galing mo naman sa Filipino!You’re so galing naman sa Filipino!
Don’t poke the balloon.Huwag mong tusukin ang lobo.Don’t make tusok the balloon.
Man, it’s so hot in here!Grabe, ang init dito!Grabe, so hot naman here!

A Woman about to Pop a Balloon in a Sleeping Man’s Face

Don’t make tusok the balloon! (“Don’t pop the balloon!”)

    Speaking of confusion, here’s a lesson on how to tell someone that you don’t understand their Filipino.

2. Taglish Examples

You’ll hear English spoken almost everywhere when you’re in the Philippines. In addition to the code-switching we discussed in the previous section, Taglish can also refer to English words adapted to Filipino, but given different meanings than the original words. This isn’t unique to the Philippines, and many other countries (particularly Asian ones), have this habit of giving alternative meanings to English words. Let’s check out a few that are used in Filipino.

1. Adidas

We all know Adidas as a brand of sports clothing. Filipinos know that, too. But in the Philippines, the term ‘Adidas’ has another meaning: barbecued chicken feet sold as street food. The dish is called this because the three main toes on chicken feet resemble the three stripes that represent the famous brand.

  • Tara! Kumain tayo ng adidas sa may kanto. (“C’mon! Let’s eat some adidas at the corner.”)

2. Bad Trip

This term could refer to a trip that went bad or to an unpleasant experience triggered by psychoactive drugs. In Tagalog, however, it’s used to describe the feeling of being disappointed or frustrated about something, like when you’re late for work but the traffic is heavy.

  • Bad trip na traffic ‘to! (“This heavy traffic is wearing on my nerves!”)

3. Blooming

This is a British expression used to emphasize annoyance over something. It could also refer to flower production in plants. In the Philippines, it’s used to describe a person who’s looking unusually good as a result of a lifestyle change.

  • Wow! Blooming ka ngayon ah! (“Wow! You look blooming today!”)

4. Chancing

In English, “chancing” is the present participle of the word “chance.” In Filipino, it refers to the act of taking advantage of another person sexually, as in taking a “chance” to touch someone without being noticed. It’s also spelled as tsansing.

  • Huwag mo nga akong tsansingan! (“Enough with your sexual advances!”)

5. Double Deck

When something is “double-decked,” it has two layers or levels, such as in a “double-decker bus.” In the Philippines, however, it refers to a bunk bed.

  • Ayokong matulog sa double-deck. Baka mahulog ako. (“I don’t want to sleep in a double-deck. I might fall.”)

6. Feeler 

In the insect world, ‘feelers’ are the antennae that bugs use to “feel” the world around them. It could also refer to a question or suggestion one uses to find out another person’s thoughts or opinions. But Filipinos use this term to describe an individual who comes across as narcissistic.

  • Sino nagsabi na cute ka? Feeler ka talaga! (“Who told you you’re cute? You’re such a feeler.”)

7. High Blood

This is a medical term that refers to having high blood pressure. In the Philippines, it’s used to describe a person who’s always cranky or who seems to have an anger management issue.

  • Bakit high blood ka na lang palagi? (“Why are you high blood [cranky] all the time?”)

Two Women Chatting Over Coffee

Mag-milk tea ka muna. High blood ka na naman eh. 
(“You’re cranky again. Why don’t you have some milk tea first?”)

8. Maniac

This term is used to describe a person who exhibits extreme symptoms of wild behavior, someone who has some sort of mental illness and becomes violent when having episodes. It is manyak (or manyakis) in Tagalog, and it’s used to describe a pervert. 

  • Parang siyang manyak makatingin sa akin. (“He stares at me like a manyak [pervert].”)

9. Napkin

A napkin is a small piece of cloth or paper that is used during a meal to clean one’s lips and fingers. A napkin can also be worn to protect one’s clothes when eating. Filipinos use the term to refer to sanitary pads, used by women for hygienic purposes during “that time of the month.”

  • Ate, bilhan mo ako ng napkin na *whisper*. (“Ate, please buy me some *whisper* napkin [sanitary pads].”)

10. Racket

A racket is a piece of sports equipment similar to a bat but with a round netted frame used for badminton or lawn tennis. In Tagalog, however, it’s used to refer to a money-making scheme or a gig.

  • Balita ko may panibagong raket ka naman daw? (“I heard you have a new racket [gig].”)

*Trivia: Many Filipinos mistakenly refer to a badminton shuttlecock as “racket.”

11. Salvage

The meaning of the word “salvage” is reversed in Tagalog. While its original meaning is to save or protect someone or something, Filipinos use it to refer to the act of murdering someone and dumping the body. Interestingly, it’s spelled similarly to the Spanish word salvaje, which means “wild” or “untamed,” and which Filipinos now use to describe an evil person.

  • May bangkay na nakita sa labas. Salvage daw sabi ng mga pulis. (“There’s a dead body outside. The policemen say it’s salvage.“)

12. Tomboy

The Tagalog word tomboy is used to describe female homosexuals. It’s not too far off from its original definition in English, which refers to a girl who enjoys things or activities often associated with males.

  • Tomboy na talaga ako dati pa. (“I’ve been a tomboy since way back.”)

13. Traffic

In English, the word “traffic” is a noun that refers to vehicles moving on a road. In the Philippines, it’s a negative term used as an adjective referring to heavy traffic.

  • Grabe ang traffic kanina kaya na-late ako. (“The traffic was so heavy this morning, which is why I was late.”)

Did you know that you can take advantage of the heavy traffic by learning Tagalog inside your car?

14. Cowboy 

A cowboy is an animal herder who tends cattle. In Filipino, you’re a “cowboy” if you’re not picky and don’t easily complain over an inconvenience.

  • Okay lang sa akin kumain ng balut. Cowboy ‘to no. (“I don’t mind eating balut. I’m a cowboy, you know.”)

3. Loanwords vs. Taglish

So far, we’ve looked at borrowed English words that have different meanings in Filipino. Now, we’re going to examine a few English loanwords in Filipino that have been integrated into the language while retaining their original meanings (or a similar meaning).

1. Adik (Addict)

Adik means to be addicted to something. 

  • Na-adik ka na yata sa nilalaro mo ah? (“It seems you’ve been addicted to that game.”)

2. Bakwit (Evacuate)

The word bakwit came from the English word “evacuate,” which means to remove something from a place of danger to a place of safety. In the Philippines, bakwit is used in the same manner.

  • Nagbakwit sila dahil sa bagyo. (“They evacuated because of the typhoon.”)

3. Babay (Buh-bye)

Babay is the direct translation of “Buh-bye” in Filipino. You can also check here to learn other ways Filipinos say “goodbye.”

  • Mag-babay ka na sa kanila. (“Say your goodbyes to them now.”)

4. Disko (Disco)

Disko is from the word “disco,” a club where people dance to popular music. The term became popular in the 80s, but you will seldom hear it being used these days.

A Man and Woman Dancing while Wearing Silly Costumes

Mahilig mag disko si Lola nung dalaga pa siya. 
(“Grandma used to frequent disco bars when she was younger.”)

5. Keri (Carry)

Keri is from the English word “carry,” which means to support the weight of an object or to lift an object from one place to another. In the Philippines, the term refers to the ability of a person to overcome a difficult task.

  • Kilala kita. Keri mo ‘yan. (“I know you. You can do it.”)

6. Kodak (Kodak, the brand)

Filipinos started using the term kodak to refer to photographs and the act of taking pictures back when film photography and the Kodak brand were at the height of their popularity.

  • Kodakan mo naman ako. (“Will you take my picture, please?”)

7. Tambay (Stand by)

Tambay was derived from the phrase “stand by,” which has several meanings in English. It could refer to the act of remaining loyal to someone in a time of need, or the readiness for immediate deployment. It could also refer to being present while something undesirable is happening and yet failing to do something to help. It’s to this last definition that the Tagalog word tambay seems closest. In Filipino, a tambay is an adult who is capable of working and yet chooses to hang around and do nothing except eat and play.

  • Tama na ang tambay. Maghanap ka ng trabaho! (“Stop being a lollygagger. Go look for a job!”)

8. Lobat (Low battery)

Filipinos love inventing words. One such word is lobat, which is Tagalog for “low battery.” No one is more familiar with the term than the people who live in the “Texting and selfie capital of the world.”

  • Naku, lobat na ang cellphone ko. Kailangan ko nang mag-charge. (“Gosh, my phone’s battery is almost drained. I need to charge it now.”)

9. Pulis (Police)

Pulis is the Filipino term for “police.” Whichever region you go to in the Philippines, you’ll hear people using this same word when referring to cops.

  • Gusto niyang maging pulis paglaki niya. (“He wants to be a policeman when he grows up.”)

10. Traysikel (Tricycle)

The French may have been the ones who invented the first tricycle, but there is no place in the world where this three-wheeled vehicle is found more abundantly than the Philippines. In many places in the country, the traysikel is used as some sort of taxicab. And like taxis, they can be a vehicle-for-hire or used to travel over a fixed route.

  • Kaunti lang ang traysikel dito sa lugar namin. (“We don’t have a lot of tricycles here in our place.”)

11. Wais (Wise)

Pronounced as |wa-is|, this word is derived from the English “wise.” Unlike the word of its origin, though, it doesn’t necessarily mean showing knowledge, experience, and good judgement. It’s more often used to describe a cunning or crafty person.

  • Naisahan mo na naman ako. Wais ka talaga! (“You got the better of me again. Such a crafty person you are!”)

Aside from learning Taglish, learning Tagalog slang can help improve your Filipino.

4. English Words Derived from Filipino

Loanwords make up 80% of the English language. No wonder it is spoken in almost all parts of the world! This time, let’s check out some English words borrowed from Filipino. 

1. Boondocks

The word “boondocks” is defined as a remote or isolated region. It came from the Filipino word bundok, which refers to mountains or uncharted areas beyond a coastal district.

  • Walang internet sa bundok kung saan sila nakatira. (“There is no internet in the mountains where they live.”)

2. Calamondin

Calamondin refers to a small, evergreen citrus fruit tree, commonly known as “calamansi” in Tagalog, but as “kalamunding” in some parts of the Philippines.

  • Kilala ang lugar sa kanilang mga pananim na kalamansi o kalamunding. (“The place is known for its numerous Calamondin plants.”)

3. Carabao

The carabao is a type of water buffalo that’s native to the Philippines. The word “carabao” came from the Visayan word karbaw, which in Tagalog is kalabaw.

  • Mas malakas pa yata siya sa kalabaw. (“He seems to be stronger than a carabao.”)

4. Cogon

Cogon is identified as a type of noxious weed that grows in the Southeastern United States. It’s from the Tagalog word cogon, which refers to a rhizomatous grass commonly used for thatching the roofs of traditional Filipino houses.

  • Ang bubong ng bahay nila ay yari sa dahon ng cogon. (“The roof of their house is made of cogon leaves.”)

5. Cooties

“Cooties” is a children’s term referring to a fictitious childhood disease believed to be transmitted by obnoxious people or children of the opposite sex. It was also the nickname given to lice during the First World War. It’s believed to have come from the word kuto, which is a Filipino and Austronesian term for head lice.

  • Sobrang dami ng kuto ni Anya. (“Anya has a lot of head lice.”)

6. Jeepney

This is a combination of the words “jeep” (a type of military vehicle made by GP in the 60s) and “jitney” (an American term for ‘taxi’).

  • Balita ko ay aalisin na ng gobyerno ang mga bulok na jeepney at papalitan ng mga modernong minibus. (“I heard the government is going to get rid of all the old jeepneys and replace them with modern minibuses.”)

First time riding a jeepney? Here are some key phrases you need to be familiar with if you’re riding a jeepney in the Philippines.

7. Machin

Machin refers to a long-tailed macaque species. The term is derived from matsing, which is Filipino for “monkey” or “ape.”

  • Wais man ang matsing, naisahan pa rin siya ng pagong. (“The monkey might be clever, but the tortoise was able to outsmart him still.”)

8. Salacot

This one is from the word salakot, which refers to a broad-brimmed hat made of lightweight organic material used in rural areas in the Philippines.

  • Magsuot ka ng salakot nang hindi masunong ang balat mo. (“Wear a salacot so you won’t get a sunburn.”)

9. Yo-Yo

The name of this popular stringed toy is believed to have come from either the Ilocano or Tagalog term yoyo, which could mean “come, come,” or “return.”

A Red Yoyo

The name of this popular stringed toy is believed to have been derived from either the Ilocano or Tagalog term yoyo, which could mean “come, come,” or “return.”


Expand Your Vocabulary of Tagalog and Taglish Words with FilipinoPod101

Taglish is just one of the things you’ll find interesting about the language and culture of the Philippines. If you want to discover other exciting things about the country, its language, and its people, I suggest you sign up for a free account on FilipinoPod101.com today.

There’s no better way to learn Filipino online than through our website, where you’ll be provided with all the free resources and materials you’ll need to improve your vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation.

Want to take your learning to another level? MyTeacher is here for you! This is a unique feature that lets you have one-on-one lessons with your very own Filipino teacher, who will give you real-time feedback so you’ll know how much you’re improving.

That’s all for our guide on Taglish words and English words with different meanings in Filipino! Feel free to drop your thoughts in the comments section so we know what you think of this post. Until next time!

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Be Inspired By This List of Tagalog Quotes and Proverbs

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

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

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

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

Let’s get started.

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

1. Quotes About Success

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

1. Ang pagiging dukha ay hindi hadlang sa tagumpay. 

“Poverty is not a hindrance to success.”

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

2. Kapag may itinanim, may aanihin. 

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

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

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

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

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

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


A Woman Cultivating Her Garden

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

2. Quotes About Life

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. Quotes About Time

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

9. Ang oras ay ginto. 

“Time is gold.” 

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


4. Quotes About Love

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

10. Pagsasama nang tapat, pagsasama nang maluwat. 

“Faithfulness breeds longevity.” 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. Quotes About Family

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

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

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

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

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

“Family is not always about blood.”

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

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

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

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

Friends Talking to Each Other

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


6. Quotes About Friendship

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

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

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

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

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

“Hard times reveal true friends.”

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

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

“A treacherous friend is worse than an enemy.” 

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


7. Quotes About Food

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

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

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

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

20. Makulay ang buhay sa gulay. 

“Life is colorful with vegetables.”

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

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

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

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

A Sweet Couple Preparing Salad

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

8. Quotes About Health

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

22. Ang kalusugan ay kayamanan.

“Health is wealth.” 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


9. Quotes About Language Learning

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

10. Bonus: Famous Quotes From Tagalog Movies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Cute Dog

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

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

11. Learn More Than Just Tagalog Quotes With FilipinoPod101!

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

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

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

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

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Filipino Business Phrases for Speaking Professionally

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

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

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

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

1. Nailing a Job Interview

Job Interview

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

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

Using the Magic Word “Po”

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

Greetings and Self-Introductions

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

A- Saying Hello

  • Hello po. (“Hello.”) 

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

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

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

B- Saying Goodbye

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

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

Talking About Professional Experience

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

C- Common Questions

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

D- Possible Answers

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

Talking About Strengths

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

Politely Asking the Interviewer to Repeat a Question

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

Thanking the Interviewer

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

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

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

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

2. Interacting with Coworkers

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

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

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

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

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

On the other hand, an office worker might say:

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

And someone who works on a contract basis might say:

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

Self-Introduction

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

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

Asking for Help

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

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

Making Apologies

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

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

After-Work Socialization

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

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

3. Sounding Smart in a Meeting

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

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

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

Making Suggestions

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

Agreeing or Disagreeing with Someone and Making Negotiations

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

Giving Presentations

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

Reporting to Supervisors

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

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

4. Handling Business Phone Calls and Emails

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

Answering a Call at Work

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

Taking Messages

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

Ending a Phone Conversation

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

Greeting Someone in an Email

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

Wrapping Up an Email

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

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

5. Going on a Business Trip

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

Booking a Hotel and Tickets

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

Meeting Partners or Clients at the Airport

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

Checking In or Out of a Hotel

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

Thanking Partners or Clients for Their Hospitality

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

6. Enter the Filipino Corporate World More Confidently with FilipinoPod101

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

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

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

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

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Learn the Top 15 Ways to Say Goodbye in Tagalog

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

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

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

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

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

1. Common Ways to Say Goodbye in Tagalog

Most Common Goodbyes

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

1. Paalam. / “Goodbye.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4. Babay! / “Buh-bye!”

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

5. Bye!

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

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

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

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

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

A Drunk Man Inside a Car

“It’s so traffic naman today.”


2. Specific Ways to Say Goodbye

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

8. Ingat! / “Take care!”

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

A Mother with Two Children

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

9. Mauna na ako. / “I gotta run.”

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

Mauna na ako basically means any of the following:

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

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

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

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

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

A Man and a Woman Hugging Each Other

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

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

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

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

Notice the difference?

12. Kitakits! / “See you around!”

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

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

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

3. Untranslatable Goodbye Phrases in Filipino

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

13. Sige.

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

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

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

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

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

A Man Smiling

Uhm…sige.

14. O siya, siya. 

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

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

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

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

15. O, paano? 

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

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

4. The FilipinoPod101 Advantage

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

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

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

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

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

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A Show of Devotion: Feast of the Black Nazarene

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

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

Let’s get started!

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1. What is the Feast of the Black Nazarene?

a silhouette of someone praying in repentance

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

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

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

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

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

2. Feast of the Black Nazarene Traditions

Feast of the Black Nazarene Procession

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. Holiday Confusion!

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

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


4. Essential Vocabulary for the Feast of the Black Nazarene

Someone Lighting a Candle in Homage

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

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

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

Final Thoughts

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

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

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

Happy learning!

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Is it Hard to Learn Filipino?

Kid Listening to Filipino Podcast

“It’s more fun learning Filipino.”

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

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

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

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

A- The Challenging Parts of Learning Filipino

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But wait, there’s more!

3 – Verb conjugation can be baffling at times.

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

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

  • -in

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

  • i-

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

  • -an

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

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

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

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

B- The Easy Parts of Learning Filipino

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

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

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

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

Glass Door Signs for Female and Male Entry

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

2 – Spelling is not an issue.

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

3 – Phonetics are a no-brainer.

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

4 – It’s more fun learning Filipino.

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

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

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

1 – Start with everyday phrases.

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

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

2 – Build your vocabulary.

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

3 – Read Filipino literature.

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

4 – Listen to Filipino songs.

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

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

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

5 – Watch Filipino films.

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

6 – Make lots of Tagalog friends.

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

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


3. Tips for New Filipino Learners

1 – Be committed.

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

2 – Be patient.

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

3 – Be persevering.

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

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

4 – Think big.

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

A Man Standing on Top of a Snowy Mountain

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

4. Why is FilipinoPod101 Great for Learning Filipino?

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

1 – Unique Learning System

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

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

2 – High-Quality Resources

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

3 – One-on-One Coaching

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

A Woman Teaching a Girl How to Write Something in Filipino

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

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

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

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

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10 Common Filipino Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

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

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

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

So, if you’re ready, let’s begin!

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

1. Pronunciation Mistakes

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

1 – Syllabication

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

2 – Emphasis

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


2. Vocabulary Word Mistakes

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

3 – Ng versus Nang

NG

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

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

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

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

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

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

NANG

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

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

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

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

It also answers the question “How?”

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

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

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

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

4 – Kumusta and not Kamusta

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

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

3. Word Order Mistakes

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

5 – “Barok” Speak

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

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

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

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

6 – Use of Ba

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Siya ang sinasabi mo ba? (INCORRECT) ✘

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

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

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

4. Grammar Mistakes

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

7 – Use of ikaw, ka, and mo

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

  • Mabait ikaw. (INCORRECT) ✘

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

  • Ikaw ay mabait. (CORRECT)

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

Here are more examples:

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

Using ikaw:

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

Using ikaw:

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

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

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

As a pronoun:

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

When used as “you” in a sentence:

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

8 – Verb Conjugation Errors

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

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

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

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

Here are more examples:

  1. “C’mon, let us eat!”

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

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

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

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

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

5. Other Common Mistakes

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

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

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

Daw vs. Raw

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ano raw? (“What was that?”)

Bukod vs. Maliban

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kung vs. Kapag

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

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

For example:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

6. The Biggest Mistake


10 – Not practicing enough

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

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

Need more motivation? Watch the video above!

Counselor Comforting a Girl Who’s Crying

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

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

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

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

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

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