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Gain Filipino Fluency with These Advanced Tagalog Words

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

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

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

A Woman Giving a Presentation

Express yourself with more confidence by learning advanced Tagalog words.

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

1. Advanced Academic Words

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Doctor Consulting with a Patient

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

2. Advanced Business Words

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Man Staring in Disbelief at a Huge Stack of Paperwork

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


3. Advanced Medical Words

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4. Advanced Legal Words

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Mother Receiving Kisses from Her Two Children

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. Alternative Words to Make an Impression

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

1 – Alternative Adverbs

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

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

magkahiwalay magkabukod Magkabukod silang dumating.
separatelyseparatelyThey arrived separately.

talagasadyaSadyang mabilis magsalita si Aristotle.
verysimplyAristotle simply talks fast.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2 – Alternative Verbs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3 – Alternative Conjunctions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4 – Alternative Prepositions

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

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

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

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

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

Three Young Japanese People Singing Karaoke and Drinking Beer

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

Learn More Advanced Tagalog Words with FilipinoPod101!

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

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

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

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The Most Useful Filipino Phone Call Phrases

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. The Opening Line

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

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

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

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

1 – When you’re the one calling…

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

You can follow this up with:

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

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

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

Informal

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

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

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

Formal

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

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

2. Introducing Yourself

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

1 – When making the call…

Informal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Formal

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

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

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

A Man with a Backpack Making a Call on the Payphone

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

2 – When receiving a call…

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

Formal

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

In Tagalog, that would sound something like:

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

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

3. Stating Your Reason for Calling

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

Informal

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

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

Formal

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

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

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

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

4. Asking to Speak to Someone

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

Informal

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

Formal

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

5. Asking Someone to Wait

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

Informal

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

Formal

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

6. Leaving a Message

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

Informal

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

Formal

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

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

7. Asking for Clarification

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

Informal

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

Formal

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

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

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

Or:

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

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


8. Ending the Phone Call

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

1 – Ending a call as the caller…

Informal

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

Formal

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

2 – Ending a call as the recipient…

Informal

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

Formal

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

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

A Woman Chatting on the Phone while Lying on the Floor

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

9. Sample Phone Conversations

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

1 – Informal Phone Conversation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2 – Formal Phone Conversation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rain: Rain Ledesma.

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

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

Attendant: Paalam. (“Bye.”)

3 – Formal Phone Conversation (Taglish)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rain: Nine a.m.

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

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

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

Rain: Rain Ledesma.

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

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

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

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

A Woman Making a Reservation Over the Phone

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


Learn More Than Just Phone Call Phrases with FilipinoPod101!

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

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

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

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

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The Most Common Filipino Filler Words

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

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

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

A Woman in a Wedding Dress Looking Concerned

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

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

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

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

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

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


2. A List of Filipino Filler Words

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

#1

Filler WordLiterallyEnglish Equivalent
Ano“What”“Uhm”

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

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

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

#2

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

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

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

#3

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

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

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

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

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

One Schoolgirl Whispering Something in Another Schoolgirl’s Ear

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


#4

Filler WordLiterallyEnglish Equivalent
Kuwan“That thing”“Uhm”

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

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

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

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

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

#5

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

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

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

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

#6

Filler WordLiterallyEnglish Equivalent
Basta!“Enough”

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

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

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

A Woman Making an Arrogant Face and being Snobby

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

#7

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

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

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

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

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

#8

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

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

#9

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

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

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

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

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

#10

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

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

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

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

#11

Filler WordLiterallyEnglish Equivalent
Naman

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

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

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

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

#12

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

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

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

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

#13

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

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

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

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

#14

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

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

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

It can also indicate sarcasm: 

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

#15

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

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

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

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

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

3. Should you use filler words?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2 – Filler words can unnecessarily lengthen your sentences.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Statue of Cupid

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Or:

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

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

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

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

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

Gusto kita. / “I like you.” 

He can also say:

Type kita. / “You’re my type.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If the woman was interested, she would say:

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

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

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

Asian Coworkers Chatting with Each Other After Work

“Hi, I’m Will. God’s will.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Man Whispering Something in a Woman’s Ear

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


4. Filipino Endearment Terms

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

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

O irog dinig mo ba
Ang pagtibok ng aking puso?

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

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

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

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

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

5. Must-know Filipino Love Quotes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Man and Woman Having Drinks on a Date

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

6. Learn More Important Tagalog Phrases with FilipinoPod101!

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

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

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

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

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Ultimate Guide to Tagalog Negation: Saying No in Filipino

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

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

You’ll learn…

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

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

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

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

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

1. Filipino Negation: The Basics

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

1 – Hindi 

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

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

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

2 – Wala

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

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

There are a few ways you can respond to this:

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


3 – Huwag

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

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

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

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

2. Negating a Sentence in Filipino

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s take a look at another example:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Therapist Comforting an Upset Client

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


3. Giving a Negative Response to a Question

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

For instance, when you’re asked, 

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

You respond with, 

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

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

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

Or, when you’re asked, 

  • Sa iyo ba ito? (“Is this yours?”)

You could answer by saying, 

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

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

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

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

You could answer this question by saying, 

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

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

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

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

A Waitress Serving a Couple Salad

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

    Learn how to refuse politely with this lesson from FilipinoPod101.

4. More Negating Filipino Words and Phrases

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

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

1 – Hindi pa

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

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

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

2 – Walang may

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

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

3 – Hindi kailanman

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

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

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

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

Or at the beginning,

  • Kailanman ay hindi sila nagkalayo.

4 – Hindi maaari / Hindi pwede

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

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

5 – Ayaw na / Hindi na

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

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

6 – Wala na

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

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

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

7 – Hinding-hindi

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

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

8 – Ayaw na ayaw

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

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

9 – Huwag na huwag

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

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

A Little Girl Whispering Something to an Older Girl

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

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

Learn About Filipino Negation and Much More with FilipinoPod101

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

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

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

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

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

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How Long Does it Take to Learn Tagalog?

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

What You Will Learn at the Beginner Level

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

How to Get There

Wondering how to learn basic Tagalog effectively? If you’re studying on your own, you’ll want to develop goals and strategies that will help you reach the beginner level and eventually the intermediate and advanced levels. In this regard, you only need to remember three things: Plan, Track, and Evaluate. 

  • Plan your goals first, and then plan what strategies you’ll use to achieve them. 
  • Track your progress every day to see how well you’re doing. 
  • Evaluate yourself after a week or two to see whether you have achieved your goals. Take note of which strategies worked and which ones didn’t. Repeat the entire process, adjusting your goals if necessary.

A Businessman Making Plans and Tracking Progress

Learning a language like Filipino requires careful planning.

Since you’re just starting to build your vocabulary, you’ll want to focus on familiarizing yourself with everyday Tagalog words. This means you’ve got to have flashcards on hand at all times. Practice pronouncing the words correctly, making sure your voice is loud enough for your ears to hear. Speaking of hearing, you should also listen to audio lessons as part of your daily schedule. And most importantly, have some practice conversations with a native speaker as often as you can.

Beginner Level Tip: 

Practice with a native speaker as soon as possible. This is a crucial step to becoming fluent in Tagalog. 

How many hours do you need to spend studying Filipino to get to the beginner level? 

This depends on several factors. Let’s assume that you’re fluent in English. In this case, it will take you around 150-200 hours to learn basic Filipino (that is, if you study at least one hour per session on a daily basis). That includes memorizing basic Filipino words, learning how they’re used in a sentence, and having a practice session with a native speaker.

Two Students Chatting with Each Other in a Classroom

Practice with a native speaker as soon as possible. 
This is a crucial step to becoming fluent in Tagalog.

2. How Long Does it Take to Achieve the Intermediate Level?

Let’s say you’ve already spent 200 hours studying basic Filipino. By this time, you should be ready to proceed to the intermediate level. 

Once you reach the end of this level, it will be easier for you to understand important points about subjects related to work, school, and similar matters. You’ll also find it easier to produce simple sentences about topics that are familiar to you. 

You will be more comfortable expressing yourself, particularly in terms of describing events and things you’ve experienced. You might also be more fluent around this time, able to interact more spontaneously with native speakers.

What You Will Learn at the Intermediate Level

At this level, you’ll start learning more Filipino words and expressions, but this time, the words you’ll learn are not limited to the names of things or places. You’ll also learn words used to describe actions and experiences, as well as those used to describe a person or situation. In addition to taking your vocabulary to another level, you’ll also learn grammatical tenses and verb conjugation. Add to that the Filipino parts of speech and sentence structure, and you have a good idea of what your studies should focus on at this point.

How to Get There

There are still a lot of core Filipino words for you to learn at this level, so don’t do away with those flashcards yet. Aside from simply memorizing words and their meanings, practice pronouncing the words, too. It’s also important to learn them in context, as new words are more meaningful (and more memorable) this way. When memorizing a particular word, try using it in a sentence or a story. It also helps to study vocabulary based on a specific topic or theme.

If you’re wondering how to learn Filipino words outside of flashcards, keep in mind that you can learn more words and their pronunciation by listening to audio lessons. By now, you should be able to watch Tagalog films or TV programs with subtitles. This is also the best time to read Tagalog literature. You don’t necessarily have to read Noli Me Tangere or Banaag at Sikat; you can instead find reading materials with content appropriate to your level and relevant to your learning goals.

For best results, do all these things in addition to having regular practice conversations with a native speaker.

Intermediate Level Tip: 

The key to becoming fluent in Tagalog is to practice your listening skills. Listen carefully to how a native speaker would pronounce words, break down sentences into parts, and try to understand each word. Repeat the process until you’ve familiarized yourself with Tagalog words, how they’re pronounced, and how they’re used in a sentence.

Bonus Tip: 

It’s important to imitate the accent and intonation of a native speaker, as they both carry the emotions the speaker wishes to convey.

    By now, you should be able to post social media comments the Filipino way. This lesson should be able to help you with that.

How long will it take for you to get from the beginner level to the intermediate level? To achieve this, you’ll need to spend another 250-300 hours of studying.

A Man Studying in a Library

Find reading materials with content appropriate to your level and relevant to your learning goals.

3. How Long Does it Take to Achieve the Advanced Level?

Congratulations! You’re now ready for the advanced level. 

Once you master this level, you’ll be almost as fluent in Filipino as you are in your own language. You’ll now be able to produce well-structured, detailed sentences on any subject, whether simple or complex. You’ll also be able to understand demanding texts and their implicit meaning. In addition, you’ll be comfortable expressing yourself spontaneously without having to grasp for words. You can also use Filipino now for professional and academic purposes and not just for casual conversations.

What You Will Learn at the Advanced Level

Expanding your vocabulary doesn’t stop after you complete the intermediate level. Most native speakers know at least 15,000 word families, so it should be your goal to become familiar with at least 10,000 words in the language to reach the advanced level. This time, your approach will be more advanced, too. You won’t simply memorize words, but also learn the grammar and gain a deeper understanding of the Filipino culture.

How to Get There

In addition to the habits you formed to get to the beginner and intermediate levels, you must now start speaking and writing with a Filipino tutor who can guide you and offer you feedback. You’ll want to look for more Tagalog books, as well. Several authors write in contemporary Tagalog, such as Bob Ong and Edgar Calabia. If you’re going to visit a bookstore in the Philippines, head straight to the Filipiniana section where you will find a collection of books that are strong in history, economics, literature, sociology, and political science.

Advanced Level Tip: 

Filipino grammar books are okay, but that’s the only thing they can teach you—grammar. When studying a language, it’s important to learn what a native speaker would actually say in real situations, and not just repeat sentences you read from books. 

    At the advanced level, you should already know how to conduct business using the Filipino language. This lesson should help you prepare!

So how long does it take to learn Tagalog fluently? To go from the intermediate level to the advanced level, you’ll need to study for another 550-600 hours.

Again, your learning speed will depend on several factors, and the numbers here are just estimates. They’re particularly based on the numbers provided by the Foreign Service Institute, which is the center for foreign-language learning in the United States government. According to their research, Tagalog is a Category III language and takes a total of 1100 hours to learn. That means Tagalog is more difficult to learn than French, Italian, or Spanish!

A Woman Dressed in Graduation Attire and Holding a Diploma

Tagalog is a Category III language and takes a total of 1100 hours to master.

Nothing is Too Hard with FilipinoPod101 on Your Side!

Learning Filipino is a journey that starts with a single step. And just like with any other journey, the best way to get to your destination is to travel with a map. In this case, your map is FilipinoPod101! Yes, it’s possible to reach the advanced level and start speaking fluent Tagalog like a native speaker. You can do this largely on your own, but with an expert to guide you and give you feedback along the way, you’ll be able to learn Tagalog fast.

Want to save time and money as you learn the Filipino language and discover the culture? Sign up with FilipinoPod101 today! Here, you’ll get access to free learning resources you won’t find elsewhere, as well as access to exclusive lessons from our Lesson Library. Our Innovative Language 101 app will also give you a way to view your lessons and track your progress anytime, anywhere.

Need a personal teacher to guide you through lessons tailored to your specific needs and goals? Our MyTeacher service will take care of you! With this Premium PLUS feature, you’ll receive continuous feedback on your progress, so you’ll know exactly where you are in your journey toward mastering Filipino.

So, what did you think of this post? Were we able to answer your question on how to learn Tagalog faster? Let us know in the comments section! 

Happy learning!

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30 Filipino Proverbs for Everyday Life

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

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

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

A Man in Deep Study

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

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

1. Proverbs About Character and Wisdom

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

#1

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

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

#2

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

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


#3

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

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

#4

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

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

#5

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

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

#6

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

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

A Sad Child Being Punished

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

2. Proverbs About Life and Living

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

#7

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

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


#8

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

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

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

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

#9

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

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

#10

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

#11

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

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

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

#12

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

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

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

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

Three Old Women and an Old Man Laughing and Playing Cards

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

3. Proverbs About Work and Success

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

#13

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

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

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

#14

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


#15

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

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

#16

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

#17

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

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

#18

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

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


Beef Nilaga

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

4. Proverbs About Relationships

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

#19

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

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

#20

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

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

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

#21

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

#22

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

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

#23

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

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

#24

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

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


A Newly Married Couple Running between Rows of Cheering Family Members

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

5. Miscellaneous Filipino Proverbs

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

#25

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

#26

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

#27

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

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

#28

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

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

#29

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

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

#30

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

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

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

A Child Drawing a Mustache and Beard on Their Sleeping Father

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

6. Learn Filipino Proverbs Plus Much More With FilipinoPod101!

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

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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