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Archive for the 'Filipino Phrases' Category

A Show of Devotion: Feast of the Black Nazarene

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

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

Let’s get started!

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1. What is the Feast of the Black Nazarene?

a silhouette of someone praying in repentance

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

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

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

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

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

2. Feast of the Black Nazarene Traditions

Feast of the Black Nazarene Procession

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. Holiday Confusion!

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

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


4. Essential Vocabulary for the Feast of the Black Nazarene

Someone Lighting a Candle in Homage

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

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

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

Final Thoughts

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

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

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

Happy learning!

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Is it Hard to Learn Filipino?

Kid Listening to Filipino Podcast

“It’s more fun learning Filipino.”

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

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

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

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

A- The Challenging Parts of Learning Filipino

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But wait, there’s more!

3 – Verb conjugation can be baffling at times.

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

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

  • -in

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

  • i-

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

  • -an

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

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

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

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

B- The Easy Parts of Learning Filipino

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

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

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

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

Glass Door Signs for Female and Male Entry

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

2 – Spelling is not an issue.

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

3 – Phonetics are a no-brainer.

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

4 – It’s more fun learning Filipino.

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

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

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

1 – Start with everyday phrases.

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

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

2 – Build your vocabulary.

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

3 – Read Filipino literature.

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

4 – Listen to Filipino songs.

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

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

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

5 – Watch Filipino films.

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

6 – Make lots of Tagalog friends.

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

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


3. Tips for New Filipino Learners

1 – Be committed.

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

2 – Be patient.

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

3 – Be persevering.

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

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

4 – Think big.

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

A Man Standing on Top of a Snowy Mountain

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

4. Why is FilipinoPod101 Great for Learning Filipino?

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

1 – Unique Learning System

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

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

2 – High-Quality Resources

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

3 – One-on-One Coaching

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

A Woman Teaching a Girl How to Write Something in Filipino

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

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

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

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

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10 Common Filipino Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

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

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

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

So, if you’re ready, let’s begin!

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

1. Pronunciation Mistakes

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

1 – Syllabication

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

2 – Emphasis

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


2. Vocabulary Word Mistakes

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

3 – Ng versus Nang

NG

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

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

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

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

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

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

NANG

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

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

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

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

It also answers the question “How?”

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

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

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

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

4 – Kumusta and not Kamusta

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

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

3. Word Order Mistakes

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

5 – “Barok” Speak

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

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

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

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

6 – Use of Ba

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Siya ang sinasabi mo ba? (INCORRECT) ✘

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

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

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

4. Grammar Mistakes

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

7 – Use of ikaw, ka, and mo

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

  • Mabait ikaw. (INCORRECT) ✘

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

  • Ikaw ay mabait. (CORRECT)

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

Here are more examples:

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

Using ikaw:

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

Using ikaw:

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

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

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

As a pronoun:

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

When used as “you” in a sentence:

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

8 – Verb Conjugation Errors

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

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

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

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

Here are more examples:

  1. “C’mon, let us eat!”

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

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

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

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

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

5. Other Common Mistakes

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

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

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

Daw vs. Raw

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ano raw? (“What was that?”)

Bukod vs. Maliban

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kung vs. Kapag

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

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

For example:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

6. The Biggest Mistake


10 – Not practicing enough

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

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

Need more motivation? Watch the video above!

Counselor Comforting a Girl Who’s Crying

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

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

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

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

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

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The 10 Fundamental Filipino Questions and Answers

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Imagine living in a world without questions. 

Questions are an important part of life, and not just because they’re a part of the language we speak. Questions start conversations. Without questions, curiosity would be extinct. Without them, everyone would be trapped in ignorance. 

With this in mind, are you ready to start learning how to ask Tagalog questions? You’re in the right place, because that’s just what we’re going to talk about today! 

Generally, Filipinos are very inquisitive. Sometimes, though, that quality is abused. That’s why we have the terms chismoso and chismosa, which are Tagalog for “tattletale” or “gossip.”

But when used appropriately, the ability to ask the right questions can help you build rapport and establish relationships with the right people. So, without further ado, let’s explore the top ten Tagalog questions with answers that every student of the Filipino language should learn.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Filipino Table of Contents
  1. What is your name?
  2. Where are you from?
  3. Do you speak Tagalog?
  4. How long have you been studying Tagalog?
  5. Have you been to ___?
  6. How is ___?
  7. Do you like Filipino food?
  8. What are you doing?
  9. What’s wrong?
  10. How much is it?
  11. Nais Mo Bang Matuto Nang Mas Mabilis?

1. What is your name?

First Encounter

When meeting someone for the first time, the first thing you’d want to ask them is their name, right? Here’s how:

  • Anong pangalan mo?
    “What’s your name?”

You can also say:

  • Pwede ko bang malaman ang pangalan mo?
    “May I know your name?”

Ikaw si? (“You are?”) may be acceptable, although it’s a bit informal.

Responding to the question:

If you’re the one who’s being asked, you can reply by saying either of the following:

  • Ang pangalan ko ay ___.
    “My name is ___.”
  • Ako nga pala si ___.
    “I’m ___, by the way.”

You can also simply state your name.

Important words and their translation:

  • ano (“what”)
  • pangalan (“name”)
  • mo (“you”/”your”)
  • ako (“I”)
  • pala (“by the way”)

Following Up

After asking for a person’s name, Filipinos usually follow up by asking for that person’s age. Unlike in other cultures where it’s inappropriate to ask for someone’s age, in the Philippines, most people don’t mind being asked how “young” they are. Nevertheless, it’s still a good idea to remain sensitive and simply change the topic if the person doesn’t seem too comfortable answering the question. 

But in most cases, if you’re curious about a person’s age, you can simply ask them one of these Filipino language questions:

  • Ilang taon ka na?
    “How old are you?”
  • Ano ang edad mo?
    “What’s your age?”
  • Pwede ko bang malaman kung ilang taon ka na?
    “May I know how old you are?” / “May I know what your age is?”

Responding to the question:

  • Bente-uno pa lang ho ako.
    “I’m only twenty-one, sir/ma’am.”
  • Ang edad ko po ay trenta’y uno anyos. 
    “My age is thirty-one years.”

In casual conversations, however, most people use the first format.

Important words and their translation:

  •  Ilang taon ka na? (“How old are you?”)

    ilan (“how many”/”how much”)

    taon (“year”)

    ka (“you”)

    na (“already”)
  • Ano ang edad mo? (“What is your age?”)

    ano (“what”)

    ang (“is”)

    edad (“age”)

    mo (“you”/”your”)
  • Pwede ko bang malaman kung ilang taon ka na? (“May I know how old you are?”)

    pwede (“possible”)

    malaman (“know”)

    kung (“if”)

    taon (“year”)

2. Where are you from?

If you want to know where someone’s from, there are two basic ways to ask this question in Filipino: 

  • Taga saan ka?
    “Where are you from?”
  • Saan ka nakatira? 
    “Where do you live?”

And if you want to know where someone is staying, you can say:

  • Saan ka tumutuloy? 
    “Where are you staying?”

Responding to the question:

If you’re the one being asked, you can reply by saying:

  • Taga ___ ako
    “I’m from ___.”

To inform someone where you’re staying, you can say:

  • Sa ___ ako ngayon tumutuloy.
    “I currently stay at ___.”

For example:

  • Sa Muntinlupa ako ngayon tumutuloy. 
    “I currently stay at Muntinlupa.”

Important words and their translation:

  • Taga saan ka? (“Where are you from?”)

    taga – This word denotes one’s origin or residence. The great Filipino general and national hero, Antonio Luna, once used the pseudonym Taga-Ilog, which means “one who is from the river.” Interestingly, Taga-Ilog is also where we get the term Tagalog, which describes the Tagalog people being “people from [along] the river.”

    saan (“where”)
  • Taga ___ ako. (“I’m from ___.”)

    sa – This is a preposition that could mean “to,” “at,” “in,” or “on.” In this context, it’s used as “at.”

    ako (“me”)

    ngayon (“now”/”currently”)

    tumutuloy – from the root word tuloy, meaning to enter or stay in a house

3. Do you speak Tagalog?

Introducing Yourself

There are three ways to ask a person if they speak a certain language. To ask someone if they speak Tagalog, you can say any of the following:

  • Nagtatagalog ka ba? 
    “Do you speak Tagalog?”
  • Marunong ka bang magtagalog? 
    “Do you know how to speak Tagalog?”
  • Nakakaintindi ka ba ng Tagalog? 
    “Do you understand Tagalog?”

Responding to the question:

To respond in the affirmative, you can say:

  • Oo marunong akong magtagalog. / Oo marunong akong magsalita ng Tagalog.  
    “Yes, I know how to speak Tagalog.”
  • Oo, nagtatagalog ako. 
    “Yes, I do speak Tagalog.”
  • Oo, nakakaintindi ako ng Tagalog. 
    “Yes, I can understand Tagalog.”

If you’re not confident with your Tagalog-speaking skills, you can say:

  • Hindi masyado. 
    “Not that much.”

Or:

  • Medyo pulupot pa ang dila ko. 
    “I still get tongue-tied once in a while.”

Important words and their translation:

  • Oo marunong akong magtagalog. / Oo marunong akong magsalita ng Tagalog. (“Yes, I know how to speak Tagalog.”)

    oo (“yes”)

    marunong (“has the knowledge”)

    ako (“me”/”I”)

    magsalita – from the root word salita, which means “speak” or “talk”

    nakakaintindi – from the root word intindi, which means “understand”

    magtagalog – In some cases, the prefix mag– is added to a noun to make it a verb. Magtagalog could mean “do Tagalog” or “use Tagalog” in English.
  • Medyo pulupot pa ang dila ko. (“I still get tongue-tied once in a while.”)

    medyo (“partly”/”a little bit”)

    pulupot (“twisted”/”coiled”)

4. How long have you been studying Tagalog?

Knowing how long someone has been studying a certain language can help you gauge that person’s knowledge of the language, as well as help you formulate your sentences in a way that’s appropriate to that person’s language skills.

  • Gaano ka na katagal nag-aaral ng Tagalog? 
    “How long have you been studying Tagalog?”

Responding to the question:

  • Mag-iisang taon na akong nag-aaral ng Tagalog. 
    “I’ve been studying Tagalog for almost a year now.”
  • Mga ilang buwan pa lang akong nag-aaral ng Tagalog. 
    “I’ve only been studying Tagalog for a few months.”
  • Kakasimula ko pa lang mag-aral ng Tagalog; mga isang linggo pa lang. 
    “I just started studying Tagalog; about a week or so.”

Important words and their translation:

  • Gaano ka na katagal nag-aaral ng Tagalog? (“How long have you been studying Tagalog?”)

    gaano – The word gaano is a Tagalog word used when asking about the extent or degree of how something is done.

    katagal – from the root word tagal, which refers to duration

    nag-aaral (“studying”)
  • Mag-iisang taon na akong nag-aaral ng Tagalog. (“I’ve been studying Tagalog for almost a year now.”)

    mag-iisang taon – This expression means “almost a year now.” In this case, the prefix mag– is added to denote that the action is still about to be completed. To say “almost two years now,” the number is changed from isa to dalawa (mag-dadalawang taon na), and so on, depending on the length of time involved.

    taon (“year”)

    nag-aaral – from the root word aral, meaning “to study”

    ilan – The word ilan is Tagalog for “count,” although in this context, it means “few.”

    kakasimula – This is from the root word simula, meaning “start.” The prefix kaka– in a context like this is often added to an action word to imply that it hasn’t been long since the action was started.

    mga isang linggo – The word mga is often used for estimation. For instance, if you’re not sure of the length of an object, you say, mga ganito kahaba or “about this long.”

    linggo – This is the Tagalog word for “Sunday,” which is the same word used for “week.”

    lang– the shortened form of lamang, which means “only” or “just”

5. Have you been to ___?

Being able to travel to a foreign country broadens your perspective and allows you to discover yourself while learning other people’s cultures at the same time. To ask someone if they’ve been to another country, like Italy, you can say:

  • Nakapunta ka na ba sa Italya? 
    “Have you been to Italy?”

Responding to the question:

If you’re the one being asked, you can respond in a variety of ways.

To respond in the affirmative, you can say:

  • Oo, nakapunta na ako sa Italya. 
    “Yes, I’ve been to Italy before.”

You can also use Oo, nakarating na ako ng Italya, which basically means the same thing.

To respond in the negative, you can say:

  • Hindi pa ako nakapunta sa Italya. 
    “No, I haven’t been to Italy yet.”

You can follow that up with a question of your own: 

  • Eh ikaw, nakapunta ka na ba ng Italya? 
    “How about you, have you been to Italy?”

Important words and their translation:

  • Nakapunta ka na ba sa Italya? (“Have you been to Italy?”)

    nakapunta – This is the past tense of the verb punta, which means “to go to.”
  • Oo, nakarating na ako ng Italya. (“Yes, I’ve been to Italy before.”)

    nakarating – This is the past tense of the verb dating, meaning “arrive.” In this context, the word means that the person speaking has been to Italy.


6. How is ___?

There’s not a single way to use “How is ___?” in Filipino since it could mean one of two things. Basically, though, the word to use here is kumusta.

Asking about someone

  • Kumusta na ang kuya mo? 
    “How is your big brother?”

Responding to the question:

To answer this kind of question, you can say:

  • Ayos naman po siya. Salamat sa pagtatanong. 
    “He’s fine. Thanks for asking.”

Asking about a person’s experience

  • Kumusta ang pamamalagi mo dito sa Pilipinas? 
    “So, how is your stay here in the Philippines so far?”
  • Kumusta ang salu-salo niyo kagabi? 
    “How was your party last night?”

Responding to the question:

To answer such questions, you can say:

  • Maayos naman. 
    “It’s fine.”
  • Masaya! 
    “It was fun!”

Important words and their translation:

  • Kumusta na ang kuya mo? (“How is your big brother?”)

    kumusta – from the Spanish como estas, meaning “How are you?”

    kuya (“brother”)
  • Kumusta naman ang pamamalagi mo dito sa Pilipinas? (“So, how is your stay here in the Philippines so far?”)

    pamamalagi (“stay”/”permanence”)

    dito (“here”)
  • Kumusta ang salu-salo niyo kagabi? (“How was your party last night?”)

    salu-salo (“party”/”get-together”)

    kagabi (“last night”)
Man and Woman Talking Over Dinner Date

Kumusta na ang kuya mo? (“How is your big brother?”)

7. Do you like Filipino food?

Food is an important aspect of the Filipino culture. In fact, it’s an important part of any culture. There’s just something about food that breaks cultural barriers. In Filipino culture, questions and answers about food can help break the ice in any conversation and guide the discussion. 

If you want to ask someone whether they like the food of a particular culture, like the Philippines, for instance, you can say:

  • Gusto mo ba ang mga pagkain dito sa Pilipinas? 
    “Do you like the food here in the Philippines?”
  • Gusto mo ba ng pagkaing Pilipino? 
    “Do you like Filipino food?”

If you’re asking about a person’s experience with food that they’ve tried in another country, you can say: 

  • Nagustuhan mo ba ang pagkain doon sa Japan? 
    “Did you like the food there in Japan?”

Responding to the question:

If you’re the one being asked this question, respond by saying:

  • Oo. Masasarap ang mga pagkain dito sa Pilipinas. 
    “Yes. The food here in the Philippines is all delectable.”

If you don’t like the food, you can be honest and polite at the same time by saying: 

  • Pasensya ka na, pero sa totoo lang, hindi ako masyadong nasasarapan sa mga pagkain dito. 
    “I apologize, but to be honest, I don’t really find the food here that desirable.”

Important words and their translation:

  • Gusto mo ba ang mga pagkain dito sa Pilipinas? (“Do you like the food here in the Philippines?”)

    gusto (“like”)

    pagkain (“food”)
  • Oo. Masasarap ang mga pagkain dito sa Pilipinas. (“Yes. The food here in the Philippines is all delectable.”)

    masasarap – This is from the root word masarap, which means “delicious.” Notice how the second syllable of the root word is repeated. This is done if the adjective refers to plural subjects.
  • Pasensya ka na, pero sa totoo lang, hindi ako masyadong nasasarapan sa mga pagkain dito. (“I apologize, but to be honest, I don’t really find the food here that desirable.”)

    pasensya – This is from the word “patience.” The word is an expression used when asking for an apology.

    pero (“but”)

    sa totoo lang (“in reality”/”the truth of the matter”)

    hindi (“no”/”not”)

    ako (“I”/”me”)

    masyado (“too much”)

    nasasarapan – This is from the word sarap, which means “palatable.” In this context, the word refers to the person’s experience of finding food delicious.


8. What are you doing?

We all love to know what our friends are up to at the moment, and what better way to find out than by asking?

To ask someone what they’re up to, you can say:

  • Anong ginagawa mo ngayon? 
    “What are you doing right now?”
  • Anong ginagawa mo diyan? 
    “What are you doing there?”

To ask someone what they were doing at an earlier time, you can say:

  • Anong ginagawa mo dun sa labas kanina? 
    “What were you doing there outside?”

Responding to the question:

When asked this by a friend, you can respond in several ways, depending on what you’re currently up to. For instance, if you’re just at home watching your favorite films on Netflix, you can say: 

  • Nasa bahay lang ako nanonood ng mga pelikula sa Netflix. 
    “I’m just here at home watching Netflix films.”

If you’re busy in school or at the office, you can say: 

  • Nasa klase ako. 
    “I’m in class.”

Or:

  • May meeting kami ngayon dito sa opisina
    “We’re currently having a meeting here in the office.”

Now, if your buddies are asking what you’re doing at the moment, it’s because they miss you and want to hang out with you. If you’ve got nothing to do and want to spend time with them, too, you can say something like:

  • Nasa bahay lang ako. Kape tayo? 
    “I’m just here at home. Want to grab some coffee?”

You can also say:

  • Wala akong pasok. Gusto mo bang manood ng sine? 
    “I have no work/school today. Do you want to see a movie?”

Important words and their translation:

  • Anong ginagawa mo diyan? (“What are you doing right now?”)

    anong– combination of ano ang, which means “what”

    ginagawa – This is from the root word gawa, meaning “do” or “action.” In this case, the present tense of the word is used: ginagawa, or “doing.”

    diyan (“there”)
  • Anong ginagawa mo dun sa labas kanina? (“What were you doing there outside?”)

    dun – shortened form of doon, meaning “there”

    labas (“outside”)

    kanina (“earlier”)
  • Nasa bahay lang ako nanonood ng mga pelikula sa Netflix. (“I’m just here at home watching Netflix films.”)

    nasa – a preposition referring to one’s location (“in,” “on,” “at”)

    bahay (“house”)

    nanonood – present tense of nood, which means “to watch”

    pelikula (“film”/”movie”)
  • Nasa klase ako. (“I’m in class.”)

    klase (“class”)
  • May meeting kami ngayon dito sa opisina. (“We’re currently having a meeting here in the office.”)

    may – shortened form of mayroon, which means “there is” or “have”

    kami (“us”/”we”)

    opisina (“office”)
  • Nasa bahay lang ako. Kape tayo? (“I’m just here at home. Want to grab some coffee?”)

    kape (“coffee”)

    tayo (“us”)
  • Wala akong pasok. Gusto mo bang manood ng sine? (“I have no work/school today. Do you want to see a movie?”)

    wala (“none”)

    pasok – The meaning of pasok is “enter,” so in this context, it means attending class or work. When one says wala akong pasok, what they mean is that they don’t have school or work, either because it’s a holiday or they’re on leave.

    gusto (“like”/”want”)

    manood – from the root word nood, meaning “to watch”

    sine – the big screen or the movie house
Someone Watching TV with a Bowl of Popcorn

Nasa bahay lang ako nanonood ng mga pelikula sa Netflix. 
(“I’m just here at home watching Netflix films.”)

9. What’s wrong?

There are times when you need to ask someone how they feel, especially when there seems to be something wrong. If you want to confirm if a friend or colleague is in a tough situation, you can say:

  • Anong problema? 
    “What’s wrong?” (Literally: “What’s the problem?”)
  • May problema ba? 
    “Is there a problem?”

Alternatively, you can ask:

  • May problema ka yata? 
    “You seem to have a problem?” / “Something doesn’t seem right with you.”

Responding to the question:

If you’re the one being asked and you don’t want to talk about the problem, you can say:

  • Ayos lang ako. Salamat. 
    “I’m fine. Thank you.”
  • Wala ito. Salamat sa pag-aalala. 
    “This is nothing. Thanks for your concern.”

On the other hand, you can say:

  • Oo, may problema ako. 
    “Yes, I have a problem.”

And then you can begin sharing your problems or concerns with the other person.

Important words and their translation:

  • May problema ka yata? (“You seem to have a problem?”)

    problema (“problem”)

    yata – This is a word that expresses uncertainty and is equivalent to “I think,” “it seems,” and “perhaps.” In this context, “it seems” is the nearest translation.
  • Ayos lang ako. Salamat. (“I’m fine. Thank you.”)

    ayos – This is an expression that implies orderliness. In this context, it means that everything is fine.

    salamat (“thank you”)
  • Wala ito. Salamat sa pag-aalala. (“This is nothing. Thanks for your concern.”)

    wala (“none”/”nothing”)

    ito (“this”)

    pag-aalala (“concern”)

10. How much is it? 

Filipinos are among the best when it comes to haggling, which is why some of the most important Filipino questions and answers for beginners are those about prices. 

In Tagalog, when you want to ask for the price of an item, you say:

  • Magkano po iyan? 
    “How much is it?” / “How much is that?”

If you think you can get the seller to give you a better deal, you can say:

  • Baka pwede pa po babaan ang presyo? 
    “Perhaps the price can still be lowered?”

In cases where there’s only one of a certain item for sale, or if you’re holding the item in your hand, you can simply say:

  • Magkano? 
    “How much?”

Responding to the question:

What if you’re the one selling the item? Then you say:

  • Mura lang. Isang-daang piso lang ang presyo niyan. 
    “It’s not that expensive. It only costs a hundred pesos.”

Alternatively, you can simply inform the buyer of the price: 

  • Singkwenta. 
    “Fifty.”

Important words and their translation:

  • Magkano po iyan? (“How much is it?”)

    magkano (“how much”)

    iyan (“that”)
  • Baka pwede pa po babaan ang presyo? (“Perhaps the price can still be lowered?”)

    baka (“perhaps”/”maybe”)

    pwede (“possible”/”can”)

    babaan (“to lower”)

    presyo (“price”)
  • Mura lang. Isang-daang piso lang ang presyo niyan. (“It’s not that expensive. It only costs a hundred pesos.”)

    mura (“cheap”)

    isang-daan (“one hundred”)

    presyo (“price”/”cost”)
Someone Digging into Their Wallet for More Cash

Baka pwede pa po babaan ang presyo? (“Perhaps the price can still be lowered?”)

11. Nais Mo Bang Matuto Nang Mas Mabilis?

Do you want to learn faster? Well, it’s a good thing that FilipinoPod101 is here. With FilipinoPod101, you can learn not only Filipino questions and answers, but other important topics, as well. For example, how to read in Filipino, how to get around in the Philippines, and most importantly, how to speak more Filipino in 2020.

Yes, it’s very important to learn how to ask and respond to Tagalog questions, but you can only get better at it if you have a strong foundation in basic Filipino expressions and vocabulary

Haven’t signed up yet? Well, signing up is easy, and when you’re done, you can start enjoying benefits exclusive only for FilipinoPod101 members. By upgrading your account, you can also gain access to MyTeacher, an exclusive feature that lets you study Tagalog one-on-one with one of our FilipinoPod101 teachers.

Did you find this article helpful? Don’t hesitate to share it with your friends who also wish to learn more about the Filipino language and culture. And don’t hesitate to let us know your thoughts in the comments section!

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10 Filipino Sentence Patterns You Should Learn By Heart

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Despite the complexity of the Tagalog language, learning it won’t be as difficult if you’re familiar with the most basic Filipino sentence patterns. The best thing about learning Tagalog is that it’s not that different from the English language when it comes to sentence patterns. Tagalog is quite flexible, too, so it’s not that hard to read and understand a simple sentence, as long as you’re keeping brushed up on your Filipino vocabulary.

But why study Tagalog sentence patterns in the first place? Simple: Having this knowledge lets you craft a variety of sentences so that you’re not limited to one or two patterns every time you’re speaking or writing. More importantly, knowing simple patterns helps you have an easier time whenever you come across long sentences when you’re reading or having a conversation with a Tagalog-speaking friend.

Because we want to help you improve your communication skills in Tagalog, we’ve decided to create a guide on basic Filipino sentence patterns. From making requests to asking directions, here are the ten most basic and practical sentence patterns in Tagalog.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Filipino Table of Contents
  1. Linking Two Nouns: A is B.
  2. Using Adjectives to Describe: A is [Adjective].
  3. Expressing Want (I Want… / I Want to…)
  4. Expressing Need (I Need… / I Need to…)
  5. Expressing Like (I Like… / I Like to…)
  6. Politely Asking Someone to Do Something
  7. Asking for Permission (May I…? / Can I…?)
  8. Asking for Information About Something (What is…?)
  9. Asking About Time (When is…?)
  10. Asking About Location or Direction (Where is…?)
  11. You Can Learn More Than Just Sentence Patterns with FilipinoPod101

1. Linking Two Nouns: A is B.

Sentence Patterns

Simple Filipino sentences are formed in the same manner as English sentences are—with a subject and a predicate. In this section, you’ll learn how to connect two nouns in order to form a sentence that expresses a complete thought. 

When it comes to linking two nouns in Tagalog, there’s only one word you need to remember, and that is the word ay.

As mentioned in our entry on Tagalog Word Order, ay is an inversion marker, and is used when switching from the V-S-O or V-O-S to the S-V-O sentence structure.

Here are several Filipino sentence examples showing how to link two nouns:

  • Si Moon ay ang alaga kong aso. (“Moon is my pet dog.”)
  • Ang asawa ko ay isang flight stewardess. (“My wife is a flight stewardess.”)
  • Si Julienne ay kapatid na babae ni Jay. (“Julienne is Jay’s sister.”)
  • Ang teleponong ito ay Samsung. (“This phone is a Samsung.”)
  • Si Kobe ay kalaro ko dati. (“Kobe was a playmate of mine back in the day.”)

2. Using Adjectives to Describe: A is [Adjective].

When using adjectives to describe nouns, the marker ay is still very much present. Check out the following examples of this Filipino sentence construction:

  • Ang tuta ay makulit. (“The puppy is annoying.”)
  • Si Maria ay matapang. (“Maria is courageous.”)
  • Ang nobyo niya ay tapat. (“Her lover is faithful.”)
  • Si Shirley ay maingay. (“Shirley is loud.”)
  • Si Ted ay tahimik. (“Ted is quiet.”)

3. Expressing Want (I Want… / I Want to…)

Sentence Components

The Tagalog word used to express desire is gusto. It can be used to express the English words “want,” “like,” and “wish.” The word nais can also be used for stronger emotions, such as “longing” and “desire,” although it’s almost exclusively used in formal writing.

1- I want…

  • Gusto ko ng baboy. (“I want some pork.”)
  • Gusto ko ng tubig! (“I want water!”)

2- I want to…

  • Gusto kong kumain ng puto. (“I want to eat some rice cake.”)
  • Gusto kong pumasa sa pagsusulit. (“I want to pass the test.”)
  • Gusto kitang bigyan ng pabuya. (“I want to give you a reward.”)
  • Nais kong makarating sa London balang araw. (“I long to visit London someday.”)
  • Nais kong malaman mong ikaw ang aking iniibig. (“I long for you to know that it’s you I desire.”)

If you wish to convey your hope of doing something, use the word sana, a word that expresses hope.

  • Gusto ko sanang dumalaw sa kanya. (“I was hoping I could visit her.”)
  • Gusto sana kitang makita noong panahong iyon. (“I was hoping I could see you that time.”)

And if you want to convey the opposite message, you simply replace the word gusto with ayaw, which expresses unwillingness.

  • Ayaw ko ng baboy. (“I don’t want pork.”)
  • Ayaw kong dumalaw sa kanila. (“I don’t want to go to their place.”)
  • Ayaw kitang kausap. (“I don’t want to speak with you.”)

4. Expressing Need (I Need… / I Need to…)

The word “need” or “have” can be translated to the Tagalog word kailangan.

1- I need…

  • Kailangan ko ng pagkain. (“I need some food.”)
  • Kailangan ko ng kasama. (“I need a companion.”)
  • Kailangan ko ng payo mo. (“I need your advice.”)

2- I need/have to…

  • Kailangan kong ibigay ito kay Elsa. (“I need to give this to Elsa.”)
  • Kailangan kong makarating doon kaagad. (“I have to reach that place fast.”)
  • Kailangan kong makabili ng bigas. (“I need to buy some rice.”)
  • Kailangan kong gawin ito. (“I need to do this.”)
  • Kailangan kong sundin ang payo niya. (“I have to follow his advice.”)

If you want to say that you don’t need or don’t have to do something, you simply use the word hindi

  • Hindi ko kailangan ng pagkain. (“I don’t need food.”)
  • Hindi ko kailangan ang payo mo. (“I don’t need your advice.”)
  • Hindi kita kailangan. (“I don’t need you.”)
A Girl Studying for Her Exams

Kailangan kong makapasa sa exams. (“I need to pass the exams.”)

5. Expressing Like (I Like… / I Like to…)

“Like” is gusto in Tagalog. The word “love” (not in a romantic sense) can also be translated to gusto. The word hilig can be used to express love, too, especially when referring to something one is inclined to doing. Take a look at the following examples of this Filipino sentence structure in action:

1- I like…

  • Gusto kita. (“I like you.”)
  • Mahilig ako sa mga aso. (“I love dogs.”)
  • Hilig ko ang larong basketball. (“I love the game of basketball.”)

Pinoys also like using “slang” words when showing appreciation.

  • Type ko ang bago mong sapatos! (“I like your new shoes!”) 
    • This is just another way of saying: “Those are my type of shoes!”
  • Bet ko siya para sa’yo! (“I really like him for you!”) 
    • This is just another way of saying: “I’m betting on him for you!”

2- I like/love to…

  • Gusto kitang bisitahin. (“I would like to visit you.”)
  • Gusto kong makita ang ginawa mo. (“I would love to see your work.”)
  • Mahilig akong gumala. (“I love to travel.”)
  • Mahilig talaga akong sumayaw. (“I really love to dance.”)
  • Mahilig akong kumanta habang naliligo. (“I love to sing while taking a bath.”)
A Man in a Business Suit Pointing at Someone across from Him

Gusto kita. Tanggap ka na. (“I like you. You’re hired.”)

6. Politely Asking Someone to Do Something

There’s no direct translation for the word “please” in Tagalog. If you want to make a request, you simply add paki- before the verb you’re using. Paki- is a verbal prefix derived from the word pakiusap, which is Filipino for “request.” 

In the English language, the word “please” can be placed either at the beginning or the end of the sentence. In Tagalog, however, the verb used for making a request (paki + verb) is always placed at the beginning of the sentence. There’s no strict rule as to how to attach the affix paki to a verb. In most cases, you simply attach paki to the verb without separating the two with a dash.

  • Pakibigay ng pera kay Daryl. (“Please give the money to Daryl.”)
  • Pakiiwan ng mga gamit ko sa loob ng kwarto. (“Please leave my stuff inside the room.”)
  • Pakibukas ng pinto. (“Open the door, please.”)
  • Pakisabi sa nanay mo na dumaan ako. (“Please tell your mom that I dropped by.”)
  • Pakiabot ng ketchup, Louise. (“Ketchup, please, Louise.”)

It’s also not unusual for Filipinos to attach paki- to English verbs:

  • Paki-delete na lang ng files ko. (“Please delete my files as well.”)
  • Paki-send na lang mga pictures sa e-mail. (“Just send the pictures through email, please.”)
  • Paki-off ng washing machine. (“Turn off the washing machine, please.”)

In other cases, the word maaari (“can” or “may”) is enough to express a polite request.

  • Maaari bang magtanong? (“Can I ask a question, please?”)
  • Maaari ko bang makuha ang susi? (“May I have the keys, please?”)

One more thing. Don’t forget to say salamat (“thank you”) after making a request.

  • Paki-serve na lang ng dessert pagkatapos naming kumain. Salamat! (“Just serve the dessert right after we eat, please. Thanks!”)
A Man Kissing a Woman’s Hand

I said “keys,” not “kiss.”

7. Asking for Permission (May I…? / Can I…?)

Filipinos are known for being courteous. Despite what some people say about how there’s something questionable with the way respect has evolved in the Philippines and the world in general, most Filipinos remain very polite and respectful. 

One way Pinoys show respect is in how they ask for permission through the expressions “may I” and “can I.” Both are expressed in Tagalog using the words pwede or maaari. Keep in mind, though, that maaari has a more formal tone to it.

In Filipino culture, asking permission is very important. Below are some instances that would call for asking permission in the Philippines.

Asking a friend’s mom or dad for permission to invite them someplace:

  • Pwede ko po bang yayain si Lydia na mamasyal? (“May I invite Lydia to go for a stroll?”)
  • Maaari po ba naming isama si Aya sa birthday party ni John mamayang gabi? (“May we take Aya with us to John’s birthday party tonight?”)

Asking for permission to leave:

  • Pwede na ba akong umalis? (“Can I leave now?”)
  • Mauna na po kami. (“We should be running along.”)

*Note: There are some instances where the words pwede and maaari are not used when asking permission, although you’d be better off using them if you want to maintain that polite vibe.

Asking permission to borrow something:

  • Pwede ko bang hiramin ang lapis mo? (“Can I borrow your pencil?”)
  • Maaari bang manghiram ng kaunting barya? (“May I borrow some spare change, please?”)

Here are more examples:

  • Pwede ko bang makita ang loob ng kahon? (“Can I see what’s inside the box?”)
  • Pwede ba akong tumabi sa’yo? (“May I sit with you?”)
  • Pwede na ba kaming pumasok? (“May we come in now?”)
  • Maaari ko bang hingin ang iyong numero? (“Can I have your number?”)
  • Maaari ba kitang dalawin bukas ng gabi? (“May I visit you tomorrow evening?”)

And finally, let’s not forget how a Filipino gentleman asks for the hand of the lady he loves from the lady’s parents:

  • Pwede ko po bang hingin ang kamay ng inyong anak? (“May I ask for your daughter’s hand in marriage?”)
A Man Proposing to His Girlfriend on a Bridge

Pwede ba kitang maging asawa? (“Will you be my wife?”)

8. Asking for Information About Something (What is…?)

When asking for information in Tagalog, we use the word ano, which is Filipino for “what.” 

Let’s start with the most common “what” questions:

  • Ano ang pangalan mo? (“What is your name?”)
  • Anong cellphone number mo? (“What is your phone number?”)
  • Anong problema mo? (“What’s your problem?”)

What if you’re asking about the date?

  • Anong petsa na ngayon? (“What is the date today?”)
  • Anong araw ngayon? (“What day is today?”)

And if you forgot a person’s name?

  • Ano nga ba ulit ang pangalan mo? (“What was your name again?”)

Let’s say you found a bug you’ve never seen before…

  • Anong tawag sa insekto na ito? (“What is this insect called?”)

Want an update on your friend’s love life? 

  • Ano na ang nangyari sa boyfriend ni Jessica? (“Whatever happened to Jessica’s boyfriend?”)

And if you want to clarify things…

  • Anong ibig mong sabihin nung sinabi mong ayaw mo na? (“What did you mean when you said you’re quitting?”)
  • Ano yung sinabi mo tungkol sa akin? (“What was that you said about me?”)

9. Asking About Time (When is…?)

The Tagalog word for “when” is kailan, so when asking for information about when something is going to happen, we start the sentence with kailan. Here are examples of the basic Filipino sentence structure for this kind of question:

  • Kailan ang kaarawan mo? (“When is your birthday?”)
  • Kailan nga yung meeting natin kay Bernadette? (“When is our meeting with Bernadette, again?”)
  • Kailan ang uwi ng papa mo galing sa London? (“When is your father arriving from London?”)
  • Kailan ka huling pumunta doon? (“When did you last go there?”)
  • Kailan ang punta mo ng Maynila? (“When will your trip to Manila be?”)

Keep in mind that you can also use the shortened spelling kelan instead of kailan. However, it’s not considered standard and is often used in informal settings, such as in text messages or on social media.

  • Kelan ulit tayo magkakape? (“When are we having coffee again?”)
  • Kelan siya babalik? (“When is she coming back?”)
  • Sabi mo magpapa-party ka. Kelan na mangyayari ‘yon? (“You said you’re throwing a party. When is it happening?”)

10. Asking About Location or Direction (Where is…?)

Location and direction are the two most important things you need to know when traveling or when staying in a different country for the first time. Since Filipinos are naturally accommodating, you won’t need to worry about asking for directions in case you get lost; they’ll be glad to help. The only thing you need to make sure is that you know the exact words to say when asking about a certain location or when asking for directions.

When asking about location or direction in Filipino, we use the Tagalog word saan, which directly translates to “where.” Here are some examples of how to craft a sentence in Filipino to ask for directions with this word:

  • Saan banda ang pinakamalapit na botika? (“Where is the nearest drugstore?”)
  • Saan po may bangko na malapit dito? (“Where is the nearest bank from here?”)
  • Alam niyo po ba kung saan ang klinika ni Dr. Akhunzada? (“Do you know where Dr. Akhunzada’s clinic is located?”)
  • Saan po banda ang National Museum? (“Where can we find the National Museum?”)
  • Saan ka na banda? (“Where are you now?”)
  • Pare, saan ang kotse ko? (“Dude, where’s my car?”)

A Man Lost Somewhere and Talking on the Phone

Where na you? Here na me.

11. You Can Learn More Than Just Sentence Patterns with FilipinoPod101

Now that you’ve learned some basic sentence patterns in Tagalog, there’s no question that you’ll be more confident with your Tagalog speaking and writing skills. But do you know that you can move beyond the basics to more advanced Filipino grammar proficiency? Yes, you can, with FilipinoPod101.com.

FilipinoPod101 is one of the leading Tagalog language-learning systems today, so if you’re looking for resources and tools to help you improve your Tagalog, don’t think twice about visiting us today. With FilipinoPod101, you’ll learn everything from basic Filipino grammar and the Filipino alphabet, to more  practical language lessons. Whether you’re an auditory or visual learner, you can rest assured that there are tools here designed just for you.

Want to know Tagalog inside and out within a shorter time frame? Our MyTeacher feature is exactly what you need. This is a Premium PLUS feature that lets you learn Tagalog with your own teacher, so that you’ll have someone to give you real-time feedback, making sure you’re always improving.

Did you like this article on Filipino sentence patterns? If you did, don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments section!

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Learn the Basics of Filipino Verb Conjugation

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We’ve already talked about how to tell time in Filipino. We’ve studied the verb in Tagalog, as well. If you’re still wondering why you need to learn both, well, this article might be able to enlighten you a little bit. In this lesson, we’re going to explore a subject that deals with both time and action: conjugation.

Conjugation deals with verb tenses. Verb tenses tell listeners what time period a sentence is referring to: past, present, or future. Tagalog conjugation, in particular, can be quite complex, but that’s the reason we’re here—to help you learn about verb conjugation in Filipino in an easy and enjoyable way.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Useful Verbs in Filipino Table of Contents
  1. What is Conjugation?
  2. Verb Groups
  3. Irregular Verbs and Their Conjugations
  4. Quiz Time!
  5. FilipinoPod101 Will Help Eliminate any Confusion

1. What is Conjugation?

Top Verbs

In grammar, conjugation refers to the process of how a verb transforms, particularly for the purpose of expressing tense, person, and mood. Unlike in English, conjugating verbs using Tagalog is quite unique in the sense that Filipino verbs are morphologically complex and are conjugated in terms of their progressiveness, rather than their tense. I know that’s a lot to take in right now, but you’ll understand things a lot better once we get deeper into the discussion. 

Before we start studying how to conjugate Tagalog verbs, I would suggest that you first take a look at our post on the 100 most practical Filipino verbs, which covers the basics of pandiwa or “verbs.” 

And now, let’s take a look at how Tagalog verbs are conjugated according to verb groups.

2. Verb Groups

More Essential Verbs

Tagalog verbs can be grouped depending on how they’re conjugated. As mentioned in our Filipino Verbs article, the easiest way to understand and learn Filipino verb conjugation is to memorize the common affixes (panlapi) used in Tagalog grammar. These affixes are mag-, ma-, um-, in-, and i-, and Tagalog verbs can be grouped according to these affixes.

Tagalog verbs can also be distinguished either as actor-focus verbs or object-focus verbs. Don’t worry, because we’ll get to learn and understand these two verb groups, as well, as we go through the verb affixes we mentioned above.

1 – MAG Verbs

MAG verbs are among the most commonly used Tagalog verbs. They are actor-focus verbs, and are so-called because they’re formed by adding the prefix mag- to the beginning of the verb. The prefix mag- is used if the verb is in the future and imperative forms. 

Let’s take a look at some examples of common MAG verbs:

Root VerbPastPresentFutureImperative
aral (“to study”)nag-aral (“studied”)nag-aaral (“studying”)mag-aaral (“will study”)mag-aral (“study”)
basa (“to read”)nagbasa (“read”)nagbabasa (“reading”)magbabasa (“will read”)magbasa (“read”)
salita (“to talk,” “to speak”)nagsalita (“talked,” “spoke”)nagsasalita (“talking,” “speaking”)magsasalita (“will talk,” “will speak”)magsalita (“talk,” “speak”)
sulat (“to write”)nagsulat (“wrote”)nagsusulat (“writing”)magsusulat (“will write”)magsulat (“write”)
saulo (“to memorize”)nagsaulo (“memorized”)nagsasaulo (“memorizing”)magsasaulo (“will memorize”)magsaulo (“memorize”)

Right now, you may be wondering, “How do I conjugate MAG verbs?” Let us show you.

Notice in the table above that in the four different tenses, the root verb changes form simply by adopting affixes.

Let’s take the verb aral, or “study,” for example.

To form the future tense of aral, we simply attach the prefix MAG- to the verb and repeat the first syllable, so that it becomes mag-aaral. Keep in mind that a hyphen or gitling is required between mag– and any verb that begins with a vowel.

For the imperative form of the verb, mag– is attached to the verb, and the original form is retained. 

So if you want to tell someone to study, you say: Mag-aral ka nang mabuti. (“Study well.”)

A Teacher Helping Her Students Study

Mag-aral ka nang mabuti. (“Study well.”)

To form the present tense, replace MAG- with NAG-, and again, repeat the first syllable of the verb. In this case, aral becomes nag-aaral.

The same goes for the past tense, except that you no longer have to repeat the first syllable: nag-aral

2 – MA Verbs

After the MAG verbs are the MA verbs, which are also actor-focus verbs. And just like MAG verbs, MA verbs are formed by attaching a prefix, which in this case is ma-, to the verb.

Root VerbPastPresentFutureImperative
kinig (“to listen”)nakinig (“listened”)nakikinig (“listening”)makikinig (“will listen”)makinig (“listen”)
nood (“to watch”)nanood (“watched”)nanonood (“watching”)manonood (“will watch”)manood (“watch”)
tulog (“to sleep”)natulog (“slept”)natutulog (“sleeping”)matutulog (“will sleep”)matulog (“sleep”)
ligo (“to bathe”)naligo (“bathed”)naliligo (“bathing”)maliligo (“will bathe”)maligo (“bathe”)
pasyal (“to stroll”)namasyal (“strolled”)namamasyal (“strolling”)mamamasyal (“will stroll”)mamasyal (“stroll”)

Conjugating MA verbs is as easy as conjugating MAG verbs since the rules are similar. 

Let’s look at the Filipino conjugation of the verb nood, or “watch.” To conjugate it in the future tense, all you need to do is attach the prefix ma- to the verb and repeat the first syllable no-. Nood will now become manonood.

Simply by attaching ma- to the verb and retaining the original form of the root verb, you’ll be able to come up with the imperative form, which is manood.

For the past and present tenses, na- is added as a prefix. Once again, the first syllable is repeated in forming the present tense, but not in forming the past tense. That said, the present tense of nood is nanonood, while its past tense is nanood.

*Note: For some MA verbs that begin with the letter “p,” “p” is changed to “m” when conjugating. Pasyal, for instance, becomes namasyal (past), namamasyal (present), mamamasyal (future), and mamasyal (imperative). The same goes for the verb patay (“to die”), which is conjugated as namatay (past tense) instead of napatay, which is actually the past tense of the same verb in the IN form.

Speaking of which, some verbs can be both UM verbs and IN verbs, although others can only be MAG verbs and IN verbs, depending on the focus.

3 – UM Verbs

UM verbs are actor-focus verbs. They’re formed with the help of the infix um, which is placed within the verb to construct the past, present, and infinitive forms of the verb. Take a look at the Filipino verb conjugation table below for some examples of UM verbs.

Root VerbPastPresentFutureImperative
kain (“to eat”)kumain (“ate”)kumakain (“eating”)kakain (“will eat”)kumain (“eat”)
kanta (“to sing”)kumanta (“sang”)kumakanta (“singing”)kakanta (“will sing”)kumanta (“sing”)
tawa (“to laugh”)tumawa (“laughed”)tumatawa (“laughing”)tatawa (“will laugh”)tumawa (“laugh”)
higa (“to lie down”)humiga (“laid down”)humihiga (“lying down”)hihiga (“will lie down”)humiga (“lie down”)
sigaw (“to shout”)sumigaw (“shouted”)sumisigaw (“shouting”)sisigaw (“will shout”)sumigaw (“shout”)

The rules for conjugating UM verbs are a bit different. Let’s look at the verb tawa (“to laugh”), for instance. By observing the table above, you’ll see that the past and infinitive forms of the verb are the same—tumawa. The infix is inserted after the first letter of the word.

To form its future tense, the infix is not added, but the first syllable is repeated. In this case, tawa becomes tatawa.

Now, to form the present tense of the verb, take the future tense first and insert the infix um after the first letter of the word. This time, tatawa (future tense) becomes tumatawa (present tense).

Keep in mind that to form the future tense of an UM verb whose first syllable ends in a consonant (such as in the case of kanta, where the first syllable is kan-), only the first two letters are to be repeated. The future tense of kanta, therefore, is kakanta and NOT kankanta.

4 – IN Verbs

Unlike the first three verb groups, which are actor-focus verbs, IN verbs are object-focus verbs. This means that in a sentence, the focus is on the object and not the actor. Let’s take a look at the table below to see how IN verbs are formed:

Root VerbPastPresentFutureImperative
kain (“to eat”)kinain (“ate”)kinakain (“eating”)kakainin (“will eat”)kainin (“eat”)
basag (“to break”)binasag (“broke”)binabasag (“breaking”)babasagin (“will break”)basagin (“break”)
sabi (“to say”)sinabi (“said”)sinasabi (“saying”)sasabihin (“will say”)sabihin (“say”)
pilit (“to insist,” “to force”)pinilit (“insisted,” “forced”)pinipilit (“insisting,” “forcing”)pipilitin (“will insist,” “will force”)pilitin (“insist,” “force”)
tawag (“to call”)tinawag (“called”)tinatawag (“calling”)tatawagin (“will call”)tawagin (“call”)

Conjugating IN verbs isn’t that complicated. Let’s start with the future tense using the verb basag. To conjugate basag to its future tense, simply repeat the first syllable, ba-, and add –in as a suffix so that basag becomes babasagin

In some instances, -hin is added instead of -in, such as in the case of sabi, which in the future tense is sasabihin. The same is true for basa (“to read”), which is babasahin in the future tense.

For the imperative form, the rule is to simply add -in as a suffix, transforming basag to basagin.

To conjugate basag to its present tense, begin with the future tense, which is basagin, and then add IN between the first and second letters. Next, remove the suffix -in, transforming the word to binabasag. You can also get the same result by repeating the first syllable and then inserting IN between the first and second letters.

IN is simply added right after the first letter of the root verb to transform it to its past tense. Basag then becomes binasag.

The rules are different for IN verbs starting with the letter “L” when conjugating in present and past tenses. Take the word linis, for example. To transform this to the present tense, the first syllable is repeated and ni- is attached as a prefix so that linis becomes nililinis. For the past tense, ni- is simply added as a prefix to the root form: nilinis.

5 – I Verbs

I verbs are object-focus verbs like IN verbs, although some of them can be actor-focus verbs, as well. Here’s a table of some common I verbs:

Root VerbPastPresentFutureImperative
inom (“to drink”)ininom (“was drank”)iniinom (“being drunk”)iinumin (“will be drank”)inumin (“drink”)
hinto (“to stop”)inihinto (“was stopped”)inihihinto (“being stopped”)ihihinto (“will be stopped”)ihinto (“stop”)
bigay (“to give”)ibinigay (“was given”)binibigay (“being given”)ibibigay (“will be given”)ibigay (“give”)
guhit (“to draw”)iginuhit (“was drawn”)iginuguhit (“being drawn”)iguguhit (“will be drawn”)iguhit (“draw”)
deklara (“to declare”)idineklara (“was declared”)idinideklara (“being declared”)idideklara (“will be declared”)ideklara (“declare”)

Let’s take a look at how I verbs are conjugated. Let’s use the verb deklara (“to declare”). Like some I verbs, deklara can also be a MAG verb.

Here’s deklara as a MAG verb:

  • Magdedeklara ang punong-guro na walang pasok bukas. 
    “The school principal will declare that classes are suspended for tomorrow.”

In this sentence, the focus is on the actor, which is the punong-guro, or the “principal.”

Now, here’s deklara as an I verb:

  • Idedeklara ng punong-guro na walang pasok bukas. 
    “It will be declared by the school principal that classes will be suspended for tomorrow.”
Principal Standing with Arms Crossed, in Front of Students

“That moment the principal says there are no classes tomorrow.”

This time, the focus is on the object, making the verb deklara both a MAG verb and an I verb.

So, how do we conjugate I verbs? Let’s use the verb guhit (“to draw”). To form the future tense of this word, repeat the first syllable of the root verb and attach the prefix i- so that guhit (“to draw”) becomes iguguhit (“will be drawn”).

    Ang larawan ni Rose ay iguguhit ni Jake. 
    “Anna’s portrait will be drawn by Jake.”

The imperative form is the simplest since you only need to attach i- to the root verb. The imperative for guhit, then, is iguhit.

    Iguhit mo nga ang mukha ng aso sa isang pirasong papel. 
    Draw the dog’s face on a piece of paper.”

3. Irregular Verbs and Their Conjugations

Negative Verbs

So, how do you conjugate Filipino verbs that are irregular?

In the English language, irregular verbs are verbs that don’t follow the simple rule of attaching “-d” or “-ed” to the end of the word to construct its past tense. In Tagalog grammar, verbs are not categorized in such a manner, although most English irregular verbs, if not all, have an equivalent word in Filipino. 

Take the word “drank,” for instance. It’s the past tense of “drink,” and in Filipino, it’s translated either as uminom (“UM” actor-focus verb) or ininom (“IN” object-focus verb). 

With this in consideration, it’s clear that in this case, the irregularity of the verb “drank” in the Filipino language is not simply in the spelling, but in the usage. Let’s use it in a sentence for you to better understand what I mean:

    Uminom ako ng kape. 
    “I drank some coffee.”

Uminom, in this sentence, functions as an actor-focus verb. The same is true for its English equivalent, “drank.”

Let’s compare it to this sentence:

    Ininom ko ang kape. 
    “I drank the coffee.”

Ininom, in this sentence, is an object-focus verb, while its English equivalent “drank” remains an actor-focus verb.

Man Drinking Coffee from the Coffee Pot

“I take my coffee very seriously.”

Here are more examples, using some of the most common irregular English verbs with their conjugation and their equivalent in Tagalog:

1 – Awake

Root VerbSimple PastPast Participle
gising (“awake”)nagising (“awoke”)nagising, ginising (“awoken”)

Simple Past

    Nagising ako nang may tuwa sa aking puso. 
    “I awoke with joy in my heart.”

Past Participle

    Nagising (actor-focus) ako sa mahimbing na pagkakatulog. 
    “I have awoken from a deep sleep.”

    Ginising (object-focus) ako ng ingay. 
    “The noise has awoken me.”

2 – Bite

Root VerbSimple PastPast Participle
kagat (“bite”)kinagat (“bit”)nakagat, kinagat (“bitten”)

Simple Past

    Kinagat ko ang aking mga labi. 
    “I bit my lips.”

Past Participle

    Nakagat siya ng alaga niyang pusa. 
    “She was bitten by her pet cat.”

    Kinagat ako ng ahas. 
    “I was bitten by a snake.”

3 – Break

Root VerbSimple PastPast Participle
sira (“break”)sinira, nasira, sumira (“broke”)nasira, sinira, sira (“broken”)

Simple Past

    Sinira niya ang laruan ni Stephan. 
    “He broke Stephan’s toy.”

    Siya ang sumira ng tablet. 
    “He was the one who broke the tablet.”

    Nasira lang siya nang basta-basta. 
    “It just broke.”

Past Participle

    Nasira ang sasakyan niya dahil sa baha. 
    “His car had broken down because of the flood.”

    Sinira nila ang mga panuntunan. 
    “They had broken the rules.”

    Matagal nang sira iyan. 
    “It’s been broken for some time now.”

4 – Eat

Root VerbSimple PastPast Participle
kain (“eat”)kinain, kumain (“ate”)nakakain, nakain, kakakain (“eaten”)

Simple Past

    Kinain niya ang natirang ulam. 
    “He ate the leftover food.”

    Kumain kami ng halo-halo. 
    “We ate halo-halo.” →Nasira ang sasakyan niya dahil sa baha.

Past Participle

    Nakakain ka na ba nito? 
    “Have you ever eaten this?”

    Nakain si Jonah ng malaking isda! 
    “Jonah was eaten by a huge fish!”

    Salamat! Kakakain lang namin. 
    “Thanks! We’ve just eaten.”

5 – Forget

Root VerbSimple PastPast Participle
limot (“forget”)nakalimutan (“forgot”)nakalimot, nakalimutan (“forgotten”)

Simple Past

    Nakalimutan kong mag-agahan. 
    “I forgot to eat breakfast.”

Past Participle

    Nakalimot ka na ba?
    “Have you forgotten?”

    Nakalimutan ko ang pangalan niya.
    “I have forgotten her name.”

4. Quiz Time!

Here’s a five-item quiz for you to apply what you’ve just learned about Filipino conjugation. You can then refer to the answers and their explanations in the next section.

1.) ___________ ni Joey ang regalong natanggap.
(“Joey opened the gift she received.”)

Choices: a.) Binubuksan b.) Binuksan c.) Bubuksan d.) Buksan

2.) ___________ si Joshua nang limang taon bilang presidente ng paaralan.
(“Joshua will serve as president of the school for five years.”)

Choices: a.) Silbi b.) Magsisilbi c.) Nagsilbi d.) Nagsisilbi

3.) Huwag mong ___________ ang dalawang mama na nag-aaway.
(“Don’t try to pacify the two men who are fighting.”)

Choices: a.) inawat b.) aawatin c.) inaawat d.) awatin

4.) ___________ na lang ako ng sine.
(“I will just watch a movie instead.”)

Choices: a.) Manonood b.) Nanood c.) Manood d.) Nanonood

5.) Si Andrew ay ___________ habang naliligo.
(“Andrew is singing while taking a bath.”)

Choices: a.) kakanta b.) kumanta c.) kanta d.) kumakanta

Man with Hands Up in Victory After Boxing Match

“I don’t always ace my quiz…just kidding, yes I do!”

Now, let’s see how well you did.

1-  “Joey opened the gift she received.”

What was your answer for the first item? If you answered B (Binuksan), then you’re correct! The verb “opened is in the past tense, and its equivalent in Filipino is binuksan, which in this case is an IN verb.

Answer: Binuksan

2- “Joshua will serve as president of the school for five years.”

The auxiliary verb “will” + the verb “serve” indicates that the action is going to take place in the future. It’s also clear that the choices are all MAG verbs because of the prefixes mag- and nag-. But since the verb is in the future tense, nagsilbi and nagsisilbi are out of the question. Silbi is also not a valid choice since it’s in the root form. That leaves us with magsisilbi, or “will serve.”

Answer: Magsisilbi

3- “Don’t try to pacify the two men who are fighting.”

Pacify” in this sentence is awat in Filipino, and is in its imperative form. The choices are inawat, aawatin, inaawat, and awatin, which belong to the IN verb category. 

According to the rules for conjugating an IN verb to its imperative form, we simply add the suffix -in to the root form. In this case, that’s adding -in to awat, which gives us awatin. 

Answer: awatin

4- “I will just watch a movie instead.”

“Will watch” speaks of a future action. To find the correct answer, let’s first check which verb group the choices belong to. In this case, all of the choices are MA verbs: manonood, nanood, manood, and nanonood. 

We’re only interested in figuring out which of these four choices is the future tense of “watch” or nood. Going back to our rules for conjugating a MA verb to its future tense, what we need to do is attach the prefix ma- to the root verb and repeat its first syllable. That would give us ma + no + nood. The answer, therefore, is B, Manonood.

Answer: Mananood

5-  “Andrew is singing while taking a bath.”

The verb “singing” (kanta) is clearly in the present tense, while all the choices are under the UM verb category. All we need to do to find the correct answer is determine the present tense of kanta. Again, to form the present tense of an UM verb, we first conjugate it to its future tense and insert the infix um after the first letter of the word. That means repeating the first syllable ka and then adding um right after the first k. That gives us the word kumakanta.

Answer: kumakanta

5. FilipinoPod101 Will Help Eliminate any Confusion

We admit that learning Tagalog conjugation can be a real challenge, but again, that’s what FilipinoPod101 is here for. There’s still more for you to learn about verb conjugations in Filipino, and we’re here to guide you in your journey.

At FilipinoPod101, we can provide you with the tools you need to master the Filipino language. If you want to improve your vocabulary, for instance, you can check out our list of the 100 most common Tagalog words. We also have a Filipino vocabulary list that you can use in different contexts. And if you want to learn Tagalog in a fun and casual way, you can check out our blog page, as well.

Want to fast-track your learning curve? You can also do that with Premium PLUS, which allows you to learn Filipino with a teacher we’ll provide for you. All you need to do is sign up, and you’ll immediately have access to all of our exclusive tools and resources.

Meanwhile, if you still have questions about verb conjugation in Filipino, just let us know in the comments section below. It will be our pleasure to help you!

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A Comprehensive Guide to Filipino Verbs

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Filipinos are a hardworking people. They love to work, work, and work. But that doesn’t mean they don’t take time to play and have fun with friends and family. While Pinoys work hard, they also play hard. In short, they love action! Speaking of action, one of the things you really need to master when studying Filipino grammar is action words or verbs. 
The verb in Tagalog is referred to as pandiwa. This part of speech plays an important role in communication as it’s used to describe motion. Without the verb, or pandiwa, a sentence can’t exist or stand on its own. In the same manner, life isn’t complete without action. So, without further ado, let’s get down to business and learn 100 of the most common Filipino verbs.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Useful Verbs in Filipino Table of Contents
  1. The Two Kinds of Pandiwa
  2. The Five Aspects of Pandiwa
  3. The Linking Verb in Filipino: Keeping Things Simple
  4. Verb Usage
  5. Learn More About Verbs in Tagalog with FilipinoPod101!

1. The Two Kinds of Pandiwa

Top Verbs

Before we proceed to our list of the 100 most common Filipino verbs, let’s do a quick study of pandiwa first. There are two kinds of pandiwa: palipat and katawanin.

1 – Palipat

This type of pandiwa needs a direct object to receive the action done in a sentence. The direct object usually comes after the verb and is preceded by the following prepositions:

  • Ng
  • Ng mga
  • Kay
  • Kina

Examples:

  • Gumuhit ng larawan ang kanyang anak na lalaki.

“His son drew a picture.”

  • Si Butch ay magaling sumayaw ng tinikling.

“Butch dances tinikling really well.”

  • Sumunod kay Maria ang kanyang alagang aso.

“Maria’s pet dog followed her around.”

2 – Katawanin

Unlike palipat, katawanin doesn’t need a direct object to receive the action done in a sentence; it already has a complete idea and can stand on its own.

Examples:

  • Tumalon si Happy!

“Happy jumped!”

  • Sina Max at Hazel ay umalis.

“Max and Hazel left.”

  • Nagkukuwentuhan sa loob sina Carlo at Connie.

“Carlo and Connie are chatting inside.”

2. The Five Aspects of Pandiwa

More Essential Verbs

The first three aspects of pandiwa show the tenses of the verb or the time the action took place. Not all verb tenses in Filipino have an equivalent in English grammar, just as not all Filipino words have a direct English translation. Nevertheless, we can’t study verbs in Filipino without touching on tenses.

1 – Naganap/Perpektibo

The first of these Filipino verb tenses shows that the action has already been done, or is in the past tense. Verbs in this category are usually affixed with nag-, um-, -um-, -in-, and -an.

Examples:

  • Nagluto siya ng hapunan.

“She cooked dinner.”

  • Umalis kaagad ang binata.

“The young man left immediately.”

  • Si Diana ay inalis sa group.

“Diana was removed from the team.”

  • Nagpalakpakan ang mga manonood.

“The audience roared in applause.” 

Note that in the last sentence, nag- is added before the verb palakpak, or “clap,” and –an after it.

2 – Pangkasalukuyan/Imperpektibo

This describes an action verb in Tagalog that is always, or is currently, being done. The verb is affixed with -na, -nag, or -um at the beginning, and the root word is usually repeated.

Examples:

  • Naglalaro si Jose sa ulan.

“Jose is playing in the rain.”

  • Kumakain ang mga aso sa labas.

“The dogs are eating outside.”

  • Nanonood ako ng pelikula sa Netflix nang dumating si Marie.

“I was watching a movie on Netflix when Marie arrived.”

3- Kontemplatibo

This aspect of the verb in Tagalog implies that an action has not yet been performed, or is in the future tense. To change a verb into this tense, simply affix ma- or mag- before the word and repeat the first syllable of its root word. For some words, ma- and mag- are no longer necessary.

Examples:

  • Uunlad din ang bansa natin balang araw.

“Our country is going to progress someday.”

  • Magtitinda ako ng mga damit sa Facebook.

“I will sell some clothes on Facebook.”

  • Magsisimula na ang programa.

“The show is about to start.”

Meanwhile, the two other aspects of pandiwa express the voice of the verb, with tahasan being the active voice, and balintiyak being the passive voice.

4 – Tahasan

In this aspect of pandiwa, the action word serves as the subject. In English grammar, it’s referred to as the active voice of the verb, wherein the subject is the one performing the action stated by the verb.

Examples:

Nagdilig si Joey ng kanilang mga halaman.

“Joey watered the plants.”

Pumunta kami sa Mall of Asia nung nakaraang araw.

“We went to the Mall of Asia the other day.”

Si Harry ay kumakain ng hipon.

“Harry is eating shrimp.”

5 – Balintiyak

This is the opposite of tahasan, where the one performing the action is not the subject, and the performer of the action is positioned right after the pandiwa. In English grammar, it’s the passive voice of the verb.

Examples:

  • Ang clean-up drive ay pinangunahan ng Mayor.

“The clean-up drive was led by the Mayor.”

  • Ang giyera ay sinimulan ng mga terrorista.

“The war was started by the terrorists.” 

  • Ang Warriors ay tinalo ng Raptors.

“The Warriors were beaten by the Raptors.”

3. The Linking Verb in Filipino: Keeping Things Simple

Commonly used linking verbs in English include “am,” “is,” “are,” “was,” and “were.” There’s also “been,” “being,” “had,” and “has.” In Filipino, we only have the linking verb ay regardless of the tense.

And since there’s only one linking verb in Tagalog, using it in a sentence is very simple and easy. Simply place the word ay after the subject and right before the predicate. We told you Filipino is an easy language to learn!

Examples:

  • Ako ay nag-aaral ng Filipino.

“I am studying the Filipino language.”

  • Ako ay ipinanganak sa Mindanao.

“I was born in Mindanao.”

  • Si Daniel ay palaging naglalaro ng Mobile Legends.

“Daniel is always playing Mobile Legends.”

4. Verb Usage

Negative Verbs

How do you conjugate verbs in Filipino? What about Filipino subject-verb agreement?

The case system of Tagalog verbs is quite complex, but we can still learn proper usage of the action verb in Tagalog by following a few simple rules on how to conjugate them. The fastest way to learn about proper verb placement in a sentence is to learn common affixes used in Filipino action words. These Tagalog verb affixes are mag-, ma-, um-, in-, and i-, all of which are used to indicate verb tense. 

We’ll have a separate article for Filipino verb conjugation, though, so right now, let’s move on to our Filipino verbs list of the 100 most practical verbs you should know.

1- At Home

Filipino homes are the foundation of the Philippine culture. Because of that, we want to start this list with commonly used verbs inside the home.

1

kumain
“to eat”
Oras na para kumain.
“It’s time to eat.”

2

matulog
“to sleep”
Matulog ka na.
“Go to sleep now.”

3

gumising
“to wake up,” “to be awake”
Bakit gumising ka na?
“Why did you wake up already?”

4

magluto
“to cook”
Magluluto ako ngayon para bukas.
“I’ll cook food now for tomorrow.”

5

magsaing
“to cook rice”
Magsaing ka na para makakain na tayo.
“You better cook rice now so we can eat already.”

6

manood
“to watch,” “to observe”
Manonood na lang ako sa YouTube.
“I’ll just watch it on YouTube.”

7

uminom
“to drink”
Mahilig uminom ng gatas si Stephan.
“Stephan loves to drink milk.”

8

maghugas
“to wash”
Sino ang maghuhugas ng mga kinainan?
“Who’s going to wash the dishes?”

9

maglaba
“to do the laundry”
Day off ko; maglalaba ako.
“It’s my day off; I’m going to do the laundry.”

10

maglinis
“to clean”
Bakit walang gustong maglinis nito?
“Why isn’t there anyone who wants to clean this?”

11

magwalis
“to sweep the floor”
Magwalis ka ng sahig.
“Go sweep the floor.”

12

magpunas
“to wipe”
Magpunas ka ng mesa pagkatapos kumain.
“Wipe the table after eating.”

13

magdilig
“to water”
Joe, magdilig ka ng halaman mamaya ha?
“Joe, water the plants later, okay?”

14

humiga
“to lie down”
Gusto ko humiga buong araw.
“I want to lie down all day.”

15

umubos
“to finish off”
Hindi ko maubos ang pagkain ko.
“I can’t finish off my food.”

16

magbihis
“to change clothes”
Doon ka magbihis sa loob.
“Go change inside.”

17

magsuot
“to wear”
Magsuot ka nito mamaya.
“Wear this later.”

18

magbukas
“to open”
Magbukas ka ng de lata na sardinas.
“Go and open a can of sardines.”

19

magsara
“to close”
Magsara naman kayo ng pinto.
“Please close the door, guys.”

2- School and Work

20

mag-isip
“to think”
Hindi ako makapag-isip nang mabuti.
“I can’t think properly.”

21

mag-aral
“to study”
Kailangan niyong mag-aral nang mabuti.
“You all need to study hard.”

22

magturo
“to teach”
Magaling magturo si Amy.
“Am can teach really well.”
Woman Helping a Child with Homework

23

magsaulo
“to memorize”
Hindi ganun kahirap magsaulo.
“It’s not that difficult to memorize.”

24

magtrabaho
“to work,” “to go to work”
Ayaw niya nang magtrabaho.
“She doesn’t want to work anymore.”

25

magsulat
“to write”
Hindi marunong magsulat ang matanda.
“The old woman doesn’t know how to write.”

26

magbasa 
“to read”
Mabilis siyang matutong magbasa.
“He quickly learned how to read.”

27

magtanong
“to ask,” “to inquire”
Magtatanong lang po sana ako.
“I would like to ask something.”

28

sumagot
“to answer,” “to reply”
Sumagot si Sheldon sa tanong ni Penny.
“Sheldon answered Penny’s question.”

29

umintindi
“to understand”
Mahirap bang umintindi ng Tagalog?
“Is it that difficult to understand Tagalog?”

30

mag-analisa
“to analyze”
Matuto kang mag-analisa.
“You need to learn how to analyze.”

31

magsalita
“to speak,” “to talk”
Huwag kang magsalita ng masama.
“Don’t speak evil.”

32

magpadala
“to send”
Napadala mo ba ang mensahe?
“Were you able to send the message?”

33

gumuhit
“to draw” (as in a picture)
Mahusay gumuhit si Jose.
“Jose draws well.”

34

tumayo
“to stand,” “to get up”
Huwag kang tumayo.
“Do not stand up.”

35

umupo
“to sit down”
Umupo ka diyan sa sahig.
“Go sit on the floor.”

36

magpahinga
“to rest,” “to take a break”
Magpahinga ka muna.
“Take a break for a while.”

37

bumati
“to greet”
Bumati ka sa bagong manager.
“Go and greet the new manager.”

38

mag-presenta
“to volunteer”
Dapat sana nag-presenta ka.
“You should have volunteered.”

3- The Outdoors

39

maglaro
“to play”
Naglalaro ang mga bata sa labas.
“The kids are playing outside.”

40

maglakad
“to walk”
Maglalakad lang daw sila pauwi.
“They said they’ll just walk home.”

41

tumakbo
“to run”
Araw-araw si Benjie tumatakbo.
“Benjie runs every single day.”

42

tumalon
“to jump”
Huwag kang tatalon pagkatapos kumain.
“Don’t go on jumping after eating.”
Man Doing Parkour

43

umalis
“to leave”
Umalis na ang bisita nila.
“Their guests left already.”

44

maghintay
“to wait”
Dito tayo maghintay.
“Let’s wait here.”

45

kumuha
“to take,” “to get”
Bakit hindi ka kumuha ng lisensya?
“Why don’t you get a license?”

46

pumunta 
“to go,” “to head to,” “to come”
Pwede ka bang pumunta dito?
“Can you come here to my place?”

47

dumating
“to arrive”
Anong oras sila dumating kagabi?
“What time did they arrive last night?”

48

gumamit
“to use”
Umuulan. Gumamit ka ng payong.
“It’s raining. Use an umbrella.”

49

bumitbit
“to carry”
Paki bitbit ng mga dala ko.
“Please carry my things for me.”

50

magdala
“to bring”
Pwede bang magdala ng kasama?
“Is it okay to bring someone?”

4- Traveling

The Philippines is composed of over 7,000 islands, making it an excellent place to visit if you love traveling. If you want to tour the country, though, you need to add these twenty useful Filipino travel phrases to your arsenal.

51

bumiyahe
“to travel”
Madalas bumiyahe si Drew.
“Drew travels a lot.”

52

magmaneho
“to drive”
Si Roxanne daw ang magmamaneho.
“Roxanne said she’ll drive.”

53

sumakay
“to ride,” “to take a ride”
Araw-araw siyang sumasakay ng tren.
“She takes/rides the train everyday.”

54

huminto
“to stop”
Ihinto mo ang sasakyan.
“Stop the car.”

55

umabante
“to move forward”
Umaabante na sila.
“They’re moving forward now.”

56

umatras
“to step back,” “to move backward”
Umatras ka muna para makadaan siya.
“Move backward first so she can pass.”

57

mag-empake
“to pack up”
Mag-empake ka habang maaga pa.
“Pack your things up while it’s early.”

58

bumaba
“to get off,” “to go down”
Dito na lang ako bababa.
“I’ll just get off here.”

59

lumipad
“to fly,” “to take off”
Lumipad na ang eroplano.
“The plane already took off.”

60

sumundo
“to pick up”
Sino ang sumundo sa inyo sa airport?
“Who picked you up from the airport?”

61

maghatid
“to deliver,” “to take someone someplace,” “to see someone off”
Ihahatid daw kami ni kuya.
“Big brother is going to take us to the airport and see us off.”

62

mamasyal
“to look around,” “to explore”
Gusto kong mamasyal doon.
“I would love to explore those areas.”

63

pumara
“to hail” (as in a taxi)
Pumara ka ng taxi
“Call a taxi.”

How do you catch a taxi in the Philippines? Here’s how.

Guy Waiting for a Cab

64

magmadali
“to hurry up”
Magmadali ka dahil mahuhuli na tayo.
“Hurry up because we’re getting late.”

65

pumila
“to fall in line,” “to queue up”
Pumila ka palagi sa tamang pilahan.
“Always get into the right queue.”

5- Expressing Emotions

Filipinos are very emotional people. Don’t forget to check out this lesson on how to describe feelings and emotions in Filipino as well.

66

magmahal
“to love”
Kaysarap magmahal.
“It’s so good to love.”

67

magalit
“to get mad or angry”
Huwag sana siyang magalit.
“I hope she doesn’t get mad.”

68

magtampo
“to feel bad,” “to sulk”
Walang dahilan para magtampo ka.
“There’s no reason for you to feel bad.”

69

tumawa
“to laugh”
Ang lakas mong tumawa.
“You laugh really loud.”

70

umiyak
“to cry”
Umiiyak ka na naman.
“You’re crying again.”

71

masaktan
“to get hurt”
Ayoko nang masaktan.
“I don’t want to get hurt anymore.”

mag-alala
“to worry”
Huwag kang mag-alala.
“Don’t you worry.”

73

maawa
“to have or to show compassion”
Hindi siya marunong maawa.
“He doesn’t know how to show compassion.”

74

kumalma
“to calm down”
Kumalma ka muna nang kaunti.
“Why don’t you calm down a bit.”

75

magkulitan
“to goof around with someone”
Itigil niyo na nga ang pagkukulitan niyo.
“Stop goofing around, guys.”

76

sumimangot
“to frown”
Huwag ka ngang sumimangot diyan!
“Stop frowning!”

77

sumigaw
“to shout”
Gusto kong sumigaw!
“I want to shout!”

78

mang-insulto
“to insult”
Ang galing mo mang-insulto!
“You really know how to insult somebody!”

6- Verbs for Actions Done When Angry

Are you looking for stronger emotional words to add to your Filipino vocabulary? Verbs that describe angry actions are always useful.

Speaking of fighting, why don’t you check out our video on how to fight language-learning failure? Here, you’ll discover why many people fail at learning a new language and find out how you can beat the said problem. 

79

sumuntok
“to punch”
Malakas sumuntok si Manny.
“Manny punches really hard.”

80

sumipa
“to kick”
Sinubukan niyang sumipa subalit mintis.
“He kicked but missed.”

81

humampas
“to hit,” “to clobber”
Gusto ko siyang hampasin ng unan.
“I want to hit him with the pillow.”

82

bumugbog
“to beat”
Binubugbog ni Manny si Keith.
“Manny is beating Keith.”

83

tumulak
“to push”
Tinutulak mo ako!
“You’re pushing me!”

84

maghagis
“to throw”
Hinagis niya ang kalaban niya sa sahig.
“He threw his opponent on the floor.”

85

umatake
“to attack”
Umaatake na siya.
“He is attacking now.”

7- Miscellaneous Everyday Verbs

Before anything else, if you haven’t checked out our feature on the top 25 everyday Filipino verbs, make sure you do so! And now, on to the final leg of our Filipino verbs list. 

86

pumasok
“to enter”
Nakita ko siyang pumasok sa kwarto.
“I saw him enter the room.”

87

lumabas
“to go outside”
Lumabas siya nang walang paalam.
“He went outside with no permission.”

88

tumanggap
“to receive,” “to accept”
Tumanggap ng gantimpala ang babae.
“The lady received a reward.”

89

sumunod
“to follow”
Sumunod lamang daw sila sa utos.
“They said they simply followed orders.”

90

bumili
“to buy”
Palagi siyang bumibili kina Edna.
“He always buys at Edna’s store.”

91

tumawag
“to call”
Bilis! Tumawag ka ng ambulansya!
“Quick! Call an ambulance!”

92

maghanap
“to look for something”
Oras na para maghanap ka ng nobya.
“It’s time for you to look for a girlfriend.”

93

magbigay
“to give”
Magbigay ka ng paliwanag.
“Give an explanation.”

94

makiramay
“to condole,” “to sympathize”
Nakikiramay kami sa inyo.
“We sympathize with you.”

95

kumagat
“to bite”
Ayaw kumagat ng preno.
“The brakes won’t bite.”

96

tumapak
“to step on something”
Tapakan mo ang ipis!
“Step on the cockroach!”

97

magpa-andar
“to turn on”
Paandarin mo ang bentilador.
“Turn on the electric fan.”

98

umistambay
“to hang around”
Mahilig umistambay sa labas si Andre.
“Andre loves hanging around outdoors.”

99

umiwas
“to avoid”
Bakit ka umiiwas sa akin?
“Why are you avoiding me?”

100

sumang-ayon
“to agree”
Hindi ako sumasang-ayon sa’yo.
“I don’t agree with you.”

5. Learn More About Verbs in Tagalog with FilipinoPod101!

Today, you’ve learned the basics of pandiwa, or the verb in Filipino, as well as 100 of the most practical basic Filipino verbs. (You should also see our collection of 100 adjectives and 100 nouns!)

Adding these words to your Filipino language arsenal is already an advantage, but do you know that you can further refine your vocabulary by taking advantage of FilipinoPod101’s advanced features? That’s right. 

Aside from fundamental lessons like how to learn Filipino verbs, there are more advanced lessons that can help fast-track your learning. The MyTeacher service, for instance, is a premium service that lets you do one-on-one lessons with a FilipinoPod101 teacher, as well as receive a personalized learning program tailored just for you. And with the InnovativeLanguage101 App, you can do all of your lessons anytime, anywhere!

Before you go, let us know in the comments if there are any Filipino verbs you still want to know. We look forward to hearing from you!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Useful Verbs in Filipino

The Pronoun in Tagalog/Filipino: Your Ultimate Guide

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There are many types of words we use in our everyday lives when communicating with each other, and pronouns are among them. You may not realize it, but you frequently refer to other people or things using pronouns in your everyday conversations. Pronouns are used primarily to replace nouns in order to avoid redundancy. 

The pronoun in Tagalog is referred to as panghalip. Just like in English grammar, there are several categories of the panghalip as a part of speech. Keep in mind, though, that not all English pronouns have direct equivalents in Filipino. Moreover, some Filipino pronouns may be used in more ways than English pronouns, and there are also categories under panghalip that aren’t found in English grammar.
The first type of panghalip is called panghalip panao.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Filipino Table of Contents
  1. Panghalip Panao (Personal Pronouns)
  2. Panghalip Pamatlig (Demonstrative Pronouns)
  3. Panghalip Pananong (Interrogative Pronouns)
  4. Panghalip Panaklaw (Indefinite Pronouns)
  5. Panghalip Pamanggit (Relative Pronouns)
  6. Panghalip Patulad
  7. Conclusion

1. Panghalip Panao (Personal Pronouns)

Introducing Yourself

The personal pronoun in Tagalog is panghalip panao. The term panao is derived from the word tao, which is Filipino for “man” or “human.” And as the term suggests, the role of panghalip panao is to take the place of nouns that name people.

Before we move forward, you need to understand that Filipino pronouns are categorized by case. They can either be Direct (ANG pronouns), Indirect (NG pronouns), or Oblique (SA pronouns). The following are Filipino personal pronouns under each of these three categories:

A- Filipino ANG Pronouns

Personal pronouns in this category are the ones a sentence focuses on. 

In EnglishIn Filipino
“I”ako
“you”ikaw
“he” / “she”siya
“we”tayo (inclusive) / kami (exclusive)
“you all”kayo
“they”sila

1 – ako or “I” (singular first person)

Examples:

Ako ang may-ari ng bahay na ito. 

I am the owner of this house.”

Ako ay pupunta sa kasal ni Ellen. 

I am going to Ellen’s wedding.”

2 – ikaw or “you” (singular second person)

Examples:

Ikaw ang dahilan kung bakit ako pumunta dito.

You are the reason that I came here.”

Ikaw na lang ang kumain ng keyk.

You eat the cake.”

Woman being Offered a Piece of Cake

3 – siya or “he” / “she”

In this day and age, due to gender issues, people are more careful when it comes to using pronouns. However, in Filipino grammar, pronouns show no distinction between “he” and “she.” Instead, the word used for Filipino gender pronouns in the singular second person is simply siya. That’s definitely one trick to learn when studying Filipino.

Examples:

Siya ang nakita mo sa mall kahapon.

She’s the one you saw at the mall yesterday.”

Siya yung pogi na sinasabi ko sa’yo!

He’s the cute guy I was telling you about!”

4 – tayo (inclusive) / kami (exclusive) or “we” (plural first person)

Examples:

Tayo ang dapat lumapit sa kanya.

We are the ones who are supposed to approach him.”

Kakain kami sa Mang Inasal.

We are going to eat at Mang Inasal.”

5 – kayo or “you” / “you all” (plural second person)

Examples:

Kayo ang may pakana ng lahat ng ito.

You are the mastermind behind all of this.”

Kumain na kayo dito.

You all should eat here.”

6 – sila or “they” (plural third person)

Examples:

Sila ang mga napili na lumahok sa paligsahan.

They were the ones chosen to participate in the contest.”

Umuwi sila kaagad pagkatapos ng programa.

They all went home right after the program.”

B- Filipino NG Pronouns

Ng (pronounced nang) personal pronouns are used to replace unfocused nouns in a sentence. In Filipino grammar, possessive pronouns can also take this form, and these words can also serve as a replacement for an unfocused actor.

In EnglishIn Filipino
“my” / “of me”ko
“your” / “of you”mo
“his” / “her” / “of him” / “of her”niya
“our” / “of us”namin (exclusive) / natin (inclusive)
“your” / “of you”ninyo
“their” / “of them”nila

1 – ko or “my” / “of me” (singular first person)

Examples:

Expressing possession

Desisyon ko ang masusunod.

“It’s my decision that should be taken.”

As a substitute for an unfocused actor

Binili ko ang ang mga pagkain.

“The food was bought by me.”

2 – mo or “your” / “of you” (singular second person)

Examples:

Expressing possession

Sapatos mo yung nasa labas ng pinto.

“It seems that your shoes are on the doorstep.”

Cell phone mo ba yung ginagamit niya?

“Is that your cell phone that he’s using?”

3 – niya or “his” / “her” / “of him” / “of her” (singular third person)

Examples:

As a substitute for an unfocused actor

Kinuha niya ang lahat sa akin.

“He took everything from me.”

Binigyan niya ng pera ang kanyang nakababatang kapatid.

She gave her younger brother some money.”

4 – namin (exclusive) / natin (inclusive) or “our” / “of us” (plural first person)

Examples: 

As a substitute for an unfocused actor

Kinuha namin ang padala niya kahapon.

“The package was picked up by us yesterday.”

Nakayanan natin ang mga pagsubok.

“The challenges were overcome by us.”

5 – ninyo or “your” / “of you” (plural second person)

Example: 

Mali ang ginawa ninyo.

Your actions were wrong.”

6 – nila or “their” / “of them” (plural third person)

Example: 

Mali ang ginawa nila.

Their actions were wrong.”

C- Filipino SA Pronouns

Sa personal pronouns are used to indicate an unfocused direction and location in a sentence. They also indicate possession. In this case, they act as Filipino possessive pronouns or panghalip paari.

In EnglishIn Filipino
“me” / “my”akin
“you” / “your”iyo
“him” / “his” / “her”kanya
“us” / “our”amin (exclusive) / atin (inclusive)
“you” / “your”inyo
“them” / “their”kanila

1 – akin or “me” / “my” (singular first person)

Examples: 

Expressing location

Nasa akin ang bag mo.

“Your bag is with me.”

Expressing possession

Siya ay aking katrabaho.

“She is my colleague.”

2 – iyo or “you” / “your” (singular second person)

Examples: 

Expressing direction

Tatawag ako sa iyo bukas. 

“I am going to call you tomorrow.”

Naiinis daw siya sa iyo.

“She said she’s mad at you.”

3 – kanya or “him” / “his” / “her”

Examples:

Expressing location

Nasa kanya na ang susi ng kotse.

“The car key is with her already.”

Expressing possession

Yan ay kanyang mga damit.

“Those are her clothes.”

4- Formal Usage

Just as in many other languages, second- or third-person pronouns are used in formal or polite settings. For instance, when speaking with an elderly person, instead of simply saying Saan ka galing? we say, Saan kayo galing? meaning “Where have you been?” Notice that without the iteration po, the statement is still considered polite.

Woman Showing Respect to Elderly

D- Reflexive Pronouns

Reflexive pronouns, such as “myself,” “himself,” and “themselves,” always appear with the word sarili, meaning “self” in Filipino.

For instance, the equivalent of “himself” is either sarili niya or ang kaniyang sarili, depending on how you want to say it.

This quote from the film Heneral Luna is a great example:

Mayroon tayong mas malaking kaaway kaysa mga Amerikano—ang ating sarili.

“We have an enemy far greater than the Westerners—ourselves.” 

Pinahirapan nila ang kanilang sarili sa hindi pag-aaral nang mas maaga.

“They tortured themselves by not studying ahead of time.”

2. Panghalip Pamatlig (Demonstrative Pronouns)

Demonstrative pronouns are referred to as panghalip pamatlig in Filipino. They’re used to point to a specific noun in a sentence. In English grammar, there are only four demonstrative pronouns: “this,” “that,” “these,” and “those.” The case is different for panghalip pamatlig.

For instance, there are four types of panghalip pamatlig:

  • Pronominal
  • Panawag pansin
  • Patulad
  • Panlunan

Examples of Pronominal:

  • ito (“this”)
  • dito (“here”)
  • iyan (“that”)
  • niyan (“that”)
  • diyan (“there”)
  • iyon (“that”)
  • doon (“there”)

Ito ang gusto ko.

This is what I want.”

Regarding iyan and niyan, both words are translated into “that” in English, and both represent something that’s away from the speaker. The main difference between the two is that iyan is an ANG marker, while niyan is a NG marker. More importantly, iyan is usually placed at the beginning of a sentence, while niyan is placed at the end of a sentence.

Iyan ang gusto kong makita.

That is what I want to see.”

Ayaw ko niyan.

“I don’t like that.”

Gusto kong pumunta diyan.

“I want to go there.”

Examples of Panawag Pansin:

  • eto / heto (“here” / “this”)
  • ayan / hayan (“that”)
  • ayun / hayun (“there”)

Heto ako.

Here I am.”

Ayan sila.

That’s them.”

Ayun ang pera sa ibabaw ng kama.

There’s the money on the bed.”

Examples of Patulad:

  • anito / ganito (“like this”)
  • ganiyan / ganyan (“like that”)
  • ganoon / gayon (“like that” / “like those”)

Ganito ang ginawa niya.

“He did it like this.”

Ganoon ang pagkatumba niya sa motor.

“She fell on the motorbike just like that.”

Examples of Panlunan:

  • doon / naroon / nandoon (“there”)
  • diyan / riyan (“there”)
  • narito / nandito (“here”)

Nandoon ang mga taong hinahanap niyo.

“The people you’re looking for are there.”

Narito na ang pinakahihintay ng lahat.

“What you have been waiting for is finally here.”

3. Panghalip Pananong (Interrogative Pronouns)

Basic Questions

Interrogative pronouns in Filipino, or panghalip pananong, are pronouns used to make asking questions a lot less complicated.

Student Asking a Question

There are only five panghalip na pananong, which are the equivalents of the five in English grammar. However, unlike in English, panghalip pananong has a plural form.

Singular: 

  • Ano (“What”)
  • Alin (“Which”)
  • Sino (“Who” / “Whom”)
  • Kanino (“Whose”)

Ano ang sabi mo?

What did you say?”

Alin dito ang pinaka nagugustuhan mo?

Which one do you like the most?”

Sino ang kumuha ng salamin dito?
Who removed the mirror here?”

Sino ang pinagkakatiwalaan mo?

Whom do you trust?”

Kanino ang aso na iyan?

Whose dog is that?”

Plural:

  • Anu-ano (“What/Which ones”)
  • Alin-alin (“Which ones”)
  • Sinu-sino (“Who”)
  • Kani-Kanino (“Whom” / “Whose”)

In the plural form of panghalip pananong, the meaning may not change in English, but it’s emphasized in Filipino. 

For example:

Anu-ano ba ang mga sinabi niya?

What specific things did he say?”

Even if you use the singular form in Filipino, the meaning in English remains the same as long as the particle mga, which pluralizes countable nouns, is used.

So, Ano ba ang mga sinabi niya? could have the same translation in English as Anu-ano ba ang mga sinabi niya?

Alin-alin dito ang mga binigay mo sa kaibigan mo?

Which ones among these did you give to your friend?”

Sinu-sino ang mga dumalo sa miting?

Who among the guys attended the meeting?”

Kani-kanino itong mga nakakalat na laruan sa sahig?

Whose toys are these left lying on the floor?”

4. Panghalip Panaklaw (Indefinite Pronouns)

As the term suggests, indefinite pronouns don’t refer to any specific person or object. They are referred to in Filipino as panghalip panaklaw. Panaklaw comes from the root saklaw, which implies range or scope.

Commonly used panghalip panaklaw words are as follows:

1 – lahat (“everyone” / “everybody” / “everything” / “all”)

Gusto sumama ng lahat sa field trip.

Everybody wants to join the field trip.”

People Raising Their Hands

Ang lahat ay ibinoto siya na maging gobernador.

All voted for him to be governor.”

2 – sa lahat ng dako (“everywhere”)

Naghanap kami sa lahat ng dako pero hindi pa rin namin siya natagpuan.

“We searched everywhere and still didn’t find her.”

3 – sinuman (“anyone”)

Ang sinuman na hindi pupunta ay bibigyan ng parusa.

Anyone who does not attend will be given a penalty.”

4 – anuman / alinman (“anything”)

Itapon na lang ang anuman na wala nang silbi.

“Just throw anything that doesn’t serve any purpose.”

5 – kaunti (“few” / “a few”)

Kaunti na lang ang natirang tickets.

“There’s just a few tickets left.”

6 – madami / marami (“many” / “a lot”)

Marami sa kanila ang ayaw sa huling resolusyon na ipinasa ng mga miyembro ng board of directors.

A lot of them are not in favor of the recent resolution passed by members of the board of directors.”

7 – saanman (“anywhere” / “wherever”)

Saanmang dako ng mundo, ikaw ay susundan ko.

Anywhere you go, I am sure to follow.”

In some cases, a Tagalog pronoun is placed after saanman in the first and third persons, and the words saan (“where”) and man (“any”) are written separately.

Susundan ko sya saan man siya (third person) pumunta.

“I will follow her wherever she may go.”

Sinusundan niya ako saan man ako (first person) pumunta.

“He follows me wherever I go.”

And in the second person, a pronoun is placed between saan and man.

Susundan kita saan ka (second person) man pumunta.

“I will follow you wherever you go.”

Hahanapin kita saan ka (second person) man magtago.

“I will look for you wherever you may hide.”

8 – wala / wala ni isa (“none”)

Wala ni isa sa kanila ang nagtangkang magsalita.

None of them had the courage to speak.”

9 – isang tao / isa (“someone” / “somebody”)

May isa na dapat tanggalin sa group.

Someone has to be removed from the group.”

10 – bawat isa (“each”)

Ang bawat isa sa atin ay may papel na ginagampanan sa team na ‘to.

Each of us has a role to play in this team.”

5. Panghalip Pamanggit (Relative Pronouns)

Improve Listening

Relative pronouns in Filipino are called panghalip pamanggit. Their main function is that of introducing a relevant clause and connecting it to an independent clause.

The most common examples of panghalip pamanggit are na and ng.

Examples:

Ang drayber na nakabundol sa mag-asawa ay nahuli.

“The driver who hit the couple was caught.”

Huwag mong hawakan ang mga bagay na hindi mo pagmamay-ari.

“Don’t touch things that don’t belong to you.”

Mayroon akong kaibigan na ang kuya ay napaka kulit.

“I have a friend whose brother is so annoying.” 

Huwag na huwag magtitiwala sa tao na ang ulo ay napapanot.

“Never trust a man whose hair is balding.”

Ang mga binti ng kalabaw ay malaki.

“The legs of the water buffalo are large.” 

Although the direct equivalent of the word ng is “of” in English, it functions in this sentence as a panghalip pamanggit.

Again, the reason is that some Filipino words may have a direct equivalent in English, and yet they are used in a different manner.

That said, the relative pronouns “which,” “that,” “who,” “whom,” and “whose,” can all be translated to na.

6. Panghalip Patulad

Panghalip patulad is a Filipino pronoun category that isn’t found in English. Patulad comes from the root word tulad, which denotes similarity.

Words under this category are used to replace words that denote manner, or how things are performed or acted. 

For instance, “This is how we do it,” can be translated to Ganito namin ginagawa ‘yan. In this sentence, the word ganito is considered a panghalip patulad.

That said, the three major words used as panghalip patulad are ganito, ganyan, and ganoon.

1 – Ganito

The word ganito can be directly translated to “like this” or “in this manner.” It’s used when the object being spoken of is near the speaker.

In the following examples, observe how the use of the word ganito changes in the English translation depending on how it’s being used in the Filipino sentences.

Ganito kami sa Pilipinas.

“This is how we are in the Philippines.”

Ganito ang dapat nating gawin.

“This is what we should do.”

In some instances, the word alone (along with a demonstration from the speaker) is enough to answer a question about how something is done.

Paano mo ginagawa yan?

Ganito.

“How do you do it?”

“This way.”

2 – Ganyan

Ganyan can be translated to “like that” or “in that manner.” It’s used when the object being described is near the person being spoken to.

Ganyan ka mag-shoot ng bola!

That’s how you shoot a ball!”

Guy Shooting a Basketball

Ganyan pala maghiwa ng sibuyas.

“So that’s how you’re supposed to slice an onion.”

Pigain mo siya nang ganyan.

“Squeeze it in that manner.”

3 – Ganoon / Ganun

Just like ganyan, ganoon can also be translated to “like that” or “in that manner.” However, it’s used when the object being described is far from both the speaker and the person being spoken to.

Ganun din ang kotse na gusto kong bilhin.

That’s the same car model I want to buy.”

Nakita mo kung paano niya sinagot ang tanong? Ganoon ka din dapat sumagot.

“Did you see how he answered the question? You should answer in that same manner.”

7. Conclusion

Filipino is a bit of an inflected language, which may make it a bit confusing for those who are studying it. Even Pinoys themselves confuse the two terms Filipino and Tagalog. This is where the importance of studying the language further comes in.

If you want to learn more about Filipino and Tagalog pronouns, a good place to start is FilipinoPod101, a language-learning portal that provides students with a structured yet fun and enjoyable way of learning Filipino grammar. One of the many perks it provides is the ability to learn Filipino anywhere and anytime you want. FilipinoPod101 can also provide you with a personal tutor if you want to speed up your learning process.

Whether it’s 100 nouns or 100 adjectives you want to learn, or whether you want to learn how to say “Hello” or “I love you” in Filipino, you can rest assured that FilipinoPod101 will be able to guide you all the way through.

And before you leave, please don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments section below what you think about this article and whether there are questions about pronouns in Tagalog you want to ask! We’ll do our best to help you out.

Happy Filipino learning!

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Let’s Learn the Basics of Tagalog Sentence Structure!

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Any Filipino who grew up in the 80s would be familiar with Barok, one of the most popular Pinoy comic book characters at that time. His character was similar to those in America’s The Flintstones, but instead of speaking like Fred or Barney, he spoke like Tarzan. And you know what that’s like—words jumbled and all.

In the Philippines, a person who can’t speak straight Tagalog or English is labeled as someone who is Barok magsalita (one who speaks like Barok).

That is why it’s crucial to learn the proper Tagalog sentence structure. For one, it helps your readers or listeners understand the simplest sentences you’re trying to convey (not to mention it will keep you from being nicknamed Barok).

But don’t you worry, because if there’s one thing about Filipino grammar that’s not too difficult to learn, it’s Tagalog word order. What most learners of the Filipino language love is its flexibility when it comes to word order. You’ll find out what I mean later on when we get to the lesson proper.

For now, let’s get to the basics of Filipino sentence structure first.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Filipino Table of Contents
  1. An Overview of Tagalog Word Order
  2. Basic Word Order with Subject, Verb, and Object
  3. Filipino Word Order with Prepositional Phrases
  4. Word Order with Modifiers
  5. Transforming a Regular Sentence into a Question
  6. Translation Exercises
  7. FilipinoPod101 Will Help Ease the Confusion

1. An Overview of Tagalog Word Order

Improve Listening

The most common sentence structure used in the English language is S-V-O (Subject-Verb-Object). It’s acceptable to use the same word order in Filipino, which is what many beginners do. However, when it comes to spoken Filipino, using S-V-O will result in the speaker sounding awkward. Let’s take this sentence for example: 

 S       V     O

“I am studying Filipino.”

If you translate this into Tagalog, you will get: Ako ay nag-aaral ng Filipino

Now, this one is grammatically correct, but when spoken, it should be structured as:

V                S            O

“Studying     I     Filipino.”  →  Direct Translation

Nag-aaral ako ng Filipino.

That said, word order in Tagalog is primarily V-S-O, and S-V-O is considered an inverted form (Kabalikang Anyo in Tagalog). But then, it also follows the V-O-S structure

One very important thing you need to understand about Tagalog, though, is that it doesn’t always follow the subject-predicate structure. In the English language, the object within a sentence is always different from the subject. In Filipino, however, a word that follows a direct marker, like si or ang, is the subject. This means that the object can also function as the subject. Here’s an example:

 S          V         O

“Julia is studying Filipino.”

Si Julia ay nag-aaral ng Filipino.

Let’s translate this into Filipino using the V-S-O pattern.

V                      S            O

“Studying        Julia      Filipino.”  →  Direct Translation

Nag-aaral si Julia ng Filipino.

Now, let’s try using the V-O-S pattern instead.

V                      O            S

“Studying        Filipino     Julia.”

Nag-aaral ng Filipino si Julia.

Notice that in the S-V-O example, the sentence uses the word ay between the subject (Julia) and the verb (nag-aaral). It’s long been thought (and taught) that ay is the copula “to be.” More recent sources, however, say that ay is more of a replacement for a comma or a slight pause. The same sources say that it can’t be a verb since it can appear in a sentence along with other verbs, although in most cases, it seems that it’s the direct translation of the verb “is.” 

Keep in mind, too, that ay only appears in the S-V-O form of the sentence (which, by the way, is viewed as formal or literary). Here are a few examples:

  • “The child is playing.”

Ang bata AY naglalaro.

  • “Butch is drinking.”

Si Butch AY umiinom.

  • “Kobe is sleeping.”

Si Kobe AY natutulog.

  • “The lady is sewing.”

Ang ale AY nananahi.

    Need a dictionary for this lesson? The FilipinoPod101 Dictionary is one of the most complete free Filipino-English dictionaries online!

2. Basic Word Order with Subject, Verb, and Object

Compared to the English language, word order in Filipino is more flexible. In fact, you can construct certain sentences in up to six different ways. Don’t believe me? Let’s take a look at the following sentence:

“The man gave the woman some money.”

There are six different ways you can write or say this sentence in Filipino. Each of these sentences conveys the same meaning, and they all include the same grammatical components. And yet, as you can see, the words are ordered differently.

  • Nagbigay ng pera sa babae ang lalaki. 
  • Nagbigay ng pera ang lalaki sa babae.
  • Nagbigay sa babae ng pera ang lalaki.
  • Nagbigay sa babae ang lalaki ng pera.
  • Nagbigay ang lalaki sa babae ng pera.
  • Nagbigay ang lalaki ng pera sa babae.

Here, you can see that the verb (nagbigay) is always in the initial position, but the order of the rest of the words is adjustable. This shows how flexible Tagalog can be!

Woman Balancing a Ball in the Curve of Her Back

Did you say flexible?

Let’s try a simpler sentence this time. 

“I study Filipino.” 

This can be translated in a couple of ways:

S                V O

  • Ako ay nag-aaral ng Filipino.

V                 S         O

  • Nag-aaral ako ng Filipino.

Both of these translations are correct, but in normal conversations, you would usually use the second example: Nag-aaral ako ng Filipino.

Example: Nag-aaral ako ng Filipino ngayon sa FilipinoPod101. (“I am currently studying Filipino via FilipinoPod101.”)

3. Filipino Word Order with Prepositional Phrases

When it comes to sentences with prepositional phrases, the order of the words is similar to that in English. Let’s take the sentence below for example:

  • Place Preposition. “He studies at home.” (Nag-aaral siya ng Filipino sa bahay.)
  • Time Preposition. “He studies in the evening.” (Nag-aaral siya ng Filipino sa gabi.)
  • Preposition of Manner. “He studies with his friend.” (Nag-aaral siya ng Filipino kasama ang kaibigan niya.)

Based on the examples, you can see that the preposition is placed AFTER the object. This is how the words are ordered in conversations. But in writing, the preposition can be placed BEFORE the object as shown in the following examples:

  • Place Preposition. “He studies Filipino at home.” (Nag-aaral siya sa bahay ng Filipino.)
  • Time Preposition. “He studies Filipino in the evening.” (Nag-aaral siya sa gabi ng Filipino.)
  • Preposition of Manner. “He studies Filipino with his friend.” (Nag-aaral siya kasama ang kaibigan niya ng Filipino.)

Question: Can the preposition/prepositional phrase be placed at the BEGINNING of the sentence? Let’s see.

  • Place Preposition. “He studies Filipino at home.” (Sa bahay siya nag-aaral ng Filipino.)
  • Time Preposition. “He studies Filipino in the evening.” (Sa gabi siya nag-aaral ng Filipino.)
  • Preposition of Manner. “He studies Filipino with his friend.” (Kasama niya ang kaibigan niyang nag-aaral ng Filipino.)

Answer: ABSOLUTELY! In fact, the most natural way to say the given example sentences in Tagalog is by placing the preposition/prepositional phrase at the beginning of the sentence. 

4. Word Order with Modifiers

Modifiers have many functions, including clarifying, qualifying, or limiting a particular word in a sentence to add emphasis or detail. These grammatical elements are often in the form of adjectives and adverbs. 

In Tagalog grammar, a modifier can either be an adjective or an adverb depending on the word it’s modifying. For instance, if the word being modified in a sentence is a noun, then the modifier used is an adjective. If, on the other hand, the word being modified is a verb, the modifier is an adverb.

Take the word mabuti, for instance, which means “good.”

It can be used to describe a noun, like estudyante (“student”): estudyanteng mabuti (“good student”). 

In this sentence, mabuti functioned as an adjective.

It can be used to describe verbs, too. You can say: nag-aral nang mabuti (“studied well”). 

Here, mabuti now functions as an adverb.

In Tagalog, modifiers can appear either before or after the subject, but what plays a huge part here are the linkers na and –ng. Whenever you see these enclitics in a sentence, it means modification has taken place.

In these examples, the modifier appears before the subject:

  • mabait na estudyante (“kind/good student”)
  • matalinong estudyante (“bright student”)
  • masunuring estudyante (“obedient student”)

We can also place the modifier after the subject:

  • estudyanteng mabait (“kind/good student”)
  • estudyanteng matalino (“bright student”)
  • estudyanteng masunurin (“obedient student”)

As you’ve noticed, the meaning of the phrases didn’t change even if the position of the modifiers did.

A Man Holding an A+ Assignment

Matalinong estudyante. (“Bright student.”)

Oh, and before anything else, let’s talk about the markers na and ng for a second. Actually, -ng is simply a modified form of na. It’s used to replace na if the word that comes before it ends in a vowel. But what if na follows a word ending in the letter n? If that’s the case, we drop the n from ng so that it now becomes g. We use na if the word it follows ends in a consonant. 

We can see some of these rules applied in the recent examples, but let’s check out some more:

Noun + Linker + ModifierModifier + Linker + NounTranslation
lupang hiniranghinirang na lupa“chosen land”
asong maliitmaliit na aso“small dog”
bangkang papelpapel na bangka“paper boat”
balong malalimmalalim na balon“deep well”
payong na bagobagong payong“new umbrella”

Now, let’s try it with some verbs:

Verb + Linker + ModifierModifier + Linker + VerbTranslation
umiiyak na batabatang umiiyak“crying child”
lumilipad na ibonibong lumilipad“flying bird”
kumakantang babaekumakantang babae“singing lady”
tumutuklaw na ahasahas na tumutuklaw“striking snake”
tumatakbong sundalosundalong tumatakbo“running soldier”

Clear? Good. Now, let’s see how a regular sentence can be transformed into a question.

5. Transforming a Regular Sentence into a Question

Improve Pronunciation

In the Tagalog language, there is one go-to word for forming interrogative sentences. That word is ba. This marker is actually one of the several untranslatable Tagalog words. If you want to change a sentence from the simple or imperative forms to the interrogative form, you simply add the word ba. Let’s try it with some sentences.

  • Simple Form: Nag-aaral si Arlene ng Filipino. (“Arlene is studying Filipino.”)
  • Interrogative Form: Nag-aaral ba si Arlene ng Filipino? (“Is Arlene studying Filipino?”)
  • Imperative Form: Mag-aral ka ng Filipino. (“Go and study Filipino.”)
  • Interrogative Form: Mag-aaral ka ba ng Filipino? (“Are you going to study Filipino?”)

Ba is added either at the end of the sentence, or after the verb or the noun.

In the following examples, ba is positioned at the end of the sentence.

  • Simple Form: Nag-aaral ka. (“You are studying.”)
  • Interrogative Form: Nag-aaral ka ba? (“Are you studying?”)
  • Imperative Form: Mag-aral ka. (“Go and study.”)
  • Interrogative Form: Mag-aaral ka ba? (“Are you going to study?”)

What’s unique about the way Filipinos communicate is that they can do so even with just a single word (sometimes even with no words at all!). Let’s take this scenario, for example. 

A man just got home and asked his wife if their dog (who wasn’t feeling well) finally decided to eat.

Husband: Kumain ba? (“Did she eat?”) 

Wife: Oo. (“Yes.”)

If the husband only said Kumain? It would still be a valid sentence and would be understood as Kumain ba?

It gets crazier with this typical exchange by the elevator.

Man 1: Bababa ba? (“Is it going down?”)

Man 2: Bababa. (“It is going down.”)

Golly! That’s seven successive instances of a single syllable!

A Little Girl Counting on Her Fingers

Seven syllables. Did I count that right?

It’s not all the time, though, that ba is necessary. Just like in most languages, you can just add a question mark at the end of a declarative sentence to turn it into a question, particularly if the question has a tone of surprise to it.

  • Simple Form: Nag-aaral si Arlene ng Filipino. (“Arlene is studying Filipino.”)
  • Interrogative Form: Nag-aaral si Arlene ng Filipino? (“Arlene is studying Filipino?”)
  • Imperative Form: Mag-aral ka ng Filipino. (“Go and study Filipino.”)
  • Interrogative Form: Mag-aaral ka ng Filipino? (“You’re going to study Filipino?”)
A Man Looking Surprised at a Paper He’s Reading

Pumasa ako sa Filipino? (“I passed Filipino?”)

6. Translation Exercises

In this section, we’re going to apply what we’ve learned about Tagalog sentence structure so far. Again, there are several ways to arrange words in a Filipino sentence, but let’s just use the one that’s often used in casual conversations.

1. I study. ____________________

2. I study Tagalog. ____________________

3. I study Tagalog every day .____________________

4. I study Tagalog every day using FilipinoPod101. ____________________

5. I study Tagalog every day at home using FilipinoPod101. ____________________

6. I study Tagalog with my friend every day at home using FilipinoPod101. ____________________

Woman Using a Translation App on Her Phone

Okay, Siri, please translate…Oh, wait, you’re not Siri.

ANSWER:

1. I study. Nag-aaral ako.

2. I study Tagalog. Nag-aaral ako ng Tagalog.

3. I study Tagalog every day. Araw-araw akong nag-aaral ng Tagalog. (Remember how prepositional phrases should go at the beginning of the sentence?)

4. I study Tagalog every day with FilipinoPod101. Araw-araw akong nag-aaral ng Tagalog gamit ang FilipinoPod101.

5. I study Tagalog every day at home with FilipinoPod101. Araw-araw akong nag-aaral sa bahay ng Tagalog gamit ang FilipinoPod101.

6.  I study Tagalog with my friend every day at home with FilipinoPod101. Araw-araw akong nag-aaral sa bahay ng Tagalog gamit ang FilipinoPod101 kasama ang kaibigan ko.

7. FilipinoPod101 Will Help Ease the Confusion

We did our best to make this guide as simple and easy as possible for you. However, we also believe that one short post about Tagalog sentence structure can only do so much. But that’s why FilipinoPod101 is here, isn’t it? 

With FilipinoPod101, you can learn more than just how to arrange words in sentences. If you sign up today, you’ll gain exclusive access to a number of learning resources you won’t find elsewhere. This includes an introduction to the Filipino language, a few key Filipino phrases, and unique articles designed to help you learn Tagalog in a fun and interesting way.

And then there’s the Premium PLUS program that’s designed especially for students who want to develop their Filipino writing and speaking skills in just a short period of  time. What are you waiting for? If you want to learn more about Filipino sentence structure or polish your Tagalog conversation skills, don’t think twice about signing up at FilipinoPod101 today!

What are your first impressions about Tagalog word order and sentence structure? Let us know in the comments!

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Anong Oras Na? A Must-Read Guide on Philippines Time

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Filipinos are known for following “Filipino Time” (also referred to as “late” in other countries). Despite that, there are still many people in the Philippines who are very much time-conscious. 

As a matter of fact, the Department of Science and Technology initiated a campaign called “Juan Time” several years ago with the aim of promoting the nationwide use of Philippine Standard Time.

That’s good news for anyone who values time. But what does this have to do with this post? Well, in this post, we’re going to learn how to tell the Philippines’ time, using the Filipino language, of course. 
Knowing how to read and tell time is a basic universal skill. And yes, learning how to tell time in Filipino or Tagalog is as easy as 1-2-3. You can always read and tell time in English when you’re in the Philippines, since most Pinoys can understand English anyway. But it’s no question that knowing how to tell time in Tagalog has many benefits and advantages.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Time Phrases in Filipino Table of Contents
  1. How to Ask for the Time
  2. How Pinoys Tell Time
  3. Hours Divided into Minutes
  4. Time Adverbs
  5. Common Filipino Proverbs about Time
  6. Conclusion

1. How to Ask for the Time

Time

Knowing how to ask for the time is just as important as knowing how to read and tell time. Before anything else, let’s first learn how to ask for the time in Filipino. 

There are different ways you can ask this. Here are some of them:

1 –  What time is it? 

Anong oras na?

This is the most straightforward way of asking “What time is it? in Filipino. It’s rather informal and less polite. You can use this approach when asking someone you’re familiar with, like a friend or colleague. Never ask this way when talking to someone in authority, though.

2 – Do you know what time it is? 

Alam mo ba kung anong oras na?

This is a more polite approach, although it’s not that formal. You can use this question when asking someone you’re not too familiar with, such as a stranger. 

If you want a more polite approach, then use this one:

3 – May I know what time it is already? 

Maaari/Pwede ko bang malaman kung anong oras na? 

If you’re asking an older person or a person in authority, simply add the word po right after ko.

4- Asking What Time Something Will Start or What Time Something Happened

Now, if you want to ask what time something will start, you can simply say: Anong oras magsisimula ang palabas? (“What time will the show start?”)

More examples:

  • “What time is the plane arriving?” 

Anong oras dadating ang eroplano?

  • “What time is the meeting scheduled?” 

Anong oras ang schedule ng meeting? 

  • “What time did the game end last night?” 

Anong oras natapos ang laro kagabi?

2. How Pinoys Tell Time

Marunong ka bang magbasa ng oras? Do you know how to tell time? 

This is a question often asked of young Filipino kids. Just as in other countries, Pinoy kids are taught how to read time and dates at an early age. 

Kid Looking at Clock

In the Philippines, most people use the twelve-hour format. The Filipino word for “hour” is the same word used for “time,” which is oras. This is derived from ‘horas,’ the Spanish word for “time.”

Meanwhile, “o’clock in Tagalog is either la or las, both of which are Spanish for “the.”

There are two general ways of how to read time in Filipino. But before we go there, let’s talk about time markers first. 

1- Time Markers

The basic time markers or references are as follows:

UmagaMorning
TanghaliNoon
HaponAfternoon
GabiEvening
Hating-GabiMidnight
Madaling-ArawMiddle of the night

A – Umaga

Umaga in the Philippines usually begins at 5:00 a.m., depending on what time the sun rises. The time between the rising of the sun and 11:59 a.m. is considered umaga or “morning.” When asked what time it is, and your watch says it’s 10:30 a.m., you respond by saying: Alas diyes y medya ng umaga.

In English, that translates to “10:30 in the morning.” In written form, that would be Alas-10 y medya n.u. N.u. is the abbreviation for ng umaga, or “in the morning.”

The same rule applies when telling time in Filipino at different times of the day.

B – Tanghali

Tanghali, on the other hand, is high noon, and is the time between 12:00 p.m. and 12:59 p.m. When reading time during tanghali, let’s say fifteen minutes past 12:00, you simply say:

Alas dose kinse ng tanghali. 

(Written form: Alas-12 kinse n.t.), kinse being “fifteen” in Spanish.

If you’re not too familiar with Philippine history, the reason there are a lot of Spanish words and expressions in the Filipino language is that the country has been under Spanish rule for more than 300 years. So, don’t be surprised if you come across a number of loanwords in your studies.

Now, back to the lesson.

C – Hapon

Hapon is the Filipino word for “afternoon.” It’s the time between 1:00 p.m. and 5:59 p.m. In written form, it’s abbreviated as n.h., or ng hapon (“in the afternoon”). In Filipino, 3:00 p.m. is spoken as Alas tres ng hapon. and written as Alas-3 n.h.

D – Gabi 

Gabi is the Filipino word for “evening.” You’ll know when it’s gabi in the Philippines once the clock strikes 6:00 p.m. Around this time, most Filipino families are already preparing for the evening meal. In the barrios, mothers are often heard yelling at their children to come home as it’s already dark. 

  • Mga anak, pasok na at alas sais na! Maghahapunan na tayo! 

“Come home now kids! It’s 6 o’clock, and it’s already time for dinner!” 

Gabi lasts from 6:00 p.m. until 12 a.m.

Family Having Dinner

E – Hating-gabi

It’s already hating-gabi, or midnight, once the clock strikes 12 a.m. Unless you’re working night shift, there’s very little chance someone is going to ask you what time it is at this hour.

Woman Sleeping under Moon

F – Madaling Araw

Madaling araw literally means “the day is breaking soon,” madali being “fast” and araw being “day.” As a time marker, however, this phrase translates to “in the middle of the night.” In Filipino, 4:00 a.m. is read as Alas kwatro ng madaling araw.

As mentioned, there are two general ways we tell time in the Philippines: the Filipino way and the Spanish way.

2- The Filipino Way

The Filipino way is a more formal approach to reading and telling time in the Filipino language. Let’s say it’s 10:00 a.m. and you’re asked what time it is. You reply with: Ika-sampu na ng umaga. 

Here’s a table of how to say the time in Filipino for your reference:

TimeIn Filipino we say…
1:00ika-isa
2:00ikalawa
3:00ikatlo
4:00ikaapat
5:00ikalima
5:00ika-anim
7:00ika-pito
8:00ika-walo
9:00ika-siyam
10:00ika-sampu
11:00ika-labing-isa
12:00ika-labing-dalawa

This is how we read exact hours in Filipino:

For 1:00 a.m., we say:

  • Ang oras ay ika-isa ng umaga. 

“The time is one o’clock in the morning.”

For 2:00 p.m., we say: 

  • Ang oras ay ikalawa ng hapon. 

“The time is two o’clock in the afternoon.”

Minuto

What if the clock says it’s 4:15? That’s when we read in hours and minutes. “Minute in Filipino is minuto. When reading the time in hours and minutes, we simply read the equivalent of the minutes in words.

Example: 

  • “It’s five fifteen in the afternoon.” 

Ang oras ay labinlimang minuto makalipas ang ikalima ng hapon.

Labinlima is Filipino for “fifteen,” while makalipas is Filipino for “past.” So that would be the same as saying, “The time is fifteen minutes past five in the afternoon.” 

Speaking of which, learning simple numbers in Filipino is another crucial step in this study, so make sure you find ways to do so.

3- The Spanish Way

Alternatively, you can use the Spanish way of reading time. In the Philippines, this is the more practical and common way people read and tell time. You don’t normally hear people saying, Ang oras ay dalawampu’t-limang minuto makalipas ang ika-siyam ng umaga (“The time is twenty-five minutes past nine in the morning”) unless it’s the disc jockey announcing the time over your favorite A.M. or F.M. station.

Woman in Recording Studio

So, when you ask a Filipino on the streets what time it is and it’s 5:15 p.m., you’ll most likely hear them respond with: Alas-singko kinse. The time marker, which in this case is ng hapon, is omitted unless the person asking has just awoken from a very long sleep over the weekend and has no idea what period of the day it is.

Menos

And then there’s the word menos, which is Spanish for “less.” In reading the time, we can use the term this way:

Ang oras ay menos kinse bago mag alas-kwatro. 

That’s fifteen minutes “minus” or “less” four o’clock, and indicates that the time is a quarter to four or fifteen minutes before four.

Meanwhile, here’s another table for your reference. This time, it’s for the Spanish way of reading time:

TimeAnother way we read time in Filipino is…
1:00ala-una
2:00alas-dos
3:00alas-tres
4:00alas-kwatro
5:00alas-singko
6:00alas-sais
7:00alas-siete
8:00alas-otso
9:00alas-nueve
10:00alas-dies
11:00alas-onse
12:00alas-dose

In order for you to be able to tell time in Filipino, you need to be familiar with Spanish numbers. This post might be able to help you with that.

3. Hours Divided into Minutes

Improve Listening

Reading and telling time in Filipino when hours are divided into minutes is also straightforward, although most Pinoys never read time in this manner.

1- Quarter

The direct equivalent for the word “quarter” in Tagalog is kwarter, but it’s not a commonly used word. That said, “It’s a quarter past seven in the evening,” is read as Alas-siete kinse ng gabi. 

To be more formal, you can say: Ang oras ay labinlimang minuto makalipas ang alas-siete ng gabi. 

2- Half

The Filipino word for “half” is kalahati. When reading 8:30 p.m., you say: Alas-otso y medya ng gabi. Or, in the more formal manner: Ang oras ay kalahating oras/tatlumpong minuto makalipas ang ika-walo ng umaga.

4. Time Adverbs

Using an adverb of time in Filipino when giving the time is very useful. There are a lot of time adverbs available, but we’ll give you a list of only the most commonly used time adverbs in Filipino, with examples of how to use them.

1 – Now/Right Now (Ngayon)

  • Anong oras na ngayon? 

“What time is it now?”

2 – Currently (Kasalukuyan)

  • Ang oras sa kasalukuyan ay sampung minuto makalipas ang ika-siyam ng umaga. 

“The current time is ten minutes past nine in the morning.”

 3 – Today (Ngayon/Ngayong araw)

  • Anong oras ka pupunta doon ngayong araw? 

“What time are you going there today?”

4 – Yesterday (Kahapon)

  • Pasado alas dose ng tanghali sila umalis kahapon. 

“They left past twelve noon yesterday.”

5 – Tomorrow (Bukas)

  • May deyt sila bukas ng gabi. 

They’ll have a date tomorrow evening.”

Man and Woman on Date

6 – Before (Bago)

  • Pinalampas ko ang alas otso ng umaga bago magluto ng agahan. 

“I waited until past eight in the morning before deciding to cook breakfast.”

  • Limang minuto na lang bago mag alas-dose ng hating-gabi. 

“There’s only five minutes left before twelve midnight.”

7 – After (Pagkatapos)

  • Sinundo siya ng drayber pagkatapos niyang tawagan ito ng pasado alas tres ng hapon. 

“The driver fetched her after she phoned him at past three in the afternoon.”

8. Soon/As soon as possible (Sa lalong madaling panahon)

  • Kailangan nilang tapusin ang proyekto sa lalong madaling panahon. 

“They need to finish the project as soon as possible.”

9. Later (Mamaya)

  • Manonood kami ng sine mamaya. 

“We’re going to watch a movie later.”

10. In a while/Shortly (Maya-maya/Sa ilang sandali)

  • Nandiyan na ako maya-maya

“I’ll be there in a while.”

  • Lalapag na ang eroplano sa ilang sandali. 

“The plane will be landing shortly.”

5. Common Filipino Proverbs about Time

Basic Questions

There aren’t a lot of time proverbs in the Philippines, but the few that are there truly echo how Filipinos are supposed to value time. Here are some of them:

1 – “The early comer is better than the hard worker.”

Daig ng maagap ang masipag.

This is a critique against the habit of many Filipinos of being late to meetings and appointments. It suggests that a person who’s always on time will always beat a person who’s more talented but never comes on time.

2 – “Time is gold.”

Ang oras ay ginto.

This doesn’t need much explanation. Time is valuable and must not be wasted.

3 – “Do today what you can do tomorrow.”

Gawin ngayon ang kaya mong gawin bukas.

Filipinos are known to be procrastinators, and are thus said to possess the mañana habit attitude. Mañana is a Spanish word that describes an indefinite time in the future. This proverb is targeted at those who have a habit of saying mamaya na or “later” when asked to work on an important task.

These next two sayings are related to the first three. They’re designed to encourage Filipinos not to put off doing something important—or they may regret their actions in the end.

4 – “Opportunity knocks but once. Grasp it before it disappears.”

Isang beses lang kumatok ang pagkakataon. Hawakan nang mahigpit bago pa ito maglaho.

5 – “What good is grass if the horse is dead?”

Aanhin pa ang damo kung patay na ang kabayo?

6. Conclusion

As promised, learning how to tell time in Filipino is trouble-free. Sure, you’ll need to learn a few basic Spanish terms (or English if it’s not your first language), but overall, it’s not very complicated. However, to accurately tell time—or both the date and time in the Philippines—you’ll need to take your ability to read and speak the Filipino or Tagalog language up a notch.

One way you can do this is through FilipinoPod101, an online portal that provides students who wish to learn Filipino with a way to learn the language and culture of the Philippines in a systematic yet fun and convenient manner. FilipinoPod101 can provide you with countless video lessons if you’re a visual learner, as well as audio tools if you’re the type who loves learning through listening. Most importantly, it gives you the opportunity to learn the Filipino language on your own. We hope you’ll continue to let us join you on your language-learning journey!

Before you go, let us know in the comments what time it is where you are, in Filipino! We look forward to hearing from you.

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