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Filipino Classroom Phrases

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Online classes may be the norm these days, but nothing can beat an actual classroom experience. If you’re planning to study in the Philippines one day or currently are, it will help a lot to learn and master Filipino classroom phrases. Not only will it enable you to communicate with your teachers and classmates more effectively, but it will also help you get the most out of every class you take.

This guide will introduce you to over thirty school words and phrases in Tagalog, from basic greetings to common classroom instructions to useful expressions you can use when conversing with teachers and fellow students. Let’s begin!

Four Students in Uniform Chatting while Walking

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Filipino Table of Contents
  1. Basic Greetings
  2. Common Instructions and Commands Used by Teachers
  3. Phrases To Use When Asking for Clarifications
  4. Phrases To Use When Explaining Absences and Tardiness
  5. When Talking About Your Favorite Subjects
  6. When Talking About Common School Supplies
  7. How FilipinoPod101 Can Help

1. Basic Greetings 

In most schools in the Philippines, the only time you would actually hear Tagalog classroom greetings is during classes where Filipino is used as the main language, such as the Filipino subject, or sometimes, Social Studies.

English is the preferred means of communication in Filipino schools, especially private ones. However, in most public schools, students are encouraged to communicate in Filipino or use their dialect.

It’s also essential to learn how to address one’s teachers and classmates and not just what Filipino words to say when greeting them.

Female teachers are addressed either as Ginang (Ma’am/Mrs./Madam) or Binibini (Miss), while male teachers are addressed as Ginoo (Sir). There are no special titles used for addressing one’s fellow students, but showing respect and courtesy to one another is encouraged at all times.

Magandang umaga, Binibining Reyes. “Good morning, Miss Reyes.”
Magandang umaga, Ginang Diaz. “Good morning, Mrs. Diaz.”
Magandang hapon, Ginoong Santos. “Good afternoon, Mr. Santos.”
Magandang umaga, Ma’am/Sir. “Good morning, Ma’am/ Sir.”
Magandang umaga, mga kaklase. “Good morning, classmates”
Magandang araw sa inyong lahat. “Good day to all of you.”
Paalam, Binibining Robles. “Goodbye, Miss Robles.”
Magkita ulit tayo bukas. “See you tomorrow.”

A Female Student Waving to Two Other Students

Magkita ulit tayo bukas. (“See you tomorrow.”)

    ➜ There are many different ways of greeting in Filipino. Our lesson on Basic Filipino Greetings is a great place to start learning them.

2. Common Instructions and Commands Used by Teachers

The Philippine educational system is largely influenced by the country’s colonial past. It has adopted the Spanish way of teaching, in particular. This is characterized by an authoritarian management style where the teacher has complete control of everything going on inside the classroom. This is no longer a common practice, although courtesy, politeness, and respect are values that are still highly encouraged among students and teachers alike. The following are some of the most basic Filipino phrases used by teachers when addressing their students:

Greetings

Magandang araw sa inyong lahat. “Good morning everyone.”
Kumusta kayo ngayong araw? “How are you today?”
Kumusta ka na, Andrea? “How are you, Andrea?”
Masaya akong makita kayo.“I am happy to see you all.”

Roll Call

Nandito ba kayong lahat?“Is everybody here?”
Sino ang wala ngayon?“Who is not here/absent today?”
Nasaan si Carlos?“Where is Carlos?”
Nandito na ba si Miguel?“Is Miguel here already?”
Anong nangyari kay Anya?“What happened to Anya?”

Time to Begin

Simulan na natin ang ating klase. “Let’s begin our class.”
Simulan na natin ang ating aralin. “Let’s begin our lesson”
Handa na ba ang lahat? “Is everybody ready?”
Magsisimula na tayo. Kung maaari ay tumahimik na ang lahat at makinig. “We’ll start now. Please keep quiet and listen.”
Umayos na ang lahat para makapagsimula na tayo. “Settle down now so we can start.”
Ang lahat ba ay nakikita ang nakasulat sa pisara? “Can everyone see what’s written on the board?”

Common Instructions

Itabi niyo na ang mga gamit niyo.“Pack your things away now.”
Isara niyo ang inyong mga aklat. “Close your books.”
Buksan ang mga aklat sa pahina… “Open your books at page…”
Kakailanganin ninyo ang lapis at papel. “You will need a pencil and a sheet of paper.”
Pag-aaralan natin ang…“We will learn about…”
Pag-aaralan natin kung paano… “We will learn how to…”
May sampung minuto lang kayo para gawin ito. “You only have ten minutes to do this.”

Comprehension Questions

Naiintindihan niyo ba?“Do you understand?”
Nakakasunod ba kayo?“Do you follow?”
May mga tanong ba kayo? “Do you have any questions?”
May mga katanungan? “Any questions?”
Sino ang nakakaalam ng sagot? “Who knows the answer?”
Sino ang makakasagot sa tanong? “Who can answer the question?”
Pakisulat ang sagot sa pisara.“Please write the answer on the board.”
Pakiulit ng sinabi mo. “Say it again, please.” / “Please repeat what you said.”

Classroom Supervision

Tumigil muna kayo sa pagsasalita. “Everybody stop talking please.”
Tumingin kayo dito. “Look this way.”
Makinig kayo sa sinasabi ni Kiana. “Listen to what Kiana is saying.”
Hayaan niyo na muna iyan sa ngayon. “Leave that one for now.”

Male Teacher Handing the Chalk to a Student Raising Her Hand

Pakisulat ang sagot sa pisara. (“Please write the answer on the board.”)

    ➜ No student is greater than their teacher. If you want to be a great student of the Filipino language, you will need to have a great teacher. Our lesson entitled The Power of a Good Filipino Teacher shares insights on how important it is to find a good language teacher.

3. Phrases To Use When Asking for Clarifications

Asking for clarification is part of learning. It’s a great way for students to learn new information and better understand what has just been taught. Most teachers allow their students to ask questions regarding the lesson only after giving the lecture. 

Some would take a break midway to give students the opportunity to process what they have heard and ask for clarifications. A few others don’t mind if their students raise a question in the middle of the lesson. Just remember to ask politely and use the expression po as much as possible when addressing the teacher.

Hindi ko po maintindihan.“I don’t understand.”
Pwede niyo po bang ulitin? “Can you please repeat?”
May gusto po akong itanong.“I would like to ask something.”
May tanong po ako. “I have a question.”
Pakiulit po ng mga tagubilin.“Please repeat the instructions.”
Nahihirapan po akong ayusin ang pangungusap na ito. “I’m having trouble fixing this sentence.”
Turuan niyo po akong baybayin ito. “Please help me spell this one.”
Ano daw ang sabi ng guro natin?“What did our teacher say?”

    ➜ Asking questions is the fastest way for you to learn about something. Here are other common Filipino questions you need to be familiar with.

4. Phrases To Use When Explaining Absences and Tardiness

As much as we all love learning and would never want to be late or absent, there are times when we can’t help but miss school. This is where the importance of knowing how to provide reasons for your absence or delay comes in. 

Reasonable Excuses

Pasensya na po kayo kung hindi ako nakapasok kahapon. “I apologize for not being able to attend yesterday.”
Ipagpaumanhin niyo po kung nahuli ako sa klase. “I’m sorry if I’m late for class.”
Masama po ang pakiramdam ko kahapon. “I wasn’t feeling well yesterday.”
May importante po kaming lakad. “We had an important thing to attend to.”
Wala pong magbabantay sa kapatid ko. “No one’s around to look after my younger sibling.”
Nasiraan po ang sinasakyan kong bus. “The bus I took broke down.”
Bumaha po sa kalye namin kaya hindi ako makalabas. “Our street was flooded, so I couldn’t go out.”

Somewhat Silly Excuses

There are valid excuses for being late or absent, and there are somewhat silly ones. But believe it or not, a lot of students still use them. You can’t fool teachers, though, especially the more experienced ones. Years of teaching have honed their intuition and will instantly know if you’re just making up your reasons for being tardy.

Namatay po ang lola ng nanay ko.“My mom’s grandma passed away.” 

*This is one of the most abused reasons for being absent in school. Students use this all the time since teachers rarely verify the truth of the claim considering that it’s a sensitive issue. The claim becomes suspect, though, if the same student has used it more than a couple of times. The teacher would then ask, Andami mo naman yatang lola? (“It seems that you have too many grandmothers.”)
Hindi po natuyo ang mga damit ko.“My clothes didn’t dry all the way.”
Hindi po nag-alarm yung orasan namin.“Our alarm clock didn’t go off.”
Naiwan ko po sa dyip ang takdang-aralin ko.“I left my homework in the passenger jeepney.”
Namatay po ang pinsan ng lolo ko. “My grandpa’s cousin died.”
Nakatulog ako sa tren at bumaba sa maling istasyon. “I fell asleep on the train and woke up at the wrong station.”

A Man Holding an Alarm Clock in Disbelief, Signifying that He’s Late

Hindi po nag-alarm yung orasan namin. (“Our alarm clock didn’t go off.”)

    ➜ Learning how to give an excuse is an important aspect of good communication. In our lesson What’s Your Filipino Excuse, we share with you tips on how to give reasons for not being able to do something.

5. When Talking About Your Favorite Subjects

In the Philippines, most of the names of school subjects are in English. Most have Filipino translations, but they are only used in written communication and seldom in daily conversations. For instance, you won’t hear your classmate say Nagawa mo ba ang proyekto natin sa Sikolohiya? Instead, it’s Nagawa mo ba ang project natin sa Psychology? (“Were you able to work on our project in psychology?”). 

However, it’s still important to learn the Filipino equivalent of the names of common school subjects since they are what you will use when writing formal or academic papers in Filipino. Here’s a list of these subjects and their equivalent in English:

List of Subjects

Wika at Gramatika/Balarila Language and Grammar 
Matematika Mathematics
Agham / SiyensiyaScience
Kimika Chemistry
PisikaPhysics
Musika at Sining Music and Arts
Araling PanlipunanSocial Studies
SikolohiyaPsychology
EkonomikaEconomics
Relihiyon at EtikaReligion and Ethics
Edukasyong Pantahanan at PangkabuhayanHome Economics and Livelihood Education

Talking about school subjects:

Simulan na natin ang proyekto natin sa Araling Panlipunan.“Let’s start working on our project in Social Studies.”
Tulungan mo ako sa bagong paksa na tinalakay natin sa Wika at Gramatika.“Please help me with the new lesson we discussed in Language and Grammar.”
Magaling ako sa Musika at Sining.“I’m good at Music and Arts.”
Wala tayong takdang-aralin sa Edukasyong Pantahanan at Pangkabuhayan.“We don’t have homework in Home Economics and Livelihood Education.”


6. When Talking About Common School Supplies

School supplies are often a subject of daily conversations, which is why it’s so important to learn this type of classroom vocabulary in Filipino. Below is a list of Tagalog words describing the names of writing and learning tools and their English translation.

LapisPencil
Aklat/LibroBook
PapelPaper
KuwadernoNotebook
PantasaSharpener
GuntingScissors
PangkulayColoring Pen
PanukatRuler
PolderFolder
PandikitGlue
PamburaEraser
KalkuleytorCalculator
BaunanLunch Box
PisaraBlackboard
TisaChalk
MesaTable
Silya / UpuanChair

And here are a few examples of how to talk about the objects in the list above:

Pwede bang makahiram ng lapis?“May I borrow a pencil?”
Nawawala ang pambura ko.“My eraser is missing.”
Pahiram naman ng libro mo sa Balarila.“Let me borrow your grammar book.”
Hindi ko yata nadala ang kuwaderno ko.“I don’t think I brought my notebook with me.”
Pwede daw gumamit ng kalkuleytor sabi ni titser.“Teacher said we can use a calculator.”

A Person Using a Calculator

Pwede daw gumamit ng kalkuleytor sabi ni titser. (“Teacher said we can use a calculator.”)

7. How FilipinoPod101 Can Help

This guide has introduced you to basic Filipino classroom phrases that will surely help enhance your classroom experience. Here, you have learned how to greet your teachers and classmates in Tagalog, how to ask for clarifications, and how to express yourself when giving reasons for tardiness and absences. You also learned common instructions and commands used by teachers inside the classroom. And finally, you learned how to talk about school subjects. 

Did we miss anything that you believe should be in this guide too? Let us know in the comments!

And if you want to learn more than just Tagalog classroom phrases, we highly recommend that you sign up for a free lifetime account here at FilipinoPod101 where you can experience innovative Filipino language learning and learn all you need to know about Filipino. That includes grammar, pronunciation, basic sentences, frequently used vocabulary, and other important Filipino lessons you will need in your language learning journey. All this while finding out more about Filipino culture too!

For a more strategic approach to online Filipino learning, we also have MyTeacher, a premium feature we offer students who want to receive one-on-one coaching from an actual Filipino teacher. Don’t wait! Join FilipinoPod101 today and enjoy innovative language learning!

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

Essential Filipino Restaurant Phrases For a Great Dining Experience

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The Philippines has so many good restaurants. And when we say that, we mean that traditional Filipino food is not only unparalleled in taste and quality but that there are many places to eat in the country that let you experience authentic Filipino cuisine. For a foreigner visiting the Philippines, the overall quality of your experience eating at a Filipino restaurant is determined not only by the quality of the restaurant itself but also by how well you are familiar with Filipino restaurant phrases. 

Knowing how to book a restaurant, compliment a staff, or order food in Filipino may not be vital but can significantly improve your overall experience dining at a Filipino restaurant. For that reason, we made this guide just for you. Here, you will learn how to make a reservation at your favorite restaurant in the Philippines, converse with the waiter, ask for the bill, give a tip, and much more!

A Beautiful Semi-outdoor Restaurant Setting

The Philippines has so many good restaurants.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Filipino Table of Contents
  1. Making Dining Plans
  2. Time to Dine
  3. After Dining
  4. Tipping Etiquette
  5. Learn More Than Just Filipino Restaurant Phrases with FilipinoPod101!

1. Making Dining Plans

Depending on which restaurant you plan to visit, you may have to make reservations in advance. The best restaurants in big cities like Manila are usually full, so you’d want to find out first which days there aren’t a lot of customers. A simple check on Google will show you the opening hours and popular times of a restaurant you’re considering. For instance, the award-winning Spiral restaurant at Sofitel Philippine Plaza, known for its Filipino international dining, is usually busy on Saturdays during lunch, among other times.

For regular restaurants, a reservation is usually not necessary. However, it’s not unusual to find yourself in long queues occasionally, especially during the weekends. 

Booking a restaurant in the Philippines isn’t that complicated. Thanks to the Internet, you can now find all the information you need about the restaurant of your choice online. Most restaurants have a social media page where you will find details on how to make a booking.

The following are some useful phrases you can use whenever you want to make a reservation at a Filipino restaurant, plus questions you can ask to get more information about the restaurant.

Gusto ko po sanang magpareserba para sa tatlong tao. “I’d like to make a reservation for three people.”
Posible bang ipareserba ang buong restawran?“Is it possible to book the whole restaurant?”
Magpapareserba sana ako para mamayang gabi.“I’d like to make a reservation for this evening.”
Para sa darating na Biyernes. “For this coming Friday.”
Sa ika-sampu ng Enero, alas siyete ng gabi. “On January 10th, at 7 in the evening.”
Bukas ba kayo ng Linggo? “Are you open on Sunday?”
Anong oras kayo nagbubukas? “What time do you open?”
Hanggang anong oras kayo? “Until what time are you open?”
Pwede ba ang mga bata? “Are children welcome?”
Lima kami, kasali na ang isang bata. “There are five of us, including one child.”
Kung maaari ay yung malapit sa bintana. “If possible, a table near the window, please.”
May mga mesa ba kayo sa labas?“Do you have some tables outdoors?”
Marami bang kumakain kapag Sabado? “Is it usually full on Saturdays?”
May parking ba para sa PWD?“Do you have parking spaces for PWDs?”
May daanan ba para sa wheelchair?“Do you have wheelchair access?”

A Man Calling Having a Phone Conversation

Posible bang ipareserba ang buong restawran? (“Is it possible to book the whole restaurant?”)

    ➜ You don’t want to approach your first Filipino restaurant experience empty-handed. Learn how to choose menu items in Filipino even before you pick up that phone to make a reservation!

2. Time to Dine

Restaurant culture in the Philippines is the same as in any culture in the world. There will be waiters and waitresses to take your order and assist you. Depending on the restaurant, there may also be complimentary drinks and appetizers. But regardless of where you choose to dine, your entire dining experience will start with you asking for the menu. 

Do you need to be familiar with Filipino food vocabulary? Not necessarily, although it’s going to help. We have a couple of lessons here and here that will help you become more familiar with words and phrases related to food.

1- Before Placing Your Order

You can get the waiter’s attention simply by saying “Weyter,” which means “waiter” in Filipino. And if the one serving you is a female, you can simply address her as “Miss.” You can then follow that up by using any of the following phrases:

Pwede ko bang makita ang menu?“Can I see the menu?”
Gusto ko pong makita ang menu. “I would like to see the menu.”
Pakiabot po ng menu.“Please give us the menu.”
Patingin po ng menu.“Please show us the menu.”
Ano ang specialty niyo dito? “What’s your specialty in this restaurant?”
Ano ang pinakasikat niyong pagkain dito? “What’s your most popular dish?”
Anong mairerekumenda mo?“What would you recommend?”
Mairerekumenda mo ba ito?“Would you recommend this?”

A Man Calling the Waiter’s Attention.

    ➜ If you’re eating as a walk-in guest, restaurant staff may ask you a couple of questions, like how many of you are there and where you may like to be seated. Be sure to take this lesson on how to get a seat in a restaurant so you’ll know how to respond with no hesitations.

2- When You’re Ready to Order

So, you’re ready to order. If that’s the case, you will need to learn the following expressions so you’ll know what to say to the staff assisting you when it’s time for you to place your order.

Handa na kaming umorder. “We’re ready to order.”
U-order na kami.“We are ordering now.”
Pakikuha ng order namin.“Please take our order.”
Bigyan mo kami nito.“Please give us this one.”
Gusto ko nito.“I’d like to have this one.”
Dalawa nito.“Two of these.”
Isang basong tubig.“A glass of water.”
May kasama bang inumin ito?“Are drinks included?”
May karne ba ito ng baboy? “Does this one have pork in it?”
Pwede mo bang ulitin ang order namin?“Can you please repeat our order?”
Gaano po katagal namin kailangang maghintay sa pagkain? “How long do we have to wait for the food?”
Ikaw? Anong gusto mo?“How about you? What do you want?”

    ➜ “Can I see the menu?” Our lesson on how to order at a restaurant breaks down this common expression so that you understand what each word means in Filipino. Plus, get to learn other alternatives you can use.

3- Making Special Requests

There are times when you need to make special requests when eating at a restaurant. Perhaps you need to ask for more wine. Maybe you want more than just some good, basic Filipino food. Or maybe you want to let the staff know you’re allergic to certain ingredients. Whatever it is, here are expressions you can use to convey your intentions.

Pwedeng magpadagdag ng ____?“Could I get another ___?”
Pakibigyan kami ng isa pang pares ng kutsara at tinidor.“Please give us another pair of spoons and forks.”
Pakidagdagan ang table napkin.“Please add more table napkins.”
Bawal ako sa hipon. “I am allergic to shrimp.”
Kaunting bawang lang kung maaari.“Not a lot of garlic, please.”
Gusto kong palitan ito ng _____.“I would like to replace this one with _____.”
Pwede ko bang palitan ito ng _____?“Can I replace this one with _____?”
Pakipalitan ito ng ______.“Please replace this one with _____.”
Gusto ko pa ng wine kung maaari.“I would love some more wine, please.”
Pwede mo ba kaming malipat sa ibang mesa?“Can you move us to another table?”

4- Time for Dessert!

A visit to a good Filipino restaurant is not complete without dessert. Here’s what a simple conversation may look like between you and the staff when they ask you if you’d like to have some.

A: Natuwa po ba kayo sa pagkain?
(“Did you enjoy your meal?”)

B: Oo, natuwa kami nang husto.
(“Yes, we enjoyed it a lot.”)

A: Gusto niyo po ba ng panghimagas?
(“Would you like some dessert?”)

B: Sige, anong meron?
(“Sure, what have you got.”)

A: Mayroon kaming halo-halo, minatamis na saging, ube halaya, at maja blanca.
(“We have halo-halo, sweetened banana, ube halaya, and maja blanca.”)

B: Ano yung minatamis na saging?
(“What’s minatamis na saging?”)

A: Saging na saba na nilagyan ng arnibal at maskubadong asukal.
(“It’s Saba banana with syrup and muscovado sugar.”)

B: Sige, bigyan mo kami niyan. Salamat!
(“Okay, please give us that one. Thanks!”)

5- Making Complaints and Giving Compliments

No restaurant is perfect, and every once in a while, you may find it necessary to voice out your concern regarding food or service quality. At the same time, it’s important to offer a compliment whenever it’s appropriate.

Medyo maalat ang sabaw. “The soup is a bit salty.”
Kulang sa lasa ang paella.“The paella lacks flavor.”
Masyadong matamis.“It’s too sweet.”
Medyo matabang.“It’s a bit bland.”
Tamang-tama ang timpla ng luto niyo. “The flavor is perfect.”
Sobrang sarap ng mga pagkain dito. “The food here is so delicious!”
Siguradong kakain ulit ako dito!“I’ll be eating here again for sure!”
Salamat sa pag-asista sa amin ngayong gabi.“Thank you for assisting us this evening.”

    ➜ Learning how to make complaints in Filipino is crucial as it will teach you the right words to use and the right tone and approach when voicing out your concern. And yes, we have a lesson for that!

A Couple Ordering Food at a Restaurant

Gusto ko nito. (“I’d like to have this one.”)

3. After Dining

You’re done with your meal, and you’re ready to leave. You can either go directly to the cashier to pay for your food or call the waiter’s attention to have your bill delivered to your table. Use the following phrases to let the staff know that you’re ready to pay for your food.

Magbabayad na kami. “We are going to pay now.”
Pakibigay na lang ng bill namin. “Our bill, please.”
Handa na kaming magbayad. “We are ready to pay.”
Pakibalot ng isang ito.“Can I have a to-go box for this one, please?” 
Lit. “Please wrap this up.”
Tumatanggap ba kayo ng card? “Do you accept card payments?”
Hahatiin namin ang bayad. “We’re going to split the bill.”


4. Tipping Etiquette

The Philippines has a non-tipping culture, so you don’t have to oblige yourself to give a tip. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t be appreciated if you did. Feel free to leave a tip if you feel that the food and the service were excellent. In the same manner, don’t feel pressured to leave any tips if you feel that you don’t have to. Just keep in mind that some restaurants may have a no-tipping policy. To be sure, you can use the following phrases to ask whether tipping is allowed or express your intention to leave a tip.

Tumatanggap ba kayo ng tip? “Do you accept tips?”
Saan pwedeng magbigay ng tip? “Where do I leave a tip?”
Gusto ko sanang magbigay ng tip. “I would like to leave a tip.”
Nag-iwan ako ng tip para sa iyo.“I left a tip for you.”

A Waitress Serving Food to a Couple

Tumatanggap ba kayo ng tip? (“Do you accept tips?”)

    Asking for the check in Filipino isn’t as simple as it sounds. It’s a good thing we have a lesson to help you learn all the necessary words and expressions for perfecting this simple request.

5. Learn More Than Just Filipino Restaurant Phrases with FilipinoPod101!

Being able to speak Tagalog and know common restaurant phrases in Filipino will make life easier for you when you’re eating at a Filipino restaurant. In this guide, you’ve learned some of the most useful Filipino expressions to use when making reservations, ordering food, and tipping at a restaurant. Are there other words and phrases you wish we have included on this list? Let us know in the comments section.

If you love this guide, consider signing up for a free lifetime account at FilipinoPod101 where you can learn more than just Tagalog restaurant phrases. Here, you can learn and master everything about the Filipino language, including grammar, pronunciation, sentence structure, and of course, Filipino culture. Plus, you’ll learn how to use Tagalog in various scenarios in daily life. And did we mention that you can enjoy studying all this in a fun and innovative way?

Speaking of innovation, what will make your experience with FilipinoPod101 even more exciting is the MyTeacher feature, a Premium service that lets you learn Filipino at your own pace and with the guidance of an actual Filipino teacher. So, what are you waiting for? Join FilipinoPod101 today and start speaking Filipino like a local!

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The Ultimate Guide To Filipino Conversation Skills

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Filipino conversation skills are important to learn when you’re studying the Filipino language. One reason is that conversations play a significant role in language development. Not only will it help you express your thoughts and ideas, but it will also improve your listening skills. After all, conversation skills are about being able to talk fluently and knowing how to listen well at the same time. In other words, you’ll learn more about the Filipino language in actual conversations than inside the classroom. 

With that, you’ll need something to help you get started. In this guide, you will find the resources you need to improve your conversation skills. You’ll specifically learn how to create a script that you can use to introduce yourself confidently. You’ll also learn which exact reaction phrases, filler words, conversation starters, and questions to use and when.

When you’ve mastered all that, meeting new people and making new friends, whether in school or at work, will no longer be one of your concerns.

A Group of Colleagues at Work Having a Conversation

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Filipino Table of Contents
  1. Crafting Your Language Profile
  2. Filipino Reaction Words & Expressions
  3. Filipino Filler Words
  4. Common Questions and Answers in Filipino
  5. Filipino Conversation Starters
  6. Tips for Improving Your Conversation Skills
  7. How FilipinoPod101 Can Help

1. Crafting Your Language Profile

There are two things to consider when creating and developing your language profile:

  1. It must be relevant.
  2. It must fit your context.

You might ask, “Relevant to what?” When making a language cheat sheet (an appropriate term to describe a language profile), you want to ensure that it’s practical. It’s easy to get examples of phrases and expressions from textbooks. Still, the question is, do they apply to you and your circumstance? 

One question you’d want to ask is: “In what context will I be able to benefit most from my language profile?” There could be hundreds or even thousands of answers to that one question, but the most common situation you’ll be able to use a language cheat sheet is when you’re meeting new people. For that reason, it makes sense to build your language profile around this idea. 

Here’s what a language profile in Filipino may look like:

Ako nga pala is Rene, tatlumpung-taong gulang mula sa Australia. Nandito ako sa Pilipinas para mag-aral. Kumuha ako ng kurso sa Business sa isang unibersidad dito sa Maynila. Magta-tatlong taon na ako dito. Ang karaniwang ginagawa ko sa bakanteng oras ko ay magbasa. Minsan, namamasyal ako sa mga museo at sa mga makasaysayang lugar sa siyudad kasama ang mga kaibigan ko.
“I am Rene, thirty years old from Australia. I am here in the Philippines to study. I took a Business course at a university here in Manila. I have been here for three years. What I usually do during my spare time is read books. Sometimes, I visit museums and historical places in the city with my friends.”

As you can see, you can start with a quick self-introduction and then follow it up with other interesting details, such as what you do for a living or where you go to school. You can change some of the details depending on your specific context and the situation. Here are a few ideas:

  • Kakalipat ko lang dito. (“I just moved here.”)
  • Lumipat ako dito noong 2017. (“I moved here in 2017)
  • Nagustuhan ko ang klima dito. (“I fell in love with the climate here.”)

  • Taga-rito ang napangasawa ko.  (“I married a Filipino/Filipina.”) (Lit. “The person I married is from here.”)
  • Nabighani ako sa ganda ng Pilipinas. (“I was fascinated by the beauty of the Philippines.”)
  • Nais kong dito na mamalagi.  (“I want to stay here for good.”)

  • Mahilig din akong magbisikleta.  (“I also love to cycle.”)
  • Pumunta sa dalampasigan. (“To go to the beach.”)
  • Kumain ng pagkaing Pilipino.  (“To eat Filipino food.”)

Now that you have an idea of how to craft your language cheat sheet let’s get it on with phrases and expressions you will need to improve your conversation skills.

2. Filipino Reaction Words & Expressions

Filipinos can be emotional. We love expressing ourselves and have so many words and phrases to help us convey what we feel. From feelings of love, being surprised, frustrated, or amused, you can rest assured that there’s a Filipino word for it. In this section, we will look at some of the most common expressions you can use as responses to a conversation starter. For instance, how would you respond when someone shares with you some good news? How about when someone tells you about an awful experience they’ve had?

Really?

A: Namili ako ng mga halaman kahapon. (“I went to buy some plants yesterday.”)

B: Talaga? Anong mga binili mo? (“Really? What kind of plants did you buy?”)
B: Talaga? Sama ako sa’yo sa susunod! (“Really? Let me come with you next time!”)

Ayos lang ako.

A: Kumusta ka? Antagal nating hindi nagkita. (“How are you? It’s been a long time.”)

B: Ayos lang ako. Ikaw? (“I’m fine. And you?”)
A more formal way to respond to Kumusta ka? would be Mabuti, which means “good” or “fine.”

Oo, tama ka.

A: Ikaw yung bago naming kapitbahay, diba? (“You’re our new neighbor, right?”)
B: Oo, tama ka. Kumusta? (“Yes, you’re right. How are you?”)

A: Ito ba ang sinasabi mong kailangang baguhin? (“Is this the one you said that needs editing?”)
B: Oo, tama ka. Maraming salamat. (Yes, you’re correct. Thank you so much.”)

Ayos yan ah!

A: Alam mo bang na-promote ako sa trabaho? (“Did you know that I was promoted at work?”)

B: Ayos yan ah! Dapat kumain tayo sa labas. (That’s awesome! We eat out and celebrate.”)

Pasensya na.

A: Baka gusto mong makipagpalitan ng shift? (“I was wondering if you would swap shifts.”)

B: Pasensya na, may aasikasuhin ako sa Sabado. (“I’m sorry, but I have something to do on Saturday.”)

Naku!

A: Nagkasakit daw ang nanay niya. (“He said his mom is sick.”)

B: Naku! Sana gumaling siya kaagad. (“Oh my! I hope she gets better soon.”)

Grabe!

A: Sabi niya sinigawan daw siya nung lalaki kaya niya sinuntok. (“He said the guy shouted at him, which is why he punched him.”)

B: Grabe! Ginawa niya yun? (“Gosh! He actually did that?”)

Astig!

A: Dumating na yung mga binili kong komiks! (“The comic books I ordered are here!”)

B: Astig! Tara tignan natin! (“Cool! C’mon, let’s take a look at them.”)

Ay sayang!

A: Hindi natuloy ang lakad namin kasi nag-lockdown. (“Our trip was cancelled due to the lockdown.”)

B: Ay sayang! Sige lang, sa ibang araw na lang siguro. (“Aw, too bad. That’s fine. Some other time, perhaps.”

    ➜ These are just a few reaction words and phrases to get you started. Be sure to check out our blog entry on Intermediate Filipino Phrases to learn more!

A Man Who Couldn’t Believe What She’s Hearing from a Friend

Grabe! Ginawa niya yun? (“Gosh. He actually did that?”)

3. Filipino Filler Words

Regardless of how much you’ve practiced your Tagalog, and no matter how prepared you are, there will be times that you will struggle with remembering certain words. That’s where fillers come in. Fillers are unacceptable when you’re making a speech, but they serve a purpose when you’re having casual conversations. Filler words may seem meaningless, but they can save you from a lot of embarrassment by giving you a chance to think of what to say next. The following are some of the most common Filipino filler words to help you sound like a local.

Filipino: Ano…English equivalent: “Uhm…” (Literally “What”)
Bigyan mo ako nung ano…yung matamis na kulay dilaw na kendi. (“Please give me one of those…uhm…sweet yellow candies.”)

Si ano…nakalimutan ko na pangalan niya. (“Uhm…him…I forgot his name.”)

Filipino: Diba?English equivalent: “Right?” (Literally “Isn’t it?”)
Nakapunta na ako dun, diba? Diba? Bakit di ko maalala? (“I’ve already been there, right? Right? Why can’t I remember?”)

Binigay ko sa’yo yung susi diba? Nakita niyo na binigay ko diba? Diba? (“I gave you the keys, right? You guys saw that I did give it to her, right? Right?”)

Filipino: Kuwan?English equivalent: “Uhm?” (Literally “That thing”)
Yung inorder mo online…kuwan…dumating na kanina. (“That thing you ordered online…uhm…it arrived earlier.”)

Nahanap mo na ba yung kuwan…yung charger ng telepono ko? (“Were you able to find the…uhm…my cellphone charger?”)

Filipino: AyEnglish equivalent: “Oh?” / “Aww”
Ay. Bakit di matutuloy? (“Aww. How come it’s not happening?”)

Ay, oo nga no? (“Oh, you’re right.”)

Filipino: ParangEnglish equivalent: “It’s like” (Literally “Supposedly”)
Yung parang…gusto mo siyang gawin pero ang hirap. (“It’s like…you want to do it, but it’s hard.”)

Parang ano…basta…kalimutan mo na lang. (“It’s like…nevermind.”)

Filipino: KasiEnglish equivalent: “It’s because…uhm” 
Kasi…ano…wala ako sa bahay kahapon. “It’s because…uhm…I wasn’t home yesterday.”

Ano kasi…sinamahan niya lang ako. Magkaibigan lang talaga kami. “Uhm…he just accompanied me. We’re just friends, really.”

Filipino: AyunEnglish equivalent: “So…yeah” / “There it is”
Kaya ayun…nag taxi na lang kami. “So yeah…we just took the taxi.”

Ayun! Naalala ko na. Bernard ang pangalan niya. “There it is! I remember now. His name’s Bernard.”

Two Women Having a Conversation

Ayun! Naalala ko na. Bernard ang pangalan niya. “There it is! I remember now. His name’s Bernard.”

    ➜ There are over a dozen Filipino filler words that you could learn besides the ones on this list. You can find more here.

4. Common Questions and Answers in Filipino

Questions make conversations interesting and meaningful. In fact, most exchanges are initiated by asking questions. From the very basic “How are you” to more complex and more personal queries, here are some Filipino questions you can use to start a conversation and some common responses to come with them.

“How are you?”

Q: Kumusta ka?

A: Mabuti naman. Salamat. (“I’m fine. Thank you.”)
A: Ayos lang ako. Ikaw, kumusta ka naman? (“I’m doing great. How about you?”)

“What’s your name?”

Q: Anong pangalan mo?

A: Samuel. Ikaw? (“Samuel. And you?”)
A: Lenny ang pangalan ko. Ikinagagalak kitang makilala. (“My name is Lenny. I’m glad to meet you.”)

“How did you learn to speak Tagalog?”

Q: Paano ka natuto magsalita ng Tagalog?

A: Sumali ako sa FilipinoPod101 (“I joined FilipinoPod101.”)
A: Kalahating Pilipino ang tatay ko. (“My father is half-Filipino.”)

“Where are you from?”

Q: Taga saan ka?

A: Sa Paris ako lumaki, pero mag-iisang dekada na ako dito sa bansa.  (“I grew up in Paris, but I’ve been in the country for almost a decade now.”)
A: Taga Austria ang pamilya ko. (“My family is from Austria.”)

“Do you know how to speak Tagalog?”

Q: Marunong kang mag-Tagalog?

A: Oo, kaunti. Kakalipat ko lang dito. (“Yes, just a bit. I just moved here.”)
A: Oo naman. Matagal na ako dito sa Pilipinas. (“Yes, of course. I’ve been here in the Philippines for a long time.”)

“What have you been up to lately?”

Q: Anong mga pinagkakaabalahan mo ngayon?

A: Nagtuturo ako ng gitara sa mga bata tuwing Sabado.  (“I teach kids how to play the guitar on Saturdays.”)
A: Tinatapos ko ang thesis ko. (“I’m finishing my thesis.”)

“Where did you finish your studies?”

Q: Saan ka nakapagtapos ng pag-aaral?

A: Sa Kyoto University ako nagtapos. (“I graduated from Kyoto University.”)
A: Ngayong taon pa lang ako magtatapos. (“I’m only graduating this year.”)

“What made you consider studying Filipino?”

Q: Bakit mo naisipang mag-aral ng Pilipino?

A: Napamahal na ako sa Pilipinas kaya naisipan kong aralin ang wika at kultura nito. (“I fell in love with the Philippines, so I decided to learn its language and culture.”)
A: Nais kong dito na bumuo ng pamilya. (“I decided that this is where I will start a family.”)

Two Men Greeting Each Other

Anong mga pinagkakaabalahan mo ngayon? (“What have you been up to lately?”)


5. Filipino Conversation Starters

Filipinos are great at conversations. Whether you’re attending a social gathering, having lunch at school or the workplace, or simply doing your grocery shopping, you want to be ready anytime in case you meet a Filipino friend who wants to have a chat.

Here are conversation starters to help build your confidence.

  • Kumusta ang unang araw mo dito?
    “How’s your first day here?”
  • Matagal na kayong magkakilala ni Anne?
    “How long have you and Anne known each other?”
    Lit. “Have you and Anne known each other for a long time?”
  • Kumusta? Pwede ba akong sumabay sa inyong kumain?
    “Hi. How are you? Is it okay if I join you for a meal?”
  • Kumain ka na ba? 
    “Have you eaten already?”
  • Kumain tayo sa labas pagkatapos ng trabaho. 
    “Let’s eat out after work.
  • Nagawa mo ba iyong takdang-aralin natin sa Accounting?
    “Were you able to work on our assignment for Accounting?
  • Mahilig ka din bang magbasa? 
    “Do you also like to read?”
  • Nakikinig ka din ba ng mga podcast? 
    “Do you also listen to podcasts?”

6. Tips for Improving Your Conversation Skills

There is no best way for improving Filipino conversation skills. However, you will feel more confident conversing with the locals when you have mastered the basic rules. Here are simple techniques you can apply in both formal and informal situations. 

1- Listen Before You Speak

Conversations are sometimes more about listening than talking. One of the best ways to improve your conversation skills is by practicing active listening. It’s all about being present in the conversation and paying careful attention to what the other person says. People with good communication skills don’t simply wait for their turn to speak but ensure that they register what they hear.

A great way to stay focused is to paraphrase what your conversation partner is saying back to them. For instance, if someone is talking about wanting to go to the beach, you might say, “So, it’s been a long time since you’ve been to the beach? Which place do you want to visit when you have the opportunity?”

2- Find Common Ground

Nothing keeps a conversation going than when you and your partner are talking about things that both of you love, whether general preferences, activities, or hobbies. Try talking about what you’re passionate about and see whether the other person responds. If it turns out there’s nothing common between you two, it’s still possible to get the conversation going by sharing how you feel. This approach is called pivoting. Rather than simply focusing on facts, you try to steer the conversation to emotions. 

A: I went to the National Museum yesterday.
B: Oh, great. I seldom visit such places myself, but there’s something special about learning your country’s history, would you agree?
A: I agree. It’s an entirely unique experience. There’s something about it that opens your mind to a new world.
B: I understand what you mean…[continue sharing]

3- Move Past Small Talk With Personal Questions

Small talk helps you get the conversation started, and that’s it. After a while, it can get uninteresting. Find an opportunity to move past it toward more meaningful, or if possible, more personal topics. Try asking questions that ask for the other person’s opinions, such as “What did you think about the conference?” Or, go for questions that give the other person a chance to talk about their passion, desires, and ambitions. For example, you can ask, “How come you’re so passionate about what you do?”

4- Practice As Often As You Can

Conversation skills are so-called for a reason. They require practice for you to get better at them. To get better at them, you need to practice every chance you get. If the idea intimidates you, remind yourself that you’re learning a new language and that it’s not about perfection but about being relevant. Remind yourself that it’s about being yourself, that it’s not about being someone you’re not. 

5- Be Approachable

Striking a conversation with a person you’ve met for the first time can be scary. After all, you don’t want people to discover that you’re yet to master their language. However, the only way for you to be really good at the language you’re learning is to have conversations with people who speak that language, whether or not you know them. 

Appearing confident and approachable plays a huge role when you’re talking to new people. Standing straight, looking at the other person’s eye, and smiling can all make a big difference. 

6- Be Authentic

It’s tempting to want to focus on being witty when you’re having a conversation. People tend to gravitate toward quick-witted individuals, don’t they? However, rather than trying to sound funny or clever, you’d want to be genuine and authentic. Your goal for having a conversation is for other people to know who you truly are, so be yourself. It’s going to be less stressful and will take so much pressure off of you. 

7- Don’t Be Afraid To Take A Break

Finally, always remember that it’s okay to take a break when you’re nervous or anxious. Avoid speaking too fast just to get the entire thing over with as soon as possible. This will only cause you to lose your focus, stammer, and say the wrong thing. Take things slowly. If you need to speak slowly, do so. It’s also important to remove yourself from a situation that’s causing you to have social burnout. If you’re in a social gathering, politely tell the other person or persons that you need to go somewhere for a while and return when you’re ready to talk again. Or if you need to leave early, just express your intention kindly and leave.

A Man and Woman Enjoying a Conversation

Be genuine and authentic in a conversation. It will take so much pressure off of you.

7. How FilipinoPod101 Can Help

Your Tagalog conversation skills play an integral role in your ability to express yourself when conversing in Filipino. In this guide, you learned exactly how to take those skills to another level. One is by learning how to craft your personal language profile (or cheat sheet as we call it). Another is by familiarizing yourself with various expressions to use in various circumstances. Did we forget to add anything? Let us know in the comments section!

Meanwhile, why don’t you join FilipinoPod101 and learn more than just how to improve Filipino conversation skills? Here at FilipinoPod101, you can enjoy a wide range of free resources to help you with mastering the Filipino language. Whether it’s audio lessons, vocabulary lists, or blog entries like the one you’re reading right now, you can rest assured that there’s a resource that suits your learning needs.

And did we mention MyTeacher? MyTeacher is a premium feature that provides you with one-on-one coaching with a private teacher. With MyTeacher, you can receive real-time feedback on your progress. That way, you’ll know exactly where you are at every time in your journey of learning the Filipino language! 

What are you waiting for? Sign up for a free lifetime account today!

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

Talking About Your Nationality in Filipino

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The Filipino nationality always draws attention. Everywhere they go, Filipinos make a name for themselves, globally and in different industries—thus the term “Filipino pride.” Pride for one’s nationality is not exclusive to Filipinos though. Regardless of your race, when you visit another country, you are always excited to let everyone know where you are from and what your nationality is. The question, however, is whether you know how to introduce yourself in a way that will impress your listeners. 

If you’re visiting the Philippines, for instance, a really good way to pique someone’s interest is to let them hear you introduce yourself in Tagalog. That’s what this guide is for. In this blog post, you’ll learn how to ask someone their nationality, how to tell someone what your nationality is, and what common patterns you can use to do so—all in Filipino, of course!

Hands of People from Different Races Joined Together

It’s important to have pride in one’s nationality.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Filipino Table of Contents
  1. Different Nationalities in the Philippines
  2. How Do You Ask Someone Their Nationality in Filipino?
  3. How Do You Tell Someone Your Nationality in Filipino?
  4. Sentence Structure to Use When Talking About Your Nationality in Filipino
  5. How FilipinoPod101 Can Help

1. Different Nationalities in the Philippines

1 – Major Ethnolinguistic Groups in the Philippines

Before we proceed to learn how to talk about one’s nationality in Filipino, let’s first explore the different nationalities in the Philippines. While the Philippines is considered one nation, it is made up of over a hundred ethnolinguistic nations—175 to be exact. As an archipelago, the Philippines is composed of 7,640 islands and 18 regions. Each of these regions is represented by different ethnolinguistic groups. The Tagalogs are the largest of these groups, most of whom live within the National Capital Region. The Cebuanos, who inhabit the islands of Cebu, Siquijor, and Bohol, come second. 

Here’s an overview of the largest ethnolinguistic groups in the Philippines today.

Ethnolinguistic GroupPopulationRegion
Tagalog30,000,000NCR, Calabarzon
Cebuano9,125,637Central Visayas
Ilocano8,074,536Region I (Ilocos Region)
Hiligaynon7,773,655Region VI (Western Visayas), Soccsksargen Region
Bicolano6,299,283Region V (Bicol Peninsula)
Waray3,660,645Region VIII (Eastern Visayas)
Zamboangueño367,278Region IX (Zamboanga Peninsula)
Kapampangan 2,784,526Region III (Central Luzon)
Pangasinense1,823,865Region I (Ilocos Region)
Surigaonon367,278Region XIII (Caraga Region)

Most of the people from each of these regions can understand and speak Filipino or Tagalog. However, not everyone can understand or speak each other’s local dialects. It’s also not unusual for non-native Tagalog speakers to have their own accent when speaking in Tagalog.

2 – Top Nationalities Visiting the Philippines Every Year

This time, let’s find out which countries the Philippines receives the most visitors from each year. The data below is from 2019, but it should show which countries consider the Philippines a top tourist destination. As you can see, South Korea and China are at the top of the list. They are followed by the United States, Japan, and Taiwan. The country received 8 million tourists in 2019 and currently ranks 51st in the world in terms of tourist numbers.

CountryVisitor Arrival (2019)Nationality (English)Nationality (Filipino)
PhilippinesFilipinoPilipino
South Korea1,989,322KoreanKoreano
China1,743,309ChineseTsino/Intsik
United States1,064,440AmericanAmerikano
Japan682,788JapaneseHapon
Taiwan327,273TaiwaneseTaiwanese
Australia286,170AustralianAustralyano
Canada238,850CanadianCanadian
United Kingdom209,206BritishBriton
Singapore158,595SingaporeanSingaporean
Malaysia139,882MalaysianMalay
India134,963IndianIndiyano
Germany103,756GermanAleman
France88,577FrenchPranses
Spain49,728SpanishEspanyol
Russia36,111RussianRuso

Flags of Different Countries

The thousands of tourists visiting the Philippines each year are a testament to the beauty of the country and the hospitality of its people.


2. How Do You Ask Someone Their Nationality in Filipino?

The Filipino word for “nationality” is nasyonalidad. In the Philippines, when people want to ask about one’s nationality, they either use this word or the Filipino word for “race,” which is lahi. The word dugo or “blood” is also used from time to time. And, since Filipino has both formal and informal speech, it makes sense to learn how to ask someone their nationality in both formal and informal Tagalog.

1 – Formal

It’s not all the time that you’ll encounter a Filipino using formal speech or need to use formal speech yourself. Nevertheless, it’s still essential to familiarize yourself with it. When we speak of formal Filipino, the difference is usually in the types of words used. For instance, instead of saying ipinanganak (“was/were born”), we use isinilang. And, instead of saying pwede (“can”), we use maaari. Let’s see a few examples to understand how this works:

  • Maaari mo bang sabihin kung ano ang iyong nasyonalidad? 
    (“Can you tell what your nationality is?”)
  • Maaari bang malaman kung saang bansa ka nanggaling? 
    (“May I know which country you are from?”)
  • Saang bansa ka isinilang? 
    (“What country were you born in?”)
  • Ikaw ba ay isang [nationality]? 
    (“Are you [nationality]?”)
  • Ikaw ba ay may lahing Portuges?
    (“Do you have Portuguese blood?”)
  • Nais ko po sanang malaman kung ano ang nasyonalidad ninyo.
    (“I was wondering if you could tell me what your nationality is.”)
    (Literally: “I would like to know what your nationality is.”)

2 – Informal

Another thing that separates informal Filipino from formal Filipino is that it’s often straightforward and may or may not include polite introductory words. That makes the sentences significantly shorter.

  • Ano ang nasyonalidad mo? 
    (“What is your nationality?”)
  • [Nationality] ka ba? 
    (“Are you [nationality]?”)

    *Notice that this translates the same way that the formal Ikaw ba ay isang [nationality]? does, but it is less formal and more direct.
  • Sa Pilipinas ka ba lumaki? 
    (“Did you grow up in the Philippines?” / “Were you raised in the Philippines?”)
  • Sa aling bansa ka galing? 
    (“Which country did you come from?”)
    (Literally: “In which country did you come from?”)
  • Mayroon ka bang lahing Kastila?
    (“Do you have Spanish blood?”)

Two Women Talking

Mayroon ka bang lahing Kastila? (“Do you have Spanish blood?”)

    How does formal Filipino work? This video lesson will teach you everything you need to know about the subject.

3. How Do You Tell Someone Your Nationality in Filipino?

Talking about your nationality in Tagalog is relatively easy. If you’re comfortable discussing the subject of race or ethnicity with a Filipino friend, here are some sentence patterns you can follow:

  • Sa Amerika ako ipinanganak. 
    (“I was born in America.”)
  • Ang aking pagkamamamayan ay Singaporean. 
    (“My citizenship is Singaporean.”)
  • Isa akong Griyego. 
    (“I am Greek.”)
  • Australyano ako, pero sa Inglatera ako lumaki. 
    (“I am Australian, but I grew up in England.”)
  • Dito ako sa Pilipinas ipinanganak, pero sa Dubai na ako lumaki. 
    (“I was born here in the Philippines, but I spent most of my life in Dubai.”)
  • Dual citizen ako ng Amerika, pero isa akong Thai.
    (“I’m a dual citizen of America, but I am Thai.”)
  • Ruso ako. 
    (“I am Russian.”)

If you don’t want to talk about your nationality, you can respectfully decline using the following phrases:

  • Pasensya ka na pero ayaw kong pag-usapan ang mga ganitong paksa.
    “I’m really sorry, but I don’t want to talk about these kinds of topics.”
  • Ibang bagay na lang ang pag-usapan natin kung maaari.
    “Let’s just talk about something else, if possible.”
  • Pwede ba nating baguhin ang paksa?
    “Can we change the subject, please?”

Two Colleagues Having a Conversation While Walking

Dito ako sa Pilipinas ipinanganak, pero sa Dubai na ako lumaki. (“I was born here in the Philippines, but I spent most of my life in Dubai.”)


4. Sentence Structure to Use When Talking About Your Nationality in Filipino

Earlier, we listed the top nationalities visiting the Philippines each year. In this section, we’ve expanded that list to include the capital city and primary language of each country.

From this list, you can develop a basic pattern for speaking about your nationality in Filipino.

CountryNationality (Filipino)Capital CityLanguage(English)Language(Filipino)
PhilippinesPilipinoManilaFilipinoPilipino
South KoreaKoreanoSeoulKoreanKoreano
ChinaTsino/IntsikBeijingMandarinMandarin
United StatesAmerikanoWashington, D.C.EnglishIngles
JapanHaponTokyoJapaneseHapones
TaiwanTaiwaneseTaipeiMandarinMandarin
AustraliaAustralyanoCanberraEnglishIngles
CanadaCanadianOttawaEnglishIngles
United KingdomBritishLondonEnglishIngles
SingaporeSingaporeanSingaporeMalayMalay
MalaysiaMalayKuala LumpurMalayMalay
IndiaIndiyanoNew DelhiHindiIndiyano
GermanyAlemanBerlinGermanAleman
FrancePransesParisFrenchPranses
SpainEspanyolMadridSpanishEspanyol
RussiaRusoMoscowRussianRuso

Using the data above, let’s construct a self-introduction that you can use to tell someone what your nationality is. Let’s start with the most common pattern, where you first mention which country you came from.

  • Taga Australia ako. 
    (“I am from Australia.”)

Next, you can mention what your nationality is.

  • Isa akong Australyano. 
    (“I am an Australian.”)

You can also mention which city you live in.

  • Nakatira ako sa Canberra.
    (“I live in Canberra.”)

After which, you can mention what language you speak.

  • Ingles ang pangunahing wikang gamit ko. 
    (“English is my native language.”)

If you know other languages, you can mention that too.

  • Marunong din akong mag-Mandarin. 
    (“I also know how to speak Mandarin.”)

Putting all of these together, you get the following sentence:

  • Isa akong Australyano.  Nakatira ako sa Canberra. Ingles ang wikang gamit ko pero marunong din akong mag-Mandarin.
    (“I am an Australian. I live in Canberra. English is the primary language I use, but I also know how to speak Mandarin.”)

The following are various other ways to talk about your nationality and the language (or languages) you speak in Filipino.

  • Pilipino ako. Ipinanganak ako sa Maynila. Ang wikang gamit ko ay Tagalog.
    (“I am a Filipino. I was born in Manila. The language I use is Tagalog.”)
  • Koreano ako na lumaki sa Seoul, pero Filipino citizen ako, at marunong akong magsalita ng Ingles at Pilipino.
    (“I’m a Korean who was raised in Seoul, but I’m a Filipino citizen, and I know how to speak both English and Filipino.”)
  • Amerikano ako, pero sa London na ako namalagi mga dalawang dekada na.
    (“I’m an American, but I have been residing in London for two decades now.”)
  • Sa New Zealand ako lumaki at namalagi ng mahabang panahon, pero mayroon akong pasaporte ng Pilipinas dahil Pilipino ako.
    (“I grew up in New Zealand and lived there for a long time, but I do have a Philippine passport since I am Filipino.”)
  • Isa akong Taiwanese. Hindi pa ako masyadong marunong mag Tagalog.
    (“I’m Taiwanese. I’m not that fluent in Tagalog yet.”)
  • Ang aking mga ninuno ay nagmula sa Tsina, partikular sa Beijing.
    (“My ancestors came from China, specifically Beijing.”)
  • Singaporean ako na lumaki sa Australia. Marunong akong mag Mandarin at Malay.
    (“I’m a Singaporean who grew up in Australia. I am fluent in both Mandarin and Malay.”)
  • Pilipino ang tatay ko at Haponesa naman ang nanay ko. Marunong akong magsalita ng Tagalog at Hapones.
    (“My dad is Filipino and my mom is Japanese. I know how to speak both Filipino and Japanese.”)
  • May lahi akong Pranses at Kastila. Nag-aaral pa lang akong magsalita ng Pilipino.
    (“I am of French and Spanish descent. I’m just learning to speak Filipino.”)
  • Ayon sa birth certificate ko, sa Ehipto ako ipinanganak. Pero Pilipino talaga ako, at magaling akong mag-Tagalog.
    (“According to my birth certification, I was born in Egypt. But I am Filipino, and I can speak Tagalog very well.”
  • Sa Moscow ako ipinanganak at lumaki. Ruso ang aking ama at Malay naman ang aking ina.
    (“I was born and raised in Moscow. My father is Russian, and my mother is Malay.”)
  • Pilipino ako, pero mayroon akong dugong Pranses at Aleman sa panig ng aking ina.
    (“I am Filipino, but I have French and German ancestry on my mother’s side.”)
  • Swedish ako, pero meron akong Philippine citizenship.
    (“I am Swedish, but I have Philippine citizenship.”)

A Man and a Woman Having Coffee Together

May lahi akong Pranses at Kastila. (“I am of French and Spanish descent.”)

    Learning how to tell others what your nationality is in Filipino is vital if you wish to communicate like a native. Just as important is learning these 10 basic lines for self-introduction.

5. How FilipinoPod101 Can Help

In this guide, you’ve learned how to say the names of different nationalities in Filipino as well as how to talk about your nationality when introducing yourself. Are there other names of countries and nationalities that you wish had been included here? Let us know in the comments section below!

Before you leave, don’t forget to check out the rest of our blog entries and lessons. Here at FilipinoPod101, you’re sure to find a lesson that’s tailored to your learning needs, whether you’re at the beginner level, intermediate level, or advanced level.

We have free resources and lessons for you to begin with. Video and audio lessons are available so that you don’t just read but also hear how Filipino words are pronounced. We also have slideshows, wordlists, and flashcards designed to help you learn vocabulary words by heart.

And if you want to take things to another level, our MyTeacher service is here for you. Available with a Premium PLUS subscription, MyTeacher provides you with a personal teacher who will give you real-time feedback and guidance so that you can speak fluent Filipino in no time!

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Speak Like a True Local with These Advanced Tagalog Phrases

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

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

A Man Climbing a Mountain

Are you ready to take the challenge?

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

1. Useful Phrases for Formal Speech and Writing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Group of Scientists Doing Some Research

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


2. Power Phrases for Resumes

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

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

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

Magpakita ng positibong imahe
“Projects a positive image”

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

Gamitin ang buong kakayahan
“Uses ability to the fullest”

Magpakita ng malikhaing imahinasyon
“Displays creative imagination”

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

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

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

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

Man Showing Ability to Multitask

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


3. Smart Phrases for Business Meetings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Group of People in a Meeting

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Hand Peeling Some Carrots

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

    ➜ Access this lesson to learn more common Filipino idioms.

5. How FilipinoPod101 Can Help

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

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

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

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

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The Ultimate Guide to Intermediate Filipino Phrases

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

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

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

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

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

Four Friends Having a Conversation while Having Coffee Drinks

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

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

1. Let’s Talk About the Past!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


A Job Interview

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4. …And Why Not—Making Recommendations and Complaints

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. Talaga! And Various Responses for Everyday Conversations

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

1 – Talaga?!

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

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

2 – Ang galing!

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

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

3 – Magandang balita yan!

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

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

4 – Grabe!

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

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

5 – Astig!

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

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

6 – Sayang!

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

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

7 – Niloloko mo ba ako?!

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

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

8 – Mabuti naman kung ganon.

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

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

Someone Whispering a Secret

Talaga?! (“Really?!”)


6. Etiquette Phrases for Social and Business Settings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

An Older Man Welcoming a Family of Three into His Home

Tuloy po kayo. (“Please come in.”)


7. Go a Level Higher with FilipinoPod101!

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

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

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

Happy learning!

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Gain Filipino Fluency with These Advanced Tagalog Words

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

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

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

A Woman Giving a Presentation

Express yourself with more confidence by learning advanced Tagalog words.

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

1. Advanced Academic Words

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Doctor Consulting with a Patient

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

2. Advanced Business Words

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Man Staring in Disbelief at a Huge Stack of Paperwork

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


3. Advanced Medical Words

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4. Advanced Legal Words

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Mother Receiving Kisses from Her Two Children

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. Alternative Words to Make an Impression

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

1 – Alternative Adverbs

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

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

magkahiwalay magkabukod Magkabukod silang dumating.
separatelyseparatelyThey arrived separately.

talagasadyaSadyang mabilis magsalita si Aristotle.
verysimplyAristotle simply talks fast.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2 – Alternative Verbs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3 – Alternative Conjunctions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4 – Alternative Prepositions

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

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

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

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

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

Three Young Japanese People Singing Karaoke and Drinking Beer

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

Learn More Advanced Tagalog Words with FilipinoPod101!

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

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

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

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Boost Your Vocab with These Intermediate Tagalog Words

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It takes 200 hours of studying basic Filipino grammar and vocabulary for students to reach the intermediate level. So, if you’re reading this right now, you deserve a round of applause—it means you’re ready to take things to the next level!

By the end of this lesson, you’ll find it a lot easier to comprehend everyday words and expressions about people and work. You’ll also learn new words in a variety of categories that you can use to describe people, things, your emotions, and even the weather. 

We’re talking about around 300 intermediate Tagalog words and phrases, which is a lot. A great way to master these words is to use them in context. It’s also ideal to study them by theme, which is why we’ve categorized them this way throughout the article. 

Now, we have a lot of words to learn and get down pat. Let’s get started!

Four Friends Chatting Around a Table

A great way to master intermediate Filipino words is to use them in context.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Filipino Table of Contents
  1. Mga Bilang (Numbers)
  2. Mga Pangngalan (Nouns)
  3. Verbs
  4. Adjectives
  5. Pang-abay (Adverbs)
  6. Pang-Ukol (Prepositions)
  7. Mga Pangatnig (Conjunctions)
  8. Auxiliary Words and Particles
  9. Refine your Tagalog vocabulary skills with FilipinoPod101!

1. Mga Bilang (Numbers)

Now that you’ve mastered the basic numbers from 1 to 10 in Filipino, it’s time to learn the teens and the numbers beyond them. When counting from 11 to 19 in Filipino, just add the prefix labing to the numbers 1-9. Labing is a contraction of labi (“excess”) and ng (“of”), and it refers to the excess of ten. For instance, the number 11 is one unit in excess of ten, so that would be labing + isa (“one”), or “one more than ten.”

1 – From 11 to 19


11labing-isa
12labindalawa
13labintatlo
14labing-apat
15labinlima
16labing-anim
17labimpito
18labingwalo
19labinsiyam

2 – From 20 to 90

Counting beyond the teen numbers is not difficult in Filipino. The formula is to add the suffix -pu, which is short for sampu (“ten”), to the numbers in the tens place. For instance, the number 20 is dalawampu, which basically means “two tens” or “two multiplied by ten.” Keep in mind that some numbers need the linker na.

30tatlumpu
40apatnapu
50limampu
60animnapu
70pitumpu
80walumpu
90siyamnapu

3 – Counting to the Thousands (and Beyond)

“Hundred” is daan in Tagalog, so counting in hundreds simply means adding this word to the numbers in the hundreds place. Keep in mind that we use the linker ng in number words that end in vowels. Moreover, the d in daan changes to r when the linker used is na, which is placed after words that end in consonants. 

100isang daan
200dalawang daan
300tatlong daan
400apat na raan
500limang daan
600anim na raan
700pitong daan
800walong daan
900siyam na raan

Counting in thousands and millions is just as easy. For thousands, you just use the word libo (“thousand”), and for millions, you use the word milyon (“million”).

1,000isang libo
2,000dalawang libo
5,000limang libo
7,000pitong libo
10,000sampung libo
100,000isang daang libo
1,000,000isang milyon

An Image of the Philippines

Ang Pilipinas ay may mahigit pitong libong mga isla! (“The Philippines is made up of over 7,000 islands!”)


2. Mga Pangngalan (Nouns)

Here’s a list of intermediate-level nouns, or pangngalan, to add to your vocabulary.

1 – Time


FilipinoEnglish
dekadadecade
siglocentury
milenyomillenium
semestresemester
panahonperiod
hating-gabimidnight
madaling-arawwee hours

2 – People


FilipinoEnglish
pangalanname
apelyidofamily name
palayawnickname
magulangparent
balaeparent of one’s son- or daughter-in-law
biyenanfather- or mother-in-law
manugangson- or daughter-in-law
bayawbrother-in-law
hipagsister-in-law
amainstepfather
inainstepmother
dalagasingle woman
binatasingle man
kasintahanlover
nobyoboyfriend
nobyagirlfriend
kamag-anakrelative
kaibiganfriend
barkadagang
kalaroplaymate
kapamilyafamily member
kapitbahayneighbor
ninonggodfather
ninanggodmother
bilasbrother-in-law’s wife or sister-in-law’s husband
kaklaseclassmate
mamaman
alewoman
batachild
taoperson
kakilalaacquaintance
katrabahocoworker
amoboss / employer
katulongmaid
tauhanstaff

3 – Professions


FilipinoEnglish
basurerogarbage collector
guwardiyasecurity guard
tsuperdriver
tinderomale merchant / salesman
tinderafemale merchant / saleslady
barberobarber
manikuristamanicurist
bumberofireman
artistaactor / actress
abugadolawyer
karpinterocarpenter
magsasakafarmer
tuberoplumber
mekanikomechanic
magnanakawburglar
kusinerocook
tagalinisjanitor
pilotopilot
manggagawaworker
mangingisdafisherfolk
dentistadentist
paripriest

4 – Various Nouns


FilipinoEnglish
awtoridadauthority
bataslaw
alagapet
halamanplants
punotrees
pananimcrops
kotsecar
bahayhouse
teleponotelephone
bisikletabicycle
motormotorbike
dyipjeepney
sasakyanvehicle
pitakawallet
damitclothing
pantalonpants
sapatosshoes
tsinelasflip-flops

Dirty Flip-flops

Paki-iwan ng madumi mong tsinelas sa may pintuan. (“Please leave your dirty flip-flops by the door.”)


3. Verbs

At the beginner level, you learned a number of commonly used action words and auxiliaries. But what if you want to express a more nuanced idea or add flair to your writing? Below, you’ll find several intermediate Tagalog verbs you can start practicing right away! 

The great thing about Filipino verbs is that the rules for conjugation remain the same, no matter the verb’s level of difficulty. Filipino verbs are grouped according to how they’re conjugated. You’ll observe that most of the verbs we used in this list are -UM verbs. We’re not going to go into detail regarding what -UM verbs are, but you can always visit our blog entry on Filipino verb conjugation to learn more about them. 

FilipinoEnglish
magtalagato assign
magpakabait to behave
manatili to remain
magpaiwan to stay
huminga to breathe
sumabogto burst / to explode
kumbinsihinto convince
maniwalato believe
gumuhitto draw
magpinturato paint
mag-alagato take care
magdesisyonto decide
tumuklasto discover
magsayato enjoy
magburato erase
matakotto be afraid
lumipadto fly
umurongto shrink / to move back
sumukoto surrender / to give up
sumukato vomit
magbiroto joke; to pull a prank
humalikto kiss
magpaalamto ask permission / to say goodbye
umorderto give an order
umutosto give a command
magtiponto gather
kumulektato collect
maglagayto put
magtanggalto eliminate / to get rid of
mag-alisto remove
sumuntokto punch
magdagdagto add
magbawasto subtract
mag-ayosto fix / to arrange
umikotto rotate
lumingonto look back
baliinto break
sirainto destroy
ayusinto fix
kumantato sing
sumayawto dance
sumunodto follow
pumustato place a bet
maglaroto play
maglinisto clean
umasikasoto attend to
gumamotto mend
pumatayto kill
gumantito take revenge
magpatawadto forgive
magmahalto love
magsanayto train
manganakto have a child
manaloto win
mataloto lose
mamalengketo go to the market
mag-igibto fetch some water

A Heavy Rain Falling onto Green Plants

Mabuti at umulan. Hindi ko na kailangang mag-igib. (“Thank goodness it rained. There’s no need for me to fetch some water.”)


4. Adjectives

We’ve already introduced you to a few basic Filipino adjectives in our previous articles. For the intermediate level, we’ve doubled the number of items on our list. And if this is still not enough, you can always check out our list of the 50 most common Filipino adjectives with audio recordings. 

1 – Adjectives Describing Objects


FilipinoEnglish
tumpakaccurate
sinaunaancient
pangkaraniwanordinary / average
magkaparehosimilar
kumplikadocomplicated
napakalakihuge / very large
napakaliittiny / very small
sapatsufficient
bagonew
lumaold
malambotsoft
matigashard
magaspangrough
makinissmooth
maliwanagbright
madilimdark
sariwafresh
mabigatheavy
magaanlight
mahalexpensive
muracheap
abot-kayaaffordable
malaboblurry / hazy
makitidnarrow
tuyodry
basawet

2 – Adjectives Describing People


FilipinoEnglish
magalingawesome / great
matalinointelligent
mahirappoor
mayamanrich
matapangbrave
duwagcowardly
malakasstrong
madaldaltalkative
mabaitkind
mabutigood
masamabad
gastadorspender
matipidthrifty
kuripotstingy
singkitwith slanted eyes
kulotwith curly hair
malandiflirty
bobodumb
mayabangarrogant / humbug
mapagpakumbabahumble
kalbobald
batayoung
matandaold

3 – Adjectives Describing Emotions


FilipinoEnglish
natatakotafraid
nag-aalalaworried
naiinggitenvious
kalmadocalm
naiinisannoyed
nababagotbored
nandidiriloathsome / grossed out
nagulatshocked / surprised
natatawaamused
naaaliwentertained
sabikexcited
mapayapapeaceful
kabadonervous
mahinahonrelaxed
kuntentosatisfied
nasasaktanhurting
pagodtired
naguguluhanconfused
naiiritairritated
balisaanxious

4 – Adjectives Describing the Weather


FilipinoEnglish
mabagyostormy
napakainitvery hot
napakaginawvery cold
napakalamigvery cool
preskocool
mahamogfoggy
hindi maulapcloudless

A Man Staying Up Late to Study with Coffee

Hindi pa siya kuntento kaya nag-aral pa siya ng nag-aral. (“He wasn’t satisfied, so he studied more and more.”)

5. Pang-abay (Adverbs)

Adverbs are called pang-abay in Filipino. While there are only five types of adverbs in English, the Filipino language has up to twelve types. We have a separate article covering Filipino adverbs in more detail if you’d like to study the topic further. In the meantime, here’s a list of the most useful everyday Filipino adverbs for the intermediate level.

1 – Time & Frequency


FilipinoEnglish
kadalasanusually
tuwingevery time / whenever
kinabukasantomorrow / the day after
araw-arawevery day / daily
palagialways
minsanonce in a while
bihirararely
isang besesonce
dalawang besestwice
saon
kapagwhen / whenever
hangganguntil
kahaponyesterday
bukastomorrow
ngayonnow
ngayong arawtoday
mamayalater

2 – Manner


FilipinoEnglish
mabilisquickly
dahan-dahanslowly
mahinahoncalmly
puwersahanforcefully
kaagad-agadimmediately
mahigpittightly
malakasloudly
tahimiksilently

3 – Place


FilipinoEnglish
wala saanmannowhere
kahit saananywhere
kung saan-saansomewhere / everywhere
sa itaasabove
sa ibababelow
sa ibabawover / on top
sa duloat the end
doonthere
ditohere

4 – Measure


FilipinoEnglish
maramimany / plenty
kauntifew / a little
sapatenough
kalahatihalf
halosalmost

A Father Hugging His Young Daughter before Leaving for Work

Mahigpit niyang niyakap ang kanyang anak. (“He hugged his daughter tightly.”)

6. Pang-Ukol (Prepositions)

The next set of intermediate Tagalog words we’ll look at are prepositions, or pang-ukol in Filipino. They help expand the meaning of a sentence by stating where or when something is, what time something occurred, what caused an action to happen, and so on, in relation to another person or thing. Here’s a list of the most common Filipino prepositions.

FilipinoEnglish
ngof
saon
niof (non-focus marker)
kayto (singular)
kinato (plural)
ayon saaccording to
para safor
tungkol sa/kayabout

7. Mga Pangatnig (Conjunctions)

We already covered some of the most common Filipino conjunctions in our entry on Filipino beginner words. As mentioned, there are as many of them in Filipino as there are in English. Here are more words to add to your arsenal.

FilipinoEnglish
saka, patiand
oor
ngunitbut
kapagif
dahilbecause

The thing about Filipino conjunctions is that their difficulty lies not in their function but in how often they’re used. For instance, the conjunction ngunit (“but”) means the same thing as kasi. However, between the two, the latter is more commonly used in everyday speech, while the former is often used in literature.

8. Auxiliary Words and Particles

The Filipino language has enclitic particles that convey important nuances in meaning. Some of them don’t have direct translations in English, and some are used in conjunction with other enclitic particles. The following is a short list of some of the most common and most important Filipino enclitic particles used in everyday speech. Learning how to incorporate these into your conversations is a great way to improve your Tagalog as you approach the intermediate level. 

FilipinoEnglish
pastill
ngaindeed
nanow / already
din/rintoo / also
daw/rawit is said / I’m told
bainterrogative marker

The meaning of each particle varies slightly depending on how it’s used in a sentence. Let’s take the particle pa, for example:

  • Ayaw ko pa. (“I don’t want to yet.”)

In this example, pa is used to emphasize that the speaker is not yet ready to do something.

  • Dagdagan mo pa. (“Please add more.”)

In this example, pa is used to emphasize that the speaker is requesting that a particular action be continued or that its intensity be increased.

Meanwhile, the particle ba is one of those untranslatable Tagalog words. It’s often found at the end (or near the end) of an interrogative sentence, particularly yes-no questions.

  • Kumain ka na ba? (“Have you eaten yet?”)
  • Nagluto ka ba? (“Did you cook?”)
  • Naririnig mo ba ako? (“Can you hear me?”)

A Woman Entering a Crowded Elevator

Bababa ba? (“Going down?”)

9. Refine your Tagalog vocabulary skills with FilipinoPod101!

Allow us to give you a pat on the back for reaching the end of this intermediate Tagalog vocabulary guide! If you believe there are more words that should have been on this list, let us know in the comments below.

Wait, don’t leave just yet! We know you’re excited to use your newly acquired knowledge, but what if we told you that you can learn even more? That’s right! With FilipinoPod101, you can learn more than just vocabulary. We can help you refine your grammar skills and broaden your cultural knowledge, so that you can reach the advanced level soon and become a fluent Tagalog communicator!

Yes, that is possible with all the free resources available here on our website—not to mention all of our audio and video lessons, our list of over 2000 Filipino vocabulary words, and our Filipino-English dictionary! And if you sign up, you’ll gain access to one of our most sought-after features—MyTeacher. MyTeacher is a Premium PLUS service that allows learners like you to enjoy 1-on-1 lessons with a professional Filipino teacher. It’s designed to tailor lessons according to the needs of our students, so you can enjoy learning at your own pace and in your own style. 

We can’t wait to see you become part of the FilipinoPod101 community!

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Filipino Animal Names

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The Philippines is home to over 50,000 different animal species, many of which are endemic to the archipelago. In the last decade, sixteen new species of mammals have been discovered in the country, and the rate of endemism is likely to rise. Because of this, it’s only natural for Tagalog learners to study the names of animals in Filipino—especially those animals that are native to the Philippines. 

Filipinos are animal lovers by nature. Because the Philippines is primarily an agricultural country, a large portion of the population lives in rural areas where animals (both domesticated and wild) roam free.

In this guide, you’ll learn the names of over 80 animals in Filipino, from common housepets (and pests) to farm animals…and from the largest mammals to the tiniest bugs and insects. We’ll also teach you the names of animal body parts in Filipino, as well as a few useful animal-related idioms in Tagalog. (For instance, what does itim na tupa mean?)

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

Several Types of Pets

Filipinos are animal lovers by nature.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Filipino Table of Contents
  1. Animals in the Home
  2. Animals on the Farm
  3. Animals in the Wild (Land Animals)
  4. Animals in the Water (Marine and Freshwater Animals)
  5. Bugs and Insects
  6. Birds, Reptiles, and Amphibians
  7. Animals at the Zoo
  8. Animal Body Parts
  9. Filipino Animal-Related Idioms and Expressions
  10. Improve Your Vocabulary with FilipinoPod101!

1. Animals in the Home

Filipinos have long been considered dog lovers, and you’ll seldom see a home in the Philippines without one. 

In many cultures, dogs are considered best friends—but in the Philippines, the practice of keeping dogs as pets goes beyond this concept. Here, dogs are primarily kept as a means of warding off burglars and intruders. They’re like a furry alarm system of sorts. 

Over the past two decades, the practice of keeping cats has also become popular in the country. And while it’s illegal to keep exotic animals as pets, it’s not unusual to find a tarantula or scorpion in glass enclosures in some homes.

aso“dog”
pusa“cat”
kuneho“rabbit”
daga“rat” / “mouse”
loro“parrot”

In case you’re wondering if it’s common for Filipino families to keep guinea pigs, hamsters, or bearded dragon lizards, the answer is yes. However, there are really no Tagalog equivalents for their names.


2. Animals on the Farm

Half of the population of the Philippines is found in rural areas. This means it’s not uncommon to see children playing with goats or sheep, or riding behind water buffalos and horses. Many Filipino families whose main source of income is farming (i.e., planting crops) also raise fowls, including chickens, ducks, geese, and turkeys. Some families also raise pigs and cows to supplement the family income. Below is a list of the names of common farm animals in Tagalog.

kalabaw“water buffalo”
Although the carabao, or the Philippine water buffalo, has long been held as the country’s national animal, it is not recognized as such by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts. Though its national status is unofficial, it’s one of the most significant animals in Filipino culture; many claim that it symbolizes the hardworking nature of the Filipinos.
baka“cow”
kambing“goat”
baboy“pig”
manok“chicken”
tandang“rooster”
sisiw“chick”
kabayo“horse”
tupa“sheep”
pato“duck”
bibi“duckling”
gansa“goose”
pabo“turkey”
pugo“quail”

    Speaking of family, this lesson will help you learn how to talk about your family in Filipino.

Someone Plowing with Carabao

The carabao is a symbol of the hardworking and persevering nature of the Filipino people.

3. Animals in the Wild (Land Animals)

The forest area of the Philippines has significantly decreased since the 1960s. Today, only seven million hectares of the country’s land is forested. What’s sad is that less than one million hectares of forested land remain untouched. The good news is that the country is making significant advances toward reforestation. Having said that, here’s a list of animals you’ll find in the wild and their names in Filipino.

usa“deer”
baboy-ramo“boar”
paniki“bat”
unggoy“monkey”
oso“bear”
lobo“wolf”
ardilya“squirrel”
There’s a species of squirrel that’s endemic to the Philippines—the Philippine tree squirrel—which can be found in the islands of Palawan, Bohol, Samar, Leyte, and Siargao. Interestingly, there has been a squirrel invasion in Metro Manila lately, which experts believe is the result of some people illegally breeding squirrels in the city.

About the Filipino name, the word is of Spanish origin, meaning “chipmunk.” Today, Filipinos usually refer to the animal as iskwirel.

    Palawan is a top destination for tourists in the Philippines. Learn more about this beautiful island teeming with wildlife in this lesson here.

4. Animals in the Water (Marine and Freshwater Animals)

The waters of the Philippines are a popular destination for divers, considering their impressive range of marine life. The country’s list of freshwater animals is just as impressive. Here are the most common marine and freshwater animals in the Philippines with their equivalent Filipino names.

pating“shark”
balyena“whale”
dugong“sea cow”
lumba-lumba“dolphin”
pugita“octopus”
pusit“squid”
hipon“shrimp”
ulang“lobster”
alimango/alimasag“crab”
salungo“sea urchin”
The sea urchin is also referred to as santol-santolan in Tagalog, which is a reference to the round-shaped fruit of the Santol tree.
talaba“oyster”
tahong“mussel”
kabibe“clam”
tulingan“tuna fish”
bangus“milkfish”
igat“eel”
hito“catfish”
karpa“carp”


5. Bugs and Insects

There are over 20,000 species of insects in the Philippines, 70% of which are native to the archipelago. Many of them (like the red fire ant) are quite invasive. Nevertheless, one cannot deny that a lot of these bugs actually make the world a better place to live in. Familiarize yourself with the Filipino names of the most common insects and bugs you’ll find in the Philippines.

langgam“ant”
langaw“fly”
lamok“mosquito”
kuto“head lice”
pulgas“flea”
gagamba“spider”
putakti“hornet” / “wasp”
ipis“cockroach”
bubuyog“bee”
paru-paro“butterfly”
gamu-gamo“a small moth”
alitaptap“firefly”
salagubang“beetle”
The term kuliglig is most commonly associated with cicadas, although it’s also used to refer to crickets. It’s probably because of the chirping sound the cricket makes, which is sometimes mistaken for the same noise produced by cicadas.
garapata“tick”
tipaklong“grasshopper”
tutubi“dragonfly”
For red perchers, which are a larger species of dragonfly, the term used is tutubing baka or tutubing kalabaw. As you’ve learned, baka is Filipino for “cow,” while kalabaw is Filipino for “water buffalo.” Both terms are rather appropriate for describing this larger-sized variety of the insect.

Meanwhile, for the smaller cousin of the dragonfly, which is the damselfly, the term is tutubing karayom. Karayom is the Filipino term for “needle,” which perfectly describes the needle-like appearance of the damselfly’s abdomen.
uod“caterpillar” / “insect larva”
In Filipino, any worm-like creature is referred to as uod, whether it’s an earthworm, a caterpillar, or a maggot.
higadThis refers to caterpillars, too, but most particularly to itchy worms.
anay“termite”
alupihan“centipede”
suso“snail”
surotThis refers to bugs in general, but most particularly to bed bugs.

A Little Kid Looking at a Caterpillar on a Leaf through a Magnifying Glass

In Filipino, any worm-like creature is referred to as ‘uod.’

6. Birds, Reptiles, and Amphibians

There are over 600 species of birds that are endemic to the Philippines, as well as up to 80 species of amphibians and over 150 species of reptiles. The following lists of animals in Filipino represent but a few of them. 

A- Birds

agila“eagle”
lawin“hawk”
tagak“heron”
kalapati“pigeon” / “dove”
sisne“swan”
buwitre“raven”
uwak“crow”
kuwago“owl”
maya“sparrow”

B- Reptiles and Amphibians

ahas“snake”
sawa“python”
bayawak“monitor lizard”
pagong“turtle”
hunyango

This refers to any tree-dwelling lizard that can change the color of its skin at will. Most Filipinos use this term to refer to chameleons.
butikiThis is a general term for small lizards or the common house gecko.
tuko“tokay gecko”
The term tuko is derived from the sound the tokay gecko makes. According to superstitions, you can know if it’s going to rain or not by counting the number of times the tokay gecko croaks. If it ends in an odd number, then it’s definitely going to rain soon.
palaka“frog”

A Gecko

In the Philippines, it’s believed that the number of times a tokay gecko croaks will tell you whether it’s going to rain soon or not.

7. Animals at the Zoo

Many animals that are popular around the world are not endemic to the Philippines. That doesn’t mean you won’t find any of them here. Here’s a list of wild animals in the Philippines you’ll only find in captivity:

leon“lion”
tigre“tiger”
elepante“elephant”
soro“fox”

If you’re wondering about animals like giraffes, cheetahs, jaguars, chimpanzees, and hippopotamuses, you’ll also find them in captivity here, usually in zoos. However, there really aren’t any Filipino terms for these animals. We just call them by their English names, sometimes with a Filipino accent. For instance, you’ll hear “giraffe” being pronounced as dyirap.

8. Animal Body Parts

Now, let’s look at some words you might use while describing or talking about animals in Filipino. Here’s a vocabulary list of animal body parts you need to become familiar with:

buntot“tail”
pakpak“wing”
balahibo“feather” / “fur”
kaliskis“scale”
palikpik“fin”
pangil“fang”
kuko“nail” / “claw”
sungay“horn”
tuka“beak”
galamay“tentacle”
talukabthe shell of a turtle, in particular
koronathe crown of birds or fowls

9. Filipino Animal-Related Idioms and Expressions

Like most cultures, that of the Philippines has no shortage of animal-related idioms and expressions. Here are the most common ones:

Filipino expressionMay daga sa dibdib
Literal translation“Having a mouse inside one’s chest”
This expression is often used to refer to someone who’s being fearful or nervous.

Para kang may daga sa dibdib. 
“You’re such a coward.”

Filipino expressionKasing dulas ng hito
Literal translation“As slippery as a catfish”
This refers to a clever person who just can’t be caught in the act. A similar idiom in English would be “as slippery as an eel,” which refers to a person from whom you can’t get a straight answer—a person who cannot be trusted.

Ang dulas talaga ni Cardo. Parang hito. 
“Cardo is as slippery as a catfish.”

Filipino expressionBalat-kalabaw
Literal translation“Carabao-skinned” or “Carabao hide”
This expression refers to a person with skin as thick as that of a carabao or water buffalo. In other words, one who is insensitive and shameless.

Balat-kalabaw ka. Hindi ka na nahiya. 
“You’re such a thick-skinned person. Don’t you ever feel shame?”

Filipino expressionUtak bolinao
Literal translation“Bolinao-brained” or “Fish brain”
This is an idiom used to mock someone with low intelligence. Utak means “brain” in Filipino, and bolinao is the Tagalog name of the Philippine anchovy, a very small marine water fish.

Hindi mo nasagutan? Utak bolinao ka talaga. 
“You weren’t able to answer it? You’re such a fish-brain.”

Filipino expressionUtak-talangka
Literal translation“Crab-brained”
Yes, there’s “fish brain” in Filipino, and there’s also “crab brain.” Unfortunately, this expression has been associated with Filipinos for a long time now, with Filipinos themselves claiming many of their countrymen have what’s referred to as a “crab mentality,” or the attitude of pulling others down just to get to the top.

Huwag tayong maghilahan pababa. Huwag tayong utak-talangka. 
“Let’s stop pulling each other down. It’s time we got rid of our crab mentality.”

Filipino expressionItim na tupa
Literal translation“Black sheep”
This is the exact equivalent of the English idiom used to describe a disreputable member of a family or community.

Sa mata ng Ama ako’y isang itim na tupa. 
“I’m a black sheep in the eyes of the Father.”

Filipino expressionAhas
Literal translation“Snake”
Like in most cultures, the snake is often associated with people who have a questionable reputation—someone who would strike you without you knowing it. A traitor, in other words.

Ahas ka talaga, Manuel. Niloko mo ako! 
“You’re such a snake, Manuel! You tricked me!”

Filipino expressionMabahong isda
Literal translation“Stinky fish”
This is from a line of a famous poem wrongly attributed to Dr. Jose Rizal. This is not a common Filipino idiom, but based on the context of the poem, someone is mabahong isda if they should be ashamed of their lack of love for their own language and country.

Filipino expressionKapag pumuti ang uwak at umitim ang tagak
Literal translation“When the crow turns white and the heron turns black”
This is an expression that means something is impossible and will never happen. Sometimes, using only the first part (or only the second part) is enough to make your point.

Pakakasalan lang kita kapag pumuti na ang uwak. 
“I will marry you when the crow turns white.”


Someone Holding a Catfish in Water

Kasing dulas ng hito (“As slippery as a catfish”)

10. Improve Your Vocabulary with FilipinoPod101!

Did you find this list of the names of Filipino animals helpful? Let us know in the comments! 

Know that this is just a small part of what you should master when learning the Filipino language. If you want to learn more than just a vocabulary list of Tagalog animal names, FilipinoPod101 is here to help.

At FilipinoPod101, you can enjoy a wide range of free resources to help you take your Filipino vocabulary to the next level. Whether you need material for learning grammar, practicing your pronunciation, or exploring the Philippine culture, you can rest assured that FilipinoPod101 has it all.

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The Most Useful Filipino Phone Call Phrases

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. The Opening Line

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

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

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

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

1 – When you’re the one calling…

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

You can follow this up with:

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

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

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

Informal

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

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

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

Formal

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

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

2. Introducing Yourself

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

1 – When making the call…

Informal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Formal

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

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

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

A Man with a Backpack Making a Call on the Payphone

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

2 – When receiving a call…

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

Formal

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

In Tagalog, that would sound something like:

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

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

3. Stating Your Reason for Calling

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

Informal

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

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

Formal

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

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

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

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

4. Asking to Speak to Someone

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

Informal

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

Formal

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

5. Asking Someone to Wait

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

Informal

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

Formal

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

6. Leaving a Message

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

Informal

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

Formal

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

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

7. Asking for Clarification

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

Informal

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

Formal

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

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

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

Or:

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

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


8. Ending the Phone Call

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

1 – Ending a call as the caller…

Informal

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

Formal

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

2 – Ending a call as the recipient…

Informal

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

Formal

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

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

A Woman Chatting on the Phone while Lying on the Floor

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

9. Sample Phone Conversations

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

1 – Informal Phone Conversation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2 – Formal Phone Conversation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rain: Rain Ledesma.

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

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

Attendant: Paalam. (“Bye.”)

3 – Formal Phone Conversation (Taglish)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rain: Nine a.m.

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

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

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

Rain: Rain Ledesma.

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

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

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

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

A Woman Making a Reservation Over the Phone

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


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