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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.

FilipinoPod101 is unique in the sense that we employ an advanced approach that caters to the specific needs of our students. For instance, we provide students with our MyTeacher service, which is designed to help learners master the Filipino language in the shortest amount of time possible. With this feature, students can have 1-on-1 lessons with a professional Filipino teacher and receive real-time feedback to help them fast-track their learning.

All this and more if you sign up now with FilipinoPod101!

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

The 10 Fundamental Filipino Questions and Answers

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Imagine living in a world without questions. 

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

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

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

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

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

1. What is your name?

First Encounter

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

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

You can also say:

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

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

Responding to the question:

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

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

You can also simply state your name.

Important words and their translation:

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

Following Up

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

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

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

Responding to the question:

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

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

Important words and their translation:

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

    ilan (“how many”/”how much”)

    taon (“year”)

    ka (“you”)

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

    ano (“what”)

    ang (“is”)

    edad (“age”)

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

    pwede (“possible”)

    malaman (“know”)

    kung (“if”)

    taon (“year”)

2. Where are you from?

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

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

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

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

Responding to the question:

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

  • Taga ___ ako
    “I’m from ___.”

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

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

For example:

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

Important words and their translation:

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

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

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

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

    ako (“me”)

    ngayon (“now”/”currently”)

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

3. Do you speak Tagalog?

Introducing Yourself

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

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

Responding to the question:

To respond in the affirmative, you can say:

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

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

  • Hindi masyado. 
    “Not that much.”

Or:

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

Important words and their translation:

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

    oo (“yes”)

    marunong (“has the knowledge”)

    ako (“me”/”I”)

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

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

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

    medyo (“partly”/”a little bit”)

    pulupot (“twisted”/”coiled”)

4. How long have you been studying Tagalog?

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

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

Responding to the question:

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

Important words and their translation:

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

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

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

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

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

    taon (“year”)

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. Have you been to ___?

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

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

Responding to the question:

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

To respond in the affirmative, you can say:

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

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

To respond in the negative, you can say:

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

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

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

Important words and their translation:

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

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

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


6. How is ___?

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

Asking about someone

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

Responding to the question:

To answer this kind of question, you can say:

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

Asking about a person’s experience

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

Responding to the question:

To answer such questions, you can say:

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

Important words and their translation:

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

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

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

    pamamalagi (“stay”/”permanence”)

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

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

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

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

7. Do you like Filipino food?

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

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

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

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

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

Responding to the question:

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

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

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

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

Important words and their translation:

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

    gusto (“like”)

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

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

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

    pero (“but”)

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

    hindi (“no”/”not”)

    ako (“I”/”me”)

    masyado (“too much”)

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


8. What are you doing?

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

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

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

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

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

Responding to the question:

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

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

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

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

Or:

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

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

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

You can also say:

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

Important words and their translation:

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

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

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

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

    dun – shortened form of doon, meaning “there”

    labas (“outside”)

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

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

    bahay (“house”)

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

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

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

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

    kami (“us”/”we”)

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

    kape (“coffee”)

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

    wala (“none”)

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

    gusto (“like”/”want”)

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

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

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

9. What’s wrong?

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

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

Alternatively, you can ask:

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

Responding to the question:

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

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

On the other hand, you can say:

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

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

Important words and their translation:

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

    problema (“problem”)

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

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

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

    wala (“none”/”nothing”)

    ito (“this”)

    pag-aalala (“concern”)

10. How much is it? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Magkano? 
    “How much?”

Responding to the question:

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

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

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

  • Singkwenta. 
    “Fifty.”

Important words and their translation:

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

    magkano (“how much”)

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

    baka (“perhaps”/”maybe”)

    pwede (“possible”/”can”)

    babaan (“to lower”)

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

    mura (“cheap”)

    isang-daan (“one hundred”)

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

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

11. Nais Mo Bang Matuto Nang Mas Mabilis?

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

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

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

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

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10 Filipino Sentence Patterns You Should Learn By Heart

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

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

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

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

1. Linking Two Nouns: A is B.

Sentence Patterns

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sentence Components

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

1- I want…

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

2- I want to…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1- I need…

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

2- I need/have to…

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

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

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

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

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

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

1- I like…

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

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

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

2- I like/love to…

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

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

6. Politely Asking Someone to Do Something

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I said “keys,” not “kiss.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

Asking for permission to leave:

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

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

Asking permission to borrow something:

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

Here are more examples:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What if you’re asking about the date?

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

And if you forgot a person’s name?

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

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

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

Want an update on your friend’s love life? 

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

And if you want to clarify things…

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

9. Asking About Time (When is…?)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Man Lost Somewhere and Talking on the Phone

Where na you? Here na me.

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

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

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

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

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

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Filipino Keyboard: How to Install and Type in Filipino

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You asked, so we provided—easy-to-follow instructions on how to set up your electronic devices to write in Filipino! We’ll also give you a few excellent tips on how to use this keyboard, as well as some online and app alternatives if you prefer not to set up a Filipino keyboard.

Log in to Download Your Free Filipino Alphabet Worksheet Table of Contents
  1. Why it’s Important to Learn to Type in Filipino
  2. Setting up Your Computer and Mobile Devices for Filipino
  3. How to Activate an Onscreen Keyboard on Your Computer
  4. How to Change the Language Settings to Filipino on Your Computer
  5. Activating the Filipino Keyboard on Your Mobile Phone and Tablet
  6. Filipino Keyboard Typing Tips
  7. How to Practice Typing Filipino

1. Why it’s Important to Learn to Type in Filipino

A keyboard

Learning a new language is made so much easier when you’re able to read and write/type it. This way, you will:

  • Get the most out of any dictionary and Filipino language apps on your devices
  • Expand your ability to find Filipino websites and use the various search engines
  • Be able to communicate much better online with your Filipino teachers and friends, and look super cool in the process! 

2. Setting up Your Computer and Mobile Devices for Filipino

A phone charging on a dock

It takes only a few steps to set up any of your devices to read and type in Filipino. It’s super-easy on your mobile phone and tablet, and a simple process on your computer.

On your computer, you’ll first activate the onscreen keyboard to work with. You’ll only be using your mouse or touchpad/pointer for this keyboard. Then, you’ll need to change the language setting to Filipino, so all text will appear in Filipino. You could also opt to use online keyboards instead. Read on for the links!

On your mobile devices, it’s even easier—you only have to change the keyboard. We also provide a few alternatives in the form of online keyboards and downloadable apps.

3. How to Activate an Onscreen Keyboard on Your Computer

1- Mac

1. Go to System Preferences > Keyboard.

2. Check the option “Show Keyboard & Character Viewers in Menu Bar.”

3. You’ll see a new icon on the right side of the main bar; click on it and select “Show Keyboard Viewer.”

A screenshot of the keyboard viewer screen

2- Windows

1. Go to Start > Settings > Easy Access > Keyboard.

2. Turn on the option for “Onscreen Keyboard.”

3- Online Keyboards

If you don’t want to activate your computer’s onscreen keyboard, you also have the option to use online keyboards. Here are some good options:

4- Add-ons of Extensions for Browsers

Instead of an online keyboard, you could also choose to download a Google extension to your browser for a language input tool. The Google Input Tools extension allows users to use input tools in Chrome web pages, for example.

4. How to Change the Language Settings to Filipino on Your Computer

Man looking at his computer

Now that you’re all set to work with an onscreen keyboard on your computer, it’s time to download the Filipino language pack for your operating system of choice:

  • Windows 8 (and higher)
  • Windows 7
  • Mac (OS X and higher)

1- Windows 8 (and higher)

1. Go to Settings > Change PC Settings > Time & Language > Region & Language.

2. Click on “Add a Language” and select “Filipino.” This will add it to your list of languages. It will appear as Filipino with the note “language pack available.”

3. Click on “Filipino” > “Options” > “Download.” It will take a few minutes to download and install the language pack.

4. As a keyboard layout, you’ll only need the one marked as “Filipino (US Keyboard).” You can ignore other keyboard layouts.

2- Windows 7

1. Go to Start > Control Panel > Clock, Language, and Region.

2. On the “Region and Language” option, click on “Change Keyboards or Other Input Methods.”

3. On the “Keyboards and Languages” tab, click on “Change Keyboards” > “Add” > “Filipino.”

4. Expand the option of “Filipino” and then expand the option “Keyboard.” Select the keyboard layout marked as “Filipino.” You can ignore other keyboard layouts. Click “OK” and then “Apply.”

3- Mac (OS X and higher)

If you can’t see the language listed, please make sure to select the right option from System Preferences > Language and Region

1. From the Apple Menu (top left corner of the screen) go to System Preferences > Keyboard.

2. Click the Input Sources tab and a list of available keyboards and input methods will appear.

3. Click on the plus button, select “Filipino,” and add the “Filipino” keyboard.

Adding a system language

5. Activating the Filipino Keyboard on Your Mobile Phone and Tablet

Texting and searching in Filipino will greatly help you master the language! Adding a Filipino keyboard on your mobile phone and/or tablet is super-easy.

You could also opt to download an app instead of adding a keyboard. Read on for our suggestions.

Below are the instructions for both iOS and Android mobile phones and tablets.

1- iOS

1. Go to Settings > General > Keyboard.

2. Tap “Keyboards” and then “Add New Keyboard.”

3. Select “Filipino” from the list.

4. When typing, you can switch between languages by tapping and holding on the icon to reveal the keyboard language menu.

2- Android

1. Go to Settings > General Management > Language and Input > On-screen Keyboard (or “Virtual Keyboard” on some devices) > Samsung Keyboard.

2. Tap “Language and Types” or “ + Select Input Languages” depending on the device and then “MANAGE INPUT LANGUAGES” if available.

3. Select “Filipino” from the list.

4. When typing, you can switch between languages by swiping the space bar.

3- Applications for Mobile Phones

If you don’t want to add a keyboard on your mobile phone or tablet, these are a few good apps to consider:

6. Filipino Keyboard Typing Tips

Typing in Filipino can be very challenging at first! Therefore, we added here a few useful tips to make it easier to use your Filipino keyboard.

A man typing on a computer

1- Computer

  • You can actually just use the English (US) keyboard, which is also the default keyboard in all the devices in the Philippines. The letters are almost equivalent with those in the English alphabet (aside from enye, the letter ñ), so it’s the perfect fit.
  • Typing the letter “enye” – Ñ / ñ:
    Press the “Alt” key, then type “164” with the number pad to input a lowercase “ñ,” or type “165” to input a capital “Ñ.” Some laptops require that you hold down both “Fn” and “Alt” keys when typing these numbers.

2- Mobile Phones

  • Long press until “enye” appears: Use the letter “N” for “Ñ” and “n” for “ñ.”

7. How to Practice Typing Filipino

As you probably know by now, learning Filipino is all about practice, practice, and more practice! Strengthen your Filipino typing skills by writing comments on any of our lesson pages, and our teacher will answer. If you’re a FilipinoPod101 Premium PLUS member, you can directly text our teacher via the My Teacher app—use your Filipino keyboard to do this!

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Learn the Basics of Filipino Verb Conjugation

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

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

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

1. What is Conjugation?

Top Verbs

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

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

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

2. Verb Groups

More Essential Verbs

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

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

1 – MAG Verbs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Teacher Helping Her Students Study

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

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

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

2 – MA Verbs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3 – UM Verbs

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

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

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

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

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

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

4 – IN Verbs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5 – I Verbs

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

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

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

Here’s deklara as a MAG verb:

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

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

Now, here’s deklara as an I verb:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. Irregular Verbs and Their Conjugations

Negative Verbs

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s compare it to this sentence:

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

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

Man Drinking Coffee from the Coffee Pot

“I take my coffee very seriously.”

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

1 – Awake

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

Simple Past

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

Past Participle

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

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

2 – Bite

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

Simple Past

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

Past Participle

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

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

3 – Break

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

Simple Past

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

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

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

Past Participle

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

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

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

4 – Eat

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

Simple Past

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

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

Past Participle

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

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

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

5 – Forget

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

Simple Past

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

Past Participle

    Nakalimot ka na ba?
    “Have you forgotten?”

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

4. Quiz Time!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Man with Hands Up in Victory After Boxing Match

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

Now, let’s see how well you did.

1-  “Joey opened the gift she received.”

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

Answer: Binuksan

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

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

Answer: Magsisilbi

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

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

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

Answer: awatin

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

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

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

Answer: Mananood

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

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

Answer: kumakanta

5. FilipinoPod101 Will Help Eliminate any Confusion

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

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

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

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

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A Comprehensive Guide to Filipino Verbs

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

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

1. The Two Kinds of Pandiwa

Top Verbs

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

1 – Palipat

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

  • Ng
  • Ng mga
  • Kay
  • Kina

Examples:

  • Gumuhit ng larawan ang kanyang anak na lalaki.

“His son drew a picture.”

  • Si Butch ay magaling sumayaw ng tinikling.

“Butch dances tinikling really well.”

  • Sumunod kay Maria ang kanyang alagang aso.

“Maria’s pet dog followed her around.”

2 – Katawanin

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

Examples:

  • Tumalon si Happy!

“Happy jumped!”

  • Sina Max at Hazel ay umalis.

“Max and Hazel left.”

  • Nagkukuwentuhan sa loob sina Carlo at Connie.

“Carlo and Connie are chatting inside.”

2. The Five Aspects of Pandiwa

More Essential Verbs

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

1 – Naganap/Perpektibo

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

Examples:

  • Nagluto siya ng hapunan.

“She cooked dinner.”

  • Umalis kaagad ang binata.

“The young man left immediately.”

  • Si Diana ay inalis sa group.

“Diana was removed from the team.”

  • Nagpalakpakan ang mga manonood.

“The audience roared in applause.” 

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

2 – Pangkasalukuyan/Imperpektibo

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

Examples:

  • Naglalaro si Jose sa ulan.

“Jose is playing in the rain.”

  • Kumakain ang mga aso sa labas.

“The dogs are eating outside.”

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

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

3- Kontemplatibo

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

Examples:

  • Uunlad din ang bansa natin balang araw.

“Our country is going to progress someday.”

  • Magtitinda ako ng mga damit sa Facebook.

“I will sell some clothes on Facebook.”

  • Magsisimula na ang programa.

“The show is about to start.”

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

4 – Tahasan

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

Examples:

Nagdilig si Joey ng kanilang mga halaman.

“Joey watered the plants.”

Pumunta kami sa Mall of Asia nung nakaraang araw.

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

Si Harry ay kumakain ng hipon.

“Harry is eating shrimp.”

5 – Balintiyak

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

Examples:

  • Ang clean-up drive ay pinangunahan ng Mayor.

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

  • Ang giyera ay sinimulan ng mga terrorista.

“The war was started by the terrorists.” 

  • Ang Warriors ay tinalo ng Raptors.

“The Warriors were beaten by the Raptors.”

3. The Linking Verb in Filipino: Keeping Things Simple

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

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

Examples:

  • Ako ay nag-aaral ng Filipino.

“I am studying the Filipino language.”

  • Ako ay ipinanganak sa Mindanao.

“I was born in Mindanao.”

  • Si Daniel ay palaging naglalaro ng Mobile Legends.

“Daniel is always playing Mobile Legends.”

4. Verb Usage

Negative Verbs

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

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

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

1- At Home

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

1

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

2

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

3

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

4

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

5

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

6

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

7

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

8

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

9

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

10

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

11

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

12

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

13

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

14

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

15

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

16

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

17

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

18

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

19

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

2- School and Work

20

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

21

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

22

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

23

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

24

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

25

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

26

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

27

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

28

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

29

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

30

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

31

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

32

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

33

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

34

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

35

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

36

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

37

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

38

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

3- The Outdoors

39

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

40

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

41

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

42

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

43

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

44

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

45

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

46

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

47

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

48

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

49

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

50

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

4- Traveling

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

51

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

52

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

53

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

54

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

55

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

56

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

57

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

58

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

59

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

60

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

61

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

62

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

63

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

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

Guy Waiting for a Cab

64

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

65

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

5- Expressing Emotions

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

66

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

67

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

68

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

69

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

70

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

71

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

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

73

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

74

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

75

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

76

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

77

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

78

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

6- Verbs for Actions Done When Angry

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

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

79

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

80

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

81

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

82

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

83

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

84

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

85

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

7- Miscellaneous Everyday Verbs

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

86

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

87

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

88

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

89

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

90

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

91

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

92

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

93

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

94

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

95

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

96

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

97

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

98

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

99

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

100

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

5. Learn More About Verbs in Tagalog with FilipinoPod101!

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

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

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

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

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

The Pronoun in Tagalog/Filipino: Your Ultimate Guide

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

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

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

1. Panghalip Panao (Personal Pronouns)

Introducing Yourself

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

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

A- Filipino ANG Pronouns

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

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

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

Examples:

Ako ang may-ari ng bahay na ito. 

I am the owner of this house.”

Ako ay pupunta sa kasal ni Ellen. 

I am going to Ellen’s wedding.”

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

Examples:

Ikaw ang dahilan kung bakit ako pumunta dito.

You are the reason that I came here.”

Ikaw na lang ang kumain ng keyk.

You eat the cake.”

Woman being Offered a Piece of Cake

3 – siya or “he” / “she”

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

Examples:

Siya ang nakita mo sa mall kahapon.

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

Siya yung pogi na sinasabi ko sa’yo!

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

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

Examples:

Tayo ang dapat lumapit sa kanya.

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

Kakain kami sa Mang Inasal.

We are going to eat at Mang Inasal.”

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

Examples:

Kayo ang may pakana ng lahat ng ito.

You are the mastermind behind all of this.”

Kumain na kayo dito.

You all should eat here.”

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

Examples:

Sila ang mga napili na lumahok sa paligsahan.

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

Umuwi sila kaagad pagkatapos ng programa.

They all went home right after the program.”

B- Filipino NG Pronouns

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

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

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

Examples:

Expressing possession

Desisyon ko ang masusunod.

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

As a substitute for an unfocused actor

Binili ko ang ang mga pagkain.

“The food was bought by me.”

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

Examples:

Expressing possession

Sapatos mo yung nasa labas ng pinto.

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

Cell phone mo ba yung ginagamit niya?

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

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

Examples:

As a substitute for an unfocused actor

Kinuha niya ang lahat sa akin.

“He took everything from me.”

Binigyan niya ng pera ang kanyang nakababatang kapatid.

She gave her younger brother some money.”

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

Examples: 

As a substitute for an unfocused actor

Kinuha namin ang padala niya kahapon.

“The package was picked up by us yesterday.”

Nakayanan natin ang mga pagsubok.

“The challenges were overcome by us.”

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

Example: 

Mali ang ginawa ninyo.

Your actions were wrong.”

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

Example: 

Mali ang ginawa nila.

Their actions were wrong.”

C- Filipino SA Pronouns

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

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

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

Examples: 

Expressing location

Nasa akin ang bag mo.

“Your bag is with me.”

Expressing possession

Siya ay aking katrabaho.

“She is my colleague.”

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

Examples: 

Expressing direction

Tatawag ako sa iyo bukas. 

“I am going to call you tomorrow.”

Naiinis daw siya sa iyo.

“She said she’s mad at you.”

3 – kanya or “him” / “his” / “her”

Examples:

Expressing location

Nasa kanya na ang susi ng kotse.

“The car key is with her already.”

Expressing possession

Yan ay kanyang mga damit.

“Those are her clothes.”

4- Formal Usage

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

Woman Showing Respect to Elderly

D- Reflexive Pronouns

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. Panghalip Pamatlig (Demonstrative Pronouns)

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

For instance, there are four types of panghalip pamatlig:

  • Pronominal
  • Panawag pansin
  • Patulad
  • Panlunan

Examples of Pronominal:

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

Ito ang gusto ko.

This is what I want.”

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

Iyan ang gusto kong makita.

That is what I want to see.”

Ayaw ko niyan.

“I don’t like that.”

Gusto kong pumunta diyan.

“I want to go there.”

Examples of Panawag Pansin:

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

Heto ako.

Here I am.”

Ayan sila.

That’s them.”

Ayun ang pera sa ibabaw ng kama.

There’s the money on the bed.”

Examples of Patulad:

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

Ganito ang ginawa niya.

“He did it like this.”

Ganoon ang pagkatumba niya sa motor.

“She fell on the motorbike just like that.”

Examples of Panlunan:

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

Nandoon ang mga taong hinahanap niyo.

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

Narito na ang pinakahihintay ng lahat.

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

3. Panghalip Pananong (Interrogative Pronouns)

Basic Questions

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

Student Asking a Question

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

Singular: 

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

Ano ang sabi mo?

What did you say?”

Alin dito ang pinaka nagugustuhan mo?

Which one do you like the most?”

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

Sino ang pinagkakatiwalaan mo?

Whom do you trust?”

Kanino ang aso na iyan?

Whose dog is that?”

Plural:

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

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

For example:

Anu-ano ba ang mga sinabi niya?

What specific things did he say?”

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

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

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

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

Sinu-sino ang mga dumalo sa miting?

Who among the guys attended the meeting?”

Kani-kanino itong mga nakakalat na laruan sa sahig?

Whose toys are these left lying on the floor?”

4. Panghalip Panaklaw (Indefinite Pronouns)

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

Commonly used panghalip panaklaw words are as follows:

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

Gusto sumama ng lahat sa field trip.

Everybody wants to join the field trip.”

People Raising Their Hands

Ang lahat ay ibinoto siya na maging gobernador.

All voted for him to be governor.”

2 – sa lahat ng dako (“everywhere”)

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

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

3 – sinuman (“anyone”)

Ang sinuman na hindi pupunta ay bibigyan ng parusa.

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

4 – anuman / alinman (“anything”)

Itapon na lang ang anuman na wala nang silbi.

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

5 – kaunti (“few” / “a few”)

Kaunti na lang ang natirang tickets.

“There’s just a few tickets left.”

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

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

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

7 – saanman (“anywhere” / “wherever”)

Saanmang dako ng mundo, ikaw ay susundan ko.

Anywhere you go, I am sure to follow.”

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

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

“I will follow her wherever she may go.”

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

“He follows me wherever I go.”

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

Susundan kita saan ka (second person) man pumunta.

“I will follow you wherever you go.”

Hahanapin kita saan ka (second person) man magtago.

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

8 – wala / wala ni isa (“none”)

Wala ni isa sa kanila ang nagtangkang magsalita.

None of them had the courage to speak.”

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

May isa na dapat tanggalin sa group.

Someone has to be removed from the group.”

10 – bawat isa (“each”)

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

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

5. Panghalip Pamanggit (Relative Pronouns)

Improve Listening

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

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

Examples:

Ang drayber na nakabundol sa mag-asawa ay nahuli.

“The driver who hit the couple was caught.”

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

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

Mayroon akong kaibigan na ang kuya ay napaka kulit.

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

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

“Never trust a man whose hair is balding.”

Ang mga binti ng kalabaw ay malaki.

“The legs of the water buffalo are large.” 

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

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

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

6. Panghalip Patulad

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

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

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

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

1 – Ganito

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

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

Ganito kami sa Pilipinas.

“This is how we are in the Philippines.”

Ganito ang dapat nating gawin.

“This is what we should do.”

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

Paano mo ginagawa yan?

Ganito.

“How do you do it?”

“This way.”

2 – Ganyan

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

Ganyan ka mag-shoot ng bola!

That’s how you shoot a ball!”

Guy Shooting a Basketball

Ganyan pala maghiwa ng sibuyas.

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

Pigain mo siya nang ganyan.

“Squeeze it in that manner.”

3 – Ganoon / Ganun

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

Ganun din ang kotse na gusto kong bilhin.

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

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

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

7. Conclusion

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

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

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

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

Happy Filipino learning!

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Premium PLUS: The Golden Ticket for Language-Learning

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“Where do you live?”

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eunhaeng gyejwaleul mandeulgo sip-eoyo.

I want to open a bank account.

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Essential Vocabulary for Directions in Filipino

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Do you know your left from your right in Filipino? Asking for directions can mean the difference between a heavenly day on the beach and a horrible day on your feet, hot and bothered and wondering how to even get back to the hotel. Believe me – I know! On my earlier travels, I didn’t even know simple terms like ‘go straight ahead’ or ‘go west,’ and I was always too shy to ask locals for directions. It wasn’t my ego, but rather the language barrier that held me back. I’ve ended up in some pretty dodgy situations for my lack of directional word skills.

This never needs to happen! When traveling in Philippines, you should step out in confidence, ready to work your Filipino magic and have a full day of exploring. It’s about knowing a few basic phrases and then tailoring them with the right directional words for each situation. Do you need to be pointed south in Filipino? Just ask! Believe me, people are more willing to help than you might think. It’s when you ask in English that locals might feel too uncertain to answer you. After all, they don’t want to get you lost. For this reason, it also makes sense that you learn how to understand people’s responses. 

Asking directions in Philippines is inevitable. So, learn to love it! Our job here at FilipinoPod101 is to give you the confidence you need to fully immerse and be the intrepid adventurer you are.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Around Town in Filipino Table of Contents
  1. Talking about position and direction in Filipino
  2. Getting directions in Filipino
  3. Conclusion

1. Talking about position and direction in Filipino

Have you ever tried saying the compass directions of north, south, east and west in Filipino? These words are good to know, being the most natural and ancient method of finding direction. In the days before GPS – before the invention of the compass, even – knowing the cardinal directions was critical to finding the way. Certainly, if you were lost somewhere in the mountain regions now and using a map to navigate, you’d find them useful. Even more so if you and a Filipino friend were adrift at sea, following the stars!

In most situations, though, we rely on body relative directions – your basic up, down, left and right, forward and backwards. Most cultures use relative directions for reference and Filipino is no exception. Interestingly, in a few old languages there are no words for left and right and people still rely on cardinal directions every day. Can you imagine having such a compass brain?

A black compass on a colored map

Well, scientists say that all mammals have an innate sense of direction, so getting good at finding your way is just a matter of practice. It’s pretty cool to think that we were born already pre-wired to grasp directions; the descriptive words we invented are mere labels to communicate these directions to others! Thus, the need to learn some Filipino positional vocabulary. So, without further ado… let’s dive in.

1- Top – tuktok

If planting a flag at the top of the highest mountain in Philippines is a goal you’d rather leave for  adrenaline junkies, how about making it to the top of the highest building? Your view of the city will be one you’ll never forget, and you can take a selfie  for Twitter with your head in the clouds. 

man on the top rung of a ladder in the sky, about to topple off

2- Bottom – ilalim

The ‘bottom’ can refer to the lower end of a road, the foot of a mountain, or the ground floor of a building. It’s the place you head for after you’ve been to the top!

What are your favorite ‘bottoms’? I love the first rung of a ladder, the base of a huge tree or the bottom of a jungle-covered hill. What can I say? I’m a climber. Divers like the bottom of the ocean and foxes like the bottom of a hole. Since you’re learning Filipino, hopefully you’ll travel from the top to the bottom of Philippines.

3- Up – taas

This is a very common and useful word to know when seeking directions. You can go up the street, up an elevator, up a cableway, up a mountain… even up into the sky in a hot air balloon. It all depends on how far up you like to be!

Hot air balloons in a blue cloudy sky

4- Down – pababa

What goes up, must surely come down. This is true of airplanes, flaming arrows and grasshoppers – either aeronautics or gravity will take care of that. In the case of traveling humans who don’t wish to go down at terminal velocity, it’s useful to know phrases such as, “Excuse me, where is the path leading back down this mountain?”

5- Middle – gitna

In Lord of the Rings, Tolkien’s characters live in Middle-earth, which is just an ancient word for the inhabited world of men; it referred to the physical world, as opposed to the unseen worlds above and below it. The ancients also thought of the human world as vaguely in the middle of the encircling seas.

When we talk about the ‘middle’, we’re referring to a point that’s roughly between two horizontal lines – like the middle of the road or the middle of a river. While you’re unlikely to ask for directions to the ‘middle’ of anything, you might hear it as a response. For example, “You’re looking for the castle ruins? But they’re in the middle of the forest!”

Castle ruins in a forest

6- Center – sentro

Although similar in meaning to ‘middle’, this word is more specific. Technically, it means the exact central point of a circular area, equally distant from every point on the circumference.  When asking for directions to the center of town, though, we don’t mean to find a mathematically-accurate pinpoint!

Bull’s eye on a dartboard

7- Front – harap

The front is the place or position that is seen first; it’s the most forward part of something.  In the case of a hotel, the front is going to be easy to recognize, so if you call a taxi and are told to wait “in front of the hotel”, you won’t have a problem. It’s pretty cool how just knowing the main Filipino directional words can help you locate something if there’s a good landmark nearby.

8- Back – likod

I once rented a house in a charming little street that was tucked away at the back of a popular mall. It was so easy to find, but my boss took three hours to locate it from 300 meters away. Why? Well, because she spoke no English and I had no clue what the word for ‘back’ was. All she heard, no matter which way I said it, was “mall, mall, mall”.  As a result, she hunted in front of and next to the mall until she was frazzled. 

Knowing how to describe the location of your own residence is probably the first Filipino ‘directions’ you should practice. This skill will certainly come in handy if you’re lost and looking for your way home. 

9- Side – tabi

If the place you’re looking for is at the ‘side’ of something, it will be located to the left or the right of that landmark. That could mean you’re looking for an alleyway beside a building, or a second entrance (as opposed to the main entrance). 

As an example, you might be told that your tour bus will be waiting at the right side of the building, not in front. Of course, then you’ll also need to understand “It’s on the right” in Filipino.

Jeepney taxi parked at the side of a building

10- East – silangan

If you’re facing north, then east is the direction of your right hand. It’s the direction toward which the Earth rotates about its axis, and therefore the general direction from which the sun appears to rise. If you want to go east using a compass for navigation, you should set a bearing of 90°. 

We think of Asia as the ‘East’. Geographically, this part of the world lies in the eastern hemisphere, but there’s so much more that we’ve come to associate with this word. The East signifies ancient knowledge and is symbolic of enlightenment in many cultures.

Monks reading on a boulder in front of a Buddha statue

11- West – kanluran

West is the opposite to east and it’s the direction in which the sun sets. To go west using a compass, you’ll set a bearing of 270 degrees. 

If you were on the planet Venus, which rotates in the opposite direction from the Earth (retrograde rotation), the Sun would rise in the west and set in the east… not that you’d be able to see the sun through Venus’s opaque clouds. 

Culturally, the West refers mainly to the Americas and Europe, but also to Australia and New Zealand, which are geographically in the East. The Western way of thinking is very different to that of the East. One of the most striking differences is individualism versus collectivism. In the West, we grew up with philosophies of freedom and independence, whereas in the East concepts of unity are more important. 

Food for thought: as a traveler who’s invested in learning the languages and cultures of places you visit, you have an opportunity to become a wonderfully balanced thinker – something the world needs more of.

12- North – hilaga

North is the top point of a map and when navigating, you’d set a compass bearing of 360 degrees if you want to go that way. Globes of the earth have the north pole at the top, and we use north as the direction by which we define all other directions.

If you look into the night sky, the North Star (Polaris) marks the way due north. It’s an amazing star, in that it holds nearly still in our sky while the entire northern sky moves around it. That’s because it’s located nearly at the north celestial pole – the point around which the entire northern sky turns. Definitely a boon for lost travelers!

The North Star with the Big Dipper in a night sky

13- South – timog

South is the opposite of north, and it’s perpendicular to the east and west. You can find it with a compass if you set your bearings to 180 degrees. 

The south celestial pole is the point around which the entire southern sky appears to turn. In the night sky of the southern hemisphere, the Southern Cross is a very easy to find constellation with four points in the shape of a diamond. If you come from the southern hemisphere, chances are your dad or mum pointed it out to you when you were a kid. You can use the Southern Cross to find south if traveling by night, so it’s well worth figuring it out!

14- Outside – sa labas

This word refers to any place that is not under a roof. Perhaps you’ve heard talk about some amazing local bands that will be playing in a nearby town on the weekend. If it’s all happening outside, you’ll be looking for a venue in a park, a stadium or some other big open space. Come rain or shine, outside definitely works for me!

A young woman on someone’s shoulders at an outdoor concert

15- Inside – sa loob

I can tolerate being inside if all the windows are open, or if I’m watching the latest Homeland episode. How about you? I suppose going shopping for Filipino-style accessories would be pretty fun, too, and that will (mostly) be an inside affair. 

16- Opposite – kabaligtaran

This is a great word to use as a reference point for locating a place. It’s right opposite that other place! In other words, if you stand with your back to the given landmark, your destination will be right in front of you. 

17- Adjacent – katabi

So, the adorable old man from next door, who looks about ninety-nine, explains in Filipino that the food market where he works is adjacent to the community hall on the main road. ‘Adjacent’ just means next to or adjoining something else, so… head for the hall! 

While you’re marveling at the wondrous and colorful displays of Filipino food, think about how all of these delicious stalls lie adjacent to one another. Having a happy visual association with a new word is a proven way to remember it!

Outdoor food market fruit display

18- Toward – patungo sa

To go toward something is to go in its direction and get closer to it. This word can often appear in a sentence with ‘straight ahead’, as in:

“Go straight ahead, toward the park.”

If you’ve come to Philippines to teach English, you might have to ask someone how to find your new school. Depending on what town you’re in, you could simply head toward the residential area at lunch time. You’ll see (and probably hear) the primary school soon enough – it will be the big fenced building with all the kids running around the yard!

19- Facing – nakaharap

If you look at yourself in a mirror, you’ll be facing your reflection. In other words: you and your reflection look directly at each other.  Many plush hotels are ocean-facing or river-facing, meaning the main entrance is pointed directly at the water, and the beach out front faces the hotel. 

20- Beside – katabi

I know of a special little place where there’s a gym right beside a river. You can watch the sun go down over the water while working out – it’s amazing. What’s more, you can park your scooter beside the building and it will still be there when you come out.

21- Corner – kanto

I love a corner when it comes to directions. A street corner is where two roads meet at an angle – often 90 degrees – making it easier to find than a location on a straight plane. 

“Which building is the piano teacher in, sir?”

“Oh, that’s easy – it’s the one on the corner.”

The key to a corner is that it leads in two directions. It could form a crossroads, a huge intersection, or it could be the start of a tiny one-way cobblestone street with hidden treasures waiting in the shadow of the buildings.

A white and yellow building on the corner of two streets

22- Distant – malayo

When a location is distant, it’s in an outlying area. This Filipino word refers to the remoteness of the site, not to how long it takes to get there. For that reason, it’s a very good idea to write the directions down, rather than try to memorize them in Filipino. Even better, get a Filipino person to write them down for you. This may seem obvious, but always include the location of your starting point! Any directions you’re given will be relative to the exact place you’re starting from.

Man lost on a dusty road, looking at a road map and scratching his head

23- Far – malayo

This word has a similar meaning to the previous one, but it speaks more about the fact that it will take some time to get there. If you’re told that your destination is “far”,  you’ll no doubt want to go by public transport if you don’t have your own vehicle. Get your hands on a road map and have the directions explained to you using this map. Don’t hesitate to bring out the highlighters. 

24- Close – malapit

This word is always a good one to hear when you have your heart set on a very relaxing day in the sun. It means there’s only a short distance to travel, so you can get there in a heartbeat and let the tanning commence. Remember to grab your Nook Book – learning is enhanced when you’re feeling happy and unencumbered. Being close to ‘home’ also means you can safely steal maximum lazy hours and leave the short return trip for sunset! 

A smiling woman lying in a hammock on the beach

25- By – malapit sa

This word identifies the position of a physical object beside another object or a place. A Bed and Breakfast can be ‘by the sea’ if it’s in close proximity to the sea. 

‘By’ can also be used to describe the best mode of transport for your route, as in:

“You can get there by bus.”

26- Surrounding – paligid

If something is surrounding you, it is on every side and you are enclosed by it – kind of like being in a boat. Of course, we’re not talking about deep water here, unless you’re planning on going fishing. Directions that include this word are more likely to refer to the surrounding countryside, or any other features that are all around the place you’re looking for.

A polar bear stuck on a block of ice, completely surrounded by water.

27- All sides – lahat ng dako

Another useful descriptive Filipino term to know is ‘all sides’. It simply means that from a particular point, you will be able to see the same features to the front, back and sides of you. It doesn’t necessarily imply you’ll be completely surrounded, just more-or-less so. Say, for example, you’re visiting the winelands for the day. When you get there, you’ll see vineyards on all sides of you. How stunning! Don’t neglect to sample the local wines – obviously. 

28- Next to – sa tabi

The person giving you directions is probably standing next to you. The place being described as ‘next to’ something is in a position immediately to one side of it. It could refer to adjoining buildings, neighbouring stores, or the one-legged beggar who sits next to the beautiful flower vendor on weekdays. ‘Next to’ is a great positional term, as everything is next to something! 

“Excuse me, Ma’am.  Where is the train station?”

“It’s that way – next to the tourist market.”

29- Above – ibabaw

This is the direction you’ll be looking at if you turn your head upwards. Relative to where your body is, it’s a point higher than your head. If you’re looking for the location of a place that’s ‘above’ something, it’s likely to be on at least the first floor of a building; in other words, above another floor.

‘Above’ could also refer to something that will be visible overhead when you get to the right place. For example, the road you’re looking for might have holiday decorations strung up from pole to pole above it. In the cities, this is very likely if there’s any kind of festival going on.

View from below of a carnival swing, with riders directly above the viewer

30- Under – ilalim

Under is the opposite of above, and refers to a place that lies beneath something else. In the case of directions in Filipino, it could refer to going under a bridge – always a great landmark – or perhaps through a subway. In some parts of the world, you can even travel through a tunnel that’s under the sea!

Of course, you might just be missing your home brew and looking for an awesome coffee shop that happens to be under the very cool local gym you were also looking for. Nice find!

2. Getting directions in Filipino

The quickest and easiest way to find out how to get where you’re going is simply to ask someone. Most people on the streets of Philippines won’t mind being asked at all and will actually appreciate your attempt to ask directions in Filipino. After all, most tourists are more inclined to ask in their own language and hope for the best. How pedestrian is that, though?

Asking directions

I know, I know – you normally prefer to find your own way without asking. Well, think of it like this: you obviously need to practice asking questions in Filipino as much as you need to practice small talk, counting, or ordering a beer. Since you can’t very well ask a complete stranger if they would please help you count to five hundred, you’ll have to stick with asking directions!

We spoke earlier about body relative directions and these tend to be the ones we use most. For example:

“Turn left.”

“Go straight.”

“Turn right.” 

Remember, too, that your approach is important. Many people are wary of strangers and you don’t want to scare them off. It’s best to be friendly, direct and get to the point quickly.  A simple ‘Hi, can you help me?” or “Excuse me, I’m a bit lost,” will suffice. If you have a map in your hand, even better, as your intentions will be clear. 

The bottom line is that if you want to find your way around Philippines with ease, it’s a good idea to master these basic phrases. With a little practice, you can also learn how to say directions in Filipino. Before you know it, you’ll be the one explaining the way!

3. Conclusion

Now that you have over thirty new directional phrases you can learn in Filipino, there’s no need to fear losing your way when you hit the streets of Philippines. All you need is a polite approach and your own amazing smile, and the locals will be excited to help you. It’s a chance for them to get better at explaining things to a foreigner, too. Most will enjoy that!

I advise keeping a few things handy in your day pack: a street map, a highlighter, a small notebook and pen, and your Filipino phrasebook. It would be useful to also have the Filipino WordPower app installed on your phone – available for both iPhone and Android

Here’s a quick challenge to get you using the new terms right away. Can you translate these directions into Filipino?

“It’s close. Go straight ahead to the top of the hill and turn left at the corner. The building is on the right, opposite a small bus stop.”

You’re doing amazingly well to have come this far! Well done on tackling the essential topic of ‘directions’ – it’s a brave challenge that will be immensely rewarding. Trust me, when you’re standing at a beautiful location that you found just by knowing what to ask in Filipino, you’re going to feel pretty darn good.

If you’re as excited as I am about taking Filipino to an even deeper level, we have so much more to offer you. Did you know that we’ve already had over 1 billion lesson downloads? I know – we’re blown away by that, too. It’s amazing to be bringing the world’s languages to people who are so hungry for learning. Let me share some of our best options for you:

  • If you haven’t done so already, grab your free lifetime account as a start. You’ll get audio and video lessons, plus vocabulary building tools. 
  • My favorite freebie is the word of the day, which will arrive in your inbox every morning. Those are the words I remember best!
  • Start listening to Filipino music. I’m serious – it really works to make the resistant parts of the brain relax and accept the new language. Read about it here for some tips.
  • If you enjoy reading, we have some great iBooks for your daily commute.
  • If you have a Kindle and prefer to do your reading on a picnic blanket,  there are over 6 hours of unique lessons in Filipino for you right there.

That’s it for today! Join FilipinoPod101 to discover many more ways that we can offer you a truly fun and enriching language learning experience. Happy travels!

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Essential Vocabulary for Life Events in Filipino

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What is the most defining moment you will face this year? From memories that you immortalize in a million photographs, to days you never wish to remember, one thing’s for certain: big life events change you. The great poet, Bukowski, said, “We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well, that death will tremble to take us.” The older I get, the more I agree with him!

Talking about significant events in our lives is part of every person’s journey, regardless of creed or culture. If you’re planning to stay in Philippines for more than a quick visit, you’re sure to need at least a few ‘life events’ phrases that you can use. After all, many of these are shared experiences, and it’s generally expected that we will show up with good manners and warm wishes.

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Table of Contents

  1. Life Events
  2. Marriage Proposal Lines
  3. Talking About Age
  4. Conclusion

1. Life Events

Do you know how to say “Happy New Year” in Filipino? Well, the New Year is a pretty big deal that the whole world is in on! We celebrate until midnight, make mindful resolutions, and fill the night sky with the same happy words in hundreds of languages. No doubt, then, that you’ll want to know how to say it like a local!

Big life events are not all about fun times, though. Real life happens even when you’re traveling, and certain terminology will be very helpful to know. From talking about your new job to wishing your neighbors “Merry Christmas” in Filipino, here at FilipinoPod101, we’ve put together just the right vocabulary and phrases for you.

1- Birthday – kaarawan

If you’re like me, any excuse to bring out a pen and scribble a note is a good one. When there’s a birthday, even better: hello, handwriting!

Your Filipino friend will love hearing you wish them a “Happy birthday” in Filipino, but how much more will they appreciate a thoughtful written message? Whether you write it on their Facebook wall or buy a cute card, your effort in Filipino is sure to get them smiling! Write it like this:

Maligayang kaarawan

Older Woman Blowing Out Candles on a Birthday Cake Surrounded by Friends.

Now that you know the words, I challenge you to put them to music and sing your own “Happy birthday” song in Filipino! It’s not impossible to figure out even more lyrics, once you start discovering the language from scratch.

2- Buy – bumili

If there’s a special occasion, you might want to buy somebody a gift. As long as you’ve checked out Filipino etiquette on gift-giving (do a Google search for this!), it will be a lovely gesture. If you’re not sure what to buy, how about the awesome and universally-appealing gift of language? That’s a gift that won’t stop giving!

Two Women at a Counter in a Bookstore, One Buying a Book

3- Retire – magretiro

If you’re planning to expand your mind and retire in Philippines, you can use this word to tell people why you seem to be on a perpetual vacation!

Retirement is also a great time to learn a new language, don’t you think? And you don’t have to do it alone! These days it’s possible to connect to a vibrant learning community at the click of a button. The added benefit of a Daily Dose of Language is that it keeps your brain cells alive and curious about the world. After all, it’s never too late to realize those long-ignored dreams of traveling the globe…

4- Graduation – pagtatapos

When attending a graduation ceremony in Philippines, be prepared for a lot of formal language! It will be a great opportunity to listen carefully and see if you can pick up differences from the everyday Filipino you hear.

Lecturer or University Dean Congratulating and Handing Over Graduation Certificate to a Young Man on Graduation Day.

5- Promotion – pagtaas ng ranggo

Next to vacation time, receiving a promotion is the one career highlight almost everyone looks forward to. And why wouldn’t you? Sure, it means more responsibility, but it also means more money and benefits and – the part I love most – a change of scenery! Even something as simple as looking out a new office window would boost my mood.

6- Anniversary – anibersaryo

Some anniversaries we anticipate with excitement, others with apprehension. They are days marking significant events in our lives that can be shared with just one person, or with a whole nation. Whether it’s a special day for you and a loved one, or for someone else you know, this word is crucial to know if you want to wish them a happy anniversary in Filipino.

7- Funeral – libing

We tend to be uncomfortable talking about funerals in the west, but it’s an important conversation for families to have. Around the world, there are many different customs and rituals for saying goodbye to deceased loved ones – some vastly different to our own. When traveling in Philippines, if you happen to find yourself the unwitting observer of a funeral, take a quiet moment to appreciate the cultural ethos; even this can be an enriching experience for you.

8- Travel – bumiyahe

Travel – my favorite thing to do! Everything about the experience is thrilling and the best cure for boredom, depression, and uncertainty about your future. You will surely be forever changed, fellow traveler! But you already know this, don’t you? Well, now that you’re on the road to total Filipino immersion, I hope you’ve downloaded our IOS apps and have your Nook Book handy to keep yourself entertained on those long bus rides.

Young Female Tourist with a Backpack Taking a Photo of the Arc de Triomphe

9- Graduate – makatapos sa pag-aaral

If you have yet to graduate from university, will you be job-hunting in Philippines afterward? Forward-looking companies sometimes recruit talented students who are still in their final year. Of course, you could also do your final year abroad as an international student – an amazing experience if you’d love to be intellectually challenged and make a rainbow of foreign friends!

10- Wedding – kasal

One of the most-loved traditions that humans have thought up, which you’ll encounter anywhere in the world, is a wedding. With all that romance in the air and months spent on preparations, a wedding is typically a feel-good affair. Two people pledge their eternal love to each other, ladies cry, single men look around for potential partners, and everybody has a happy day of merrymaking.

Ah, but how diverse we are in our expression of love! You will find more wedding traditions around the world than you can possibly imagine. From reciting love quotes to marrying a tree, the options leave no excuse to be boring!

Married Couple During Reception, Sitting at Their Table While a Young Man Gives a Wedding Speech

11- Move – lumipat

I love Philippines, but I’m a nomad and tend to move around a lot, even within one country. What are the biggest emotions you typically feel when moving house? The experts say moving is a highly stressful event, but I think that depends on the circumstances. Transitional periods in our lives are physically and mentally demanding, but changing your environment is also an exciting adventure that promises new tomorrows!

12- Be born – ipinanganak

I was not born in 1993, nor was I born in Asia. I was born in the same year as Aishwarya Rai, Akon, and Monica Lewinsky, and on the same continent as Freddy Mercury. When and where were you born? More importantly – can you say it in Filipino?

13- Get a job – makakuha ng trabaho

The thought of looking for a job in a new country can be daunting, but English speakers are in great demand in Philippines – you just have to do some research, make a few friends and get out there! Also, arming yourself with a few Filipino introductions that you can both say and write will give you a confidence boost. For example, can you write your name in Filipino?

Group of People in Gear that Represent a Number of Occupations.

14- Die – mamatay

Death is a universal experience and the final curtain on all other life events. How important is it, then, to fully live before we die? If all you have is a passport, a bucket list, and a willingness to learn some lingo, you can manifest those dreams!

15- Home – bahay

If home is where the heart is, then my home is on a jungle island completely surrounded by the turquoise ocean. Right now, though, home is an isolation room with a view of half a dry palm tree and a tangle of telephone wires.

If you’re traveling to Philippines for an extended stay, you’ll soon be moving into a new home quite unlike anything you’ve experienced before!

Large, Double-Story House with Lit Windows.

16- Job – trabaho

What job do you do? Does it allow you much time for travel, or for working on this fascinating language that has (so rightfully) grabbed your attention? Whatever your job, you are no doubt contributing to society in a unique way. If you’re doing what you love, you’re already on the road to your dream. If not, just remember that every single task is one more skill to add to your arsenal. With that attitude, your dream job is coming!

17- Birth – kapanganakan

Random question: do you know the birth rate of Philippines?

If you’re lucky enough to be invited to see a friend’s baby just after they are born, you’ll have all my respect and all my envy. There is nothing cuter! Depending on which part of the country you’re in, you may find yourself bearing witness to some pretty unexpected birth customs. Enjoy this privilege!

Crying Newborn Baby Held By a Doctor or Nurse in a Hospital Theatre

18- Engaged – makisali

EE Cummings said, “Lovers alone wear sunlight,” and I think that’s most true at the moment she says “yes.” Getting engaged is something young girls dream of with stars in their eyes, and it truly is a magical experience – from the proposal, to wearing an engagement ring, to the big reveal!

In the world of Instagram, there’s no end to the antics as imaginative couples try more and more outrageous ways to share their engagement with the world. I love an airport flashmob, myself, but I’d rather be proposed to on a secluded beach – salt, sand, and all!

Engagement customs around the world vary greatly, and Philippines is no exception when it comes to interesting traditions. Learning their unique romantic ways will inspire you for when your turn comes.

Speaking of romance, do you know how to say “Happy Valentine’s Day” in Filipino?

19- Marry – magpakasal

The one you marry will be the gem on a shore full of pebbles. They will be the one who truly mirrors your affection, shares your visions for the future, and wants all of you – the good, the bad and the inexplicable.

From thinking up a one-of-a-kind wedding, to having children, to growing old together, finding a twin flame to share life with is quite an accomplishment! Speaking of which…

2. Marriage Proposal Lines

Marriage Proposal Lines

Ah, that heart-stopping moment when your true love gets down on one knee to ask for your hand in marriage, breathlessly hoping that you’ll say “Yes!” If you haven’t experienced that – well, it feels pretty darn good, is all I can say! If you’re the one doing the asking, though, you’ve probably had weeks of insomnia agonizing over the perfect time, location and words to use.

Man on His Knee Proposing to a Woman on a Bridge.

How much more care should be taken if your love is from a different culture to yours? Well, by now you know her so well, that most of it should be easy to figure out. As long as you’ve considered her personal commitment to tradition, all you really need is a few words from the heart. Are you brave enough to say them in Filipino?

3. Talking About Age

Talking about Age

Part of the wonder of learning a new language is having the ability to strike up simple conversations with strangers. Asking about age in this context feels natural, as your intention is to practice friendly phrases – just be mindful of their point of view!

When I was 22, I loved being asked my age. Nowadays, if someone asks, I say, “Well, I’ve just started my fifth cat life.” Let them ponder that for a while.

In Philippines, it’s generally not desirable to ask an older woman her age for no good reason, but chatting about age with your peers is perfectly normal. Besides, you have to mention your birthday if you want to be thrown a birthday party!

4. Conclusion

Well, there you have it! With so many great new Filipino phrases to wish people with, can you think of someone who has a big event coming up? If you want to get even more creative, FilipinoPod101 has much to inspire you with – come and check it out! Here’s just some of what we have on offer at FilipinoPod101:

  • Free Resources: Sharing is caring, and for this reason, we share many free resources with our students. For instance, start learning Filipino with our basic online course by creating a lifetime account – for free! Also get free daily and iTunes lessons, free eBooks, free mobile apps, and free access to our blog and online community. Or how about free Vocabulary Lists? The Filipino dictionary is for exclusive use by our students, also for free. There’s so much to love about FilipinoPod101…!
  • Innovative Learning Tools and Apps: We make it our priority to offer you the best learning tools! These include apps for iPhone, iPad, Android and Mac OSX; eBooks for Kindle, Nook, and iPad; audiobooks; Roku TV and so many more. This means that we took diverse lifestyles into account when we developed our courses, so you can learn anywhere, anytime on a device of your choice. How innovative!
  • Live Hosts and One-on-One Learning: Knowledgeable, energetic hosts present recorded video lessons, and are available for live teaching experiences if you upgrade. This means that in the videos, you get to watch them pronounce those tongue-twisters, as if you’re learning live! Add octane to your learning by upgrading to Premium Plus, and learn two times faster. You can have your very own Filipino teacher always with you, ensuring that you learn what you need, when you need to – what a wonderful opportunity to master a new language in record time!
  • Start Where You Are: You don’t know a single Filipino word? Not to worry, we’ve absolutely got this. Simply enroll in our Absolute Beginner Pathway and start speaking from Lesson 1! As your learning progresses, you can enroll in other pathways to match your Filipino level, at your own pace, in your own time, in your own place!

Learning a new language can only enrich your life, and could even open doors towards great opportunities! So don’t wonder if you’ll regret enrolling in FilipinoPod101. It’s the most fun, easy way to learn Filipino.

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