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Gain Filipino Fluency with These Advanced Tagalog Words


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

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

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

A Woman Giving a Presentation

Express yourself with more confidence by learning advanced Tagalog words.

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

1. Advanced Academic Words

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Doctor Consulting with a Patient

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. Advanced Business Words

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Man Staring in Disbelief at a Huge Stack of Paperwork

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. Advanced Medical Words

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4. Advanced Legal Words

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Mother Receiving Kisses from Her Two Children

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. Alternative Words to Make an Impression

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

1 – Alternative Adverbs

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

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

magkahiwalay magkabukod Magkabukod silang dumating.
separatelyseparatelyThey arrived separately.

talagasadyaSadyang mabilis magsalita si Aristotle.
verysimplyAristotle simply talks fast.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2 – Alternative Verbs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3 – Alternative Conjunctions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4 – Alternative Prepositions

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

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

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

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

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

Three Young Japanese People Singing Karaoke and Drinking Beer

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

Learn More Advanced Tagalog Words with FilipinoPod101!

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

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

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

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Boost Your Vocab with These Intermediate Tagalog Words


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

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

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

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

Four Friends Chatting Around a Table

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

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

1. Mga Bilang (Numbers)

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

1 – From 11 to 19


2 – From 20 to 90

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


3 – Counting to the Thousands (and Beyond)

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

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

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

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

An Image of the Philippines

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

2. Mga Pangngalan (Nouns)

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

1 – Time

madaling-arawwee hours

2 – People

apelyidofamily name
balaeparent of one’s son- or daughter-in-law
biyenanfather- or mother-in-law
manugangson- or daughter-in-law
dalagasingle woman
binatasingle man
kapamilyafamily member
bilasbrother-in-law’s wife or sister-in-law’s husband
amoboss / employer

3 – Professions

basurerogarbage collector
guwardiyasecurity guard
tinderomale merchant / salesman
tinderafemale merchant / saleslady
artistaactor / actress

4 – Various Nouns


Dirty Flip-flops

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

3. Verbs

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

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

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

A Heavy Rain Falling onto Green Plants

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

4. Adjectives

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

1 – Adjectives Describing Objects

pangkaraniwanordinary / average
napakalakihuge / very large
napakaliittiny / very small
malaboblurry / hazy

2 – Adjectives Describing People

magalingawesome / great
singkitwith slanted eyes
kulotwith curly hair
mayabangarrogant / humbug

3 – Adjectives Describing Emotions

nandidiriloathsome / grossed out
nagulatshocked / surprised

4 – Adjectives Describing the Weather

napakainitvery hot
napakaginawvery cold
napakalamigvery cool
hindi maulapcloudless

A Man Staying Up Late to Study with Coffee

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

5. Pang-abay (Adverbs)

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

1 – Time & Frequency

tuwingevery time / whenever
kinabukasantomorrow / the day after
araw-arawevery day / daily
minsanonce in a while
isang besesonce
dalawang besestwice
kapagwhen / whenever
ngayong arawtoday

2 – Manner


3 – Place

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

4 – Measure

maramimany / plenty
kauntifew / a little

A Father Hugging His Young Daughter before Leaving for Work

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

6. Pang-Ukol (Prepositions)

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

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

7. Mga Pangatnig (Conjunctions)

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

saka, patiand

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

8. Auxiliary Words and Particles

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Woman Entering a Crowded Elevator

Bababa ba? (“Going down?”)

9. Refine your Tagalog vocabulary skills with FilipinoPod101!

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

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

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

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

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Filipino Animal Names


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.

daga“rat” / “mouse”

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.

    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.

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.

dugong“sea cow”
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.
tulingan“tuna fish”

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.

kuto“head lice”
putakti“hornet” / “wasp”
gamu-gamo“a small moth”
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.
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.
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

kalapati“pigeon” / “dove”

B- Reptiles and Amphibians

bayawak“monitor lizard”

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.

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:


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:

balahibo“feather” / “fur”
kuko“nail” / “claw”
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”)

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The Most Useful Filipino Phone Call Phrases


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. The Opening Line

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

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

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

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

1 – When you’re the one calling…

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

You can follow this up with:

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

2. Introducing Yourself

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

1 – When making the call…


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

A Man with a Backpack Making a Call on the Payphone

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

2 – When receiving a call…

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


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

In Tagalog, that would sound something like:

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

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

3. Stating Your Reason for Calling

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

4. Asking to Speak to Someone

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


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


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

5. Asking Someone to Wait

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


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


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

6. Leaving a Message

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


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


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

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

7. Asking for Clarification

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


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


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

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

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


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

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

8. Ending the Phone Call

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

1 – Ending a call as the caller…


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


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

2 – Ending a call as the recipient…


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


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

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

A Woman Chatting on the Phone while Lying on the Floor

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

9. Sample Phone Conversations

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

1 – Informal Phone Conversation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2 – Formal Phone Conversation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rain: Rain Ledesma.

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

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

Attendant: Paalam. (“Bye.”)

3 – Formal Phone Conversation (Taglish)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rain: Nine a.m.

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

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

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

Rain: Rain Ledesma.

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

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

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

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

A Woman Making a Reservation Over the Phone

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

Learn More Than Just Phone Call Phrases with FilipinoPod101!

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

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

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

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Expand Your Vocabulary with Tagalog Beginner Words


Having a commendable vocabulary list to study is imperative when you’re learning a new language. That said, mastering core Filipino words is crucial if you want to become fluent in the language of the Philippines. 

Tagalog beginner words are simple everyday words that form the foundation of a much larger vocabulary. Learning and mastering them will help you if you’re going to pursue a career or education in the Philippines or if you simply want to move to the country.

The good news about Filipino vocabulary is that most of the words have an equivalent in English. And if you commit to studying for at least an hour every day, you’ll be able to master all the basic Filipino words and apply them in daily conversations after only 200 hours.

Tagalog takes 1100 hours to learn, though, which means you’ll still have a long way to go. So, if there’s a good time to start, it’s now! Let’s do it!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Filipino Table of Contents
  1. Mga Panghalip (Pronouns)
  2. Mga Bilang (Numbers)
  3. Mga Pangngalan (Nouns)
  4. Mga Pandiwa (Verbs)
  5. Mga Pang-Uri (Adjectives)
  6. Mga Pangatnig (Conjunctions)
  7. At iba pa… (More beginner words)
  8. Catch More Filipino Beginner Words at!

1. Mga Panghalip (Pronouns)

Pronouns are among the core parts of speech that one should master first when learning any new language

In Filipino, pronouns are called panghalip. There are six categories of Filipino pronouns. Most of them have direct equivalents in English, although some have more uses than their English equivalents.

You can visit our comprehensive guide to Filipino pronouns if you wish to delve deeper into the subject.

As a beginner in Filipino, you just need to focus on the three basic pronoun categories: personal, demonstrative, and interrogative. 

Personal Pronouns (Panghalip Panao)

These are pronouns that replace the proper names of people in sentences. The keyword is panao, which is derived from tao, meaning “human.”

1st person sg.akoI
2nd person sg.ikawyou
3rd person sg.siyahe/she
1st person pl.tayowe
2nd person pl.kayoyou all
3rd person pl.silathey

Take note that Filipino grammar doesn’t use gender pronouns, which is why “he” and “she” are both siya in Tagalog.

  • Nag-aaral siya ng bokabularyong Filipino. (“She’s studying Filipino vocabulary.”)
  • Nagbabasa siya palagi ng diksyunaryo. (“He always reads the dictionary.”)

Demonstrative Pronouns (Panghalip Pamatlig)

While English grammar only has four demonstrative pronouns (if we don’t include “yonder,” that is), Filipino has more than a dozen. Nevertheless, we’ll only focus on the most common ones, which are the pronominals.


Both iyan and niyan are translated as “that” in English. The difference between the two is that iyan is often found at the beginning of a sentence, while niyan is usually found at the end.

  • Iyan ang gustong kong matutunan. (“That’s what I want to learn.”)
  • Gusto kong matuto niyan. (“I want to learn that.”)

Interrogative Pronouns (Panghalip Pananong)


There are five interrogative pronouns in the English language. All of them have an equivalent in Filipino grammar, although “who” and “whom” share the same word, which is sino.

  • Sino ang estudyante mo sa Pilipino? (“Who is your student in Filipino?”)
  • Sino yung sinasabi mo na nagtuturo sa iyo ng Pilipino? (“Whom did you say was teaching you Filipino?”)

2. Mga Bilang (Numbers)

Numbers may seem rather insignificant when you’re learning a new language. You may even be tempted to learn them last. However, learning numbers is crucial because we encounter and use them in everyday life. That said, here are the numbers 1-10 in Filipino. You can always check our blog entry on numbers and how to count in Filipino for more detailed information. 

  • 1       isa
  • 2       dalawa
  • 3       tatlo
  • 4       apat
  • 5       lima
  • 6       anim
  • 7       pito
  • 8       walo
  • 9       siyam
  • 10       sampu

Three Ducklings

May tatlong bibi akong nakita. (“I saw three ducklings.”)

3. Mga Pangngalan (Nouns)

Nouns are one of the fundamental word groups in Filipino for beginners to study. They can be used alone to convey an urgent point or with verbs and objects to form a complete thought. 

The Tagalog word for “noun” sounds like the Tagalog word for “name.” However, pangngalan literally means “for naming,” and yes, we know that’s what nouns are for. We use nouns to name people, places, things, events, actions, ideas, and states of existence. There are so many Filipino nouns we could cover here, but let’s focus on the most basic ones first. 



Days of the week:


Notice that the Filipino translations for “week” and “Sunday” are the same: linggo

  • Mag-iisang linggo ka na dito sa Linggo. (“You will have been here for a week this Sunday.”)


anak na lalakison
anak na babaedaughter
kuyaolder brother
ateolder sister


munisipyomunicipal hall
istasyon ng busbus station
himpilan ng pulispolice station

School and Office Essentials

bolpenballpoint pen

Body Parts




A Business Meeting

Beginner words form the foundation of a much larger vocabulary.

4. Mga Pandiwa (Verbs)

The most basic Filipino sentence cannot stand without a verb. Known as pandiwa in Filipino, verbs are what give life to any speech. Here are 50 common Filipino verbs with which you can build your vocabulary. You can also visit our blog page for a more detailed guide to Filipino verbs.

gumisingto wake up
bumangonto get up
kumainto eat
uminomto drink
magsipilyoto brush one’s teeth
maligoto bathe
maglutoto cook
maglabato do the laundry
magtrabahoto work
mag-aralto study
magmanehoto drive
sumakayto ride
umakyatto climb
bumabato go down
magpahingato rest
matulogto sleep
magbigayto give
kumuhato get
tumanggapto receive
maglakadto walk
tumakboto run
umupoto sit
humigato lie down
tumayoto stand
umalisto go/leave
bumalikto come back/return
dumiretsoto go straight ahead
umatrasto move backward
umabanteto move forward
lumikoto turn left or right
tumalonto jump
ngumitito smile
lumangoyto swim
gumawato make/do something
magtanongto ask
maghanapto find/look for something
magsulatto write
pumayagto allow
pumikitto close one’s eyes
magbilangto count
mag-isipto think
tumawato laugh
umiyakto cry
sumigawto shout
magalitto get angry
manghingito ask for something
pumuntato go somewhere
dumaloto attend
sumamato come along
humawakto hold

Two Figure skaters

Verbs can make anything come alive!

5. Mga Pang-Uri (Adjectives)

In Filipino grammar, the ligatures na, ng, and g are used to connect adjectives to the words they’re modifying. We use na when the adjective ends in a consonant (except for “n,” in which case we used the ligature g). We then use ng if the word ends in a vowel.

  • Matangkad na tao (“A tall person”)
  • Malaking alon (“A big wave”)
  • Balingkinitang nilalang (“A slender creature”)

We have more lessons explaining the use of Filipino adjectives here at Check them out for more examples!

Adjectives Describing Objects


Adjectives Describing People


Adjectives Describing Emotions


Adjectives Describing the Weather


You’ve probably noticed that most Filipino adjectives start with the prefix ma-, although some may end in a suffix instead. Filipino adjectives that are formed using prefixes and suffixes are called maylapi. The adjective maganda (“beautiful”) for instance, is formed by adding the prefix ma- to the root word ganda, which means “beauty.”

A Woman with a Sweater, Hat, and Gloves Shivering in the Cold

Maginaw! Malapit ng mag-Pasko! (“It’s cold! The Christmas season must be near!”)

6. Mga Pangatnig (Conjunctions)

When you start learning Tagalog, you’ll find that knowing a few conjunctions can make your speech sound more fluid, even with a limited vocabulary. 

Conjunctions are called pangatnig in Filipino, and they’re used to connect words, phrases, or clauses. There are as many conjunctions in Filipino as there are in English, but here are the most common ones used in daily conversations.

parafor/so that/to 

It’s normal for some conjunctions to have more than one equivalent in Filipino and vice-versa. Take “because,” for instance.

  • Ayaw niyang kumain dahil/kasi busog na siya. (“He doesn’t want to eat because he’s already full.”)

In the same manner, some Filipino conjunctions, such as para, have more than one use in English.

  • Pumunta kami para makita siya. (“We came here to see her/so that we could see her.”)

The conjunction “but” also has more than one equivalent in Filipino, although pero is the one that’s mostly used in ordinary conversations. Its other equivalents are subalit, ngunit, and sapagkat, which are more formal or literary. 

  • Dumalaw ako sa inyo pero wala ka. (“I went to your place, but you were not around.”)

Another word that’s used to substitute pero as a colloquial term is kaso.

  • Hinabol kita kaso ambilis mo. (“I tried to run after you, but you were too fast.”)

7. At iba pa… (More beginner words)

Filipino grammar does not use auxiliary verbs like the ones we’re accustomed to in English. However, there are several words in Tagalog (called “linkers”) necessary for connecting thoughts.

na, ng, and g

We’ve already talked about how ng, na, and g are used with adjectives. These three linkers are also used with Filipino adverbs.

  • Natulog siya na gutom. (“He slept with an empty stomach.”)
  • Tumakbo siya ng mabilis. (“He ran fast.”)
  • Naglarong mag-isa ang bata. (“The child played alone.”)

ang and si

The words ang and si are among the most basic markers in Filipino grammar. The ang marker is used to point out a word as the focus of a sentence.

  • Guro ang babae. (“The woman is a teacher.”)
  • Magaling ang estudyante. (“The student is good.”)
  • Nasa labas ang kotse. (“The car is outside.”)

The marker si, on the other hand, is used to indicate the name of a person as the focus.

  • Guro si Rodel sa UP. (“Rodel is a teacher at UP.”)
  • Estudyante si Ace sa Ateneo. (“Ace is a student at Ateneo.”)
  • Si Andrew ang nagmamaneho ng kotse. (“Andrew is the one driving the car.”)

The marker si becomes sina if the subject is plural.

  • Nag-aaral sina Emily and Jonas. (“Emily and Jonas are studying.”)
  • Aalis na sina Jordan at yung kaibigan niya. (“Jordan and his friend are leaving.”)
  • Nakarating na sina mama at papa ng Maynila. (“Mom and Dad have arrived in Manila.”)


The Tagalog particle mga is one of the most useful basic Filipino words to learn. In English grammar, the pluralization of words means either adding -s or –es to the end of a word, changing the spelling of the word altogether, or retaining its original spelling. In Tagalog, the only way you can transform a word into its plural form is by adding mga before it. 

  • mga tao (“people”)
  • mga kamay (“hands”)
  • mga bahay (“houses”)

There are cases when the number of the noun is understood from the context, and mga is not necessary.

  • Kumakain ba ng gulay? (“Do you eat vegetables?”)
  • Maraming basura sa daan. (“There’s a lot of trash on the road.”)
  • Magpunas ka ng paa. (“Wipe your feet.”)

A Guy Running in the Forest

Hinabol kita, kaso ambilis mo. (“I tried to run after you, but you were too fast.”)

8. Catch More Filipino Beginner Words at!

Today, you’ve learned some of the most useful Tagalog beginner words! If you feel that we’ve missed anything, or if there are other basic words you want us to cover next time, do let us know in the comments section.

Before you leave, don’t forget to check out other articles and Filipino lessons for beginners here at You’ll be happy to find out that there are more resources like this blog post that can help you build your vocabulary and practice your Filipino grammar skills.

Here at FilipinoPod101, our goal is to make learning the Tagalog language a lot easier and more convenient for you. For example, our MyTeacher service for Premium PLUS members allows you to have 1-on-1 lessons with a Filipino teacher. 

So, what are you waiting for? Sign up now and begin your journey to Filipino language fluency!

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The Most Common Filipino Filler Words


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

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

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

A Woman in a Wedding Dress Looking Concerned

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. A List of Filipino Filler Words

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


Filler WordLiterallyEnglish Equivalent

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

One Schoolgirl Whispering Something in Another Schoolgirl’s Ear

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


Filler WordLiterallyEnglish Equivalent
Kuwan“That thing”“Uhm”

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


Filler WordLiterallyEnglish Equivalent

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

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

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

A Woman Making an Arrogant Face and being Snobby

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


Filler WordLiterallyEnglish Equivalent

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

It can also indicate sarcasm: 

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


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

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

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

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

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

3. Should you use filler words?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2 – Filler words can unnecessarily lengthen your sentences.

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

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

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

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

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

4. Learn About Filipino Filler Words and More at!

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

A Statue of Cupid

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Gusto kita. / “I like you.” 

He can also say:

Type kita. / “You’re my type.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If the woman was interested, she would say:

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

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

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

Asian Coworkers Chatting with Each Other After Work

“Hi, I’m Will. God’s will.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Man Whispering Something in a Woman’s Ear

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4. Filipino Endearment Terms

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

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

O irog dinig mo ba
Ang pagtibok ng aking puso?

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

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

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

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

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

5. Must-know Filipino Love Quotes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Man and Woman Having Drinks on a Date

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

6. Learn More Important Tagalog Phrases with FilipinoPod101!

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

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

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

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

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Ultimate Guide to Tagalog Negation: Saying No in Filipino


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

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

You’ll learn…

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

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

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

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

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

1. Filipino Negation: The Basics

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

1 – Hindi 

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

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

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

2 – Wala

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

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

There are a few ways you can respond to this:

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

3 – Huwag

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

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

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

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

2. Negating a Sentence in Filipino

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s take a look at another example:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Therapist Comforting an Upset Client

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

3. Giving a Negative Response to a Question

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

For instance, when you’re asked, 

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

You respond with, 

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

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

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

Or, when you’re asked, 

  • Sa iyo ba ito? (“Is this yours?”)

You could answer by saying, 

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

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

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

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

You could answer this question by saying, 

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

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

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

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

A Waitress Serving a Couple Salad

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

    Learn how to refuse politely with this lesson from FilipinoPod101.

4. More Negating Filipino Words and Phrases

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

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

1 – Hindi pa

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

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

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

2 – Walang may

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

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

3 – Hindi kailanman

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

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

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

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

Or at the beginning,

  • Kailanman ay hindi sila nagkalayo.

4 – Hindi maaari / Hindi pwede

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

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

5 – Ayaw na / Hindi na

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

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

6 – Wala na

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

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

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

7 – Hinding-hindi

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

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

8 – Ayaw na ayaw

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

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

9 – Huwag na huwag

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

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

A Little Girl Whispering Something to an Older Girl

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

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

Learn About Filipino Negation and Much More with FilipinoPod101

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

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

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

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

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

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Why learn Tagalog? Here are 10 compelling reasons.


Why learn Tagalog or Filipino when there are other languages to choose from? If you’re studying Tagalog as a second language, there’s a chance that you’ve been asked this question once or twice. But even if you’re still in the process of deciding whether to study Tagalog or not, this is a valid question to ask yourself.

Is the Filipino language so significant that you should spend more than 1000 hours to learn and master it? As a Filipino, I would say that our language may not be too sophisticated, but there are more reasons to study it than you could think of. From widening your professional network to making new friends or finding more opportunities for romance, there are just so many reasons for you to consider it.

In this blog post, we’ll talk about the top 10 reasons why it makes sense to study the language of the Pearl of the Orient Seas. You’ll soon find out why knowing how to speak one of the most dynamic languages in the world is worthy of your passion!

A Man Studying Late at Night with Coffee

Is Filipino so significant that you should spend 1000 hours studying it? Absolutely!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Filipino Table of Contents
  1. The Philippines is rich in culture and beauty.
  2. Filipino is an interesting language to learn.
  3. It will deepen your connection with the Filipino people.
  4. It’s a stepping stone to learning more languages!
  5. Filipinos are all over the world!
  6. The Philippines is one of Asia’s hottest tourist destinations.
  7. Learning Tagalog will open up more opportunities for you.
  8. Learning a new language has many self-improvement benefits.
  9. You’ll have something to pass on to the next generation.
  10. Filipino / Tagalog is not that difficult to learn.
  11. Learning Filipino is Easier and More Fun with FilipinoPod101!

1. The Philippines is rich in culture and beauty.

Filipino is the national language of the Philippines, and it’s spoken by 45 million people. This is more than enough reason to learn the Filipino language. But besides the fact that Filipino is widely spoken worldwide, a more important reason to learn the language is that those who speak it belong to a country that’s rich in culture and beauty.

That said, the Philippine culture is worthy of your time and attention. Studying it is enriching, and being able to understand and speak the Filipino language will further improve your experience as you explore the history of the Philippines.

The Filipino culture is a fascinating one. Of all the peoples in the world, Filipinos are known to be among the most resilient—if not the most resilient. They always manage to rise above obstacles; even when faced with the most difficult of challenges, they always pick themselves up and move on.

Filipinos also hold tradition and heritage in high regard. Family life is especially important. Special occasions, such as festivals, reunions, or birthday celebrations should never be missed.

If you want to study Philippine culture, knowing even just basic Tagalog can be very useful in understanding the history, customs, and traditions of the Filipino people.

2. Filipino is an interesting language to learn.

The diversity of the Philippines as a culture makes its language very interesting to learn. For example, the Filipino language actually developed through a complex process. What does this mean? If you don’t know it already, Filipino/Tagalog is not a pure language. That’s because the Filipino race is made up of various ethnic groups, each influencing the national language in some way. 

Even the early ancestors of the Filipinos were not originally from the archipelago, but were Negritos from Asia who arrived in the country through land bridges. These people had their own language, but they later adopted the language of other races who also came to settle in the Philippines from neighboring countries. 

Moreover, as part of the Austronesian family of languages, the Filipino language has been influenced by Malay, Indonesian, Sanskrit, Chinese, and many others. Its development was also significantly impacted by the Spanish colonization of the Philippines, as well as the arrival of the Americans and the Japanese. And for those who love to study languages and their origins, this collection of facts should be an exciting reason to study Filipino!

3. It will deepen your connection with the Filipino people.

There’s a huge chance that you know someone who’s Filipino, whether it’s a colleague, a friend, a romantic partner, or even a relative. (Who knows, you may even have Filipino blood flowing in your veins!) Learning the language will definitely help take your relationships with these people to a deeper level. 

As you might know already, language is our superpower. It’s the key to the success of the human species. It’s the key to the effectiveness of any relationship. In a way, it’s because of language that we are who we are. 

When you speak the same language as the people you’re communicating with, the connection goes beyond simply being able to understand each other. When you’re a foreigner and you speak to a Filipino in his or her language, you’re acknowledging that person’s uniqueness. And that leaves a lasting impression that helps strengthen your bond with them.

One of the things you’ll surely appreciate when you visit the Philippines is the hospitality of the Filipino people. In particular, you’ll find the older generation to be the best people to talk to. Talking with the lolos and lolas (elders) will surely be an enriching experience for you. They’re the ones who have lived through many of the historical changes in the country, and they won’t hesitate to share with you all their amazing encounters from the past several decades!

An Old Asian Couple

Talking to the lolos and lolas will surely be an enriching experience for you!

4. It’s a stepping stone to learning more languages!

Tagalog is a bit more difficult to learn than French or Italian. In one of our blog posts, we mentioned that it takes a total of 1100 hours to learn and master the language, so once you master it, there’s no stopping you from learning more languages—even the more difficult ones! 

In that sense, it will help boost your confidence. If you were able to overcome the complexity of Tagalog verb conjugation or the pronunciation difficulties posed by some Tagalog words, what could stop you from learning other languages?

5. Filipinos are all over the world!

The Philippines has a population of 110 million people, 10 million of which currently live outside the country either as immigrants or overseas contract workers. A great reason as to why you should learn Tagalog is that doing so will help you communicate with Filipinos all around the world. 

There’s just no denying that Filipinos are everywhere. You go to work, and one or two of your colleagues or higher-ups are Filipinos. You attend the church service on Sunday and many of the attendees are Filipinos. You probably know this already, but Filipinos are very religious and won’t miss the opportunity to be at church on a Sunday. You’ll also find them in the park or the children’s playground. You’ll find them in the malls and on the street. The guy next door may even be a Filipino! 

So, if you come to think of it, there’s always that chance you’re going to have to communicate with a Filipino on a daily basis—no matter which part of the world you’re in. And while most Filipinos are good communicators in English and could easily learn any language or dialect, it would be great if you could speak and understand Tagalog yourself and be able to communicate with them in their own language.

6. The Philippines is one of Asia’s hottest tourist destinations.

There’s no question that the Philippines is one of the best tourist spots in the world. I have no doubt that it’s even on your bucket list! Learning the language of the locals will help you get the most out of your experience as you visit the country as a tourist. 

Of course, it’s possible to enjoy your tour of the country while speaking only English since most Filipinos understand the language. In fact, aside from the beautiful beaches, awesome surfing spots, and mesmerizing tourist attractions, one of the reasons many foreigners love visiting the country is that they can get by with English alone. If you want to make a lasting impression, though, you’ll want to invest time in learning Tagalog, even if it’s just the basics.

You’ll also have a more convenient time getting around if you know Tagalog. When riding the jeepney, for instance, you won’t have to wonder what bayad (fare), sukli (change), or para (stop) means. You’ll also amaze the locals with your Tagalog speaking skills as you converse with them, whether that’s asking them for directions or telling them how beautiful the Philippines is!

A Guy Surfing

With over 7,000 islands and a coastline of 36,279 km, the Philippines is home to some of the best surfing spots in the world!

7. Learning Tagalog will open up more opportunities for you.

Whether it’s getting a job, being promoted at work, finding more business partners, or even making new friends, more doors will open for you in the Philippines if you can speak Tagalog well. The Philippines may be a developing country and the work system may not be as efficient compared to that of other countries. However, the main advantage of working here is that the cost of living is generally low. In fact, that’s one of the reasons many foreigners decide to live, study, or work in the Philippines.

You could already live comfortably in many cities within the archipelago on $800 a month. And yes, it’s possible to earn more than that here in the country if you know which opportunities to take advantage of. And knowing how to speak Filipino is definitely one way to open more doors for you!

8. Learning a new language has many self-improvement benefits.

Aside from simply being able to understand and speak a new language, learning a language other than your native tongue can bring many self-improvement benefits.

A- You will become a better listener.

Anyone can easily express what they feel with words, but not everyone has the skill to listen. And listening is a very important life skill. If you want to have an authentic connection with another person, for instance, you’ll want to learn how to listen without interrupting. One way you can develop that skill is by learning a new language. When doing so, you have no choice but to master the art of listening, as listening is important if you want to master the accent, tone, and pronunciation of a word. 

B- Your creativity will improve.

Learning a new language is a lot like piecing a puzzle together. When you’re just starting, you may be able to understand several words—but not all—and this forces you to be more creative with your approach. It’s not a surprise that a particular study shows bilinguals think outside the box more than monolinguals do.

A Group of Friends Having Dinner and Drinks Together

Learning a new language can make you a better listener.

C- You will learn things faster.

No mental training is superior to learning a new language. It stretches your cognitive agility to the limit, and without a doubt, this form of mental exercise can do more for your brain than you know. It improves your memory retention, helps your brain absorb information better, enhances your focus, and helps significantly reduce your learning curve. That’s because language learning forces your brain to take in fresh information and not simply re-learn something that you already know.

D- You will be more self-confident.

I mentioned earlier that learning Tagalog will increase your self-confidence when it comes to learning more languages. And that translates to other areas of your life, too! Learning a language means dealing with obstacles  and problems you’ve never faced before. This develops within you a mental toughness that will help get you through any life challenges you may encounter in the future.

9. You’ll have something to pass on to the next generation.

One of the most important benefits of learning Tagalog is that it gives you a legacy to pass on to the next generation. This is especially true if you’re a Filipino who was born and raised outside of the Philippines and would like to rediscover your heritage. Yes, there are millions of Filipinos living outside the Philippines, but many of them wouldn’t know how to respond to Kumusta ka? (“How are you?”)

But then, there’s more to passing on the heritage of the Filipino language to your children than simply making sure they know how to speak their nation’s language. By learning Filipino and teaching it to the future generation, you’re also standing up for what your ancestors fought for. Men like Dr. Jose Rizal shed ink and blood to preserve the Filipino identity. If not for brave heroes like him, the Filipinos wouldn’t be enjoying the freedom they have now. And remember: If not for men like him, who knows what the national language of the Philippines would be?

10. Filipino / Tagalog is not that difficult to learn.

This isn’t to say that Filipino is easy to master. But it is easier to learn compared to some languages, especially if English is your first language. Some sources rank Tagalog as the tenth easiest Asian language to master, making it easier than Thai, Korean, Mandarin, and Japanese. Here are some reasons why you won’t have a difficult time learning Filipino:

  • Filipino uses the Latin script.
    The modern Filipino alphabet is composed of 28 letters, and this includes all 26 letters of the ISO basic Latin alphabet. The Spanish Ñ and the digraph Ng make up the two additional letters. And in case you’re wondering, the five vowel sounds are pretty much the same as in English, and there are only 16 consonant sounds in contrast to the 21 in English.
  • The words are pronounced the way they’re spelled. 
    This is one of the best aspects of the Filipino language. It’s a phonetic language, so learning how words are pronounced won’t really involve a lot of tongue-twisting on your part.
  • Most Filipino words have a direct equivalent in English and other languages.
    This makes learning vocabulary very simple. Yes, there are a few words here and there that are unique to the Filipino language, but most words have an equivalent in English. Add to that the fact that many Filipino words have been borrowed from more than a dozen other languages.
  • Filipino word order / sentence structure is flexible.
    Filipino follows the V-S-O (Verb – Subject – Object) word order, but what makes it unique is that there are up to six ways you can write or say a specific sentence while still conveying the same meaning.

Verb conjugation may be a little bit trickier, but at the end of the day, learning all these things is much like learning how to drive or play a sport. It may be challenging at first, but the more you practice, the more you’ll get used to it—and before you know it, it’s become second nature to you!

Four Kids Playing with Bubbles and Laying in the Grass

Learning Filipino gives you an opportunity to pass on a legacy to the next generation.

11. Learning Filipino is Easier and More Fun with FilipinoPod101!

I was serious when I said learning Filipino is not that difficult. Things can get even easier if you have someone to help you with your journey of studying and mastering the language of the Philippines. 

You’ve probably come across many language learning systems and are wondering where to learn Tagalog online for the best experience. I can reassure you that you’ve never found anything quite like FilipinoPod101. With us, you can make your Tagalog learning experience easier and a lot more exciting! 

Start by signing up for a free account today. Once you’re in, you’ll gain access to a wide range of free resources you can use to start your learning journey. This is in addition to other useful tools, such as a Filipino dictionary, lists of Tagalog vocabulary, and various lessons like those found on our blog page.

One reason we’re confident to say that learning Filipino is easy and that you should start today is that FilipinoPod101 offers a special Premium PLUS feature: MyTeacher. With MyTeacher, you can learn the Filipino language through a guided learning system where you’ll have one-on-one interaction with a real Filipino teacher. This means you’ll constantly be receiving guidance and feedback, making sure you’re always leveling up!

I hope you enjoyed this post on why you should learn Tagalog. Don’t hesitate to let us know what you think by dropping your thoughts in the comments section! Cheers!

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Learn the Different Tenses in Filipino Here!


Grammatical tense is an important tool that helps us express time as it relates to actions or states of being. As such, mastering the different tenses in Filipino will help you establish effective communication in both written and oral forms. 

The challenge when it comes to Filipino grammar, though, is that the tenses are quite dissimilar from those found in English. As you might imagine, learning Filipino verb conjugation can be quite a formidable task! 

The good news is that there’s a systematic way to study and master the different verb tenses in Filipino. We already have a post about Tagalog verb conjugation that you might want to go through, but we’re going to touch on that a bit here, as well. 

First, let’s give you a brief introduction to the different Filipino tenses.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Filipino Table of Contents
  1. Introduction to Tenses in Filipino
  2. The Present Tense
  3. Past Tense
  4. Future Tense
  5. Verb Conjugation and Auxiliary Verbs Summary
  6. Learn More Than Just Verb Tenses with FilipinoPod101!

1. Introduction to Tenses in Filipino

If you’ve been following our blog, you’ve probably read a few times that conjugating Filipino verbs can be a bit more complex than conjugating, let’s say, English verbs. Again, that’s because Filipino verb conjugation is not limited to conjugating verbs based on tense. In Filipino grammar, verbs are also conjugated based on their focus, mood, and aspect. 

We’re not going to deal with those other factors in this post, however. Today, we’ll simply deal with tenses. 

There are three major verb tenses in Filipino: 

  • Past
  • Present
  • Future

At first glance, it would seem that Filipino tenses are just the same as English tenses. You might be tempted to think that translating an English verb in either of the three tenses would give you its equivalent in Filipino. However, that’s not always the case because it depends on the word you’re conjugating. We’ll get into that as we move forward.

Now, let’s get into the first verb tense in Filipino.

2. The Present Tense

The present tense, or kasalukuyan in Tagalog, is a tense expressing an action that’s being done at the moment. It can also be used to express an action done habitually.

In English grammar, there are four aspects of the present tense. However, this is not the case in Filipino. 

One thing you need to understand about Tagalog verb conjugation is that Tagalog verbs are conjugated through the use of affixes (panlapi). In our article on Tagalog verb conjugation, we discussed that Tagalog verbs are grouped based on how they’re conjugated and named based on the affix used to conjugate them.

We have: 

  • MAG verbs
  • MA verbs
  • UM verbs
  • IN verbs
  • I verbs

In the present tense, a verb can be conjugated using the affix nag, na, um, in, or i depending on the root word.

Root VerbPresent Tense
(actor focus)
Nag-aaral ako ng Pilipino. 
“I am studying Filipino.”
(actor focus)
Kumakain ako ngayon. 
“I am eating right now.”
(actor focus)
Nakikinig si Kurt ng balita. 
“Kurt is listening to the news.”
(object focus)
Binibigay niya sa akin ang kanyang sweldo. 
“He gives me his salary.”
(object focus)
Isinusulong ng gobyerno ang paggamit ng face mask sa pampublikong lugar. 
“The use of face masks in public is being promoted by the government.”

While there are no direct equivalents of the four English present tense aspects in Filipino, it’s possible to translate verbs in these aspects to Filipino. Refer to the examples below:

Simple PresentI study Filipino. Nag-aaral ako ng Pilipino.
Present ContinuousI am studying Filipino.Nag-aaral ako ng Pilipino.
Present PerfectI have studied Filipino.Nakapag-aral ako ng Pilipino.
Present Perfect ContinuousI have been studying Filipino (for two years now).Nag-aaral ako ng Pilipino (ng mga dalawang taon na).

Notice that the verbs in the examples above are in actor focus. Things change when the verbs are in object focus. For instance, the simple present tense “I study Filipino,” will become Inaaral ko ang Pilipino, which is in the continuous tense.

Someone Handing Over a $100 Bill

Binibigay niya sa akin ang kanyang sweldo. (“He gives me his salary.”)

    Knowing the basic sentence structure of the Filipino language is important in learning how to conjugate Tagalog verbs.

3. Past Tense

The past tense (nagdaan) is a tense expressing an action that took place in the past. 

A verb can be conjugated in the past tense using the affix nag, na, um, in, or i depending on the root word.

Root VerbPast Tense
(actor focus)
Nag-aral ako ng Pilipino. 
“I studied Filipino.”
(actor focus)
Nakinig siya ng audio lesson. 
“He listened to an audio lesson.”
(actor focus)
Kumain ako kaninang umaga. 
“I ate this morning.”
(object focus)
Binigay niya sa akin ang kanyang sweldo. 
“He gave me his salary.”
(object focus)
Inihinto na ang proyekto. 
“The project was stopped.”

English grammar has four aspects of the past tense, none of which have a direct equivalent in the Filipino language. However, it’s possible to translate verbs in these tenses to Filipino. Refer to the examples below:

Simple PastI studied Filipino. Nag-aral ako ng Pilipino.
Past ContinuousI was studying when she called.Nag-aaral ako ng tumawag siya.
Past PerfectI had studied Filipino before we decided to move to the Philippines.Nakapag-aral ako ng Pilipino bago kami nagdesisyon na lumipat sa Pilipinas.
Past Perfect ContinuousI had been studying Filipino (for two years already when we met).Nag-aaral ako ng Pilipino (ng mga dalawang taon na noong magkakilala kami).

Notice that the form of the sentences in the present perfect and past perfect are similar in Filipino grammar. In English, the distinction between the two would be in the form of the verb “to have,” which is “have” or “has” in present perfect and “had” in past perfect. The past perfect will also have a clause for the second action, prior to which the first action had been completed.

In Filipino, there is no equivalent for the verb “to have,” so you can identify the past perfect via the clause describing the second action in the sentence, which only appears in this form of the past tense.

A Baby Being Fed Baby Food

Kumain ako kaninang umaga. (“I ate this morning.”)

4. Future Tense

Similar to the future tense in English, the Filipino future tense (hinaharap) expresses an action or event that is yet to happen or be completed.

A verb can be conjugated in the future tense using the affixes mag, ma, in, and i. However, there are instances when an affix is not added, but the first syllable of the word is repeated instead. Take, for example, the verb punta (go): it becomes pupunta (will go) in the future tense.

Root VerbFuture Tense
(actor focus)
Mag-aaral ako ng Pilipino. 
“I will study Filipino.”
(actor focus)
Makikinig siya ng audio lesson. 
“She will listen to an audio lesson.”
(actor focus)
Kakain ako mamaya. 
“I will eat later.”
(object focus)
Ibibigay niya sa akin ang kanyang sweldo. 
“He will give me his salary.”
(object focus)
Ipapaliwanag din ang lahat. 
“Everything will eventually be explained.”

Now, let’s see how we can translate Tagalog verbs in the future tense to the four types of English future tenses.

Simple FutureI will study Filipino. Mag-aaral ako ng Pilipino.
Future ContinuousI will be studying Filipino.Mag-aaral ako ng Pilipino.
Future PerfectI will have studied by that time.Nakakapag-aral na ako sa mga panahon na ‘yan.
Future Perfect ContinuousI will have been studying here in the Philippines for five years in 2022.Nakapag-aral na ako dito sa Pilipinas ng limang taon pagdating ng 2022.

A Woman Listening to Something with Headphones

Makikinig siya ng audio lesson. (“She will listen to an audio lesson.”)

5. Verb Conjugation and Auxiliary Verbs Summary

We already have an entire blog post dedicated to Tagalog verb conjugation, but since we’re talking about tenses, let’s take this opportunity to learn just a little bit about how to conjugate verbs in Filipino. 

In English grammar, verbs are conjugated not only based on tense but also based on six different persons. This is not the case with Tagalog verbs. 

Each verb in Tagalog belongs to a group (as described earlier in this article), and this group plays a role in how the verb is conjugated. We discuss this in great detail in our verb conjugation article, so for now, we’ll focus more on how verbs conjugate for each tense. 

1 – Conjugating Tagalog Verbs in the Present Tense

In one of our examples, we used the word aral, or “study,” and its present tense form nag-aaral. We can conjugate the root verb in the present tense by reduplicating the first syllable of the root verb and then attaching the prefix nag before it. Thus, aral becomes nag-aaral. Please note that some verbs take the hyphen when conjugated, although there aren’t many of these verbs. Now, let’s take a look at more examples:

turo (teach)nagtuturo (teaching)
sulat (write)nagsusulat (writing)
pahinga (rest)nagpapahinga (resting)

Now, to conjugate in the present tense using the affix na, simply reduplicate the first syllable of the root verb and attach na before the newly formed word: 

nood (watch)nanonood (watching)
tulog (sleep)natutulog (sleeping)
buhay (live)nabubuhay (living)

Remember that some actor focus verbs in the present tense also use the affix um, such as in the word kumakain (eating). In this case, we reduplicate the first syllable and insert the affix um after the first letter of the newly formed word. Thus, kain becomes kumakain. Here are more examples:

hinga (breathe)humihinga (breathing)
tayo (stand)tumatayo (standing)
talon (jump)tumatalon (jumping)

We also conjugate verbs in the present tense using the affix in, particularly when the verb is in object focus. We used the word binibigay (giving) in one of our examples. To conjugate it, we reduplicated the first syllable and inserted the affix in before the root verb. Thus, bigay became binibigay. Here are more examples:

tawag (call)tinatawag (calling)
sabi (say)sinasabi (saying)
putol (cut)pinuputol (cutting)

Verbs in the present tense using the affix i are a bit tricky since there’s no clear formula involved. What’s clear, though, is that the affix is found at the beginning of the word and the first syllable of some words is reduplicated. Also, the words using this affix are object focus verbs. Study the following words to see what we mean:

pakilala (introduce)ipinapakilala (being introduced)
pahayag (declare)ipinapahayag (being declared)
bunyi (celebrate)ipinagbubunyi (being celebrated)

2 – Conjugating Tagalog Verbs in the Past Tense

Now, let’s take a look at some rules for conjugating Filipino verbs in the past tense. Just like the present tense, the past tense uses the affixes nag, na, um, in, and i.

To conjugate a verb in the past tense using nag, we simply attach the affix to the root verb. The word aral, for instance, becomes nag-aral. Some words receive the hyphen during conjugation, and aral is one of them. Let’s check out more examples below:

turo (teach)nagturo (taught)
sulat (write)nagsulat (wrote)
pahinga (rest)nagpahinga (rested)

We can also use the affix na to conjugate in the past tense. To do this, we simply add it to the beginning of the root verb. Take a look at the following examples:

nood (watch)nanood (watched)
tulog (sleep)natulog (slept)
buhay (live)nabuhay (lived)

The rule is the same when conjugating in the past tense using the affix um. Refer to the table below:

hinga (breathe)huminga (breathed)
tayo (stand)tumayo (stood)
talon (jump)tumalon (jumped)

The rule for using the affix in when conjugating in the past tense is similar to that for the present tense, only this time, the first syllable is not reduplicated.

tawag (call)tinawag (called)
sabi (say)sinabi (said)
putol (cut)pinutol (cut)

This time, let’s take a look at how the past tense is formed using the affix i

pakilala (introduce)ipinakilala (was introduced)
pahayag (declare)ipinahayag (was declared)
bunyi (celebrate)ipinagbunyi (was celebrated)

3 – Conjugating Tagalog Verbs in the Future Tense

The future tense is the easiest of the three to conjugate. As mentioned, we conjugate Tagalog verbs in the future tense using the affixes mag, ma, in, and i

To conjugate using the affix mag, what we do is reduplicate the first syllable of the root verb and add mag to the beginning. Let’s see how we can do that with our previous examples:

turo (teach)magtuturo (will teach)
sulat (write)magsusulat (will write)
pahinga (rest)magpapahinga (will rest)

The rule for conjugating in the future tense using the affix ma is pretty much the same. Observe the following examples:

nood (watch)manonood (will watch)
tulog (sleep)matutulog (will sleep)
buhay (live)mabubuhay (will live)

Now, to conjugate verbs in the future tense using the affix in, we simply reduplicate the first syllable of the root verb and attach in to the end of the word. 

tawag (call)tatawagin (will call)
sabi (say)sasabihin (will say)
putol (cut)puputulin (will cut)

In some cases, hin is used instead of in, such as in the case of sabi in the example above. The same is true for the root verb basa (read), which becomes babasahin in the future tense.

Finally, let’s conjugate in the future tense using the affix i. Here are some examples:

pakilala (introduce)ipakikilala (will be introduced)
pahayag (declare)ipapahayag (will be declared)
bunyi (celebrate)ipagbubunyi (will be celebrated)

And one more thing: Filipino sentences do not make use of auxiliary verbs. It’s long been taught that ay is a form of the copula “to be,” but we know now that this is not the case. Based on recent sources, it’s more like a replacement for a slight pause. When looking at direct translations, however, it would seem that ay is the equivalent of the verb “is,” such as in the following sentence:

  • Si Loisa ay nag-aaral ng Pilipino.
    “Loisa is studying Filipino.”

A Woman being Recognized in Front of People in a Business Meeting

Ipakikilala na siya bilang bagong presidente ng kumpanya.
(“She will finally be introduced as the new company president.”)

6. Learn More Than Just Verb Tenses with FilipinoPod101!

In this lesson, we’ve discussed the importance of studying the three main tenses of verbs in the Filipino language. We’ve also learned that conjugating Tagalog verbs is a bit different from conjugating verbs in English. We understand if this is quite overwhelming at first, but then that’s where FilipinoPod101 comes in. 

FilipinoPod101 uses a unique style of teaching Filipino grammar, allowing you to learn Filipino through a variety of lessons not limited to reading materials, audio lessons, and video classes. FilipinoPod101 provides free learning resources for anyone who’s starting their journey in learning the language of the Philippines. 

If you sign up today, you’ll gain access to these resources and more! Of course, there’s also the MyTeacher service for Premium PLUS members; this allows you to receive one-on-one lessons and non-stop feedback from a native Filipino-speaking teacher through your smartphone or tablet via our app. 

So, how was this lesson on Filipino verb tenses? Let us know in the comments section!

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