Dialogue - Filipino



ibigin to like, to love, to want
ako I, me
ganda pretty; beautiful
ka you
mo you, by you
alam to know, to be aware of, to understand
Salamat Thanks (informal)
mahal love, dear

Lesson Notes



The focus of this lesson is saying, "I love you," in Filipino.
Oo, Jack mahal kita.
"Yes, Jack, I love you."


The phrase used to say, "I love you," in Filipino is mahal kita. The first word, mahal, means "love," while the second word, kita, means "you." There are other words we can substitute for the word mahal, depending on the intensity of the feeling that a person has.

In all there are three common phrases used to express love in Filipino. The first is the general phrase we already discussed, which is mahal kita. The phrase iniibig kita is also used to express feelings of love. The first word, iniibig, also means "love" but at a deeper level or intensity. The third phrase that is commonly used is gusto kita, where the first word gusto means "like" or "want" in English, and so the phrase is often translated as, "I like you," instead of, "I love you."


Gender and Usage



The phrases Filipinos use to express romantic feelings have no limitations according to gender usage. Both women and men can use the same phrases to express their feelings. The phrases mahal kita and gusto kita are also not limited to expressing romantic feeling to another person but can also be used to express fondness for friends or love for family and relatives.


Usage in Questions

We use the same phrases to ask the feelings of another person, but we add a few words to make it a question. We can say Mahal mo ba ako? to ask, "Do you love me?" The general pattern that we use is Mahal mo ba + [pronoun]. We can substitute pronouns like ako, which means "I," into our pattern to point the action toward the speaker. For instance, to ask, "Do you love me?" in Filipino, we say, Mahal mo ba ako? Likewise, if we want to ask a person's feelings toward another person, we'll substitute the pronoun siya, which means "he" or "she," into our question pattern. Thus, we can ask, "Do you love him?" by saying, Mahal mo ba siya?

We can also replace the Filipino word mahal with the other two words used to express feelings of love: iniibig and gusto. Thus, we'll say, Gusto mo ba ako? to ask if the other person likes us or not. That's translated as, "Do you like me?"

For example:

  1. Ana, mahal kita.
    "Ana, I love you."
  2. Ben, gusto kita.
    "Ben, I like you."
  3. Sarah, iniibig kita.
    "Sarah, I love you."
  4. Ivan, gusto mo ba ako?
    "Ivan, do you love me?"

Examples from this dialogue:

  1. Bea, mahal mo ba ako?
    "Bea, do you love me?"
  2. Oo Jack, mahal kita.
    "Yes, Jack, I love you."
  3. Iniibig kita Bea.
    "I love you, Bea."


Sample Sentences


  1. Ate, gusto mo ba siya?
    "Sister, do you like him?"
  2. Inay, mahal mo ba ako?
    "Mother, do you love me?"


Using Names of People


We can also use the names of people in our phrase to express "I love you" in Filipino. We can either put the name of the person before or after our phrase mahal kita. For example, if we want to tell our father that we love him, we simply say, Itay, mahal kita or Mahal kita Itay.

Likewise, we can do the same for questions. For instance, we can say, Ted gusto mo ba ako? or Gusto mo ba ako Ted? to express, "Ted, do you like me?" in Filipino.

In addition, if we're going to ask another person about their feeling toward a third person, we can include their names in the question phrase. For instance, if we want to be more specific in our question, Mahal mo ba siya?, which translates as, "Do you love him?" and specify the name of the person, we can replace the pronoun siya that means "you" with si + [name of the person]. For example, the question, "Do you love Harry?" will be translated into Filipino as, Mahal mo ba si Harry?

On the other hand, if we want to replace the pronoun siya with a noun other than the name of the person, for example, to state his or her relationship to the person we are talking to, we can use ang + [noun that describes their relationship] + mo. For example, we can translate the question, "Do you love your parents?" as, Mahal mo ba ang mga magulang mo?, with the word mga magulang meaning parents. Likewise, we can replace the word mo, which means "you" or "your," with other pronouns and names of people, depending on the relationship of the people. As an example, we can say, "Do you like her cousin?" in Filipino as, Gusto mo ba ang pinsan niya?, with pinsan meaning "cousin" and niya referring to "her."

Cultural Insights

Dating in the Philippines

The Philippines has a unique way of doing courtship which they call harana. Harana is the most popular and most common form of courtship in the country. Harana is the term used to describe the action that the boy does when courting the girl he likes. A harana is done by the boy singing a romantic love song outside the house of the girl he is courting. Traditionally, a guitar is used to accompany the song that is sung in harana. In most cases, the boy will also bring his other male friends with him as backup singers or guitar players to help him gain confidence and eventually win the heart of the girl he is courting. In most cases, after the boy has finished singing, the girl will give a response to the boy by singing a song or offering a short reply to his harana.



Lesson Transcript

Ice: Hi everyone, and welcome to FilipinoPod101.com.
Brandon: This is Lower Beginner, season 1, lesson 1 - Confessing Your Love in Filipino. I’m Brandon.
Ice: Hello. And I’m Ice. In this lesson, you’ll learn how to say "I love you." in Filipino.
Brandon: That could come in handy!
Ice: Definitely! The conversation in this lesson is between a couple.
Brandon: The speakers are close, so they will be using informal Filipino. Let’s listen to the conversation.
Jack: Bea, ang ganda mo ngayon.
Bea: Salamat Jack.
Jack: Bea, mahal mo ba ako?
Bea: Oo Jack. Mahal kita.
Jack: Iniibig kita Bea.
Bea: Alam ko.
English Host: Let’s hear the conversation one time slowly.
Jack: Bea, ang ganda mo ngayon.
Bea: Salamat Jack.
Jack: Bea, mahal mo ba ako?
Bea: Oo Jack. Mahal kita.
Jack: Iniibig kita Bea.
Bea: Alam ko.
English Host: Now let’s hear it with the English translation.
Jack: Bea, ang ganda mo ngayon.
Brandon: Bea, you’re beautiful today.
Bea: Salamat Jack.
Brandon: Thank you, Jack.
Jack: Bea, mahal mo ba ako?
Brandon: Bea, do you love me?
Bea: Oo Jack. Mahal kita.
Brandon: Yes Jack. I love you.
Jack: Iniibig kita Bea.
Brandon: I love you, Bea.
Bea: Alam ko.
Brandon: I know.
Ice: Let’s learn a little about the culture of the Philippines!
Brandon: Our focus is saying "I love you" in Filipino, so we're going to talk about courtship in the Philippines. Do Filipinos have a unique culture when it comes to courtship?
Ice: Yes, we do, and we call it harana.
Brandon: What’s Harana?
Ice: Well, Harana is a type of courtship where the boy sings a song accompanied by guitar outside the house of the girl that he likes. And he may have his other friends as backup singers or guitar players.
Brandon: That’s very romantic!
Ice: I think so too. Now the best part is that after the song, the girl has to reply to the boy, usually also through a song.
Brandon: I’m guessing that a lot of Filipinos know how to sing, then?
Ice: They do! Filipinos love singing, and that’s the reason why we also use it in courtships.
Brandon: That’s very interesting! Get ready to hear a lot of singing when you visit the Philippines, listeners! Okay, now let’s move on to the vocab.
Brandon: Let's take a look at the vocabulary for this lesson.
: The first word we shall see is:
Ice: ganda [natural native speed]
Brandon: pretty; beautiful
Ice: ganda [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Ice: ganda [natural native speed]
: Next:
Ice: mahal [natural native speed]
Brandon: love, dear
Ice: mahal [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Ice: mahal [natural native speed]
: Next:
Ice: ka [natural native speed]
Brandon: you
Ice: ka [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Ice: ka [natural native speed]
: Next:
Ice: mo [natural native speed]
Brandon: you, by you
Ice: mo [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Ice: mo [natural native speed]
: Next:
Ice: alam [natural native speed]
Brandon: to know, to be aware of, to understand
Ice: alam [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Ice: alam [natural native speed]
: Next:
Ice: ako [natural native speed]
Brandon: I, me
Ice: ako [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Ice: ako [natural native speed]
: Next:
Ice: Salamat [natural native speed]
Brandon: Thanks (informal)
Ice: Salamat [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Ice: Salamat [natural native speed]
: And last:
Ice: ibigin [natural native speed]
Brandon: to like, to love, to want
Ice: ibigin [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Ice: ibigin [natural native speed]
Brandon: Let’s take a closer look at the usage of some of the words and phrases from this lesson.
Ice: First up is Ako.
Brandon: This is a pronoun that means “I”, How's it used?
Ice: Ako is generally used as the subject of the sentence.
Brandon: And both men and women can use it?
Ice: Yes. Ako doesn’t have any gender connotations.
Brandon: Great! Let’s use it in an example.
Ice: Ako ay maganda.
Brandon: That's "I am beautiful" in Filipino. Great what’s the next word.
Ice: Salamat.
Brandon: That's the Filipino word for expressing thanks.
Ice: Yep, and Salamat is one of the most used words in the Filipino language.
Brandon: It's used in both informal and formal situations. Let’s give some examples. First let’s say "Thank you very much" in Filipino.
Ice: Maraming salamat.
Brandon: Great! Now let’s try "Thanks to you".
Ice: Salamat sa iyo.
Brandon: and the last word is…
Ice: ganda
Brandon: Which means "beauty".
Ice: Yes. However, ganda is a noun that's used as a root word.
Brandon: So what words can we form with it?
Ice: When we add the prefix ma- to it, we form the Filipino adjective for "beautiful" which is maganda.
Brandon: Ok, how would we say "Ana is beautiful".
Ice: Si Ana ay maganda
Brandon: All right! Now let’s move onto the grammar.
Ice: In this lesson, you’ll learn how to say "I love you." in Filipino. To do this, we use the phrase mahal kita.
Brandon: Can both men and women use it?
Ice: Yes, everyone can use the phrase mahal kita to express their love for their special someone, their friends, or their parents and relatives.
Brandon: I see. How about asking "Do you love me?"
Ice: Mahal mo ba ako?
Brandon: All right, What about if I want to ask "Do you love him?" or "Do you love her?"
Ice: Mahal mo ba siya?
Brandon: We just changed the last word from the previous phrase, right?
Ice: Yes, and that’s because in the previous example, Mahal mo ba ako?, the last word, ako, means "I" or "me". So the phrase Mahal mo ba ako means "Do you love me?"
Brandon: And what about the second example?
Ice: The word siya means "him" or "her". So when we use Mahal mo ba siya?, it means "Do you love him?" or "Do you love her?"
Brandon: Great! So are there other ways of expressing "I love you." in Filipino?
Ice: Yes there are. We’ll discuss two more. The first one is iniibig kita.
Brandon: Does it mean the same thing?
Ice: Yes, the meaning is still "I love you." However, iniibig kita expresses a deeper love than mahal kita and is rarely used in conversations.
Brandon: Is it the same as "I love you very much"?
Ice: No, not really. "I love you very much" in Filipino is Mahal na mahal kita, while iniibig kita expresses devotion or a higher level of love.
Brandon: I see. So then it’s something like "I adore you"?
Ice: Yes, something like that.
Brandon: Okay, what’s the second one?
Ice: That is gusto kita.
Brandon: This is similar to “I like you” in English. and people use this more often, right?
Ice: Yes, I guess so. Gusto kita is a lot easier to tell someone than mahal kita because of the intensity of the emotions or romantic feeling.
Brandon: That makes sense.
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Brandon: Well, that’s all for this lesson. Listeners, please check out the lesson notes for this lesson for more examples. And if you have any questions or comments, leave them on this lesson’s page at FilipinoPod101.com.
Ice: We’re here to help!
Brandon: In the meantime, thanks for listening, and we’ll see you next time! Bye!
Ice: Paalam!