Useful Filipino Words & Phrases

Although most Filipinos speak English, especially those that work in the tourism industry, it never hurts to know a couple of Tagalog words and phrases. Many locals intermingle English and Tagalog words aka Taglish, and you’ll even hear this on Filipino tv channels.

Pronunciation

There are 5 vowel sounds in Tagalog, and if you speak Spanish or Italian, they should be familiar to you.

  • a – ah sound like in father
  • e – eh sound like in bed
  • i – ee sound like in bee
  • o – oh sound like in cold
  • u – oo sound like in cool

The ng is considered a single letter in the Filipino alphabet, and is pronoucned nga, like in “sing-along” by excluding the “si” and “long.”

Useful Words and Phrases

  • oo (oh oh)/opo (oh poh) – yes
  • hindi/hindi po (heendee) – no
  • kamusta – How are you?
  • salamat/salamat po – thank you
  • walang anuman – you’re welcome
  • paki – please
  • saan ang (sah-ahn-ahng) – Where is the….?
  • meron – Do you have….?
  • gusto ko – I want/I like
  • Pakibaba ang metro – Please turn on the taxi meter.
  • po (poh) – A term of respect, especially to elders, boss, customers, etc. You can finish sentences, even when speaking in English, with this word, and it’s a good idea to always use it. You may find that your restaurant check says, “Salamat (thank you) po!”

Locations

  • CR – bathroom
  • bangko – bank
  • taksi – taxi
  • paliparan – airport
  • bapor – boat
  • bangka – outrigger boat
  • restawran – restaurant

Time

  • ngayon – now
  • mamaya – later
  • kahapon – yesterday
  • bukas – tomorrow
  • nahuli – late (arrival or departure)
  • maaga – early (arrival or departure)

Shopping

  • pera – money
  • magkano (po) – how much?

Food

  • almusal/tanghalian/hapunan – breakfast/lunch/dinner
  • merienda – snack
  • tubig – water
  • kape – coffee
  • baboy – pig
  • manok – chicken
  • baka – beef
  • isda – fish
  • pagkaing-dagat – seafood
  • gulay – vegetables
  • itlog – egg
  • masarap – delicious
  • kumain – eat

*Filipinos say “take out” and not “to go” when taking food to go.

Philippine Kinship

  • kuya – Older brother, but it is a title often used to convey respect and address most males by Filipinos.
  • ate (ah-teh) – Older sister, but it is a title often used to convey respect and address most females by Filipinos.

Other useful words

  • turista – tourist
  • maganda – beautiful
  • ingles – English
  • mas – more
  • pwede – possible?
  • maganda/masama – good/bad
  • malaki/maliit – big/small
  • ito/iyan – this/that
  • dito/diyan – here/there