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Simple Filipino phrases – Tagalog terms  for the Philippine backpacker

Knowing some Filipino phrases can really help you make a positive impact when you visit, knowing just a few important Tagalog words will certainly score you instant brownie points, and will certainly help improve the quality and experience of your backpacking trip to the Philippines.
For many travellers, the Philippines is not as “exotic” as other Asian countries. People wear Western clothes, visit malls, and are mostly Catholics or from Christian-based religions.
Compared to other Asian countries, almost everybody speaks English in the Philippines. It is the language of  government, businesses and schools. Major newspapers and magazines are in English. Movies, music and television are also predominantly English, mostly from America.

The Filipino language basically originated from the Tagalog language — one of the major languages spoken by people from the Tagalog regions in the island of Luzon. It is predominantly spoken in Metro Manila, the national capital of the country.
During the last half century, it has absorbed many foreign expressions, mostly American English and a lot of Filipinos combine Tagalog (Filipino) and English words when speaking, called Taglish.
Below is a list of common Tagalog words you might want to learn when traveling to the Philippines. Filipinos love it when foreigners try to speak their language and these Filipino phrases should give you a great head start.
TIP: Tagalog words are pronounced as they are spelled.


 Filipino Greeting Phrases


 Filipino Greeting Phrases - Filipino Phrases – Essential Backpackers Guide
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Filipinos are generally warm and welcoming to foreigners. They are always helpful and hospitable. They are also very accommodating and its easy to befriend them. In 2015, there were more than 5 million visitors to the Philippines.


Good morningMagandang umaga
Good afternoonMagandang hapon
Good eveningMagandang gabi
How are you?Kamusta ka?
I’m fine, thank you.Mabuti naman, salamat
Long time no seeMatagal na tayong hindi nagkita
Take careMag ingat ka
Please come inPasok po kayo
Feel at homeHuwag kang mahiya
Happy Birthday!Maligayang kaarawan!
Merry Christmas!Maligayang Pasko!
Happy New Year!Manigong bagong taón
What’s your name?Anong pangalan mo?
My name is…Ako ay si….


Filipino Phrases for Getting around & asking for directions


Filipino Phrases for Getting around & asking for directions - Filipino Phrases – Essential Backpackers Guide
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You can approach anybody and ask for directions.  They are all eager to help. Just choose whom to ask. It’s better to approach a policeman or security guard. And as much as possible, never travel alone for safety reasons. And don’t flash your gadgets or cash in public except within safer environments, here are some Filipino phrases to help you get around.


Where is….?Saan po yung…?
What time is it?Anong oras na?
Are you sure?Sigurado ka?
Go straightDiretso lang
Where do you live?Saan ka nakatira?
Sorry, I beg your pardon?Pasensya na, paki ulit po?
Can you speak slowly, please?Paki ulit po ng dahan-dahan
I don’t understandHindi ko maintindihan
I don’t knowHindi ko alam
How much?Magkano?
Stopping a jeep/bus/taxiPara po
Here’s my fareBayad po
Thank youSalamat po
What is this?Ano ito?
Excuse me (when passing through)Paraan po
I am lostNawawala ako
Can you show me?Pwede mo ipakita sa akin?
It’s near hereMalapit lang dito
It’s far from hereMalayo dito
I’m looking for (name)Hinahanap ko si…
One momentSandali lang
I’m okayOkay lang ako
It’s urgent!Ngayon na! Importante!
Calm downRelax lang
This is nonsense!Kalokohan!
I’m not interestedHindi ako interesado
Can I help you?Meron ba akong maitutulong sayo?
Is this seat taken?May naka-upo ba dito?
I don’t like itAyaw ko nito
Go fastBilisan mo
Go slowBagalan mo
I have no moneyWala akong pera


 Filipino Phrases for Dining & Eating


Filipino Phrases - Essential Backpackers Guide
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Filipinos love and enjoy food especially their own cuisine.  Food in the Philippines take inspiration from Chinese, Indian, American and specialties from the local regions. All-time favorite Filipino dishes are the Sinigang (meat and vegetables in a tangy soup) and Adobo (pork and/or chicken flavored with garlic, pepper, vinegar, and soy sauce). You will also find that Filipinos eat with a spoon and fork, an easier way to eat rice along with the dish.  Rice is a staple in all of the meals.

When you enter a home and people are eating, they will always invite you to join them.  They will not be offended though if you decline especially if you are an unexpected guest. But if the meal is planned, expect a feast offered by your Filipino host. Here are some Filipino phrases to ensure you get the most out of your eating experiences.


It’s time to eat!Kain na tayo!
This is delicious!Masarap ito!
I don’t like itHindi ko gusto/type
Sorry, I don’t eat…Pasensya na, hindi ako kumakain ng…
Cook (verb)Luto
Hot (pepper)Maanghang
I don’t eat porkHindi ako kumakain ng baboy
I don’t drink (alcohol)Hindi ako umiinom ng alak
What do you call this dish?Anong tawag sa ulam na ito?
Drinking glassBaso
May I have a glass of water?Pwedeng makahingi ng isang basong tubig?


Filipino Phrases For Dating & Romantic Expressions


Filipino Phrases For Dating & Romantic Expressions - Filipino Phrases – Essential Backpackers Guide
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Filipinos are generally a romantic lot.  They are a bit emotional and sensitive. They are quite conservative when it comes to romance and family matters.  A relationship with a Filipino, is usually a relationship with the whole extended family.


I am single Ako ay dalaga (female)/ binata (male)
I am already marriedMay asawa na ako
What is your number?Ano ang number mo?
You are beautifulMaganda ka
Not nicePangit ang ugali
ChildrenMga anak
Elder DaughterAte
Elder SonKuya
Youngest ChildBunso
I love youIniibig kita/Mahal kita
I don’t love you anymoreAyaw na kita
Would you like to get married?Gusto mo bang magpakasal?
Come with meSumama ka sa akin
 I have a gift for youMay regalo ako para sa iyo.
I’m jealousNagseselos ako
I missed youNa miss kita
I’m going homeUuwi na ako
I’ll be back tomorrowBabalik ako bukas



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About the Author

Mad Monkey is Southeast Asia’s leading hostel operator — born in Cambodia with more properties in Thailand, Indonesia, Australia, Laos, and the Philippines. We pride ourselves in creating meaningful and sustainable travel experiences for our guests, whilst promoting socially responsible tourism.