Skip to content

Book your Philippines MadPass today: 15 or 30 Day Passes: Unlimited Stays in Cebu City, Dumaguete, Panglao, Siquijor & Manila 🇵🇭🏝️🎉

Image courtesy of

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
©Courtesy of facebook/idreamedofthis


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.


Welcome Mabuhay
Hello Kamusta/Hi/Hello
Good morning Magandang umaga
Good afternoon Magandang hapon
Good evening Magandang gabi
How are you? Kamusta ka?
I’m fine, thank you. Mabuti naman, salamat
Long time no see Matagal na tayong hindi nagkita
Take care Mag ingat ka
Please come in Pasok po kayo
Feel at home Huwag 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
©Courtesy of


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?
Left Kaliwa
Right Kanan
Go straight Diretso 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 understand Hindi ko maintindihan
I don’t know Hindi ko alam
When? Kailan?
Tomorrow Bukas
Now Ngayon
How much? Magkano?
Stopping a jeep/bus/taxi Para po
Here’s my fare Bayad po
Stop Hinto
Go Go/andar
Thank you Salamat po
What is this? Ano ito?
Excuse me (when passing through) Paraan po
I am lost Nawawala ako
Can you show me? Pwede mo ipakita sa akin?
It’s near here Malapit lang dito
It’s far from here Malayo dito
I’m looking for (name) Hinahanap ko si…
One moment Sandali lang
Hurry! Bilis!
Help! Saklolo!
Thief! Magnanakaw!
I’m okay Okay lang ako
It’s urgent! Ngayon na! Importante!
Calm down Relax lang
This is nonsense! Kalokohan!
I’m not interested Hindi ako interesado
Can I help you? Meron ba akong maitutulong sayo?
Dirty Madumi
Clean Malinis
Is this seat taken? May naka-upo ba dito?
I don’t like it Ayaw ko nito
Cold Malamig
Hot Mainit
Go fast Bilisan mo
Go slow Bagalan mo
I have no money Wala akong pera


 Filipino Phrases for Dining & Eating


Filipino Phrases - Essential Backpackers Guide
©Courtesy of


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 it Hindi ko gusto/type
Sorry, I don’t eat… Pasensya na, hindi ako kumakain ng…
Cook (verb) Luto
Sweet Matamis
Salty Maalat
Sour Maasim
Bitter Mapait
Hot (pepper) Maanghang
Crunchy Malutong
Soft Malambot
Rice Kanin
Bread Tinapay
Pork Baboy
Chicken Manok
Beef Baka
Vegetables Gulay
I don’t eat pork Hindi 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?
Spoon Kutsara
Fork Tinidor
Knife Kutsilyo
Plate Plato
Drinking glass Baso
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
©Courtesy of


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 married May asawa na ako
What is your number? Ano ang number mo?
You are beautiful Maganda ka
Ugly Pangit
Nice Mabait
Not nice Pangit ang ugali
Mother Nanay
Father Tatay
Children Mga anak
Elder Daughter Ate
Elder Son Kuya
Youngest Child Bunso
Grandmother/grandfather Lola/Lolo
I love you Iniibig kita/Mahal kita
I don’t love you anymore Ayaw na kita
Would you like to get married? Gusto mo bang magpakasal?
Come with me Sumama ka sa akin
 I have a gift for you May regalo ako para sa iyo.
I’m jealous Nagseselos ako
I missed you Na miss kita
I’m going home Uuwi na ako
I’ll be back tomorrow Babalik ako bukas



Helpful articles and blog posts on Filipino terms and common phrases in the Philippines

We only recommend writers and blogs that we read regularly and believe will deliver substantial value to our readers. The following is our top picks of articles on Filipino terms in the Philippines that we think are worth reading:

Do you have an awesome link to a relevant well written article that should be included here? If so, hit us up on Twitter by following and messaging us the link. Looking for the best budget stays in the Philippines? Check out our guide to the Philippines for further information.


How Did We Do?

Is the article “Essential Philippines phrases for backpackers” useful? If so, please share and like this post, as it helps other travelers find information. Many thanks! You can follow us on Twitter or Facebook for further updates!

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.