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How to Converse in Filipino

Updated on January 26, 2014

I have an interest in going out of the country for travel purposes. But I'm actually worried if I'll be able to communicate with the people living in the country I'll be visiting someday. Let's be honest, it will be frustrating if you can't explain what you wanted or what you're asking without having the basic knowledge of the country's language. You may say that your tour guide can do the translating for you. But it will be a huge advantage if you can form some basic sentences to make communication easier.

For those who want to visit Philippines, let me give you some ideas of the commonly used words, phrases and sentences used by a typical Filipino in our everyday lives.

How to show respect to the elders

Filipinos are actually respectful people. It's how we are brought up by our parents and grandparents. So whenever we talk to someone older than us we use the words "po" and "opo."

"Opo" is simply the word Yes but is used when answering an older person's question.

"Po" is usually used when addressing an older person's question or talking to them. Let's say they ask you something but you didn't hear it quite well. You will say: "Ano po yun?" In english it means "Can you repeat it once again?" If you said "Ano yun?" removing the "po" from the sentence, you are asking the same question but without the respect aspect of the question. "Ano yun" is just for someone on your same age or younger than you.

Here are other sentences you can use everyday while talking to the elders:

Kain na po kayo - means you can eat already

Ingat po kayo - please take care of yourself

Hindi po - no

Opo - yes

Po? - yes?

Anything related to Eating

When you're out in a restaurant and you can't find the price just simply ask "Magkano sa (insert the name of the food here)?" This means how much for this type of food. The key words here is the words "Magkano" which means "how much" You can use this question on any kinds of transaction when purchasing something (even not food).


"Magkano yung sabon?" - "How much is the soap?"

"Magkano ang isang kilo ng bigas?" - "how much is 1 kilo or rice grain?"

After you paid for the items or goods you bought, and you gave them the amount more than specified on their price, you will hear the vendor say "Ito yung sukli nyo" that means "Here's your change."

If you're already eating and you saw someone passed by and you want to invite them in, you can tell them to "Kain tayo" which means "let's eat" so the person can join in.

Riding Public Transportation

In the Philippines, most of the people commute no matter where they're going. To school, Church, work, malls, etc." One of the most common public transportation you will see is the jeepney.

If you are riding a jeep, and you want to pay the fare but you are sitting far from where the driver is just simply say "Bayad ho" or "bayad po" (here's my payment) if the driver is an elderly person. While uttering this phrase you need to extend you arm (obviously the one holding the money) towards the direction of the driver so that another passenger will took it and pass it to another passenger until it reaches the driver.

If in case no one gets your payment, you can say "Pakiabot po" which means "Please pass my payment to the driver." and someone will surely help you out.

Once you saw your destination and you want to already get out of the jeep, just simply say "Para!" or "Para sa tabi" ("Please stop!" or "Please stop at the side" -so you won't get hit by a passing vehicle). make sure to say it clearly which the driver will hear.

There's no Harm in asking

Hope some of these words and phrases will help you survive during your travel in the Philippines. I would suggest that you ask questions when you're there. You can use the English as most Filipinos can communicate using English but if you are already know some Filipino language, I suggest you use it.

We Filipinos are a friendly lot and so when someone asks for help, we don't hesitate to help out in anyway possible. If you can't find the right Filipino term for a specific word you're looking for, just ask any passersby and you'll get your answer.


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    • precy anza profile image

      precy anza 5 years ago from USA

      This would be such a great way to help tourist or anyone who wasn't familiar with the language as there would be situations they would need to use some of these. :)