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Learn Filipino: Common Daily Greetings and Expressions

Updated on September 29, 2012
A Smiling Filipina or Filipino Lady in Her Regional Costume
A Smiling Filipina or Filipino Lady in Her Regional Costume | Source

Finally, you’ve decided to learn the Filipino language.

  • Perhaps, after years of living on earth, you developed this insatiable itch to learn about geography and had a weird and wonderful discovery – you found the Philippines in the map! Congratulations! Now, you’re curious to know about the people and the language in that tropical place in Southeast Asia.
  • Maybe, in your too-many-to-count travels, you ran into hardworking Filipinos and unbelievably many of them! They were there in the high seas, working in cruise ships and oil tankers. They were there in hospitals and nursing homes, caring for the sick and the elderly. Now, you realize they are also there in offices, construction sites, restaurants and bars, and even in your own neighborhood.
  • Probably, you tired out of the chills and gloomy skies and decided to fly to a place with bright skies, endless sunshine, white-sand beaches, good food, and warm people. It’s time to fly to the Philippines and speak with the friendly Filipinos!
  • Possibly, too, with your fixation with social networking, you met a Filipino online and you were floored! Geez, he or she was strikingly cute, could speak a little if not decent English, and seemed to be charming and smart. Got to break the ice and take things a notch higher, you thought.

Whatever your case might be, knowing a few basic greetings and expressions in the Filipino language will go a long way.

Languages in the Philippines – a Primer

With 7,107 islands sprawled across an area almost as big as Italy’s, the Philippines has, naturally, several languages.

Some of the most widely spoken regional languages in the country include:

  • Tagalog or Filipino
  • Cebuano
  • Ilocano
  • Hiligaynon
  • Waray-Waray
  • Kapampangan
  • Northern Bicol
  • Pangasinan
  • Southern Bicol
  • Maranao
  • Kinaray-a
  • Tausug
  • Surigaonon
  • Masbateño
  • Aklanon
  • Chavacano
  • Ibanag

Among the regional languages, however, the most widely spoken is Tagalog or Filipino.

In fact, some people from the most remote parts of the Philippines can understand even a little Tagalog.

This is because Tagalog or Filipino, together with English, is the official language of the country.

It is the language most commonly used in books, movies, and national news.

The National Statistics Office in the Philippines has also tallied that the Tagalog language has the greatest number of native speakers in the Philippines.

So, do not fret if you do not know a word of the other languages.

Most likely, you will get by with just a bagful of Tagalog or Filipino words.

By the way, you can use English in the Philippines. Many Filipinos speak the language quite well.

Filipino, Tagalog – They’re One and the Same

Filipino and Tagalog are actually one and the same language.

It is said that Filipino is a formal reference to Tagalog and has been stated as the official language of the Philippines in the Philippine constitution and international atlas.

In vernacular, however, Filipino people refer to the Filipino language as simply Tagalog.

Tagalog refers to the language spoken in the capital Manila and its Tagalog-speaking surrounding provinces.

So next time you hear Filipino and Tagalog being interchanged, try not to be confused.

They are actually one and the same.

Everyday Filipino Greetings and Expressions

Now, let’s go to the list of greetings and expressions that you can use every day when speaking with jolly Filipinos.

Note: To add courtesy to your expressions, you can use the polite words "po" and "ho".

Common Filipino Expressions and Greetings for Everyday Use

Tagalog or Filipino
Kumusta (po)?
How are you?
Mabuti (po).
Magandang araw (po).
Good day.
Magandang umaga (po).
Good morning.
Magandang tanghali (po).
Good noon.
Magandang hapon (po).
Good afternoon.
Magandang gabi (po).
Good evening.
Pasensiya (po).
Paumahin (po).
Mawalang galang (po).
Pardon (please).
Pwede akong magtanong?
Can I ask a question?
Pwede po akong magtanong?
May I ask a question?
Hindi po.
Hindi ho.
Tuloy (po) sila.
(Please) come in.
Anong pangalan mo?
What is your name?
Ako (po) si [name].
I'm [name].
Ang pangalan ko (po) ay [name].
My name is [name].
Saan ka nakatira?
Where do you live?
Nakatira ako sa [place].
I live in [place].
Saan ka nanggaling?
Where did you come from?
Nanggaling (po) ako sa [place].
I came from [place].
Tagasaan ka?
Where do you come from?
Tagasaan po sila?
Saan ka nagpunta?
Where did you go?
Nagpunta (po) ako sa [place].
I went to [place].
Saan ka pupunta?
Where are you going?
Pupunta (po) ako sa [place].
I'm going to [place].
Ilang taon ka na?
How old are you?
Ako ay [age] taong gulang.
I am [age] years old.
Kumain ka na?
Have you eaten?
Kumain ka na ba?
Have you eaten yet?
Kain na tayo.
Let's eat.
Kain tayo.
Kain (po).
Eat (please).
Anong oras na (po)?
What time is it?
Ala una.
One o'clock.
Alas- (dos, tres...).*
(Two, three..) o'clock.*
Salamat (po).
Thank you.
Maraming salamat (po).
Thank you very much.
Walang anuman.
You are welcome.
Wala pong anuman.
Paalam (po)!
Good bye!
Ingat (po).
Be safe.
Balik (po) sila.
(Please) come back.
Balik (po) sila ulit.
(Please) come back again.
*kuwatro, singko, sais, siyete, otso, nuwebe, diyes, onse, dose = four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve

Common Filipino Words and Expressions

The Philippines on the Map


get directions


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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      thumbs up!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      7 years ago

      Great information to have if you are planning a visit or wanting to communicate with someone. I admire people who can speak more than one language. It takes time and effort but it is worth it. I speak English and Spanish and sometimes the words are similar (they come from the latin root) and it is easy to pick up vocabulary and grammar. I see some similarity in the phrases you list such as sila and the numbers. Enjoyed the read and voted interesting and useful.

    • kerlynb profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^

      @mikeydcarroll67 and @vivasuzi Hello! Really do appreciate your comments. Thanks for dropping by my hub. Hope you guys get the chance to speak in Filipino or Tagalog one day :)

    • kerlynb profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^

      @Paul Kuehn Hi! Thanks for dropping by my hub. Wow, you're good! Right. "Kumusta" actually came from "como esta." Actually, Tagalog has adapted so many words not just from Spanish but also from Asian languages. This might be because Filipinos have traded with Asians for such a long time. About tones, yes. I think it is nearer to English than Chinese, although Tagalog sounds are not entirely the same as English sounds :)

    • vivasuzi profile image


      7 years ago from Somewhere in Michigan

      Great hub, with a little humor mixed in :) This language is different than most the ones I've seen. Thanks for sharing!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Very informative! I learned a lot!

    • Paul Kuehn profile image

      Paul Richard Kuehn 

      7 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand

      This is an interesting and excellent hub. In looking at your list of everyday expressions, kumusta sounds a lot like como esta usted? in Spanish. I know from history that the Philippines was once a Spanish colony up until 1895, so Tagalog has to have borrowed Spanish words. HaS Tagalog borrowed words from other Southeast Asian languages like Malay or Indonesian? Tagalog doesn't appear to be a tonal language like Thai or Chinese. Is Tagalog sentence intonation similar to English?


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