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Foreign Men: Good Reasons not to Learn Tagalog or Filipino Language.

Updated on April 18, 2014

This hub is intended to help all foreign men who are trying to learn Tagalog or Filipino language in the hope of not only impressing their Filipina wife or girlfriend, but to also get deeper understanding of Philippines culture, people, norms, tradition and beliefs. This hub will help you realize if it's worth to face all the challenge and hassle of learning Tagalog or it's not a problem if you don't proceed. Also, you will have better understanding why your Filipina wife or girlfriend is not really encouraging you to do so.

Probably after you have been here in Philippines several times, you are probably wishing that you can understand the meaning behind the conversation between your wife and her family, her and her friends and her and other Filipino strangers. You are motivated to learn Tagalog because you probably have seen your girlfriend facial reaction while she's talking with someone in front of you in her native language and because you know her so much and you can read her emotion while she's talking with anybody. You are getting curious why your Filipina is reacting that way and igniting your desire to learn more.

You also can feel that she's not telling the truth sometimes when you ask what they were talking about or what the strangers have said, but you can feel that she's only doing that because she doesn't want you to be involved or she doesn't want you to be hurt whatever those conversations were about. When you see her get upset, confused and sometimes you can tell that she's almost mad, your desire is like a plant that is being watered by those emotions that you observed from her and your curiosity keeps on growing and you're more motivated to learn Tagalog. Your instinct is telling you that you need to know more and do something and your first step of knowing why your Filipina react that way is of course by pursuing the idea of learning Tagalog. You think you can do it very soon and very seriously for the sake of your Filipina love.

Now before you get started putting in too much hassle and effort in learning our language here are some reason why I feel it is best for you not to learn Tagalog at all.

If your Filipina is Fluent Enough, No Need to Learn Tagalog.

Yes, if the communication between you and her is not a problem because she's very well verse in English and she is your reliable interpreter, I am telling you no need for you to learn Tagalog. She may not be brave enough to tell you the reason why she's discouraging you to do so or you're observing that she's not very helpful although she's not totally stopping you to proceed. Here are my reasons and I'm pretty confident that these are the reasons of most Filipina that are in relationship with foreign men.

Judgmental Filipino People are Still Around.

I am still experiencing this until nowadays every time me and my Foreign love are together and I don't think this will ever stop. This is the main reason why I am discouraging my foreign love to learn Tagalog although he keeps learning Tagalog himself, I don't want him to get to the point of being able to understand everybody, because there are still many Filipino people who cannot hold their tongue and voicing out their generalize assumption that a Filipina that is with a foreigner is either a hooker or very poor.

I hear this comment a lot from my country fellowmen and it really hurts me when they intentionally and loudly say that very wrong and generalized rude assumption. I don't want my foreign love to understand what those people are saying, so when he feels that those people said something, he will most of the time ask me what they said and of course I don't tell him what they said. I just normally tell him that, "They think you are good looking," He usually gives me the look that he is not convinced but when he smiles at me that is enough reason for me to keep saying white lies and bear the pain of hearing those bad comments and assumption myself.

Also there are other bad comments that I normally hear from time to time, but this is so far the worst that some Filipino ever thinks initially when they see a Filipina-Foreign couple or lovers. What are their reasons why they do that, I don't know and I too don't understand. I don't think they are bad Filipino, they are just reckless and inconsiderate. They are just less informed and who to blame when they don't make themselves not knowledgeable and not showing courtesy to others, nobody but themselves.

Pros and Cons of Learning Tagalog or Filipino Language

Some Filipino or Potential Friends Think that Playing Around is Acceptable.

Now, don't think that I am being negative about this issue, this is all base from my own experience. The more you hang around with Filipino guys, the more they will encourage you or make you feel that it is okay to be a womanizer as long as you can keep it hidden from your wife and as long as you can financially support this ventures. I am telling you when I caught some of neighbors are encouraging my foreign love to go to the bar or do some other adventures that are promoting unfaithfulness, I will do my best to keep him away from them.

I am thankful that they are not fluent or can barely express their messages or sentences that my foreign love cannot fully understand what they are trying to say. Of course, I don't want them to come to the point that they can show him in action that's why I am trying to protect him as early as I could by keeping him away from them and by discouraging him not to learn Tagalog.

Can you imagine if you are fluent in Tagalog or even reach the level that you have no problem understanding them in our native language, they probably even teach you more tips and tricks to not stay faithful? To be fair, I have so many good friends that I have met since childhood and they were married and so we hang out altogether. I choose to introduce my foreign love to those Filipino guys that have no track record of being a cheater or being a womanizer.

If Your Filipina Girlfriend's Family and circles of friends can express themselves in English, no need to learn Tagalog.

If your in-laws, her parents, groups of friends can respond and communicate with you smoothly, don't you think that it is not necessary to learn Tagalog? Also, take note if your Filipina girl is fluent it's a sign that she is educated or intelligent or it can be both or it can be either. Why did I say so?

I take myself for example, my highest educational attainment was only second year of college, I didn't finish college for financial reason, but because I started this desire of learning English at a very young age like since I was ten, then I was always ahead when I was a student, because I have no problem understanding almost all lessons that are being discussed in English language, which most subjects are even nowadays.

I have also been acquainted and met many professional smart Filipino that are humble enough to say that they are not very expressive in English language, but they were excellent in other things. My point in saying this is a smart, fluent Filipina will have no problem associating with other educated people whether she is a degree holder or not because she is more confident and she is also wanting you to be around with those people that she feels is the best circle of people that you can hang around with and will also help you forget the desire of learning Tagalog.

Why do you think most bridges were built with high railings, it's for our own protection, same applies when your Filipina is discouraging you to learn Tagalog.
Why do you think most bridges were built with high railings, it's for our own protection, same applies when your Filipina is discouraging you to learn Tagalog.

Now, if your Filipina is somehow not directly discouraging you not to learn Tagalog, she just love you so much that she wants you to be away from potential contaminants, bad influences and disrespectful people. There is a saying that "Ignorance is Bliss" and in this case it is applicable in my opinion. You know what, even if you learn Tagalog language or not, in time depending if you choose to retire, live in the Philippines now or in the future, the longer you stay and get expose and get involve here, you will understand and you will learn the hidden negative reasons why it is sometimes better to not learn Tagalog or some of the Philippine culture at all.


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    • profile image


      2 years ago

      This article is written from a very insecure standpoint in my opinion. My husband is filipino and never once has any of these crossed my or his mind on wanting to learn. Maybe that is the true difference between an immature relationship and a true commitment? I have been learning just so I am able to connect with him and his family on another level, especially in respects to his older family members. So we can watch Tagalog movies and dramas, and so our daughter can learn too. My husband is not the type at all to be unfaithful, if someone tried telling him to be he would laugh in their face. Everyone has their own mind and heart. I have never questioned the truth of something he has talked about in Tagalog and explained to me later, good or bad things people say, because that is a true relationship. This article is very bitter.

    • profile image

      Ang Pagong 

      2 years ago

      People should learn Tagalog for it's own sake. It is an amazing language that handles ideas in a way very different from English. You view the world through a new lens when you learn Tagalog. Also it is a real mental work out. Far harder than Japanese.

      Matagal ako kasi mabagal kumilos ang mga pagong!

    • profile image

      Fred Bouwman 

      3 years ago

      I am a Canadian and lived for 6 months in the Philippines. I am going back there in May to live with my girlfriend. I am learning Tagalog using Pimsleur and will continue when I arrive. I want to learn a 2nd language and was learning Thai but since I will be in the Phlippines I am changing to Tagalog. Her family are not good in English and when I go there, I just sit there, not being able to partake in the conversation, Learning Tagalog is important to me and if that means people have to watch what they say, all the better. To suggest you don't learn the language of your spouse or girlfriend because you don't want to know what they say behind your back is very bad advise. Marriages are hard enough, but if you take the trust away, there really is nothing left. You are encouraging people to mistrust their spouse or girlfriend and that is a very bad reflection on the Filipino people.

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      I agree with you James Saint....

    • profile image

      James Saint 

      3 years ago

      This is such patronising bullshit. Sorry, you sound like a nice girl but you are naïve. If the guy is so immoral that he is easily influenced by other guys to cheat on you then all the will in the world won't stop him. Why are you so concerned what other people are saying about you? who cares? what influence do they really have? You can't stop people thinking, there are dumbasses everywhere and so far there are no laws to protect us against their thoughts. Thankfully thoughts have absolutely zero consequences on you so stop worrying. Live your life. Think about you and your guy as equals. Allow him to learn Tagalog. What makes you so special that you can find out what his friends are saying about you but you won't allow him to find out what your friends are saying about him. If I thought you were doing this to me I'd drop you like a hotcake.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      What an awesome article, I am moving to the Philippines very soon, my Fiancée encourages me to learn but I do feel like a block is in front of me and now I perhaps can see why! I tend to be a strong person when an injustice is done even to the point of walking into the face of someone rude or who says anything bout my loved ones and threaten to rip their heads off!! It is not a great way to win friends and influence people but leave my family alone and you won't get hurt is my attitude type! I am not a violent person, in fact I love people and enjoy assisting others but my family is sacrosanct this also flows to the Why's of the fact that I hate immoral acts and believe in the sanctity of marriage, and I am strongly aware of the immoral existence in certain countries and your words even answered that for me as well! I love my special lady and now I understand things much better! Thank you for your article!!!

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Very good article,I had a totally horrendous experience with a philipino divorced lady in Canada,people : be aware,better stay away from them,they do lie a lot.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      This would definitely give me more of a reason to study the language. Since learning a language is not a burden, and I would not like to get lied to to save my feelings. Yes, those are all good reading to learn tagalog

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 

      4 years ago from Germany

      I would suggest foreign men should learn the Filipino language of their wives, be this Tagalog or Bisayan. Foreign men should learn how Filipinos are so that they are not blinded by the "fake smiles" of the women. Just imagine you will go to your foreign mans country and you will be as innocent as he is in the Philippines.

      The story of Halwick above happened not only to his friend but to some of the foreigners I have met. So Guys, be careful always. Thanks for sharing your own opinion here in this hub. Well done.

    • simpleroma profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from Lucena City, Philippines

      Thanks for sharing your story. In that case your friend was saved by his knowledge of the Filipino language. Your story will help other foreign guys to balance the situation and really think if learning the language is for them. I wrote the article to show that I very dearly care and want to protect my foreign love that's why I don't encourage him to learn Tagalog, but he still chooses to learn later but not right away. He knows the basic as of now, but he's not fluent that other people still have to communicate with him in English. I never stop him to learn the language, I'm just not being supportive in that regard. For foreign guys, trust your instincts, you will know it when you think you need to learn the language. But if you're confident that you already find a great Filipina, then maybe you can learn it with her or while being married.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      "Foreign Men: Good Reasons not to Learn Tagalog or Filipino Language." Every one of the "reasons" stated is all the reason FOR learning Tagalog. Anytime anyone says they are trying to "protect him" or keep him from "being hurt", or doesn't want to "burden him"......these are BIG RED FLAGS.

      Of course you don't want him to learn Tagalog; the more he knows, the less control you has over him.

      Let me relate a story of one of my friends told me. He met this Filipina while on business in the Philippines. Naturally he was attracted to her and fell in love with her. After he returned to the U.S., they communicated daily via phone, snail mail, email for about two years and made plans to marry when he had an opportunity to return to the Philippines. During this time he was quietly learning Tagalog, but didn't let on to her right away that he was learning the language.

      When he arrived at the airport, there was a big reception. She and her family and friends were all anxious to meet him and threw a party for him. He checked into his hotel and later met his girlfriend and family at a restaurant.

      At the table there was lots of talking in Tagalog; nobody spoke English, except a few words here and there. His Filipina girlfriend selectively made translations. As he eavesdropped on the conversations around the table, he began to realize they were all plotting a scheme to get him to pay for the dinner and everything while he was there; get him to marry the girl and encourage him to take her back to the U.S. They also plotted how much monthly support they could get out of him. One man, whom she introduced as her "cousin", was in reality her Pinoy husband. The girlfriend and her "cousin" were plotting a plan for her to marry the "dumb Kano", move to the U.S., get her green card and permanent residence status, and after a few years, divorce him and get his house and assets. After the divorce, she would sponsor her Pinoy husband into the U.S. and live together, all the while living off his alimony payments.

      During the whole time, everybody was smiling and laughing at this "dumb Kano". My friend was quite shocked about the conversation around him, but didn't let on he understood what they were saying about him. He feigned an excuse to go to the bathroom, quietly slipped out, went back to his hotel, changed his flight plan and got the hell out the Philippines and never spoke to the Filipina again.

      He was very thankful he took the trouble to learn Tagalog and never in his wildest dream she and her family had designs on him. Imagine what would have happened to him had he NOT learned Tagalog. He would have been blindsided and never knew what hit him.

      Guys, learn the language enough so you KNOW what's going on. And if your Filipina takes offense and insists you don't need to know, then you know she's trying to hide something and doesn't have your best interest at heart.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Merely a smiling visitor here to share the love , btw outstanding style. Audacity, a lot more audacity and always audacity. by Georges Jacques Danton. beekegdkgdak

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I want to add the complexities of Filipino grammar and the informal day-to-day form of it that relies heavily on context.

      I mean, we don't encourage foreigners to speak Filipino because we are able to speak English well enough for them to understand and there are a lot of context-dependent phrases and wordings that are too hard to translate in English.

      I was curious in this article, not really about having a foreign lover...I mean I'm just 16, but because...well, I don't have a concrete answer XD

      you know like when you get embarrassed and one of your friends disses you with:

      "May pahiya-hiya ka pang nalalaman!" or "Pahiya-hiya ka pa!"

      I mean, WTF? even I can't translate that, if my American cousins asked me what they were talking about I'd be left blank.

      I can explain what they meant but it still doesn't give them the feeling of a concrete translation.

      I can answer them with: "Basically, friend A is embarrassed about something and friend B is telling A that there's no need for that and that the feeling of embarrassment isn't welcomed (?) in fact its being shunned(?) and B's forcing A to stop being embarrassed. CRAP, let me rephrase that...." XD that's what I'd tell my cousins.

      the reason why English is considered a lingua franca is because it's easy to learn and understand...but other languages...Yeah, not so much. So native English speakers will have a really hard time unless they're surrounded by well-versed speakers in English and proficient translators... hehehe, other than that our love for the English language is a passive form of colonialism...just sayin'

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I agree with your opinion. But I'd rather be hurt by the truth than to be comforted with lies.

    • simpleroma profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Lucena City, Philippines

      Hi Rob,

      Yes, I believe there are universities that offer courses to learn Tagalog, although as of now I can't recommend any school yet, because I didn't really give much thought about it until today. You can also hire a tutor online if you want to, you can start with me, but I am not saying I am a professional tutor but I think I can be an effective tutor. I am not a tutor, but I am always open for new challenge and opportunities. Still, I will try to find more information about universities, location and fees for Tagalog course. Thank you for dropping by.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      hi Roma, so can you pls tell me if there are courses up there at college or unversity to start of Tagalogue for a foreinger. say for a year or even for 6months? And what kind of fees would these courses incur?

      kind regards

    • simpleroma profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Lucena City, Philippines

      Hi Kumusta,

      I apologize for my late response. I totally agree that it's not a good thing to keep the truth from your partner, but because if he can understand what those people are saying if I tell him, he would probably be in fights or get hurt all the time and we don't want to hurt the people we love, so I look at it as protecting or shielding him from pain or possible hurt not lying. Also, he is learning Tagalog himself and sooner or later I know he would start to understand what those people are initially thinking and he would understand why I discourage him not to learn in the first place. Thanks for stopping by.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I don't think it's a good thing to keep the truth away from your partner it just makes him look bad and naïve. If your partner learns tagalog they will respect him or her more for the fact of commiting to learn.

    • cmbalfonso profile image


      5 years ago

      Huh. At first I was inclined to be offended, but you made really good points. Great article. :) It would still be useful to learn for business and administrative purposes though.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I'm in my second year of undergrad, working on my graphic design degree. The job market in Boise is pretty horrendous for a college student, so I supplement student loans by doing freelance design work on I'm actually making about twice what I would if I'd just gotten some minimum wage job.


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