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Most Filipinos will have a basic understanding of English and will try to converse with you if they can. Most are friendly enough to make conversation but some may be too shy to carry on a full conversation in English especially if they are not well-versed. Do not be offended if they shy away.    Here is a list of some useful words & phrases in Tagalog, the main Filipino dialect used in Metro Manila & may be understood in most parts of the Philippines.


It is useful to note that Tagalog words are pronounced exactly as they are spelled. Each vowel represents one separate syllable.  Just as “papaya” is pronounced “pa-pa-ya,” the word “marunong” is pronounced “ma-ru-nong”, the word “magsalita” is pronounced “mag-sa-li-ta”.

A pronunciation guide for Tagalog vowels:

A – short “A” sound as in “Papa” or “Tart”E – short “E” as in “Bed”I – a long “ee” sound as in “Tweet”O – as in the “au” sound in “Pauper”U – a long “oo” sound as in “Pool”


It is always wise to add the word “po” to sentences as a form of respect or formality when speaking to elders or those you have just met or are not close with.


Do you know how to speak English? – Marunong po ba kayong magsalita ng Inggles? I don’t know how to speak Tagalog. – Hindi po ako marunong magsalita ng Tagalog.


How are you? / Hi. / Hello. – Kumusta? / Kumusta ka? (Informal. (May also be used to say “hello.”)

I’m fine – Mabuti.Good morning – Magandang umagaGood afternoon – Magandang haponGood evening – Maganding GabiThank you – Salamat poYou’re welcome – Walang anuman.My name is … – Ang pangalan ko ay…What is your name? – Anong pangalan mo? (informal) / Ano po ang pangalan ninyo? (formal) 


Sorry / Excuse me – Pasensya na po.Where is the washroom? – “Nasaan po ang C.R.?” (as in “Comfort Room.” This is colloquial / slang, widely used.  Use this and you will more likely be understood than if you use “washroom”, “restroom”, or “W.C.”)May I bother you for a moment? – Maaari po ba kayong maabala sandali?What is this? – Ano po ito?What is that? – Ano po ‘yan?(referring to something nearer) / Ano po ‘yon?(referring to something far)Can you please help me? – Maaari n’yo po ba akong tulungan?Help! – Tulong!I – AkoYou (informal singular)- IkawYou (formal singular or informal/formal plural) – KayoUs/ We – Tayo (including the person being spoken to)Them – SilaMine – Sa akin /Sa ‘kinYours – Sa iyo / Sa ‘yoOurs – Sa atin / Sa ‘tinTheirs – Sa kanilaThis – ItoThat – Iyan / ‘YanIs – ay


Can you take (drive) me to…? – Pwede nyo po akong dalhin sa…?I’m lost – Nawawala po ako.I’m looking for… – Hinahanap ko po ang… (a place)I’m looking for… – Hinahanap ko po si… (a person)Where is…? – Nasaan po ba ang…?

Left – Kaliwa / Please turn left – Kumaliwa po kayo.Right – Kanan / Please turn right – Kumanan po kayo.Straight ahead – Diretso / Go straight ahead – Diretso lang po.In front – Sa harapBehind – Sa likodUpstairs/Above – Sa taasDownstairs/Below – Sa baba


How much is this? – Magkano po ito?Too expensive – Masyadong mahal. / Ang mahal naman.May I ask for a bargain? / Please lower the price. – Pahingi naman po ng tawad. / Tawad naman po. / Babaan nyo naman po ang presyo.Do you have this in a different color? – Mayroon ba kayong ibang kulay?  (Then specify color in English)Do you have this in a different size? – May ibang size ba kayo nito? (Then specify size in English)Bigger – Mas malakiSmaller – Mas maliit


Yes – Oo (informal). Opo (formal)No – Hindi (informal). Hindi po (formal)Maybe / Might – Siguro / BakaPlease do – Sige (can also mean “go / go ahead”) / Sige na! (Please do! with emphasis)Don’t – HuwagCan  /  May – Pwede / MaaariCan’t  /  May not – Hindi pwede / Hindi maaariI want /  I like – Gusto ko (informal) / Gusto ko po (formal)I don’t want /  I don’t like – Ayaw ko (informal) / Ayoko (slang) / Hindi ko po gusto (formal)Correct – TamaIncorrect  /  Wrong – Mali


Breakfast – Almusal,  Lunch – Pananghalian, Dinner –  Hapunan, 

Note:  In several fast food restaurants, you may be asked “Dine in or take out?”  It is not customary to order  “to go” or “for here.”


Monday – LunesTuesday – MartesWednesday – MiyerkulesThursday – HuwebesFriday – BiyernesSaturday – SabadoSunday – Linggo


Now – NgayonLater – MamayaLater this afternoon – Mamayang haponLater tonight – Mamayang gabiToday – Ngayong arawTomorrow – Bukas


Note: Filipinos use both Tagalog and Spanish words for numbers and may switch from one language to the other depending on usage.  Tagalog numbers are used to count things and people (“one person” – “isang tao” — “one dog” – “isang aso”).  Spanish numbers are used when telling time (“1:00PM” – “ala una” —  “1:30PM” – “ala una imedya” — “2:00PM” – “alas dos”), and used interchangeably with Tagalog numbers when counting money or age (“Two thousand pesos” – “Dalawang libong piso” OR “Dos mil” — “Eighteen years old” – “Labinwalong taong gulang” OR “Disi-otso anyos”)

Tagalog Numbers

Note: When counting MONEY, Tagalog numbers ending with vowels are used with the suffix “-ng”, while numbers ending in consonants are followed by the word “na” (meaning “of”) and followed by the word “Piso” which represents “Pesos”, the Philippine currency. 

English – Tagalog – Tagalog number in currency

One – Isa – Isang pisoTwo – Dalawa – Dalawang pisoThree – Tatlo – Tatlung pisoFour – Apat – Apat na pisoFive – Lima – Limang pisoSix – Anim – Anim na pisoSeven – Pito – Pitung pisoEight – Walo – Walung pisoNine – Siyam – Siyam na pisoTen – Sampo / Diyes – Sampung piso

***For numbers 11-19, the prefix “labin-” is added to numbers starting with consonants, while the prefix “labing-” is added to numbers starting with vowels***Eleven – Labing-isa – Labing-isang pisoTwelve – Labing-dalawa – Labindalawang pisoTwenty – Dalawampo  – Dalawampung piso

***For numbers 21-29, 31-39 and onwards, the contracted form of the word “at” (meaning “and”) is attached, spelled as (‘t) and followed by the corresponding ending number.***  Twenty-one – Dalawampu’t isa  – Dalawampu’t isang piso Twenty-two – Dalawampu’t dalawa – Dalawampu’t dalawang pisoThirty – Tatlumpo – Taltlumpung pisoForty – Apatnapo – Apatnapung pisoFifty – Limampo – Limampung pisoSixty – Animnapo – Animnapung pisoSeventy – Pitumpo – Pitumpung pisoEighty – Walumpo – Walumpung pisoNinety – Siyamnapu – Siyamnapung pisoOne Hundred – Isang Daan – Isang daang pisoFive Hundred – Limang Daan – Limang daang pisoOne Thousand – Isang Libo – Isang libung piso


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