Philippines – Useful Phrases

Although most Filipinos will have a basic understanding of English and will try their best to converse with you, some might be too shy to carry on an entire conversation in English and may just smile and shy away.

Tagalog, the main Filipino dialect used in Metro Manila, is the most widely used dialect understood throughout the Philippines. Below are some useful words & phrases in Tagalog.

Fortunately, Tagalog words are pronounced exactly as they are spellt. Each vowel will represent one separate syllable.  Just as “puno ” is pronounced “pu-no,” the word “panahon ” is pronounced “pa-na-hon “.

How to pronunce 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”


Kamusta? =  How are you? As a form of respect to elders or people you have just met , it is recommended to  add the word “po” to sentences.  For example:  Salamat po.

Often used to say Hi/Hello as well.

Mabuti – I’m fine
Salamat = Thank you.

Maraming salamat! = Thank you very much!
Walang anuman -You’re welcome.
Magandang araw! = Beautiful day!
It’s the equivalent of “Good morning! though it may be used it in the early afternoon too.

Magandang umaga  – Good morning
Magandang hapon  – Good afternoon  
Maganding Gabi  – Good evening  
Ang pangalan ko ay – My name is …  
Anong pangalan ninyo? – What is your name?   
Mabuhay! – Welcome (to the Philippines)/ Cheers/ Good Health  
“Mabuhay  is a positive term that can be used rather widely.


Pasenysa ka na = Sorry, please bear with me/ Excuse me
Use this phrase when you’ve done something that inconveniences a Filipino.

“Nasaan po ang C.R.?” – Where is the washroom/ restroom?
(as in “Comfort Room.” This is colloquial / slang  widely used and understood.

Sandali lang. = Just a moment. (Wait please. Hold on please)

Ano po ito? – What is this?  
Maaari pong humingi ng tulong? –  May I ask for your help?   
Tulong! – Help!


O-o (informal)/ Opo (formal) – Yes
Hindi (informal)/ Hindi po (formal) – No
Siguro / Baka  – Maybe / Might
Tama – Correct
Mali – Incorrect / Wrong
Huwag – Don’t
Gusto ko (informal) / Gusto ko po (formal) – I want/ I like –
Gusto ko ng… (informal) / Gusto ko po ng… (formal) – I want a…
Ayaw ko (informal) / Hindi ko po gusto (formal) – I don’t want/ I don’t like


Kaliwa  – Left / Please turn left
Kanan – Right / Please turn right
Diretso – Straight ahead / Go straight ahead
Sa harap – In front
Sa likod – Behind
Sa itaas – Upstairs/Above
Sa ibaba – Downstairs/Below
Kailan ?– When?


Kanina – Earlier / A while ago
Ngayon – Now
Mamaya – Later
Ngayong araw – Today
Bukas – Tomorrow
Kahapon  – Yesterday (can also mean “yesterday afternoon”)
Kagabi – Last night


Lunes – Monday
Martes – Tuesday
Miyerkules – Wednesday
Huwebes – Thursday
Biyernes – Friday
Sabado – Saturday
Linggo – Sunday