Useful Words & Phrases

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Here are some useful words and phrases that will help you in your travels to the Philippines…practice it a few times and learn its meaning…once you have it down, the people will be appreciative that you tried to learn a few phrases…even though English is spoken, but its still nice to hear foreigners trying to learn our dialect.

Useful Words & Phrases


Tagalog speakers in the Philippines have many ways of greeting other people. It is common also to hear them say “Hi” or “Hello” as a form of greeting, especially among close friends. There are no Tagalog translations for these English greetings because they are basically borrowed terms, and any English-speaking person will be readily understood by Filipinos in general (Yes, Virginia and Joe, English is widely spoken in the Philippines, a former colony of the US of A for nearly 50 years!). Below are a few Tagalog greetings that are important to learn if one wants to endear himself/herself to Filipinos.

Magandang umaga po. (formal/polite) – Good morning
Magandang umaga. (informal) – Good morning

Magandang tanghali po. (formal/polite) – Good noon
Magandang tanghali. (informal) – Good noon

Magandang hapon po. (formal/polite) – Good afternoon
Magandang hapon. (informal) – Good afternoon

Magandang gabi po. (formal/polite) – Good evening
Magandang gabi. (informal) – Good evening

Kumusta po kayo? (formal/polite) – How are you?
Kumusta ka? (informal) – How are you?

Mabuti po naman. (formal/polite) – I’m fine
Mabuti naman. (informal) – I’m fine

Tuloy po kayo. (formal/polite) – Please, come in
Tuloy. (informal) – Please, come in

Salamat po. (formal/polite) – Thank you
Salamat. (informal) – Thank you

Maraming salamat po. (formal/polite) – Thank you very much
Maraming salamat. (informal) – Thank you very much

Wala pong anuman. (formal/polite) – You are welcome
Walang anuman. (informal) – You are welcome

Opo/ oho. (formal/polite) – Yes
Oo (informal) – Yes

Hindi po/ho (formal/polite) – No
Hindi (informal) – No

Hindi ko po/ho alam. (formal/polite) – I don’t know
Hindi ko alam. (informal) – I don’t know

Anong oras na po? (formal/polite) – What time is it?
Anong oras na? (informal) – What time is it?

Saan po kayo papunta? (formal/polite) – Where are you going?
Saan ka papunta? (informal) – Where are you going?

Saan po kayo galing? (formal/polite) – Where did you come from?
Saan ka galing? (informal) – Where did you come from?

Ano po ang pangalan nila? (formal/polite) – What is your name?
Anong pangalan mo? (informal) – What is your name?

Ako po si ________ (formal/polite) – I am ______ (name).
Ako si _________ (informal) – I am ______ (name).

Ilang taon na po kayo? (formal/polite) – How old are you?
Ilang taon ka na? (informal) – How old are you?

Ako po ay _______ gulang na. (formal/polite) – I am _______ years old.
Ako ay _______ gulang na. (informal) – I am _______ years old.

Saan po kayo nakatira? (formal/polite) – Where do you live?
Saan ka nakatira? (informal) – Where do you live?

Taga saan po sila? (formal/polite) – Where are you from?
Taga saan ka? (informal) – Where are you from?

Kumain na po ba sila? (formal/polite) – Have you eaten yet?
Kumain ka na ba? (informal) – Have you eaten yet?


Below is a list of Tagalog words and phrases used in giving or asking for directions.

deretso – straight ahead
(sa) kanan – on the right
(sa) kaliwa – on the left
umikot – turn around
(sa) harap – in front
(sa) likod/likuran – at the back/behind
hilaga – north
silangan – east
kanluran – west
timog – south
(sa) itaas – on top
(sa) ibaba – below/at the bottom
(sa) ilalim – at the bottom
(sa) loob – inside
(sa) labas – outside

There are a number of Tagalog words and phrases which are rather vague in terms of specific distance but signify “nearness” or “farness” of a particular object, thing, or place from the speaker. These are:

doon – yonder (over there)
diyan lang po sa tabi – there, on that side
sa banda po doon – over on that side


Below is a list of Tagalog question words with their corresponding meanings and examples in English.

Ano? – What?
Alin? – Which?
Sino? – Who?
Saan? – Where?
Bakit? – Why?
Kailan? – When?
Paano?/Papaano? – How?
Magkano? – How much? (money)
Nasaan? – Where? (to look for something/somebody)