Bicolano words and phrases
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45 Useful Bicolano Words & Phrases to Learn for Travelers

Planning a trip to the Bicol region and other parts of Southern Luzon? Before going there, why not learn some basic Bikolano or Bicolano words and phrases to show your appreciation for the culture and better interact with the locals?

Bicolano or Bikol language is one of the most widely used native languages in the Philippines along with Tagalog, Cebuano, Hiligaynon, Ilocano, and Waray. However, it is interesting to note that the Bicolano language is very fragmented and composed of several Central Philippine languages depending on the geographic location.

For the purpose of this list, we’ll tackle the Central Bikol language, also called Bikol Naga. It is widely used and spoken in the Bicol region, mainly in Naga City, Camarines Sur, and some parts of Camarines Norte, Albay, Sorsogon, Masbate, and Catanduanes.

Tip: Discover Albay’s most popular tourist spots including the iconic Mayon Volcano on a sightseeing tour. This already includes a private transport, tour guide, tour kit, admission to attractions, snacks, and more!

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Basic Bicolano words and phrases for introductions and greetings

Use Bicolano words and phrases when exploring Naga City
Aerial view of Naga City | Photo credit: Naga City Official Website

1. “Tara!” / “Nom!” / “Nem!” = “Hello!”

Although “Hello” is commonly used as a general greeting, you can say these Bicolano words to greet someone.

2. “Marhay na aga!” = “Good morning!”

Say “Marhay na aga!” to greet in the morning. You can use the following variations for other times of the day:

  • Marhay na udto = Good noon
  • Marhay na hapon = Good afternoon
  • Marhay na banggi = Good evening

3. “Komusta ka na?” / “Komusta na kamo?” = “How are you?”

Say these Bicolano phrases to ask how someone or a group of people are doing. Use “ka na” if you’re only asking one person, and “na kamo?” if you’re saying it collectively.

4. “Marhay!” = “Fine!” / “Good!”

This is your reply to someone asking how you are doing.

5. “Anong ginigibo mo?” = “What are you doing?”

This is what you say if you want to check in on someone and ask what he or she is doing.

6. “Anong pangaran mo?” = “What’s your name?”

Use this Bicolano phrase to ask for someone’s name.

7. “Ako si <name>.” = “I’m <name>.”

Same with Tagalog, you can introduce your name like this, “Ako si Juan.” You can also say, “Juan ang pangaran ko.” for “My name is Juan.”

8. “Taga sain ka?” = “Where are you from?”

Use this Bicolano phrase when asking where the person is from.

9. “Taga <place> ako.” = “I’m from <place>.”

This is your reply to the person asking where you are from. For example, “Taga Manila ako.”

10. “Tatao ka magtaram nin <language>?” = “Do you speak <language>?”

Use this Bicolano phrase to know if the person speaks a certain language. For example, “Tatao ka magtaram nin Bikol?” (Do you speak Bikol?).

11. “Diit lang.” = “A little.”

You can reply with this Bicolano phrase if you know a little.

12. “Nasasabutan mo?” = “Do you understand?”

Use this Bikol phrase to confirm if the person understands.

13. “Nasasabutan ko.” = “I understand.”

This is your reply if you understand.

14. “Dai ko nasasabutan.” = “I do not understand.”

On the other hand, you can use this if you don’t understand.

Useful Bikol words and phrases for social etiquette

Use Bicolano words and phrases when interacting with locals during the Peñafrancia Festival
Peñafrancia Festival, one of the top Philippine festivals | Photo credit: Naga City Official Website

15. “Dios mabalos!” = “Thank you!”

Thank you or salamat in Bicolano is “Dios mabalos”. You can also simply say “Salamat” or “Salamat na marhay”.

16. “Daing ano man!” = “You’re welcome!”

This is your reply to the person who expresses gratitude to you.

17. “Mag iingat ka!” = “Take care!”

Same with Tagalog, you can say this to tell someone to take care.

18. “Tabi.” = “Please.”

Use this Bicolano word when asking for a favor.

19. “Patawarun mo ako.” / “Dispensaron mo na lang ako.” = “Please forgive me.” / “I’m sorry.”

Use these Bicolano phrases to apologize.

20. “Paaram!“= “Goodbye!”

It sounds and means the same as the Tagalog word “paalam”, which means goodbye.

21. “Nahihidaw ako saimo!“= “I miss you!”

This is how you say “I miss you” in Bicolano.

22. “Magayon!” = “Beautiful!”

Say this if you want to compliment someone or something.

23. “Iyo” = “Yes”

“Iyo” is the Bicolano word for yes.

24. “Dai” = “No”

“Dai” is the Bicolano word for no.

Helpful Bicolano phrases for travel and exploration

Mayon Volcano
Mayon Volcano | Photo credit: Alexis Ricardo Alaurin

Tip: Explore the world-famous Mayon Volcano on an exciting ATV ride. This already includes ATV rental, safety gear, insurance, and driving practice.

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25. “Hain?” = “Where?”

“Hain” is the Bicolano word for “where”. See some samples of how to use it in a sentence:

“Hain ang banyo?” (Where’s the bathroom?)
“Hain ang mga bus?” (Where are the buses?)

26. “Masain ka?” = “Where are you going?”

Use this Bicolano phrase to know where the person is going.

27. “Maduman ako sa <place>.” = “I’m going to <place>.”

This is your reply to someone asking where you are going.

28. “Pano ako makaduman sa <place>?” = “How do I get to <place>?”

If you are asking for directions on how to get to a particular place, you can say this phrase.

29. “Gurano man an pamasahe / plite?” = “How much is the fare?”

Use this Bicolano phrase to ask how much is the fare.

30. “Para!” = “Stop!”

Like Tagalog and Bisaya, you just say “para” if you want to get off from the public vehicle.

31. “Nawawara ako!” = “I’m lost!”

Say this Bicolano phrase when you are lost, especially in a new place.

32. “Tabang!” = “Help!”

Same with Bisaya, you say “tabang” if you need help. You can also say, “Tabangi ako” if you want to say “Help me”.

Practical Bicolano words and phrases for shopping

Bicolano words and phrases for shopping
Photo credit: Naga City Official Website

33. “Gurano ini?” = “How much is this?”

Use this Bicolano phrase when asking for the price.

34. “Mahal!” = “Expensive!”

Same with Tagalog and Bisaya, “mahal” is the Bicolano word for expensive.

35. “Barato!” = “Cheap!”

Same with Bisaya, “barato” means cheap in Bicolano.

36. “Igwa ka <item>?” = “Do you have <item>?”

Use this Bicolano phrase if you are looking for an item to buy.

Handy Bicolano words and phrases for eating

Bicol Express
Bicol Express | Photo credit: Derk29

37. “Makakan kita!” = “Let’s eat!”

Use this Bicolano phrase to invite people to eat.

38. “Masiram!” = “Delicious!”

Utter this if you want to say that the food is delicious.

39. “Maharang!” = “Spicy!”

When you taste spicy food like Bicol Express, you can utter this word.

40. “Mahamis!” = “Sweet!”

When it’s sweet, you can say this Bicolano word.

41. “Dae ka magpagutom.” = “Don’t allow yourself to starve.”

Say this to express concern that you don’t want the person to starve or get hungry.

42. “Gutom na ako!” = “I’m hungry!”

Same with Tagalog, this is what you say when you’re already hungry.

43. “Basog na ako!” = “I’m already full!”

“Basog” is the same as “busog” in Filipino, which means the stomach is already full.

44. “Dai ako nagkakakan nin <food>.” = “I don’t eat <food>.”

If you don’t eat something like pork, you can say “Dai ako nagkakakan nin karneng urig!” (I don’t eat pork).

45. “Gurano an pagkakan / kakanon?” = “How much is the food?”

Say this if you want to know the price of the food.

This Bicolano words list will already do for a start. You’ll learn more of the language when you’re already immersed in the locality.

You might also be interested to learn the following languages when exploring other parts of the Philippines: Filipino (national language), Ilocano (Ilocos), Bisaya (Central Visayas and Mindanao), Hiligaynon (Western Visayas), Waray (Eastern Visayas), and Chavacano (Zamboanga City and Basilan).

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