Useful Tagalog words and phrases
| | |

45 Useful Filipino or Tagalog Words & Phrases for Travelers

When traveling the Philippines, arm yourself with some useful Filipino or Tagalog words and phrases. Locals like us would love to hear that you try to communicate with us using our very own Filipino language. It is the national language of the Philippines after all, and widely spoken and understood anywhere in the country, whether you are in Luzon, Visayas, or Mindanao.

Tip: Why not explore the Philippine capital on a heritage tour and test your Filipino language skills as you connect with the locals?



Filipino is mainly derived from the Tagalog language, which is spoken in Manila and many parts of Luzon. While Filipino and Tagalog are often used interchangeably, the Filipino language is actually composed of other local languages like Bisaya as well as borrowed words from international languages like Spanish, Malay, and Chinese.

Now, let’s learn some basic Filipino or Tagalog words and phrases, which we categorized according to usage.

Basic Filipino or Tagalog words and phrases for greetings and introductions

Basic Filipino words and phrases for greetings and introductions
Photo credit: Michael Rivera

1. “Mabuhay!” = “Welcome!”

“Mabuhay” literally means “to live / long live” but it is also a famous Filipino expression when you welcome someone or toast for success.

2. “Magandang araw!” = “Good day!”

You can also use these specific variations:

  • Magandang umaga – Good morning
  • Magandang tanghali – Good noon
  • Magandang hapon – Good afternoon
  • Magandang gabi – Good evening

3. “Kamusta?” = “How are you?”

Say this if you want to know how the person is doing.

4. “Ayos lang.” = “I’m fine.”

This is your reply to “Kamusta?” if you are alright and doing well. It is the shorter version of “Maayos lang ako.”.

5. “Salamat!” = “Thank you!”

You can add “Marami” as in “Maraming salamat”, meaning “Thank you very much!”.

6. “Walang ano man!” = “You’re welcome!”

This is your reply to someone who says “Salamat” (Thank you) to you.

7. “Ingat!” = “Take care!”

You can also add “lagi” after the word “ingat” as in “Ingat lagi” (Take care always!) or “Mag-ingat ka palagi!” (You take care always!)

8. “Ano ang pangalan mo?” = “What is your name?”

Say this Tagalog phrase if you want to know someone’s name.

9. “Ako si…” = “I’m…”

Use this when you introduce yourself like “Ako si Juan.”

10. “Taga saan ka?” = “Where are you from?”

Say this Filipino phrase when you ask where the person lives. Another variation is “Saan ka nakatira?” (Where do you live?).

11. “Makisuyo” = “Please”

When you ask a favor, you can say, “Makikisuyo po sana ako.” (I want to ask a favor.) or “Maaari bang makisuyo?” (Can I ask a favor?).

12. “Opo / Oho” = “Yes”

“Opo” and “Oho” are respectful ways to say “yes” in Filipino. Be sure to add “po” in your sentence to show your respect to the person you are conversing with, especially to the older ones.

See sample conversation below:

Question: Taga saan ka? (Where are you from?)
Reply: Taga Cebu po ako. (I’m from Cebu.)

13. “Hindi” = “No”

Use this Tagalog word when you deny or reject something.

Practical Tagalog phrases and terms for getting around

Use Tagalog words and phrases when commuting in Manila
Photo credit: Carla Cervantes

14. “Saan?” = “Where?”

Use this Tagalog word if you want to know the location of a place or thing.

15. “Paano?” = “How?”

You may use this Filipino word when asking for instructions on certain things like asking for directions. You say, “Paano pumunta doon?” (How to get there?).

16. “Saan ako bababa?” = “Where do I alight?”

You already know that “saan” means “where”. Just add the Tagalog words “ako” (me) and “bababa” (go down) if you want to know where you should alight or get off, especially when you commute.

17. “Saan ito papunta?” = “Where is this going?”

This is what you say when you want to know the route or destination.

18. “Saan ka pupunta?” = “Where are you going?”

Use this Filipino phrase if you ask where someone is going.

19. “Para po / Dito lang po” = “I’ll get off here / I’ll alight here”

When riding a public transport such as a jeep or bus, this is what you say to the driver or conductor if you want to alight.

20. “Paalam” = “Goodbye”

Use this Tagalog word if you want to bid farewell.

21. “Uwi na ako” = “I’m going home”

If you want to go home, use this Tagalog phrase.

22. “Sa uulitin!” = “Until then! / Until next time!”

Say this Filipino phrase when you wish to see the person again or if you want to do the same thing again.

23. “Magkano ang pamasahe?” = “How much is the fare?”

Use this Tagalog phrase if you don’t know the fare.

24. “Hindi ko alam!” = “I don’t know!”

If you don’t know the answer, just say this Filipino phrase.

25. “Pasensya na po / Paumanhin po” = “I’m sorry”

Say these Tagalog phrases if you want to apologize.

Useful Tagalog words and phrases for shopping

Use Filipino or Tagalog words and phrases when buying something
Photo credit: Hitoshi Namura

26. “Tao po!” = “Hello!”

Say this to call the attention of the store attendant.

27. “Pabili po” = “I’ll buy”

When you want to buy something, you say, “Pabili po ng bigas” (I’ll buy rice).

28. “Ano po ito? / Ano po yan?” = “What’s this? / What’s that?”

“Ano” means “what”, and you just add “ito” (this) and “yan” (that).

29. “Magkano?” = “How much?”

Use this Filipino word when asking for the price of an item.

30. “Magkano lahat?” = “How much is everything?”

This is what you say when you ask for the bill or the price of everything you bought.

31. “Bayad po.” = “Here’s my payment.”

Use this when you want to pay.

32. “Pwede pong tumawad?” = “Can I ask for a discount?”

Use this Filipino phrase when haggling or asking for a discount.

33. “Pili lang!” = “Just pick / choose!”

This is what the seller or store attendant will tell you if he or she wants you to pick or choose the item you want to buy.

34. “Suki” = “Loyal customer or patron”

Don’t be surprised to hear you being called “suki” (loyal customer or patron) when exploring the local markets. The vendor usually says, “Suki, bili na!” (Customer, buy now!).

Handy Filipino phrases and expressions for eating

Our Filipino food feast with lechon | © Chill and Travel

35. “Kain tayo!” = “Let’s eat!”

Say this Tagalog phrase as a courtesy invite when eating.

36. “Gutom na ako!” = “I’m hungry already!”

Make sure that you aren’t “hangry” before you say this.

37. “Gusto ko nang kumain!” = “I want to eat already!”

Say this Tagalog phrase when you’re really hungry and want to dig in.

38. “Masarap!” = “Delicious!”

You may add “sobra” (very) to make it “Sobrang sarap!” (Very delicious!).

39. “Kain ka pa!” = “You eat more!”

Use this Tagalog phrase when you want someone to eat more.

40. “Busog na ako!” = “I’m already full!”

“Busog” means “full” so use this Filipino phrase when you don’t want to eat anymore.

41. “Ayaw ko na.” = “I don’t want anymore.”

It’s what you say when you refuse to do something more.

42. “Wala na akong gana.” = “I already lost my appetite.”

You say this when you already lost your appetite or you don’t want to do anything anymore.

43. “Magdasal tayo!” = “Let us pray!”

This is what you say when you pray, especially before meals.

44. “Saan ako pwedeng umupo?” = “Where can I sit?”

Say this when you want to know the available seats of a particular gathering.

45. “Bahala ka na!” = “It’s up to you!”

Utter this Filipino phrase if you leave it to the other person to decide.

These are just some of the many Filipino or Tagalog words and phrases to learn when you visit the Philippines. As you explore the country, you’ll discover more deep Tagalog words and phrases that will make you connect better with the locals. And, why not learn some basic Cebuano, Hiligaynon, and Waray, as you travel the Visayas region?

Similar Posts