Impact Language Guide: Tagalog

If you ever find yourself in the Philippines, English is widely spoken, and you might just get away with not having to speak any Tagalog whilst you are there. However, if you want to impress the locals and have a more meaningful experience, here are some phrases and expressions to keep in handy during your travels: 

Kamusta – With no direct translation for “Hello” or “Hi” in Tagalog, “Kamusta”, which means “how are you”, is widely used as a greeting.

Po – Affixed to the end of sentences or phrases when addressing someone older or strangers. Use this in your dialogue to add that extra dash of respect!

Oo (Opo) or Hindi (po) – Yes or No.

Salamat – Thank you

Magandang Umaga/Hapon/Gabi – Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening

Paalam – Goodbye

Pasensya na  – Sorry

Nasaan ang… – Where is

Magkano – How much?

Masarap! – Yummy!

Marunong ka bang mag-Ingles/English? – Do you know how to speak English?

“If you hear someone say “chibog time” prepare yourself for an unforgettable Filipino feast”

It’s also important to know some slang words so you can keep up with the locals:

Petmalu – It’s a jumbled-up form of the word “malupit” which means extraordinary, extreme or cool.

Lodi – You might recognise this the word “idol” backwards, and it means just that. Locals use this to describe someone they admire.

Charot – “I’m just kidding.” This expression is commonly used amongst friends when joking about.

Chibog – Probably the most important expression to learn! It means food, so if you hear someone say “chibog time” prepare yourself for an unforgettable Filipino feast.

Keri – Derived from the word “carry” and means you can handle something, similar to saying “You/I can do this!”

Tara na/Tara lets – Let’s go!

Bes/beshie – bestie

Jowa – lover, partner, girl/boyfriend

Susmariosep – This is a funny one, a contraction of the names in the Holy Trinity (Jesus, Marie, Joseph). Depending on the tone you use, it is used to express shock, surprise or even anger and can be shortened to “Ay sus!”

“Why not join our very own Filipino Society?”

Finally, there are also words that do not have direct translations in English:

Kilig – You know that feeling when you watch a romantic film? That fluttering feeling or that rush of exhilaration which sends shivers throughout your body is more or less “kilig”.

Gigil – You know that feeling when you see something extremely cute? Like a fluffy dog or a baby with chubby cheeks and all you want to do is squeeze them so tight? That irresistible adoration which overwhelms your self-control is probably the closest I can get to explain what “gigil” means.

There you have it! The Philippines is not the closest country from England, so you might have to wait to practice these expressions. But if you’re really itching to impress some Filipinos, why not join our very own Filipino Society and find your new beshies (or even jowa?). Be warned, when hanging out with Filipinos, it’s “chibog time” all the time!

Aprilyn Duran Umel

If you want to check out the Filipino Society, see here!

Image credit: Kai Lehmann via Flickr

If you would like to write for Impact Lifestyle drop us an email at

To keep up to date follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

LifestylePlacesTravelTravel Tips

Leave a Reply