10 Tagalog Phrases to Get You Around the City

1. Kumusta?


The word Kumusta is the shortened version of Kamusta ka? which is translated into English as How are you? This is a common greeting used by Filipinos since the classic Hi or Hello does not have an equivalent phrase in the Tagalog language.

2. Magandang araw/gabi.

[mä-gän-däŋ ä-rau̇ / gäh-bē]

Magandang araw means Good day while Magandang gabi means Good evening.

3. Ate/Kuya.

[ä-ti / kü-yä]

These are respectful forms of address for older people. Ate directly means sister, but you can use this word when talking with every girl generally older than you. Kuya directly means brother, but you can also use this word when talking with every guy generally older than you. The word Ate or Kuya is added before the name of the person you are talking to (ex. Ate Lily, Kuya James), but it can also be used as it is when calling someone.

4. Pasensya na po.

[pä-sin-shä nä pȯ]

This means Sorry in English, but it is loosely translated as ‘I ask for your patience’.

5. Bayad po.

[bä-yäd pȯ]

When you ride a public transportation like the jeepney, there’s a high percentage that you won’t see the conductor or be seated near the driver to give your fare. You should give the money to the person next to you and say this phrase. It means that that person will also give your money to the next person and so on until it reaches the driver. It is polite to thank the person for handing your fare. Should someone gave his/her money to you and said this phrase, you should accept it and pass it next to you.

6. Para!


This is something you should not forget when riding the jeepney. It means Halt in English, a magic word to stop the jeep from moving when you reach your destination or the loading area.

7. Magkano po?

[mäg-kä-nȯ pȯ ]

It means ‘How much is this?‘. It is frequently used when you ask the price of products and produce in the market stalls.

8. Oo/Hindi

[ȯ-ȯ / hin-di]

This is useful for closed-ended questions. Oo means Yes while Hindi means No.

9. Po/Opo

[pȯ / ȯ-pȯ]

Opo is another version of Oo meaning Yes, usually used for elderly people. Po is a word added in the end or middle of the sentence when talking for people older than you as a sign of respect.

10. Salamat.


It means Thank you. 

Note: The pronunciation phonetics are approximations only. The Tagalog words may sound different when spoken by a native.

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