Tagalog and English are two official languages of the Philippines. Educated Pinoys will be fluent in both but inhabitants of small islands and people outside the tourism industry will struggle with English. Still almost everyone knows some English which makes communication really easy.
Tagalog is one of many native languages. It was chosen to be a national one before the WWII by a National Language Institute as part of the preparations for planned independence from the US. Tagalog was at that time spoken by fewer people than another major native language Cebuano but its literary tradition and legacy was greater.
Knowledge of a few words and phrases in Tagalog will not make your communication much easier but it definitely will make your exchanges with the Filipinos more friendly.
- Good Morning – Magandang umaga
- Good Afternoon – Magandang hapon
- Good Evening – Magandang gabi
- Good bye – Good bye
- Good Night – Good night
- Thank you – Salamat (Po)*
- You’re welcome – walang anuman
- How are you?- Kumusta ka?
- (I am) fine – mabuti
- Nice to meet you – Masaya akong makilala ka
- Madam – Ate**
- Sir – Kuya**
- Yes – Oo
- No – hindi
- Maybe – siguro
- Hello, is there anybody? (at a shop when you want to attract attention) – Tao Po
- How much is this? – makano ito?
- Do you have bananas? – meron kayong saging?
- Boat – bangka
- Beach – playa or aplaya
- Could I have fish, please – Pwede pabili ng isda?
- Can I have two Red Horse beers please – Pwede pabili ng dalawang Red Horse?
- I am married – May asawa na ako.
- I am single – Wala akong asawa.
- I have three children. One boy and two girls. -May tatlo akong anak. Isang lalaki at dalawang babae
- I do not speak Tagalog. I know a few words only and this is a show-off – Hindi ako marunong magtagalog. Konti lang ang alam ko na salita at ito ay payabang ko lang.
*Use Po when you speak to a person older than you or when you want to show respect.
**use Ate and Kuia when you address directly people older than you, e.g.: Kuia, could we get two keys to our room, please.