The Philippines has two official languages: Filipino and English, although a minority still speaks Spanish and Chinese. Filipino, which is based on Tagalog is the national language and is taught in all elementary and secondary schools. Although majority would consider Tagalog as their native tongue, the country has about 70 native dialects based on Malay languages.
English, the 2nd official language of the country is widely used for educational, governmental and commercial purposes. It is also easily understood because it is used as a medium of teaching in schools. The elementary and high schools conduct many classes in English and some institutions require students to pass an English proficiency exam when to be admitted. Since English is widely spoken in the Philippines, it is not unusual to hear Filipinos use a mixture of English and Filipino words or phrases which they refer to as 'Taglish".
Currently, the Philippines is the third largest group of English speaking people in the world, next to the United States and the United Kingdom. Travelers capable of speaking English, will have no problem staying in the Philippines and communicating with the Filipinos. A few sentences in Tagalog will of course be appreciated and will get you more out of your trip.
Pronunciation is relatively easy for English speakers since Tagalog is not a tonal language like some other asian languages. Tagalog uses (more or less) five vowels:
- a : ah
- e: eh
- i: ee
- o: aw
- u: oo
The consonant letters in Tagalog are basically pronounced the same way as in English with a few adjustments:
- g: is pronounced as in go
- h: as pronounced as in hash
- ng: as in sing
- r: like in ladder
Some phrases and a few words to get you started:
|Magandang umaga||good morning|
|Magandang tanghali||good noon (midday)|
|Magandang hapon||good afternoon|
|Magandang gabi||good evening|
|Kumusta ka?||How are you?|
|Mabuti naman||I'am fine thank you|
|Paalam na!||Goodbye for now!|
|You||Ka / Ikaw or Kayo (formal)|
|Ninyo||You / Your|
|Iyo||You / Your (with sa)|
|Mo||You / Your (with ng)|
|Inyo||You / Your|
|Amin||Ours (with sa - with us|
|Namin||Our exluding listener (with ng) -us|
|Sa||in/on/at/ in the/ on the/ at the|
|Beneath||Sa illalim / Sa ibabà|
Fruits and vegetables
Spanish numbers are used for time, date and prices
Filipino numbers are used when referring to weight, objects, things and people.
And from eleven to twenty two is listed below.
|Twenty one||Dalawampu't isa||Beinte uno|
|Twenty two||Dalawampu't dalawa||Beinte dos|
From twenty and up the pattern is repeating, except for the word marking the "ten" digit.
The words for hundred to thousands are listed in the following table.
|Two hundred||dalawandaan||dos siyentos|
|Three hundred||tatlongdaan||tres siyentos|
|Four hundred||apatnaraan||kuwatro siyentos|
|Five hundred||limandaan||singko siyentos|
|Six hundred||animnaraan||sais siyentos|
|Seven hundred||pitongdaan||siyete siyentos|
|Eigth hundred||walongdaan||otso siyentos|
|Nine hundred||siyamnaraan||nuwebe siyentos|
When the number ends with the a vowel you put "ng" in the end. Have a look a the table below.
|Dalawang saging||Two bananas|
|Tatlong sili||Three hot chili's|
Then if its consonant you put “na” after:
|anim na repolyo||six cabbage|
|siyam na kamatis||nine tomatoes|
Days of the week
Months of the year
Some other words to express time
Other helpful words
|Walang Anuman||You're welcome|
|Nga||Indeed / it's true|
|Bakante||Available / vacant|
|ano yan||What is that|
meron po ba kayong bakanteng kwarto? Do you have rooms available?
magkano po bang presyo ng mga kwarto nyo? How much does the room cost?
anu-anu po bang presyo ng mga kwarto nyo? What are the prices of the rooms?