Basic Phrases

Here are some basic phrases you can use whenever you visit the Philippines or want to impress Filipino friends.

English Tagalog
Hello/Hi Kumusta
How are you? Kumusta ka na (ba)?
I’m good Mabuti
Thank you (very much) (Maraming) Salamat
Good morning Magandang umaga
Good afternoon Magandang hapon
Good evening/night Magandang gabi

Hopefully, these will give you a head start on some of the phrases in Tagalog. There are some phrases here that I not on the list and I’ll explain about them.

Goodbye/See you laterPaalam. This is a very common phrase found in phrasebooks and textbooks only. However, this phrase is also never used in spoken conversations. I’ve used this phrase at least once and I get either confused or amused reactions and comments about how I’ve learnt Tagalog from the book. The most common phrase seems to be Babay (from the English phrase “bye bye”) or you can also say Aalis na ako/kami (I’m/We’re leaving now).

Nice to meet youIkinagagalak kong makilala ka. Once again, you’ll see this phrase only in phrasebooks and not often, if not, at all spoken. I have never heard any Filipino use this phrase where I lived. Probably because this phrase is a mouthful. If you want to say something like that, Kumusta would be fine.

PleasePuwede ba/Pakiusap/Pakisuyo. Yet another phrase almost never spoken and usually left in books. I’ll explain the phrases for this in another article.

SorryPaumanhin – Another phrase never spoken. Just say Sorry or Pasensya instead.

What you’ve read above are mainly phrases that are usually written and never spoken. At first glance, one would wonder why Filipinos rarely use these phrases you see in phrasebooks and why so many of them would rather use the English equivalents. I too wonder why as well. Regardless whether these phrases are used or not, it is always good to keep these in mind at the back of your heads in case anyone asks.


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