14 Basic Tagalog Greetings

December 3, 2020

Conversations are bound to happen wherever you go. While some may find this as a struggle, others may equate this as an opportunity to go beyond the box and let go of the tongue-tied feeling. With this being said, we have prepared a list of useful Tagalog greetings that you can use to jumpstart a chat between you and the friendly locals.

If there is one country in the world that seems to have a long-standing relationship with the English language, then that would be the Philippines. Aside from its jaw-dropping natural wonders and unique breath of city lines and beaches, the country has always been one of Asia's most recommended travel destinations due to its English-friendly society. In fact, the Philippine National Statistics Office revealed that around 63% of young Filipinos over the age of five are found to have excellent ability in speaking English and comprehending English instructions!  

One of the major driving forces behind such ability is that American English is considered as an official language and is mainly used in the fields of business, commerce, and trade.  But wait! That does not mean that you can forgo learning Tagalog because, in reality, the rest of the Philippines does not use English on a daily basis. In this sense, if you are someone who intends to journey into the hidden gems of the Pearl of the Orient, then that would mean that you must acquire even the most basic Tagalog greetings like “magandang umaga” or some of the rampantly used local slangs.

To help you in your quest, we divided the article into two main parts wherein the first half will feature the greetings while the other part will shed light on some of the common responses to the greetings. If that sits well with you, then let’s start learning!

Tagalog Greetings

One way to become an international superstar in an instant in the eyes of the Filipinos is by trying to communicate in their native language. Generally, the people are friendly towards foreigners, and none of them will shy away from trying to help you in any way they can. However, if you want them to warm up to you right away, we suggest that you strike up a conversation with your local “pare” (or male buddy) or “mare” (or female chum) by using some of the basic greetings below.

EnglishTagalog
Long live (traditional Filipino greeting)Mabuhay!
Good dayMagandang araw
Good morningMagandang umaga
Good afternoonMagandang hapon or magandang tanghali
Good eveningMagandang gabi
How are you?Kumusta? or kumusta ka naman?
How are you? (slang)Musta? or musta na u?
What’s up?Anong bago?
Long-time no seeTagal na ah! or tagal na nating hindi nagkita!
Happy birthdayMaligayang bati or maligayang kaarawan
Merry ChristmasMaligayang Pasko
Good luckGudlak
Happy new yearManigong bagong taon
Happy easterMaligayang Pasko ng pagkabuhay

As you can deduce from the table above, we have added some useful greetings for special occasions because in the country, even if you do not know the person well you can greet them randomly with Merry Christmas or Happy New Year.  

How to Reply To The Tagalog Greetings

Of course, good conversations are a two-way street, and sometimes you might be surprised that the Filipino local will be the one who will stir up a small talk. To sound like a native and earn some smiles, we listed here some of the common replies that you can say as a response to the first table.

EnglishTagalogResponseTranslation
Long liveMabuhay!*Mabuhay!Long live
Good dayMagandang arawMagandang araw rinGood day
Good morningMagandang umagaMagandang umaga rinGood morning
Good afternoonMagandang hapon or magandang tanghaliMagandang hapon din or Magandang tanghali rinGood afternoon
Good eveningMagandang gabiMagandang gabi rinGood evening
How are you?Kumusta? or kumusta ka naman?**mabuti naman    I am okay
How are you? (slang)Musta? or musta na u?***Okey naman or Okay langI am okay
What’s up?Anong bago?Wala namanNothing is new
Long-time no seeTagal na ah! or tagal na nating hindi nagkita!Oo nga! Gaano na nga ba katagal?You are right! How long has it been already?
Happy birthdayMaligayang bati or maligayang kaarawanMaraming salamatThank you very much
Merry ChristmasMaligayang PaskoMaligayang Pasko rin sa’iyo!Merry Christmas to you too!
Good luckGudlakSalamatThank you
Happy new yearManigong bagong taonManigong bagong taon din!Happy new year to you too!
Happy easterMaligayang Pasko ng pagkabuhayMaligayang Pasko ng pagkabuhay din!Happy Easter to you too
Notes: *Repeat the same word. No need to ass the word “rin” or “din.”
** You can follow up the response by asking the other speaker, “Ikaw, kumusta ka?”
*** You can follow up the response by asking the other speaker, “Ikaw?”

Now that you know the basic Tagalog greetings, we are sure that you can work your way in the Philippines with much more confidence. If this post helped, feel free to share it on social media and let others know the best greetings that can help in starting a friendly conversation.

Kick-start your language experience today!

Unlike other languages, Tagalog holds a unique set of words that are heavily influenced by different cultures from all over the world. In fact, most of the traditional expressions are mainly based around English, Spanish, Chinese, Arabic, and Malay words! In short, it’s a melting pot of different expressions, words, spelling, and tones. Due to its distinct form, language enthusiasts and travelers are taking up the challenge to learn the language in order to appreciate the history behind its every idea, line, letter, and syllable.

Interested to learn more Tagalog language vocabulary words like how to express the basics? For additional reinforcement in the Tagalog language, be sure to check out the Ling App. This handy-dandy training buddy features fun mini-games and quizzes that can motivate you to practice and explore more about your target language day by day.

Master the language in no time! Download the Ling app today to pump up your vocabulary and find the right words to fill the void.

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