25+ Common Tagalog Proverbs: An Easy Guide

Curious about the common Tagalog proverbs that Filipinos used as their “words of wisdom”? As with many other countries, proverbs passed down by our ancestors are deemed natural treasures, for they reflect a deep meaning that is usually about life, love, and passion. Let’s find out more about these in the context of Filipino society in today’s blog post!

Filipino proverbs in Tagalog are commonly called ‘salawikain‘ and the biblical reference is ‘kawikaan.’ It is also called ‘kasabihan’ or ‘Filipino sayings.’ Overall, Filipino proverbs are often used as expressions in different parts of the country and in everyday life.

Furthermore, Filipino proverbs represent the values of the Philippines. They are passed down from generation to generation. That’s why some of the characteristics and ways of thinking back in the past are still very much present now. One example of a famous Filipino proverb is ‘Pag may tiyaga, may nilaga‘ (if there is perseverance, there is stew), which means you need to persevere to have something to eat. This saying reflects the Filipino’s way of life, which is to be hardworking.

Below is a collection of common Filipino proverbs with literal translations and meanings.

25+ Common Tagalog Proverbs And Their Meanings

Ang kita sa bula, sa bula rin mawawalaWhat comes from bubbles will disappear in bubblesThis means that whatever you get easily will also disappear quickly.
Batong pagulong-gulong, di kakapitan ng lumotA rolling stone gathers no mossThis means that a person who is not satisfied/committed to one place/thing cannot accumulate something.
Kung pukulin ka ng bato, tinapay ang iganti moIf someone throws stones at you, throw back some breadIt has been said in the bible that vengeance is from God. So if you are looking for revenge, you must give forgiveness instead. This Tagalog proverb is the same with ‘Pag binato ka ng bato, batuhin mo ng tinapay.’
Batu-bato sa langit, tamaan huwag magagalitIf a stone thrown upward hits you, don’t take offenseDo not be offended by people’s criticisms, because sometimes it is not directly given to you.
Ang hindi lumingon sa pinanggalingan, hindi makakarating sa paroroonan A person who does not remember where he came from will never reach his destinationAlways be humble and down to earth. You should be grateful to those people who help you and are there for you on what and where you are today.
Ang kalusugan ay kayamananHealth is wealthBeing healthy is one of the most valuable treasures that a person has. So you should keep and protect your body to become healthy.
Ang buhay ay parang gulong, minsang nasa ibabaw, minsang nasa ilalimLife is like a wheel: Sometimes you’re up, and sometimes you’re downIn life, you will encounter good days and bad days.
Ang hindi marunong magmahal sa sariling wika, ay mahigit pa sa mabaho at malansang isdaHe who does not love his mother tongue is worse than a rotten fishThis famous saying came from one of the national heroes of the Philippines, Dr. Jose Rizal. This means that you should value and give honor to your native language.
Wala kang masasabunot sa kalboYou cannot pull hair from the bald.This simply means that you cannot give what you do not have.
Kahoy mang babad sa tubig, kapag nadarang sa apoy sapilitang magdirikitEven a log soaked in water will burn if it is placed near a fireThis Filipino proverb means any person can achieve anything when he/she is in the right condition.
Huli man daw at magaling, naihahabol dinBetter late than neverFilipino culture has this ‘Filipino time,’ wherein Filipinos are sometimes late for an important event. This Filipino proverb explains the Filipino characteristic of being ‘tardy.’
Ang tulog na hipon, tinatangay ng agosA sleeping shrimp is carried away by the currentThis Filipino proverb is the same as ‘Huli man daw at magaling, naihahabol din,’ but you should avoid being lazy instead of being tardy.
Ang matapat na kaibigan, tunay na maaasahanYou will know a true friend in time of needThis means that a true friend is there not only in good times but also in bad times.
Pulutin ang mabuti, ang masama ay iwaksiEmulate what is good, ignore what is badThis Filipino proverb has the same meaning in literal translation. In short, imitate and duplicate what is good.
Walang lumura sa langit na di sa kanyang mukha nagbalikNobody who spits upward does not spit on his faceThese Tagalog proverbs suit an individual who likes to disrespect others. A person who disrespects others also disrespects himself/herself.
Maraming salita, kulang sa gawaA man who talks too much accomplishes littleThis simply means you should practice what you preach.
Walang palayok na walang kasukat na tungtong Every pot has a matching lidThis Tagalog proverb means that everybody has a perfect fit in a relationship that can match their personalities.
Habang may buhay, may pag-asaWhile there is life, there is hopeIn short, every day is a new beginning and a new hope to become a better person.
Ang mabigat ay gumagaan, kung pinagtutulunganAnything that is heavy can be light if we put our resources togetherThis term suits the Filipino trait called ‘Bayanihan’ because Filipinos are known for being hospitable and generous.
Lahat ng gubat ay may ahasIn every forest, there is a snake.Simply put, do not trust anyone wherever you go.
Naghangad ng kagitna, isang salop ang nawalaHe who takes a lot of risks loses more than he can gainThis means that you should be wise in making decisions because sometimes you may lose important things in your life.
Walang salang hindi pinagbabayaranNo crime is left unpunishedIt is the same with the Filipino proverb ‘Pag binato ka ng bato, batuhin mo ng tinapay.’ In short, the crime that a person did will be repay later.
Ang sakit ng kalingkigan, sakit ng buong katawanThe pain of the little finger is felt by the whole bodyThis Filipino proverb simply means that the world is connected. For instance, a little problem can affect and turn into a big problem.
Ang taong walang kibo, nasa loob ang kuloA quiet person hides his anger.This means that some quiet individual may hide his/her feelings (nasa loob ang kulo). So we better watch out for what we are saying or doing in front of them because it is scarier to see them angry than noisy people.
Ang taong nagigipit, sa patalim kumakapitA desperate person will cling to a knife.This Filipino proverb is the version of the Western proverb ‘Desperate times call for desperate measures.’ This means that people who are in a dreadful situation may do horrible things to get out of their problems.
Ang palay ay parisan, habang nagkakalaman ay lalong nagpugpugayBe like a rice stalk, the more grains it bears, the lower it bowsIn short, you must be down to earth and humble if you achieve something.
Kung ano ang puno, siya rin ang bungaWhat the tree is, so is its fruitThis means that a child’s characteristics reflect and are influenced by their parents.
Biruin mo ang lasing wag lang ang bagong gisingIt is preferable to make a joke with a drunkard but never with someone who has just woken up.This Filipino proverb is scientifically approved because waking up due to a disturbance may cause a heart attack and muscle twitching.

Tagalog Proverbs And Sayings On The Lives Of Filipinos

The old Filipino proverb has influenced and inspired each Filipino to strive and live a better life. Aside from giving guidance and wisdom in doing their actions, those proverbs originating from different parts of the country also carried their Filipino culture and tradition. That culture has various opinions about must-have characteristics, wisdom, and other life lessons on what it takes to be successful in life. In short, Filipino proverbs serve as motivation and encouragement to Filipinos.

Moreover, some Filipino proverbs used in the national language are somewhat poetic because they use expressions like euphoria. This is the reason why Filipino proverbs express Filipino values and traditions.

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Learn More About Tagalog With Ling App

There’s more in Tagalog than understanding some Filipino proverbs mentioned above. You can explore more about this language using the Ling app. Some of the related topics you can discover are the History of Tagalog LanguageEasy Tagalog Grammar, and Epic Festivals In The Philippines.

Want to learn more about Tagalog? Download Ling app by Simya Solutions.

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