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.
The Philippines is home to some of the friendliest people in the world. Filipinos are very hospitable, and they’ll show it from the moment they greet you. That’s why it’s important to learn how to greet them back, and you can start by learning how to say hello in Tagalog in case you may visit the Philippines at Christmas or other occasions.
One of the major driving forces behind such ability is that American English is considered 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 slang.
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!
|Hi or hello||Kumusta|
|How are you?||Kumusta ka po?|
|Good morning||Magandang umaga|
|Good day||Magandang araw|
|Good afternoon||Magandang hapon|
|Good evening||Magandang gabi|
Tagalog is the most widely spoken language in the Philippines (along with English). It has many different dialects across various provinces, but the country’s official language - Filipino - is based on the most commonly spoken version.
So, how do you say hello in Tagalog?
It’s easy, just say hi or hello!
Most Filipinos greet each other that way since there is no direct translation of the word hello in Tagalog. But if you really want to, you could greet someone by saying these Tagalog words.
|Tagalog (Filipino)||English Translation||How To Use It?|
|Kumusta ka po? (ku‧mus‧ta ka po?)||hi or hello||The formal version, is used mostly in writing and official documents.|
|Kamusta ka? (ka‧mus‧ta ka?)||hi or hello||Used in informal conversation. That is how it is commonly pronounced in Tagalog.|
Both phrases are direct translations of the English phrase “how are you?”, and it is how Filipinos usually greet each other. Ka, on the other hand, means ‘you’.
You can also use the words kamusta or kumusta by themselves, and ignore the word ‘ka’. However, it is more polite if you say the whole phrase, especially if you’re talking to strangers.
In case you didn’t know, the word kumusta is derived from the Spanish phrase cómo está, which also means “how are you?”.
When talking to someone in Tagalog, you might hear the words ‘po’ or ‘opo’ being said at the end of a sentence. These are words that are used to make the speaker seem more polite. Usually, they are used when someone is speaking with an older person, or someone with authority- like the police.
Let’s use the previous phrase we’ve learned as an example. To greet someone more politely in Tagalog, you can say:
Kamusta ka po? Or Kamusta po?
Similarly, ‘po’ and ‘opo’ are the polite Tagalog equivalent of ‘yes’ in English.
Just like other Asian countries, politeness is heavily emphasized in the Philippines, and it’s reflected in the many polite words in Tagalog. Here is one example of a polite greeting in Tagalog.
Mano po (ma‧no po)
While there is no direct translation for this phrase, it essentially has the same function as ‘hello’. However, the only time you should use this is when greeting an elderly person that you are being introduced to -or greeting an elder that you already know.
The phrase should also be spoken along with a hand gesture that is similar to kissing the hand of a lady. But instead of kissing, you take the hand and touch it with your forehead. Be careful who you do it to though, as someone who still wants to feel young might take offense (jokingly).
There are also Tagalog words that are used to greet someone at different times of the day. Let’s look at how you greet someone in Tagalog during the morning. Before saying ‘kamusta ka’, you can greet them first by saying:
|Magandang umaga (ma‧gan‧dang u‧ma‧ga)||The word ‘maganda’ means ‘beautiful’, while ‘umaga’ means ‘morning’. So it’s direct translation would be ‘a beautiful morning’. What a way to start the day, right?|
|Magandang hapon (ma‧gan‧dang ha‧pon)||The direct English translation of this phrase is ‘a beautiful afternoon’, and functions the same way as saying ‘good afternoon’. If you use the polite words that we talked about earlier, you can greet someone like this:|
|Magandang hapon po. Kamusta ka? / Magandang hapon. Kamusta ka po?||You don’t have to use polite words in every sentence. In fact, you shouldn’t, because that would be seen as weird by the locals.|
|Magandang gabi (ma‧gan‧dang ga‧bi)||Like the other two, the phrase means ‘a beautiful evening’. You can also use this phrase for either ‘good evening’ or ‘good night’.|
There are a lot more polite words in Tagalog that you might hear when talking to a Filipino. While most of them are gender-neutral, some are used specifically for a certain gender. Let’s take a look at the polite word for men.
This Tagalog word is used when talking to a guy who is older than you. Although if you really want to be more polite, you can also use it even when talking to a younger guy. When greeting someone, you can either say this first before saying hello, or do it the other way around. Here’s an example of how you greet someone using this polite word:
Of course, there is also a polite word for greeting women. Similarly, you can also use this Tagalog word when talking to older or younger women if you want to be more polite.
Here’s an example of how you greet someone using this polite word.
These gender-specific polite words aren’t just used for greetings only. They can be used whenever you’re addressing someone and you want to be polite.
Saying goodbye to someone can be a really sad affair, no matter what language you’re using. It’s no different with Filipinos, that’s why they rarely use the Tagalog word for goodbye. Instead, they prefer to use the English word ‘goodbye’ or ‘bye’. The reason for this is some Tagalog words are seen as having a deep emotional connection with their meaning.
That’s why when saying goodbye, you should use this Tagalog word sparingly:
More often than not, Filipinos use this Tagalog word when cutting ties with someone, or when they’re not expecting to see each other for a long time.
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.
|Long live||Mabuhay!||*Mabuhay!||Long live|
|Good day||Magandang araw||Magandang araw rin||Good day|
|Good morning||Magandang umaga||Magandang umaga rin||Good morning|
|Good evening||Magandang gabi||Magandang gabi rin||Good evening|
|How are you?||
|**Mabuti naman||I am okay|
|How are you? (slang)||
|I am okay|
|What’s up?||Anong bago?||Wala naman||Nothing is new|
|Long-time no see||
|Oo nga! Gaano na nga ba katagal?||You are right! How long has it been already?|
|Maraming salamat||Thank you very much|
|Merry Christmas||Maligayang Pasko||Maligayang Pasko rin sa’iyo!||Merry Christmas to you too!|
|Good luck||Gudlak||Salamat||Thank you|
|Happy new year||Manigong bagong taon||Manigong bagong taon din!||Happy new year to you too!|
|Happy easter||Maligayang Pasko ng pagkabuhay||Maligayang Pasko ng pagkabuhay din!||Happy Easter to you too|
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.
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.
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