Hello In Tagalog: 13 Useful Ways To Greet In Filipino

A hello in Tagalog is a real conversation starter in the Philippines. Conversations are bound to happen during your stay with the friendly Filipino locals. With this being said, we have prepared a list of useful Tagalog greetings that you can use to jumpstart a chat.

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 besides Hello in Tagalog. If that sits well with you, then let’s start learning!

Hi or helloPagbati
Hi or helloKumusta?
How are you?Kumusta po kayo?
Good morningMagandang umaga
Good dayMagandang araw
Good afternoonMagandang hapon
Good eveningMagandang gabi

How To Say Hello In Tagalog?

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. 

Hi or helloKumusta po kayo? (ku‧mus‧ta po ka.yo?)The formal version is used mostly in writing and official documents.
Hi or helloKamusta ka? (ka‧mus‧ta ka?)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?”.

How To Use ‘Po’ And ‘Opo’

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. They also use this when talking to someone they don’t know in a formal situation.

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.

Girl greets elderly woman with respectful gesture of taking their hand to their forehead and saying Mano po

Different Ways To Greet Someone In Tagalog

Just like in 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)

“Mano po” might be considered a greeting, but it’s more of a way of showing respect to elders like parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, godparents, and even former teachers. You cannot use this with people the same age as you like your friends. You can’t also just say “Mano po”. You’ll have to take their hand and place it on your forehead. Take a look at the picture below.

Group of four Filipino women smiling and gesturing a Hello in Tagalog into the camera

How To Greet Someone At Different Times Of The Day

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:

Good morningMagandang umaga (ma‧gan‧dang u‧ma‧ga)
Good afternoonMagandang hapon (ma‧gan‧dang ha‧pon)
Good afternoon. How are you?Magandang hapon po. Kamusta ka?
(ma‧gan‧dang ha‧pon‧po‧ka‧mus‧ta‧ka)

Magandang hapon. Kamusta ka po?
(ma‧gan‧dang ha‧pon‧ka‧mus‧ta‧ka‧po)

Good evening.Magandang gabi (ma‧gan‧dang ga‧bi)

Polite Words For Greeting Someone Based On Gender

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.

Kuya (ku‧ya)

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:

Kuya, kamusta po?  Or Kamusta po, kuya?

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.

Ate (a‧te)

Here’s an example of how you greet someone using this polite word.

Ate, kamusta po?  Or Kamusta po, ate?

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 In Tagalog

FIlipino waves to say Goodbye into the camera

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:

Paalam (pa‧a‧lam)

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.

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.

Long liveMabuhay!*Mabuhay! Long live
Good DayMagandang arawMagandang araw rin
Good day
Good MorningMagandang umagaMagandang umaga rin
Good morning to you too!
Good AfternoonMagandang hapon
Magandang tanghali

Magandang tanghali
Good afternoon to you too!
Good EveningMagandang gabiMagandang gabi rin
Good evening to you too!
How are you?Kumusta?
Kumusta ka naman?

I am okay
How are you? (slang)Musta?
Musta na u?

I am okay
What’s up?Anong bago? Nothing is new.
Long-time no seeTagal na ah!
Tagal na nating hindi nagkita!

You are right! How long has it been already?
Happy BirthdayMaligayang bati
Maligayang kaarawan
Thank you very much!
Merry ChristmasMaligayang Pasko
Merry Christmas to you too!
Good LuckGudlak Thank you
Happy New YearManigong bagong taon Happy new year to you too!
Happy EasterMaligayang Pasko ng pagkabuhay Happy Easter to you too!

Now that you know the basic greetings like Hello in Tagalog, 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.

Learn Tagalog With The Ling App

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 on 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 than saying Hello in 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 from App Store or Google Play Store today to pump up your vocabulary and find the right words to fill the void.

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