26+ Easy Poetic Tagalog Words You Should Learn

A photo of a group of people sitting while reading books behind the Poetic Tagalog Words texts.

Here’s the truth: The Filipino language is a beautiful language. But what makes this one unique is its set of poetic Tagalog words like ‘kilig’ and ‘bayanihan,’ which we will learn today. So, keep reading below!

What makes a language unique? It’s the words that are products of the beautiful Filipino culture. The Philippines has many of these poetic words in the Tagalog language. These words are products of the country’s long history, even before the colonizers came.

The culture and history make these words uniquely Filipino, even though it has similar ideas to the English language. So, let’s discover the beauty of the Filipino/Tagalog language.

What Is The Tagalog Word For Beautiful

Poetic Tagalog words are simply beautiful, so before we go over the top words, let us first learn how to say the word beautiful in the Filipino language. Filipinos usually use the word maganda (beautiful) in most situations. You can use it to describe a person, thing, place, and more. However, Filipinos also use the following terms:

TagalogEnglish Translation
NakabibighaniBewitching beauty/Captivating

Filipinos use these essential words to say ‘beautiful’ in their language. The meaning of these words may be the same, but they are used in different situations and contexts. To learn more, read 7 Easy Ways To Say Beautiful In Tagalog.

26 Poetic Tagalog Words

Every language is unique, and like other languages, Tagalog/Filipino language has a lot of beautiful words to offer. It’s a product of their rich culture and history. These words have been passed orally, written, and preserved until today.

Another reason why these Tagalog words are considered beautiful is that they are uncommonly used in casual conversations. With continuous modernization and globalization, some Filipinos no longer know the meaning of these words. So when you hear these words, it is music to the ear.

Luckily, some people, like writers, songwriters, teachers, etc., still fight to preserve them. You can see many of these poetic Tagalog words on social media, like those usually pinned on the free Pinterest app. You can go to Pinterest, log in, and search for these words. These words will also be shared with people wherever they are, even if their first language is not Filipino.

If you want to expand your vocabulary with poetic Tagalog words, here’s a list of 26 words to start with. You will learn the words and the culture and history behind what made them uniquely beautiful.

1. Bayanihan (Communal Unity)

  • Example Sentence: Nakita ang diwa ng bayanihan ng mga Pilipino dahil sa community pantry noong pandemya. (The spirit of communal unity was seen because of the community pantry during the pandemic.)

The most beautiful poetic Filipino word is Bayanihan, the spirit of cooperation and communal unity. This is one of the words that are truly valuable in Filipino culture.

Bayanihan is one of the greatest Filipino values that can still be seen even today. The most famous picture of these values is the ‘lipat-bahay,’ where Filipino people lift a bahay kubo (a traditional Filipino house) to relocate. This culture turns an ordinary person into a real-life hero.

2. Kilig (Feeling Of Exhilaration Or Elation)

  • Example Sentence: Hindi ko mapigilan ang aking kilig nang makita ko siya. (I couldn’t help but feel exhilarated/elated when I saw him/her.)

Have you ever felt butterflies in your stomach when you see the person you like or love? This is what ‘kilig’ feels like, although there’s no direct translation of this word in English. It’s the feeling of exhilaration or elation one experiences in romantic or exciting situations, for example, when an Army met the BTS or when a “Swifty” met Taylor Swift.

3. Harana (Serenading)

  • Example Sentence: Uso pa ba ang harana? (Is serenading still in style?)

Harana is the traditional way of courting someone. It is when the suitor is wooing the person they like by serenading. Back in the old times, only the guys did this in front of the girl’s house with their instruments and some backup. The girl will just look out her window. This is one of the popular ways of old-style courtship that will never fail to make your heart race. Nowadays, you can also see girls serenading boys.

4. Kundiman (Traditional Filipino Love Song)

  • Example Sentence: Palagi kitang aawitan ng kundiman. – (I will always sing you a traditional love song.)

In connection to harana, kundiman is also a word you must learn. Kundiman is a love song. This is the song that guys sing and play in a harana. One of the classical Kundiman is Bituing Marikit (1926) by Nicanor Abelardo.

The Philippine art song, kundiman, originated during a movement against Western musical traditions in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The genre, which portrays courting and undying love, served as a platform for regaining Filipino nationalist identity.

Composers like Francisco Santiago and Nicanor Abelardo were instrumental in its development. They created songs that drew inspiration from traditional folk melodies as a form of cultural expression and resistance against Spanish and American influences.

A photo of a smiling couple holding hands saying poetic Tagalog words to each other.

5. Tinatangi (Special Someone)

  • Example Sentence: Mayroon na akong titanatangi. (I already have a special someone.)

One of the sweetest things in life is knowing that you are somebody’s ‘tinatangior special someone. Filipinos use this word to refer to their special someone, and you’ll mostly hear this during courtship.

The word ‘tinatangi‘ came from the root word ‘tangi,’ which means ‘one’ or ‘one and only.’ So, if someone says “Ikaw ang aking tinatangi.” It means that you’re their only one.

6. Kaulayaw (Intimate Companion)

  • Example Sentence: Nag-usap sila ng kaniyang kaulayaw sa asotea. (She talked with her intimate companion on the balcony.)

Kaulayawcame from the word ‘ulayaw,’ which means intimate conversation. Given this, ‘kaulayaw‘ means a pleasant and intimate companion. In one of the Philippines’ Obra Maestra called Noli Me Tangere, a chapter called “Pag-uulayaw sa Asotea” where Maria Clara and Crisostomo Ibarra talked in the ‘asotea‘ or balcony. They reminisce the memories of their relationship while being away from each other for a long time.

This scene is what traditional courtship and relationships look like. The guy visits the girl at her house. Nowadays, this culture is not strictly practiced, especially in urban areas like Manila. However, old-fashioned parents still want to keep it this way, especially in rural areas.

7. Paraluman (Goddess/Muse)

  • Example Sentence: Paraluman, ika’y akin nang dadalhin sa ‘di mo inaasahang paraiso. – (Paraluman, I’ll take you to an unexpected paradise.)

  • “Kamukha mo si Paraluman noong tayo ay bata pa.” – (You looked like Paraluman when we were young.)

Filipinos will choose to sing the line above rather than simply read it. Why? It’s because it came from a very popular Filipino song called “Ang Huling El Bimbo” by Eraserheads, where they mention ‘paraluman,’ a Filipino-German actress. Her name is Sigrid Sophia Agatha von Giese.

They use the word ‘paralumanthere is used to refer to a very attractive woman. In the early nineteenth century, Filipino poets used ‘paraluman‘ to describe a muse or a woman who inspires creativity. It’s also an antiquated Tagalog word for ‘magnetic needle,’ which functions similarly to a compass. In this sense, the term ‘paraluman‘ is no longer used.

In the concept of being a particularly attractive female, a ‘paraluman‘ can also mean “goddess.” If you want a more relatable illustration of the term, you may listen to the song Paraluman by Adie. Turn on the subtitles to understand the lyrics. You can also hear a lot of beautiful Tagalog words in this song.

8. Makisig (Handsome/Dashing)

  • Example Sentence: Isang makisig at mabuting-loob na binata ang gusto niya. (She likes a handsome and kind-hearted man.)

Have you seen a dashing, handsome, smart, and refined man? In Tagalog, the word for that is ‘makisig‘. This might be the kind of man some Filipinas want, but of course, they are not always looking for someone handsome. Back in the old times, the man was expected to prove his love and worth to the woman’s parents before marrying her. This is something that dating apps cannot do nowadays.

9. Tadhana (Destiny/Fate)

  • Example Sentence: Ang tadhana ang nagdala sa atin sa isa’t isa. (Destiny brought us together.)

There are things in life that we can’t control. Whether we like it or not, these things are meant to happen because it’s our ‘tadhana.’ The Tagalog word ‘tadhana‘ is an unseen power that causes events beyond mortal control.

10. Gunita (Memory/Recollection)

  • Example Sentence: Ang ating mga gunita ay mananatili sa aking puso. (Our memories will always be in my heart).

Do you have a fond memory or recollection that you cherish dearly? The Tagalog word for that is ‘gunita.’ Nowadays, you’ll often hear this word in songs, stories, and poems. People don’t always use this in casual conversations.

A photo of a man in white clothes holding a stick with arms wide open.

11. Bathala (Supreme Being/God)

  • Example Sentence: Noong nakita kita sa tagpuan ni Bathala may kinang sa mata na di maintindihan. – Tagpuan by Moira (When I saw you in God’s meeting place with a spark in your eyes I can’t understand.)

Christianity arrived in the Philippines during the Spanish colonization. Before that, ancient Filipinos used to worship deities. Like Romans and Greeks, Filipinos also have mythology, and ‘Bathala is the Supreme Being, the creator and ruler of the cosmos, based on the old Tagalog indigenous religion.

12. Amihan (Northeast Wind)

  • Example Sentence: Madarama ang Hanging Amihan sa Pilipinas mula buwan ng Oktubre hanggang Disyembre. (The Northeast Monsoon can be felt in the Philippines from the month of October to December.)

Amihan is the word locals use to refer to the Northeast wind. Interestingly, it is also the name of the goddess of wind in the hit Filipino fantasy series Encantadia.

13. Timpi (Self-Control/Restraint)

  • Example Sentence: Kahit ako ay sobrang galit na, pinilit ko pa ring magtimpi. (Even if I am really angry, I chose to control myself.)

Have you ever experienced being too annoyed, angry, or excited, yet you managed to remain calm? The Tagalog word for that is ‘timpi.’ It is also used in the context of controlling oneself under challenging situations.

14. Tampo (Sulking/Withdrawing Affection)

  • Example Sentence: Nagtatampo ang aking kasaintahan dahil hindi ako nakapunta sa aming usapan.(My girlfriend is sulking because I failed to make it in our date.)

There is no exact translation of this word in English, though “sulking” or “to sulk” is frequently considered the closest. ‘Tampo‘ is a term used in Philippine culture to describe various behaviors in which someone withdraws their affection or cheerfulness from someone who has hurt their feelings.

15. Bughaw (Blue)

  • Example Sentence: Ang kulay bughaw sa watawat ng Pilipinas ay sumisimbolo sa kapayapaan at katarungan. (The blue color in the Philippine flag stands for peace and justice.)

One of the most common mistakes that even locals commit is referring to the color blue as ‘asul.’ The word ‘asul‘ is not the Tagalog translation of blue because it is a Spanish word. The correct translation is ‘bughaw’. It is one of the most significant colors for Filipinos. It’s in the Philippine flag and also mentioned in the Philippine National Anthem.

16. Gigil (Overwhelming Urge To Squeeze)

  • Example Sentence: Nanggigil ako sa bagong aso namin. (I can’t stop myself from squeezing our new dog.)

Have you seen a baby so cute that you want to pinch its cheeks? This is what ‘gigil‘ feels like. It is an intense desire to squeeze something. It can also be an uncontrollable urge to touch someone caused by overwhelming emotions like admiration and anger.

For example, your mom is really angry with you for talking back while she scolds you. Then she says, “Nanggigigil ako sa’yo,” which can mean, “I’m controlling myself not to lay hands on you right now.”

A photo of a woman peacefully sitting alone while meditating.

17. Muni-Muni/Magmuni-Muni (To Ponder/Meditate)

  • Example Sentence: Umakyat ako ng bundok upang magmuni-muni tungkol sa mga bagay sa buhay. (I climbed a mountain to meditate on the things in life.)

If things are getting overwhelming or you have to think about your decisions in life, you’ll meditate or ponder. In Tagalog, that’s what ‘magmuni-muni means.

18. Alpas (To Break Loose/Free)

  • Example Sentence:Nakaalpas na ako sa pagkakatali sa aking madilim na nakaraan. – (I have broken loose from being tied to my dark past.)

We tend to be overwhelmed with problems in life, and we want to escape or free ourselves from that situation. Filipinos use the word alpas in this situation, which can literally and figuratively mean becoming free or breaking loose.

People don’t use this word in casual conversations. You often hear them use ‘laya/lumaya‘. But ‘laya‘ generally refers to the state or condition of being free. It’s a broader term that can refer to various kinds of freedom, from physical to abstract.

As for ‘alpas,’ it paints the image of doing everything you can to break loose. It symbolizes one’s effort to escape from a difficult situation. In some contexts, “alpas” can be synonymous with “laya,” but they convey different nuances of freedom.

19. Pagsamo (Pleading/Begging)

  • Example Sentence: Sana’y pakinggan mo ang aking pagsamo. (I hope you listen to my pleading.)

‘Pagsamo’ or pleading is another level of asking for something. It is near to begging, where you are willing to give all of yourself. Filipinos do not use this in casual conversations. But you’ll often hear this in songs and movies, making everything better and more emotional.

20. Habilin (For Safekeeping/Bequest)

  • Example Sentence: Inihabilin sa akin ng aking ina ang mga alahas na ito. (My mom entrusted these pieces of jewelry to me for safekeeping.)

‘Habilin‘ is something that’s been provided to someone for safekeeping. It can be material things like money and jewelry. It can also be people, and it can also be a secret. When given a ‘habilin,’ you must do your best to protect and keep it safe.

A photo of a woman smashing a laptop on the table showing emotional outburst or silakbo, one of many poetic Tagalog words.

21. Silakbo (Emotional Outburst)

  • Example Sentence: Nagpadala ako sa silakbo ng aking puso at inamin kong mahal ko siya. (I gave in to an emotional outburst, and I confessed my love for him/her.)

When we become emotionally overwhelmed, we tend to have a sudden emotional outburst. Sometimes, we say things we don’t mean because of our emotions. In Tagalog, this is called ‘silakbo‘.

22. Siping (Lying Beside Intimately)

  • Example Sentence: Natulog kami nang magkasiping. (We slept together side-by-side intimately.)

This Tagalog word is tricky because siping means to lie down beside, to place by the side, but it usually includes an intimate partner. If you want to indicate lying down beside, just use ‘magkatabi’ (lying side-by-side or next to each other) because ‘siping’ is culturally understood to have intercourse.

23. Marahuyo (To Be Enchanted)

  • Example Sentence: Baka marahuyo ang mga tao kay Pia Wurtzbach. (The people might be enchanted by Pia Wurtzbach’s beauty.)

Have you ever been enchanted by someone? It’s like they have taken you to another world, and it seems like you lost yourself because you’re completely enchanted. Filipinos call this ‘marahuyo‘ in Tagalog. Just think about Taylor Swift’s song entitled Enchanted.

24. Humaling (To Be Captivated/Enthralled)

  • Example Sentence: Sa unang tingin, agad na nahumaling sa nagniningning mong mga mata. (At first glance, I was immediately captivated by your glittering eyes.)

‘Humaling’ is an extreme fondness for something or someone. It gives you the feeling of being extremely captivated. It can also give you the feeling of being addicted to something, which makes you want to do it repeatedly.

25. Sapantaha (Hunch/Presumption)

  • Example Sentence: Ang lahat ng mga sinabi ko ay pawang sapantaha lamang. (Everything that I said is based on a hunch only.)

‘Sapantaha’ is a hunch or presumption. It is a deeper word for ‘hulaor guess. You’ll seldom hear people saying it. But you’ll often see this in books and stories and hear it in movies and songs.

26. Pahimakas (Last Farewell)

  • Example Sentence: Nagsagawa ng pahimakas ang mga mag-aaral sa kanilang guro. (The students bid their last farewell to their teacher.)

Learning this word is the best way to end this list because ‘pahimakas’ means the last farewell. It is seldom used in casual conversations, but it’s a popular title for closing parties in school.

Other Beautiful And Unique Filipino Words

The Tagalog language is indeed a beautiful language to learn. Although most Filipinos nowadays know how to speak English, it is still important to keep the language alive. Luckily, most OPM writers and singers nowadays use these words in their lyrics. You might not hear most of these words often, but knowing about them wouldn’t hurt. Below are other beautiful and unique Filipino words that you might want to add to your vocabulary:

TagalogEnglish Translation
AsogeMercury (Element)
BabaylanA priestess
BalintatawThe pupil of the eye
BanaagGlimpse/Faint Manifestation
BinibiniA woman/Miss/Young lady
DayangPrincess/Noble lady
DiwataA spirit, usually a lesser god or goddess, who is thought to protect natural features
EngkantadaFemale fairy
EngkantoMythical environmental spirits that are believed to appear in human form
HalakhakA loud and uninhibited laughter (LOL)
Hiraya/Hiraya ManawariThe fruit of one’s dreams/Wishes and aspirations
HimpapawidAtmosphere/The air up there
IndakTo groove/To dance in time with the music
IrogDear one/Beloved
LakanParamount Ruler
LambingIntense tenderness and affection
LikhaTo make something using your intellect and abilities
SulitWorth it/Worth the effort/Worth the wait
SintaOld-fashioned word for love or loved one
TampuhanLover’s quarrel
YugtoA critical change or transition / development of a story or phenomena

Discover The Beauty Of The Filipino Language With Ling!

These poetic Tagalog words are just a few reasons the Tagalog language is exciting to learn. But you can’t see its beauty when you don’t try to learn this language.

Given all the influences of foreign languages, learning Tagalog isn’t that hard at all. In fact, you can learn it in a fun, engaging, and meaningful way, and that is through the Ling app.

The Ling app is a language learning platform that helps learners achieve their language learning journey. It has well-developed features that will aid your language-learning journey. Say goodbye to hassle! With the Ling app, you can learn Tagalog and 60+ other languages anytime and anywhere.

Take advantage of this opportunity to discover the beauty of the Tagalog/Filipino language. Learn Tagalog and download the Ling app on the Play Store or App Store now!

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