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 their beautiful 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, without any further ado, 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 in most situations. You can use it to describe a person, thing, place, and more. However, Filipinos also use the following terms:
- Marikit – Beautiful, gorgeous, lovely
- Marilag – Beautiful, magnificent
- Kaibig-ibig/Kaaakit-akit – Beautiful, desirable, likable, enchanting
- Nakabibighani – Bewitching 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. If you want to learn more, you can read 7 Easy Ways To Say Beautiful In Tagalog.
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 no longer used very often 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 still fight to preserve them, like writers, songwriters, teachers, etc. You can see many of these poetic Tagalog words on social media, such as 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 for you to start with. You will not only learn the words but also the culture and history behind what made them uniquely beautiful.
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.
Example Sentence: Hindi ko mapigilan ang aking kilig nang makita ko siya. (I can’t stop to feel the butterflies in my stomach the moment I saw him/her.)
Have you ever felt having butterflies in your stomach when you see the person you like or love? This is what kilig feels like, although there’s no actual translated version of this word in English. This is the feeling of exhilaration or elation when someone is in a romantic experience, for example, when an Army met BTS or when Swifty met Taylor swift.
Example Sentence: Uso pa ba ang harana? (Is serenading still in style?)
Harana is the traditional way of wooing someone. It is when the suitor is wooing the person they like by serenading. Back in the old times, only the guys do 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.
Example Sentence: Palagi kitang aawitan ng kundiman. – Paraluman by Adie (I will always sing you a love song.)
In connection to harana, kundiman is also a word that you need to 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 Pilipino nationalist identity. Composers such as Francisco Santiago and Nicanor Abelardo were pioneers, penning songs that drew on traditional folk music and words to fight Spanish and American encroachment.
Example Sentence: Mayroon na akong titanatangi. (I already have special someone.)
One of the sweetest things in life is knowing that you are somebody’s tinatangi or 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.
Example Sentence: Nag-usap sila ng kaniyang kaulayaw sa asotea. (She talked with her intimate companion on the balcony.)
The word kaulayaw came from the word ulayaw, which means intimate conversation. Given this, kaulayaw means a pleasant and intimate companion. In one of the Philippine’s 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, there are still old-fashioned parents who want to keep it this way, especially in rural areas.
Example Sentence: Paraluman, ika’y akin nang dadalhin sa ‘di mo inaasahang paraiso. – Paraluman by Adie (Paraluman, I’ll take you to an unexpected paradise.)
“Kamukha mo si Paraluman noong tayo ay bata pa.”
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 paraluman there 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 word paraluman is no longer in use.
In the notion of being a particularly attractive woman, a paraluman can also be translated as a “goddess.” If you want a more relatable explanation of the word, listen to the song Paraluman by Adie. Make sure to turn on the subtitles to understand the lyrics. You can also hear a lot of beautiful Tagalog words in this song.
Example Sentence: Isang makisig at mabuting-loob na binata ang gusto niya. (She likes a handsome and kind-hearted man.)
Have you ever seen a dashing, handsome, smart, and refined man? In Tagalog, the word for that is makisig. This is the kind of man Filipinas want, but of course, they are not always looking for someone handsome. Back in the old times, the man should prove his love and worth to the woman’s parents before marrying her. This is something that dating apps cannot do nowadays.
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. These things are meant to happen whether we like it or not because it’s our tadhana. The Tagalog word tadhana is an unseen power that causes events beyond mortal control.
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.
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 arrives 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 transcendent Supreme Being, the creator, and ruler of the cosmos, according to the old Tagalog indigenous religion.
Example Sentence: Madarama ang Hanging Amihan sa Pilipinas mula buwan ng Nobyembre hanggang Disyembre. (The Northeast Monsoon can be felt in the Philippines can be felt from the month of November 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 called Encantadia.
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, and yet you managed to remain your cool? The Tagalog word for that is timpi. It is also used in the context of controlling oneself under challenging situations.
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.
Example Sentence: Ang kulay bughaw sa watawat ng Pilipinas ay sumisimbolo sa kapayapaan, katarungan, pagsasakripisyo, at katotohanan. (The blue color in the Philippine flag stands for peace, justice, sacrifice, and truth.)
One of the most common mistakes that even locals commit is referring to the color blue 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 their flag and also mentioned in the Philippine National Anthem.
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 wanna 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 such as 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.”
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.
Example Sentence:Nakaalpas na ako sa pagkakatali sa aking madilim na nakaraan. – (I break 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 alpas have more weight than laya. It paints the image of doing everything you can to break loose, which symbolizes one’s effort to escape from a difficult situation.
Example Sentence: Sana’y pakinggan mo ang aking pagsamo. (I hope you listen on 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.
Example Sentence: Inihabilin sa akin ng aking ina ang mga alahas na ito. (My mom gave 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 have to do your best to protect it and keep it safe.
Example Sentence: Nagpadala ako sa silakbo ng aking puso at inamin kong mahal ko siya. (I had 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 that we don’t mean because of our emotions. In Tagalog, this is called silakbo.
Example Sentence: Natulog kami nang magkasiping. (We slept together side-by-side.)
This Tagalog word is kind of 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 because siping is culturally understood to have intercourse.
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.
Example Sentence: Sa unang tingin, agad na nahumaling sa nagniningning mong mga mata. (I was immediately captivated at first glance 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.
Example Sentence: Ang lahat ng mga sinabi ko ay pawang sapantaha lamang. (Everything that I said are purely hunch only.)
Sapantaha is a hunch or presumption. It is a deeper word for hula or 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.
Example Sentence: Nagsagawa ng pahimakas ang mga mag-aaral sa kanilang guro. (The students bids 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
- Alapaap – Clouds
- Alindog – Charm; Allure
- Alinlangan – Doubt
- Aruga – Nurture
- Asoge – Mercury (Element)
- Babaylan – A priestess
- Bahaghari – Rainbow
- Balarila – Grammar
- Balintataw – The pupil of the eye
- Banaag – Glimpse; Faint Manifestation
- Binibini – a woman; Miss; Young lady
- Bituin – Star
- Bukang-liwayway – Sunrise
- Dagitab – Spark; Electricity
- Daigdig – World
- Dalamhati – Grief; Sorrow
- Dalampasigan – Seashore
- Dalangin – Prayer
- Dalisay – Pure
- Dayang – Princess; Noble lady
- Diwata – A spirit, usually a lesser god or goddess, who is thought to protect natural features
- Engkantada – Female fairy
- Engkanto – Mythical environmental spirits that are believed to appear in human form.
- Galak – Joy
- Galimgim – Loneliness; Melancholy
- Halakhak – A loud and uninhibited laughter (LOL)
- Hirang – Appointed
- Hiraya/Hiraya Manawari – The fruit of one’s dreams/ Wishes and aspirations
- Himpapawid – Atmosphere; The air up there
- Hinagap – Premonition
- Indak – To groove; To dance in time with the music
- Irog – Dear one; Beloved
- Kalayaan – Freedom
- Kalinaw – Serenity; Tranquility
- Kinaadman – Knowledge
- Lakambini – Muse
- Lakan – Paramount Ruler
- Lambing – Intense tenderness and affection
- Lihim – Secret
- Likha – To make something using your intellect and abilities
- Luha – Tears
- Maharlika – Noble
- Mailap – Intractable, elusive, or untamed
- Payapa – Peaceful
- Pagsuyo – Affection
- Pagsubok – Challenge; Obstacle
- Sulit – Worth it; Worth the effort; Worth the wait
- Sinta – Old fashioned word for love or loved one
- Tahanan – Home
- Takipsilim – Sunset
- Tala – Star
- Tampalasan – Wicked; Scoundrel
- Tampuhan – Lover’s quarrel
- Yugto – A critical change or transition / A development of a story or phenomena
Discover The Beauty Of The Filipino Language
These words are just a few reasons why 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 addition to that, you can learn it in 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 because with Ling App, you can learn Tagalog and other languages anytime and anywhere.