16 Easy Tagalog Expressions: 2022 Ultimate Guide

Tagalog expressions

One of the best ways to establish an authentic connection is by learning the fun everyday language the locals use. If you are planning to visit the Philippines, adding Tagalog expressions and slang words in your discourse can significantly help in understanding the traditions and history of the country and its people. In today’s article, we will walk you through the basic Filipino utterances and provide you with direct translations and the meaning shared by the locals. If that fits the bill, off we go!

If you ask people from other nationalities what they know about the Philippines, most of them will mention Manny Pacquiao or the legacy of Imelda Marcos. Westerners do not know that its beautiful collection of islands holds incredible history and rare species, making it worthy of being named after King Philip II of Spain.

The Philippines is an example of a tropical territory with rich natural tourist attractions making it one of the top countries to visit if you want the best of both worlds- from stretches of divine-looking beaches and diving spots, jaw-dropping heritage towns, and monuments to even the iconic cultural symbols that still exists today, the country just has so much more to offer to the world.

Now, if you are planning to visit the country or have met a colleague/friend from there, then perhaps you are scrambling to look for updated resources with the hopes of learning the Tagalog language. You see, the country is actually a melting pot of different languages, but among all of those, Tagalog and English are considered the official language. With this being said, having a few of the commonly used Tagalog words, phrases, and expressions can go a long way during conversations.

If you are looking to express yourself better or want to answer with style in an informal setting, you can simply use the fun slang words we have in today’s article. Please note that we did not include offensive or profane words in this post in order to ensure that there will be no misinterpretation on both sides. Out list here was cross-checked with native speakers of the Tagalog language so you can simply sit back, read, and use these without any worry.

The Filipino Slang Words And Expressions

Whenever you are thinking about learning a language, you must remember that it is not enough that you understand and use words/phrases based on their textbook or dictionary definition. A huge part of learning is also based on trying to become fluent by speaking like a local. And when saying “local” we do not mean that you will have to mimic their pronunciations. Instead, you have to remember their slang language or expression.

In the case of the Philippines, the languages seem to change almost in an instant, and word coinage is one of the reasons behind that. With this being said, learning slang allows one to remain up-to-date with the complex variations within the language and support anyone in holding fluent conversations (especially with the younger Filipino people).

To create a sense of belongingness in the Filipino community, one must learn the real meaning behind local words, phrases, and expressions like the following example below:

  • Malapit na ako (directly translates to “I am almost there” but is commonly used by Filipinos to buy time since they are definitely not near the location)
  • Try ko (used to describe the fact that you will try to make it but will most likely not be able to do so. If someone says this to you, then do not let your hopes up.)
  • Nakakainis ka (while the direct translation in English for this is “I hate you” or the basic act of sulking, this Tagalog slang usually means that you do not actually hate the person, but it is the other way around. Crazy, right?)
  • High blood (for Filipinos, this word refers not only to the illness but is also equivalent to the meaning of feeling agitated. You can hear this almost every day when parents express anger using the sentence “na-ha-high blood ako sa ginagawa mo” (I am getting angry with what you are doing).

Easy Tagalog Expressions

What Are The Most Basic Tagalog Expressions?

If you have Filipino friends online we bet that you are commonly facing specific words like charot, petmalu, lodi, and chika. Ready to speak of fun Filipino expressions today? Check out our exclusive list below and see their direct translation in English and the meaning of each.

1. Anak ng kamote/tokwa/tinapa (Son of a potato/tofu/dried fish)

A direct expression is used for showing annoyance about something.

2. Bet na bet! (like it so much!)

If you like something, you can simply use “bet na bet ko yan” (I really really like it!) to sound like a native speaker!

3. Diba? (Is it not? / right?)

This word used at the end of the sentence is for asking clarifications, for example: “Saiyo ito, diba?” (This is yours, right?)

4. Chibugan na! (Eating time)

Filipino slang is usually used to signify that it is time to eat. It is basically like the version of “itadakimasu” in Japanese.

5. Hay naku! / Hay nako! (Oops! / OMG!)

An expression that translates to intense exasperation. It originated from the European expression “mamma mia.” Additionally, you can simply use the word “hay”, the Tagalog version of sighing.

6. Ano ba? / Ano ka ba? / Ano ba yan? (What? / What the…)

An expression that is not actually a question but is used to express annoyance when someone says/does something rude.

7. Lodi kita! (You are my idol!)

Filipinos like using funny terms and this include the word Lodi. When spelled backward, it basically means idol. 

8. Ah basta! / Ah basta ganon! (Just because)

This word was roughly born out of the Spanish word ¡Basta! Which is used for signifying that you do not want to explain further.

9. Bahala na (I don’t care)

This means that you are letting go of the responsibility and can be used in uncertain situations. Usually, Filipinos say “bahala na si Batman” to say that nature/fate should take charge.

Tagalog expressions charot chos lang

10. Charot lang! / Chos lang! (Just joking/ I am kidding/ joke!)

This came from the Filipino gay lingo and can be used to pull off a joke. Usually, the Pinoys use this to soften the blow of a statement.

11. May chika daw (I have news)

While the English versions refer to “news” please note that in the Filipino context, the word chika is for gossip.

12. Petmalu yan eh! (Awesome / great)

This is the reversed version of the Tagalog word “malupet” or “malupit,” which is synonymous with the English words “amazing” or “awesome.”

13. Sayang naman! (What a waste!)

A Tagalog expression is used to reflect frustration over some negative incident.

14. Yung ano… (That thing)

Whenever you find yourself unable to describe something, you can use this expression to reflect onto your listener that you forgot what it is called, and he/she can help you remember it.

15. Ansabe? Anyare (What did he/she say? What happened?)

These are rhetorical types of questions often used by the Millenials and do not necessarily call for a response.

16. Susmariosep (Contraction of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph)

This is a versatile interjection that can be used in diverse situations. For Filipinos, this is a catch-all expression and can also be shortened to “sus” and “maryopsep” 

Which among these are your favorites? While you can use all of these when speaking with other close friends and colleagues, please note that these are informal and will not be taken well if used in the business setting.

As I conclude this article, I hope I was able to enlighten you with the most useful English translation of the Filipino slang words used for everyday conversations. If you liked this post, please share it on social media so that you can help us reach more language enthusiasts from across the world who might be interested in learning Tagalog further.

For other Tagalog-related lessons, I highly suggest that you check out our previous posts like how you can learn Tagalog quickly, the common Tagalog names of vegetables, and how to describe food flavors in Tagalog

Get To Know More Filipino Slang Using The Ling App!

CTA Learn Tagalog With The Ling App

Want to say something better using the most native Tagalog slang? Learn more about the country through its words using a free media application available for download on any mobile device. Discover a vast collection of Tagalog courses available through the Ling app, my most recommended application for getting the most updated meaning based on the country’s context.

You can also check out Simply Learn, a phrasebook made by the same company to give a straightforward compilation of phrases. Make sure that you are updated with our latest posts by checking out our latest blog posts related to Tagalog.

So, what are you waiting for? Start your learning journey today by downloading the Ling App and Simply Learn! Who knows? You can master a new language of your choice just by using these free resources in your spare time.

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