Learn These 4 Tagalog Polite Words Immediately

Have you noticed that Filipinos say “po” and “opo” all the time? It proves how incredibly polite and respectful they are. Today, we’ll learn about the common Tagalog polite words and how you can use them during your interactions with the locals.

Why would you learn a language? Isn’t it to communicate with the locals? In communicating with the locals, you need to build strong connections. It’s important to convey your message clearly and, most importantly, accurately. You can do this by first learning how to sound and speak politely.

Being respectful, especially to elders, has always been part of the Filipino culture. Filipinos are taught how to talk to an older person or people of authority using polite Filipino expressions and words at a young age. But, being polite isn’t just for children and younger people. Filipinos also use polite words when talking to their colleagues, boss, customers, and even strangers.

The Philippines is such a beautiful country, and Filipinos are extraordinary also. But, once you land there, being disrespectful is something that you would avoid because respect is a big deal in their culture. Being a foreigner is not an excuse for learning how to speak politely. Of course, they will understand if you don’t know how to sound polite, but it wouldn’t hurt to learn, especially for language enthusiasts. It’s pretty easy anyway, so let’s learn some common Tagalog polite words.

Common Tagalog Polite Words

The Filipino/Tagalog word for polite is magalang while politeness is pagiging magalang. Sounding polite in the Tagalog language isn’t that hard. You have to learn a few words, and it will go a long way. Remember that you’re visiting their country as a foreigner, so respecting the people, culture, and language reflects who you are.

Here is a list of Tagalog polite words to help you in speaking Filipino/Tagalog politely:

Po/Ho and Opo/Oho

Po/Ho and Opo/Oho-Tagalog-Polite-Words-Ling

Example Sentence:

  • Salamat po./ Salamat ho. Thank you.
  • Opo, kumain na po ako. / Oho, kumain na po ako. Yes, I already ate.

When you talk to a Filipino, it’s impossible not to hear po and opo. These two words are the easiest way to sound polite in Tagalog. It is used mainly when talking to elders and people of authority. You can just literally add po/ ho in any phrase to sound polite. The word ho is just a variation of the same word so that you can choose it interchangeably, and the meaning won’t change. The Tagalog word opo/oho can also be translated as yes in English.

Although this custom is infrequently followed in several areas, particularly in the Visayas and Mindanao regions, this is due to a little variance in customs and traditions created by the Philippines’ geographical location.

Maaari (May/Can)

Maaari (May/Can)-Tagalog-Polite-Words-Ling

Example Sentences:

  • Maaari mo ba akong tulungan? – Can you help me?
  • Maaari ba akong humingi ng pabor? – May I ask for a favor.

The next Tagalog polite word you will learn is maaari or may or can in English. This word is used in formal situations like school, books, and news. You’ll seldom hear this in a casual conversation because this word sounds way too formal, but native Tagalog speakers still use it in their daily conversations.

Puwede (May/Can)

Puwede (May/Can)-Tagalog-Polite-Words-Ling

Example Sentences:

  • Puwede ko bang makuha ang iyong numero? – Can I get your number?
  • Puwede ko bang hiramin ang iyong aklat? – May I borrow your book?

The word puwede is used the same way as maaari, but this is more casual. You can hear it in casual conversations. Most people use this when they are asking for favors or anything from a person.

Pakiusap/Paki- (Please)

Pakiusap/Paki- (Please)-Tagalog-Polite-Words-Ling

Example Sentences:

  • Pakitapon ang basura sa tamang tapunan. – Please throw your trash in the proper trash bin.
  • Pakiusap, maghugas ng kamay bago kumain. – Please wash your hands before eating.

Another Tagalog polite word that Filipinos use is pakiusap or paki-. The word pakiusap is translated as please in English. In spoken language, the shortened version paki + the root word of the verb. On the other hand, the word pakiusap is often used in formal situations and documents.

Tagalog Polite Words For Addressing Someone

Aside from the words above, you can also use words to address someone politely. This is something that Filipinos are known for. Below is a list of words on how to address someone politely:


Example Sentences:

  • When talking on a phone or personal: Sino po sila? – Who is this?
  • When asking a customer: Ano po ang kailangan nila? – What do you need?
  • When giving someone in authority a gift: Para po ito sa inyo. – This is for you.

These words are called panghalip or pronouns, but the thing is, these are all in plural form. One thing that is interesting about the Filipino/Tagalog language is these pronouns are used even if they are referring to only one person. This is a way of addressing someone politely. You may look at the example sentences above, including the example situations where they can be used.


Example Sentences:

  • Talking to older brother: Kuya, tawag ka ni Mama. – (Older brother), Mom is calling you.
  • Talking to older sister: Ate, patulong naman ako sa aking takdang-aralin. – (Older sister), can you help me with my assignment?
  • Talking to a stranger: Ate, puwede po bang magtanong? – Miss, can I ask a question?
  • Talking to a driver: Kuya, pakibaba po ako sa kanto. – Sir, please drop me on the corner street.

The word ate and kuya literally means older sister and older brother. This is a form of respect for older people that isn’t a thing in other countries; I put parenthesis in the sentences above. But these words can also be used when talking to a stranger in informal situations such as on the streets and in public vehicles. You can refer to the sample sentences above.


Example Sentences:

  • Aunt: Tita, puwede ba along matulog sa inyo ngayong gabi? – (Auntie), Can I sleep in your place tonight?
  • Uncle: Tito, pakituruan mo naman ako kung paano mag-bike. – (Uncle), Can you teach me how to ride a bike?
  • Mother of friend/girlfriend or boyfriend: Tita, puwede ko bang makausap ang inyong anak?
  • Father of friend/girlfriend or boyfriend: Tito, puwede ko bang yayain sa labas si Jane?

The word tito and tita can also be used in two different ways. The first one is for your aunt and uncle while the second one is for your friends or partners’ parents as long as they aren’t married yet. When they get married, some people switch to calling them mama/’nay and papa/’tay. This is a form of politeness and respect towards them even if they are not blood-related. That’s how they usually address them in the Philippines.


Example Sentences:

  • Sir, puwede po ba along umuwi nang maaga ngayon? – Sir, Can I leave early today?
  • Ma’am, nakapaghanda na po ako para sa pulong mamaya. – Ma’am, I’m already prepared for the meeting later.

Many foreigners working with Filipinos can testify that Filipinos are used to calling their bosses Ma’am and Sir. Even if they are almost at the same rank as these people, Filipinos are used to addressing them politely by using Ma’am and Sir. For Filipinos, this way of addressing their bosses is part of their values, and it’s hard for them to call their colleagues casually.

How To Sound Polite In A Letter Or E-mail?

  • Start with greetings (pagbati). You can check out the blog about Tagalog greetings to learn more.
  • You can also include the receiver’s name in the greetings, so put the right honorific.
    • Ginoo – Mr.
    • Gng. – Mrs.
    • Binibini – Ms.
  • Use formal forms of the words when writing the body of the letter. Do not use slang or informal words.
  • For the closing, (pagsasara), you may use different polite expressions such as the following:
    • Gumagalang, Lubos na gumagalang -Respectfully/With respects
    • Sumasaiyo/Lubos na sumasaiyo – Yours sincerely
  • Lastly, send an email at the right time. Do not send an email or letter first thing in the morning or last thing at night, especially if it’s work-related.

Most Basic Tagalog Phrases In Polite Form

After learning the Tagalog polite words, here are some important phrases in Filipino in their polite form. These are the basic Tagalog phrases that you must learn before going to the Philippines so that you can at least get by while going around the country and talking with the locals:

English TranslationTagalog/FilipinoPolite Form
NoHindiHindi po
I apologize/ I’m sorryPaumanhin/Pasensya naPasensya na po/Paunmanhin po
Excuse mePaumanhin/PadaanPaumanhin po/Padaan po
Thank you very much.Maraming salamat.Maraming salamat po.
Good day!Magandang araw!Magandang araw po.
Good morning!Magandang umaga!Magandang umaga po!
Good evening!Magandang gabi!Magandang gabi po!
Good afternoon!/Good noon!Magandang tanghali.Magandang tanghali po.
Good afternoon!Magandang hapon.Magandang hapon po!
Good night./Good evening.Magandang gabi.Magandang gabi po.
How are you?Kumusta ka? (common misconception Kamusta ka? because it came from the Spanish phrase cómo está)Kumusta po kayo?
Excuse me, can I buy this?PabiliPabili po!
Can you give a discount?Pwede mo ba akong bigyan ng discount.
Where can I ride a jeep?Saan ang sakayan ng jeep?Saan po ang sakayan ng jeep?
Where’s the shopping center?Saan ang pamilihan?Saan po ang pamilihan?
How much is the train fare?Magkano ang ticket sa MRT?Magkano po ang ticket sa MRT?
Is Boracay beautiful?Maganda ba ang Boracay?Maganda po ba ang Boracay?
Please help me.Tulungan niyo po ako.
Please call the doctor.Pakitawagan ang doktor.
How can I get to the hotel?Paano ako makakarating sa hotel?Paano po ako makakarating sa hotel?
Can I book two rooms?Puwede ba along mag-book ng dalawang kuwarto?Puwede po ba along mag-book ng dalawang kuwarto?
Could you recommend a nice restaurant near here?Maaari ka bang mag rekomenda ng kainan malapit dito?
What food can you recommend?Ano ang mairerekomenda ninyong pagkain?Ano po ang mairerekomenda ninyong pagkain?
May I have a glass of water?Pwede ba akong makahingi ng isang basong tubig?
May I have the bill?Maaari ko bang makuha ang bayarin/bill?
May I have a receipt?Pwede ba akong humingi ng resibo?
Can I pay with a credit card?Maaari po ba along magbayad gamit ang credit card?
Do you accept credit cards?Tumatanggap ba kayo ng credit card?Tumatanggap po ba kayo ng credit card?
What time is it?Anong oras na?Ano pong oras na?
Where’s the shopping center?Saan ang pamilihan?Saan po ng pamilihan?
When does it open?Kailan ito mag bubukas?Kailan po ito magbubukas?
I would like to return this.Gusto ko itong ibalik.Maaari ko ba itong ibalik?
May I try it on?Pwede ko ba itong sukatin?
How much is this?Magkano ito?Magkano po ito?

Learning Tagalog: A Sign Of Respect To Filipinos

With the wonderful beaches, scenic mountains, and breathtaking natural resources, the Philippines is truly the pearl of the orient. But we don’t just come here to enjoy the view. We also come here to witness their beautiful culture and make meaningful connections with Filipinos. For foreigners, it’s not enough to just visit this amazing country; you need to know more about them, and to do that, start with learning their language? Luckily, some tools can help you achieve that, like Ling App.

Yes, this fantastic platform exists. It will walk you through your language learning journey in fun and hassle-free. Enjoy the features and activities developed by language experts and native speakers. Ling App will provide you with activities that will help build your language skills and achieve fluency in record time.

Learning a language isn’t a piece of cake, but it wouldn’t hurt to try. After all, you’re allowed to experience the country’s magnificent beauty? Why not express your gratitude and respect in return by learning the Tagalog language? It’s not that hard. Wouldn’t it be amazing to go home from a trip with many beautiful and unforgettable memories of wonderful places and amazing people? So, do not think twice anymore. Learn Tagalog with Ling App now.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

What makes learning with Ling special

Interactive exercises

Improve your pronunciation by starting a conversation with our app’s interactive chatbot

Engaging activities

Practice your skills with mini-games and track your progress with fun quizzes

Mix of languages

Choose from over 60 languages, both big and small, and listen to audio from native speakers

Proven results

Backed by linguistic research, our learning methods can help you achieve fluency in record time