Essential Tagalog Phrases for Beginners

Tagalog, also known as Filipino, is the national language of the Philippines and is spoken by millions of people both in the Philippines and around the world. If you’re planning a trip to the Philippines, or just want to learn a new language, knowing some basic Tagalog phrases can be incredibly beneficial. This article will guide you through essential Tagalog phrases that are particularly useful for beginners. These phrases will not only help you in everyday conversations but also deepen your understanding of Filipino culture.

Greetings and Basic Politeness

In any language, politeness is key. Tagalog is no exception, and learning how to greet people is a great place to start.

Morning Greeting: To say “Good morning” in Tagalog, you would say “Magandang umaga”. The word ‘magandang’ means ‘beautiful’ or ‘good’, and ‘umaga’ means ‘morning’.

Afternoon and Evening Greetings: Similarly, “Good afternoon” and “Good evening” are “Magandang hapon” and “Magandang gabi”, respectively.

General Greetings: For a general greeting, regardless of the time of day, you can say “Kamusta”, which is the equivalent of “Hello”. It’s a shortened form of “Kamusta ka?”, meaning “How are you?”.

Thanking Someone: To say thank you, the phrase is “Salamat”. If you want to emphasize and say “Thank you very much,” you would say “Maraming salamat”.

Apologizing: If you need to apologize, you can say “Pasensya na” or “Patawad”, which both mean “Sorry”.

Common Questions and Responses

Being able to ask questions and understand responses is crucial in any language.

Asking for Someone’s Name: To ask someone what their name is, you could say “Ano ang pangalan mo?” This translates to “What is your name?” In response, someone might say “Ang pangalan ko ay [name].” which means “My name is [name].”

Asking How Someone Is: To find out how someone is doing, you can ask “Kamusta ka?” The response could be “Mabuti naman, salamat.” which means “I’m good, thank you.”

Asking for Directions: A useful phrase when traveling is “Saan ang [place]?” meaning “Where is [place]?” If you’re looking for the restroom, for example, you would ask “Saan ang banyo?”

Dining and Shopping

Knowing some phrases related to dining and shopping can enhance your experience and make your interactions smoother.

Ordering Food: When ordering food, you might start with “Gusto ko ng…” followed by the name of the dish. It means “I would like…”

Asking the Price: To inquire about the price of an item, you can say “Magkano ito?” which translates to “How much is this?”

Paying: After dining or shopping, you might need to say “Puwede na ba akong magbayad?” which means “Can I pay now?”

Numbers and Bargaining

Numbers are often necessary for shopping, bargaining, and transportation.

One to Ten: The numbers from one to ten in Tagalog are Isa, Dalawa, Tatlo, Apat, Lima, Anim, Pito, Walo, Siyam, Sampu. Knowing these can help in bargaining and shopping.

Bargaining: When bargaining, a useful phrase might be “Pwede bang bawasan ang presyo?” which means “Can you reduce the price?”

Emergencies and Important Phrases

For any traveler, knowing emergency phrases is vital.

Asking for Help: In an emergency, you can shout “Tulong!” which means “Help!”

Going to the Hospital: If you or someone needs medical attention, you might need to say “Kailangan ko pumunta sa ospital”, which translates to “I need to go to the hospital.”

Lost and Found: If you’re lost, you could say “Nawawala ako”, meaning “I am lost.” If you find something someone else lost, you might say “Nakita ko ito”, meaning “I found this.”


Learning these essential Tagalog phrases will not only aid in your daily interactions while in the Philippines but also help you gain a deeper appreciation of the culture and people. Remember, practice makes perfect, so don’t hesitate to use these phrases as often as possible to become more comfortable with the Tagalog language. Enjoy your learning journey!

Learn a Language With AI 5x Faster

TalkPal is AI-powered language tutor. Learn 57+ languages 5x faster with revolutionary technology.