Useful Phrases

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Most Filipinos understand English, but there are some occasions when being able to use the right Philippine terms is best and will make a foreigner feel more at ease. Here are some useful phrases nobody should be without when traveling in the Philippines. These are pronounced as spelled.

General polite terms

  • Magandang umaga/hapon/gabi (Good morning/afternoon/evening)
  • Paalam (Goodbye) - may be said in farewell, though Filipinos are also used to "bye" and "ba-bye."
  • Salamat (Thank you)
  • Walang anuman (It's nothing) - said in response to thanks to mean "you're welcome."
  • Oo/Opo (Yes) - Oo for contemporaries and younger people and opo for older people or superiors. In general, po is used to mean "sir" or "ma'am" and is expected in all conversation with one's elders or superiors though it may be replaced with the English terms.
  • Hindi (No)
  • Maari bang magtanong? (May I ask a question?) - Filipinos do not have an actual word for "please" so asking permission with "maari" or "pwede" (informal) is done instead.

When taking public transportation

  • Commuting is the Philippine English term for taking public transportation.
  • Bayad ho (Here's my fare) is said to indicate you are paying your fare (in a jeepney, to be passed from hand to hand)
  • Para ho (Stop, please) is said when approaching one's destination in a bus or jeepney to indicate that the driver should stop (para comes from parar, Spanish for stop).

When shopping

  • Magkano 'to? (How much is this?).
  • May tawad pa ba? (Can you give it for less?) may be said in markets or bazaars in bargaining.

When talking on the telephone

  • Hello is used by Filipinos in answering the phone.
  • Pwedeng makausap si... (May I speak to...)
  • Sino ho sila? (May I know who's speaking) is the polite way of asking the caller's identity.
  • Sandali lang (One moment please)



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