Learn to say Mabuhay: Basic Filipino Phrases You Need To Know

Basic Filipino Phrases


Planning to travel the Philippines soon or planning to settle here—for good? Whether you have any plans like the two, or simply just retiring, I suggest you should know these Basic Filipino Phrases I listed to help you familiarize with Filipinos’ mode of communication. It’s also a first great step in getting yourself familiarized with Philippine’s rich culture and language during your stay.

Here are the basic, everyday Filipino Phrases:

Learn to say MABUHAY!

Basic Filipino Phrases

Our most popular and most used expression, “Mabuhay” is Philippine’s trademark welcoming remarks known around the globe. It’s a lively expression which means “to be alive”, and I highly think it’s a perfect saying to describe Filipino’s vibrant, high-spirit attitude towards anything and anyone.

We usually say this expression if we welcome someone from the abroad, or if we are introduced to someone of the like. This helps to enlighten each other’s interaction upon first meeting, enabling foreigners to quickly feel at ease with Filipino people through an initial moment of first chats.

I had once befriended with a Vietnamese Medical Student named Kim back in college years, and my first word to her was “Mabuhay!” In few days, I had been with her, she had already learned how to say it by simply listening to YouTube videos, as she told me.

Luckily, I have a friend named Delna who agreed to say these few Filipino phrases. Here’s how she said Mabuhay.


Po and Opo

Basic Filipino Phrases

These Filipino expressions have no exact meaning in the English dictionary, however, they are an essential phrase we add to our sentence whenever to an elder people or stranger.  Like, for example, I talked last week with my mother’s friend I added “Po” in my How-Are-You phrase to Po!” to show my respect. Okay, po?

We say “Opo” to say Yes or agree to something. The original Tagalog word for Yes in the Philippines is “Oo”, but “Opo” is a classy, respectful term for it.

A very quick “Po” and “Opo” by Delna.


Maraming Salamat or Salamat (Thank you)

Basic Filipino Phrases

It’s a respectful Filipino term for saying Thank you. It’s one of the common phrases you could easily hear at one’s conversation, merely telling Filipinos to say Thank you all the time. Maraming Salamat (Many thanks) indicate one’s massive gratefulness, while Salamat (Thanks) simply tells a simple appreciation towards something.

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I ask Delna to say “Salamat” once, but this time she said it thrice.  She seems in a very good mood.


Tara (Let’s)

It’s our unique, yet a short way of inviting someone to do something or to go somewhere. It greatly sums up two English words “Let Us”, and are commonly used to everyday Filipino conversations. The next time you talk to your Filipino friend and wants them to go with you to eat or go somewhere, you could just simply say “Tara”.

Here’s a quick, short version of Delna’s ‘Tara.”


Tara, let’s go over the next Filipino phrase.

Magandang Umaga/Araw/Hapon/Gabi!

Basic Filipino Phrases

We usually say Magandang Umaga to greet other fellows a Good Morning. “Maganda” in Tagalog literally means beautiful, but in today’s Filipino language variation—it could also mean Good. Magandang Araw means Good Day, Magandang Hapon means Good Afternoon, Magandang Gabi means Good Evening/Night.

When we greet you any of these greetings, simply add “Magandang” to any of the time of the day in Tagalog (Araw, Umaga, Hapon or Gabi) and in no time, you would learn to say like a real Filipino does! Magandang Araw!

I again asked my friend Delna say Magandang Gabi to the camera, and when I told her one more, she replied that “it’s night already.”

She also did it with “Magandang Araw.”, and added this with “Umaraw” (The sun has already risen).


Ingat (Take Care)

Basic Filipino Phrases

Ingat is how we tenderly tell someone to take care when one is about to leave home or an office, or about to travel. If a Filipino friend tells you “Ingat” the next time you went out for a walk or ride, you can say “Salamat” (Thanks) and surely expect a smile in return.

And again, Delna says it so to the camera.



Mahal Kita (I love you)

Basic Filipino Phrases

It’s the sweetest Filipino Phrase which means “I love you” in English. We usually say this in tender situations when talking to parents, or anyone in the family or to friends in general.

“Mahal Kita” (I love you) is also said to convey romantic feelings between lovers and married couples. So, when you say I love you to a Filipino friend or special someone the next time, you might get a “Mahal din kita” (I love you too) in return.

Unfortunately, I forgot to ask Delna to say this phrase on the camera. But I linked here a certain Youtube Video featuring one of our foreign friend from Asia (Donut Phattharapon) saying the phrase “Mahal Kita.” If you’re a foreigner and in love with a Filipina, consider this Article.



Basic Filipino Phrases

Paalam is a Tagalog word for saying Goodbye. It is a Filipino’s way of telling someone goodbye, whether one might be leaving for a journey or about to go on a travel. We usually paired it up with the previous Tagalog word “Ingat”, merely telling that you should take care and goodbye. You would probably hear this phrase many times when we are conversing, but sometimes we usually replaced it with its English word, Goodbye or simply Bye.

Here’s a clip of my friend Delna saying “Paalam”

There are a lot more Filipino Phrases that were commonly used in everyday communication, and in time you would easily learn more of them. These basic phrases can help you get through a simpler conversation with a fellow Filipino friend and gives you a better understanding of the Filipino Language.

Should you wish to watch more, I have linked also here a thorough tutorial of how these common Filipino phrases and other more are usually spoken.

Salamat and Paalam! Follow this to Learn more about the Philippines Culture and Tradition

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