Expats Guide: Philippine Dialects

Crossing borders and integrating into the Philippine society is daunting for first-time visitors. There will be things that will be new to you like the surroundings, the way of life, the people, the culture, the food and the language. An expat will experience some degree of culture shock. Give it a bit of time and the Filipinos will charm their way towards making you feel at home.

A big step towards communicating with locals is learning a few phrases in Tagalog, primary language. Definitely, you won’t find a hard time relaying your thoughts because English is their second language, but will you understand their response? They might answer in “Taglish,” a mix of Tagalog and English words, or in Gay language, a combination of English, Tagalog, and Gay words.

The Philippines is a mixed culture, no wonder there are 170 languages spoken nationwide. If you are planning a provincial trip, use this guide to know the language or dialect of your destination.


Provincial Language/Dialect Guide

Language/Dialect Province
Tagalog Nationwide
Bisaya Panay, Negros, Cebu, Leyte, and Samar
Ilocano La Union, Cagayan Valley, Babuyan, Mindoro, and Mindanao
Hiligaynon Panay, Negros, Cebu, Leyte, and Samar
Bikol Bicol, Catanduanes, Masbate, Burias, and Ticao
Waray Biliran, Samar, Leyte, and Tacloban
Kapampangan Pampanga, Bulacan, Bataan, Nueva Ecija, Aurora, and Tarlac
Pangalatok Pangasinan, La Union, and Tarlac
Maguindanao Maguindanao, North Cotobata, Sultan Kudarat, South Cotobato, Sarangani, Zamboanga del Sur, and Metro-Manila
Tausug Sulu, Zamboanga, and Palawan


English words translated to the Philippines’ languages/dialects

It’ll be best for an expatriate to translate some English words before traveling to provinces. Filipinos love to hear polite language and a gentle conversation, the voice should be soft and gentle. Body movements convey a wide range of messages, a raised eyebrow will mean a silent hello or yes and clasped hands show appreciation. Fret not, if your message is wrong the locals are forgiving they will give you a smile for your efforts.

1) Tagalog

English Tagalog
Good morning/afternoon/evening. Magandang umaga/hapon/gabi.
I love you. Mahal kita.
This is delicious. Sarap nito.
Beautiful day. Magandang araw.
Happy wishes. Maligayang bati.
I don’t want to. Ayaw ko.
I want this. Gusto ko  ito.
Take care. Ingat ka.
I’m leaving now. Aalis na ako.
How are you? Kumusta ka.

2) Bisaya

English  Bisaya
Good morning/afternoon/evening Maayong buntag/hapon/gabii.
I love you. Ginugma ko ikaw.
This is delicious. Kini lamian.
Beautiful day. Maayong adlaw
Happy wishes. Malipayon nga mga pangandoy.
I don’t want to. Dili ko gusto.
I want this. Gusto ko kini.
Take care. Pag-amping.
I’m leaving now. Mobiya na ako karon.
How are you? Kumusta man ka?

3) Ilokano

English Ilokano
Where did you go? Napanam?
Who are you? Sinoka?
What do you want? Ania ti kayatmo?
Be careful. Agabbadkayo.
Good morning/afternoon/night. Naimbag a bigat/malem/rabii.
How are you? Kumusta.
I’m going already. Innakon.
The fruit is sweet. Nasam-it ‘toy prutas.
Your place is beautiful. Napintas ti lugarmo.
What is the best/cheapest hotel? Ania ti kasayaatan/kalakaan otel?


4) Hiligaynon

English Hiligaynon
What’s your name? Ano imo ngalan?
Where are you from? Di-in ka halin?
Pleased to meet you. Nalipay ako makilala ka.
Good morning/afternoon/evening. Ma-ayong aga/hapon/gab-i
I don’t understand. Hindi ko ma-ntsinde.
Excuse me Palihog sang madali lang.
I love you Palangga ko ikaw.
Help! Bulig!
Stop! Untat!
How much is this? Pila ini?


5) Bikol

English Biko
Good morning/afternoon/evening. Marhay na aga/hapon/banggi
Beautiful girl. Daragang magayon.
What is your name? Ano ang pangaran mo?
I love you. Namomotan ta ka.
Where are you going? Masalin ka?
How are you? Kumusta ka.
I’m sorry. Patawarin mo ako.
What is this? Ano ini?
How much is this? Gurano ini.
Brother. Tugang na lalaki.


6) Waray

English Waray
Good morning/afternoon/evening. Maupay nga aga/kulop/gabi
I’d like to buy please. Papalita daw,
Come, let’s eat. Kana, pangaon kita.
Dude. Padi.
Friend. Sangkay
I love you. Ginhihigugma ko ikaw.
Forgive me. Pasaylu-a ako.
Where are you going? Makain ka?
How much? Tagpira?
What are you doing? Nangiinano ka?


7) Kapampangan

English Kapampangan
Good morning/afternoon/evening. Mayap a abak/gapnapun/bengi.
How are you? Kumusta?
Please come in./Welcome Malaus ko po.
Let’s eat. Tara mangan.
Thank you very much? Dakal a Salamat.
How much? Magkano.
I love you. Kaluguran da ka.
Delicious, Manyaman.
Where are you? Nukarin ka?
I am just kidding. Mamiru ku mu.


8) Pangalatok

English Pangalatok
Good morning/afternoon/evening. Masantos ya kabawasan/labi/ngarem.
I love you. Inaro ta ka,
I’m already hungry. Narasan ak la.
What’s your name? Antoy ngaran mo?
Where are you going? Iner ka unla?
You’re beautiful. Magana ka.
How much is this? Sampiga ya?
Did you eat already? Angan ka la?
I like it. Labay ako.
I don’t know you. Agtaka kabat.


9) Maguindanao

English Maguindanao
Good morning/evening. Mapiya kapipita/gagawi-i.
Welcome! Bolos ka!
How are you? Antona-a I masosowa a ka.
Thank you. Madakel a salamat.
I’m lost. Miyadadag ako.
How much is this? Pira I arga ini?
What’s your name? Antona-a i ngaran ka?
I love you. Pekababaya-an ko seka.
Hungry/Thirsty. Kaor/Kawaw.
I have to go. Magoda ako den.


10) Tausug

English Tausug
Good morning/afternoon/evening. Marayaw maynaat/mahapun/dum.
How are you? Maunu-unu na kaw?
I love you. Malasa ako kaimu.
I am hungry. Hiyapdi’ aku.
What is your name? Unu in ngan mu?
How much is that? Pila siyn yadtu?
Thank you very much. Magsukul tuud kamyu.
Yesterday/today/tomorrow. Kahapun/Bihaun/kunsum.
What is your name? Unu in ngan mu?
Yes/No. Huun/Bukun.


Expats in the Philipppines

Expats in the Philipppines

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