I spent a few years living in Davao City and I despite my non – American twang I was able to communicate. Well almost. It is surprising that spoken English in the Philippines always seems to be with the American twang. Despite saying the words very clearly, it is not until I put on an artificial American accent so that locals get what I am saying. I suppose it is the same for me listening to an Indian speaking English. It is just not easy to understand.
Whilst I was in Davao several friends tried to teach me Visayan. No matter how I pronounced the words I was greeted with bewilderment or hails of laughter. I of course saw the funny side. Silly foreigner.
I decided to swap to Tagalog as I was traveling back and forth to Manila, and Tagalog is spoken more in Manila. Spent weeks learning words, only to be greeted by those eyes of bewilderment and laughter. I just have to admit my ability to learn a new language is not as good as most others. So, thank goodness the Philippines is a country I can just get along with in communicating.
I now say elevator instead of lift, but I avoid saying awesome every other word.
Carry this list around for emergencies though.
Welcome Maligayang pagdating / Mabuhay
Hello Mabuhay! (frm) Hoy / Uy (inf) Hello (on phone)
How are you?
I’m fine Kumusta? (frm) Musta? (inf)
Mabuti po naman (frm) Mabuti naman (inf)
Long time no see Tagal na ah! Long time no see!
Grabe ang tagal na nating di nagkita!
What’s your name?
My name is … Ano po ang pangalan nila? (frm) Anong pangalan mo? (inf)
Ako po si … (frm) Ako si … (inf)
Where are you from?
I’m from … Taga saan po sila? (frm) Taga saan ka? (inf)
Taga … ako
Pleased to meet you Kinagagalak kong makilala ka
Good morning Magandang umaga po (frm) Magandang umaga (inf)
Good afternoon Magandang hapon po (frm) Magandang hapon (inf)
Good evening Magandang gabi po (frm) Magandang gabi (inf)
Good luck Suwertehin ka sana / Magsumikap ka / Pagbutihin mo
Mapasa iyo nawa ang suwerte (old fashioned)
Cheers/Good health! Mabuhay! (long life)
Have a nice day Magandang araw sa’yo!
Bon appetit Tayo’y magsikain (frm) Kainan na! (inf) – Let’s eat
Bon voyage Maligayang paglalakbáy!
I don’t understand Hindi ko naiintindihan
Please speak more slowly Pwede mo bang bagalan ang iyong pagsasalita?
Please write it down Pakisulat mo naman
Do you speak Tagalog?
Yes, a little Nagsasalita ba kayo ng Tagalog?
Nagsasalita ako ng kaunti lamang
How do you say …
in Tagalog? Paano mo sabihin ang … sa tagalog?
Excuse me Ipagpaumanhin ninyo ako!
How much is this? Magkano ho ito? Magkano to?
Sorry Ipagpaumanhin ninyo ako! Paumanhin (po)!
Response Salamat po
Maraming salamat po (frm)
Maraming salamat (inf)
Wala pong anuman (frm)
Walang anuman (inf)
Where’s the toilet? Nasaan ang kasilyas / banyo / CR? (comfort room)
will pay for everything Siya na po ang magbabayad ng lahat
Would you like to
dance with me? Sayaw tayo? Tara sayaw tayo? Gusto mo bang sumayaw? (inf) Maari ko bang hingin ang kamay mo para sa sayaw na ito? (vfrm)
I love you Iniibig kita / Mahal Kita / Minamahal Kita
Iniirog kita (old fashioned)
Get well soon Magpagaling ka na, ha
Leave me alone! Iwanan mo ako mag-isa! Hayaan mo ko mapag-isa!
Lubuyan mo ako! (go away)
Lumayas ka sa harapan ko! (get out of my sight!)
Huwag mo akong pakialamanan! (don’t bother me!)
Call the police! Tumawag ka ng pulis!
and Happy New Year Maligayang Pasko / Manigong bagong taon
Happy Easter Maligayang pasko ng pagkabuhay
Happy Birthday Maligayang kaarawan (Happy Birthday)
Maligayang bati sa iyong kaarawan
(Happy/Joyful/Merry Wishes on your Birthday)
Nawa’y pagpalain ka ng Diyos ng marami pang kaarawan
(May God bless you with many more birthdays to come)
One language is never enough Hindi sapat ang isang wika lamang
Hindi sapat ang isang lengguahe lamang
Jeff Harvie is an Australian Registered Migration Agent (MARN 0959797) who has given up the quiet life in Australia a few years back for one more adventurous with his Filipina wife and kids in Manila, Philippines. He runsDown Under Visa, which specialises in Australian partner visas for those Aussie men who fall madly in love with the local girls and want to bring them to Australia.