Did you know that one of the friendliest people on earth are the Filipinos? It’s true. If you happen to bump into one, say “Hi” and you’ll instantly get a smile. Well, I guess you can easily get a smile from anyone else, too, but Filipinos are easier.
There’s something about Filipinos that make them so approachable. They always try to make sure they’re not being rude or disrespectful, and they’re always ready to lend a helping hand. However, Filipinos are a very shy bunch. They won’t normally go out to initiate a conversation. Not that they don’t want to. They’re just concerned that they might be intruding or fear that their approach may not be welcomed.
If you’re not anywhere in the Philippines, it is highly probable that there is a Filipino near you: at work, at school, in your neighborhood, in church, or your local store, maybe a friend of a friend. And since Filipinos are good at speaking English, it’s easy to connect with them. All you really need is to be willing to reach out.
So, if you want to make some Filipino friends (they make very good friends, by the way), here are 10 simple Tagalog words you can practice on. Tagalog is the main native tongue. These are quick words that can start up a nice no-brainer conversation. They can stand alone and are a complete statement by themselves. I shall try my best to get it right and easy for you. I guarantee once you try one of these (and properly), you will be raking in big cheers and be chatting away with a new Filipino friend.
Here they are. Take careful note of the accents so you know where to cut it.
Kamusta (kah-moos-tah`). This is a greeting that simply means “Hey” or “How are you doing”. If they reply, “Ok naman” (I’m okay) or “Mabuti” (Good), then you know that you did it right.
Grabe (grah`-beh). This means “Wow”. It can be used in a positive and negative way. To say “grabe” positively is like saying “Wow, that’s amazing!” Negatively, it’s like “That’s terrible!” You can increase or decrease the intensity of the expression just by the tone of your voice.
Talaga (tah-lah-gah`). This means “Really”. This can be said with a question mark, “Talaga?” or just to state a fact, “Talaga!” You can pair this with “grabe” and you’ll have “grabe talaga!”, meaning “It’s so bad (or good)!”
Galing (gah-ling`). This means “Awesome” or “Great”. Again, the level of awesomeness can be delivered according to your tone. When it’s totally awesome, Filipinos not only say it loud, but also stretched for exaggeration. “Galiiiiiiiiing!” Or say, “Grabe, galing!”
Sige (see`-geh). This means “Sure” or “No problem”. This implies that you agree. So, I’ll see you later?… “Sige!”
Di ba (deeh-bah`). This is a short form of two words “Hindi ba” which means “Isn’t it?” or “Right?” It can be stated by itself, but it can come in nicely before or after stating your opinion and you’d like a confirmation. “It’s so hot, di ba?” (It’s so hot, right?) or “Di ba you’re a doctor?” (Isn’t it that you’re a doctor?)
Opo, Hindi Po (awh`-pawh`, heendee`-pawh`). I had a hard time spelling that. Just make sure not to use long “o”s. It’s short as in o-range. This simply means “Yes” and “No” but in a respectful way. It is important to use this when you reply to someone older, like a parent or any person that you regard in a higher position. It’s also proper for people you don’t know very well. But among close friends, you can drop the “po” and just say “Oo” (that’s two separate short o’s) or “Hindi”.
Halika (ha-lee-kah`). This means “Come” or “Let’s go” and used in an encouraging way.
Sarap (sah-rap`). Use this when you’re eating to compliment the chef. It means “Yummy”.
Ingat (ee`-ngat). The “ng” is simply the sound you would hear in “ing”. This means “Take care”. It makes a great parting line with “sige”.
So there. Now you’re armed with some simple Tagalog words. All you need is practice. Let me know how it goes and how many “Galing!” you receive, okay? And don’t blame me if you get invited over for some pancit (pan-seet`) and turon (too-ron`). Sarap!