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Basic Greetings in Filipino

I have here the basic Filipino greetings which I gather and simplify so that everyone will easily understand. Along with the nearest English equivalent, I have here a few lines to give you background for every words and phrases. I will use this as a base for the other post that I plan to make. Hopefully, I will be able to follow the sequence here as I will soon elaborate these expressions.

Mabuhay-Welcome or long live.

This is used here to greet everyone including foreigners a warm welcome, hoping that everyone will let their guards down(peace/friendly). This is derived from the root word buhay which means life. This is an auspicious thing to say and usually heard during celebrations like in weddings, we always hear someone exclaiming “Mabuhay ang bagong kasal” and everyone else will applause in congratulations to the newly wedded couple.

Magandang umaga-Good morning.

The word magandang is derived from ganda which means beauty, thus, magandang umaga is a beautiful morning.

Magandang tanghali-Good afternoon.

The word tanghali means the time when the day is at its hottest(10am to 3pm-the time where sun block is a must). Unlike konnichiwa(Good afternoon/Good day/hi/hello) of the Japanese which cover most of the day, magandang tanghali only covers what is not early and what is not late in the day.

Magandang hapon-Good afternoon(late).

This is similar to the Spanish Buenas tardes(said when one socializes after the so called siesta). Of course, Filipinos also do this siesta(nap after activities in noon/beauty rest?) thing. Tanghali is so hot that the Filipinos sleep at this time instead of going out(socializing is dormant).

Magandang gabi-Good evening and good night.

There is no distinction between evening and night in Filipino. Gabi may mean either and that does not matter or bother anyone.

Kumusta-How are you?

Let’s go back to Spanish influence to Filipino. This greeting is derived from the Spanish original ¿Cómo está? Presented with Filipino spelling.

Salamat-Thank you.

This is somewhat a headache to me. One reference says that it is derived from Arabic salam which means peace. As I encounter Malaysian/Indonesian, I saw selamat in several of the greetings there but not as a thanks. As for the Malaysian for thank you, it is terima kasih. I wonder whether salamat is somehow related to selamat.

Walang anuma-You’re welcome.

Actually this means “It is nothing” but understood as “You’re welcome”. Like the English counterpart, it is also said by the one who is being thanked for as a reply.

Paumanhin-Sorry or excuse me.

This word varies in meaning depending on how it is delivered by the speaker. Usually, there are hints as to the meaning of this in the sentences before or following this word. This is like the Japanese sumimasen.


While paumanhin can also mean “excuse me”, this may mean “sorry” or “Can I haggle?”. It is derived from the root word tawad which means haggle or sorry

Makikiraan-May I pass?

This is to ask nicely whether you may pass between two people or a group; in front of a group of people who is watching something; or when someone of a group of people is blocking your way(unintentional). These and more are the example of when to use this word.

Makikisuyo-May I ask you a favor?

This is derived from the root suyo which means an act of affection to the ones dear to you. Use this as you ask their favor in a more sweet or charming way. This is also use to everyone whether you do not know them personally but in this form it now acts as you asking them courtesy to do you favor. Helping others is one of the value of Filipinos.

Makikiusap-May I ask you a favor?

This time, it is not affectionate and not asking for courtesy. This is a plain and direct way of asking please do such and such thing if you may. It is also not rude but rather a normal and casual way of dealing with others.

Mawalang galang na-Excuse me.

Excuse me is all I can think of as its English equivalent but this expression is similar to the Japanese shitsurei shimasu. Literally, this means, “If I may be rude to you” since it is derive from the compound word walang galang or shitsurei which both mean “not polite”.

Tao po

This is said by someone who is knocking in the door and it may denote “It is a man(person) over here”. If I may relate it to Japanese, the nearest Japanese equivalent to this is gomen kudasai.


This is said by someone who is inside the house(in connection with the above phrase) upon opening the door, letting the one outside to enter. This is also the root word for enter.


This is the same as the above word. Consider this as a variation.

Ingat-Take care.

Usually said before departing with a friend hoping that he/she will stay safe. There is a humor variation of this one. That is ingat sila sayo. This implies that everybody should not mess with you or else will get in trouble. This may sound sarcastic to those who are not close to you.

Paalam-Good bye.

This is the most common way of saying good bye. It may also mean “to inform” and it is derived from the word alam which means “to know”. This may be a way of saying that you want someone close to you to know that you will leave.


This is both used when you are asking permission or when you approve of something. It is also heard when saying good bye which is usually attached to other good bye phrases.

Hanggang sa muli-So long.

This is another way of saying good bye. This is expressed to mean that you are that interested in meeting that person again.

Source by Feliciano Naredo

Written by lyfer

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