On the agenda for today is Tagalog, the official language of the Philippines. Although English is widely spoken and even sometimes understood, a few basic phrases in Tagalog will stand you in good stead and endear you endlessly to the locals who really appreciate it and they will always help correct pronounciation and grammer.
Keep in mind that the Philippines is an island country of many dialects. If you’re travelling resist the temptation to learn a local dialect as you won’t be understood twenty kilometres down the road. If your moving into an area, knock yourself out and go local.
To make things simple, I have tried to break the phrases down into the sorts of activities you’re likely to encounter on your travels, food, transport etc. These phrases and sentences may not be grammatically correct and Google may argue their validity. Ignore Google. This is spoken Tagalog, as used by Filipinos every day.
So let’s jump straight into travel, most of which will be jeepney or tricycle based. The following phrases are essential and do refer to the notes on use.
Para – Stop. Yell at the to of your lungs when you want the jeepney to pull over or beat the roof. If the driver is considerably older than you, you can add the word Po at the end, so Para po(pronounced paw)
Tabi Lang – literally means pull over and can be used instead of para when you’re in a tricycle, by we recommend keeping it simple, stick to para.
Bayad – means fare or bill and you would use this to indicate you are paying, so hand the cash to the person closest to you, and say Bayad or Bayad Po.
Teka– means wait, or you can also use “Sandali Lang” if you want the tricycle driver to wait for you. Again, stick to simple, easier to understand and less to remember.
Tara na – let’s go. Tell the tricycle driver he can start the journey.
Ikot ka kaliwa – turn left
Ikot ka kanan – turn right
Salamat kuya – thank you brother. It always pays to be polite and in the Philippines the male version of mate or buudy is kuya, ate for addressing a woman, so if you wanted to say thank you to a woman in a store you would say “salamat ate”
The following are words related to travel that may come in useful and the final sentences, although a little more complex, often come in handy.
Magkano? – how much
Salikod – at the back
Harap – in front
Palengke – market
Tindahan – shop
Paliparan – airport
Sa-an? – where
Kailan? – when
Punta – going
So to the sentences. Where possible I’ve used root phrases, indicated in italics, that will allow you to add your destination or modify according to your needs. See examples below. The translations are word for word to make understanding the sentences simpler.
Sa-an punta mo?– Where going you? (Where are you going)
Kailan punta mo? – When going you? (When are you going)
Sa-an ang Paliparan? – Where is the airport? You can substitute the destination with one of your choosing, for instance, Sa-an ang Bahay? (Where is town)
Papunta ako sa Bayan. – Going I too town. (I am going to town) The root of the sentences is Papunta ako and you can replace “to town” with for instance, “to market”, so the sentence would read Papunta ako sa Palengke. As your vocabulary increases you can substitue the places you are going too in the sentence.
Sa-an ka nakatira – Where you live? (Where do you live) ka is the root of ikaw, which means you.
Sa-an ang Bahay mo? – where the house yours? (Where is your house), “mo” means yours, if your sentence is about you, you would use “ko” Again, you can replace house with another word, such as “sapatos” which are shoes, so “sa-an ang sapatos mo?” (Where are your shoes) or end the sentence with “ko” to ask where your shoes are? “Sa-an ang sapatos ko?” (Where are my shoes)
Ga-ano kalayo – How far? Use this as follows:
Ga-ano kalayo ang tindahan? – how far is the shop? Again you can substitute with other places, for instance “ga-ano kalayo ang Bayan?” (how far is town)
That’s it for now, memorise and practise. The next post will deal with food and then we’ll move on to counting and general conversation. As we go, you’ll hopefully pick up the basic grammer rules which aren’t essential but will help if you’re planning on spending a while here.
Any thoughts or comments on the structure are gladly accepted.