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Officially, the national language of the Philippines is Filipino. This language is based on Tagalog, although it is actually a combination of many dialects from throughout the country. However, if you visit Metro Manila and you ask any resident of the city what language they speak, the answer will invariably be "Tagalog", not "Filipino".

Tagalog is one of the major dialects of the Philippines, and is the primary language of people in the Tagalog region of Luzon. Metro Manila is located in this region of Luzon, hence Tagalog is the lingua franca of the city.

The History of Tagalog

The Tagalog language reflects the varied migratory and colonial influences on the Philippines in the past. It is closely related to many Malay and Indonesian languages, although it contains a considerable number of Spanish words and a healthy sprinkling of Chinese.

A Few Basic Words

If you can remember the following words and phrases, your stay in the Philippines will be even more interesting:


Really? - Talaga?

Okay - Sige

Thank you (formal, with respect) - Salamat po

Thanks - Salamat

Lets eat! - Kain tayo!

Are you coming? - Kasama ka ba?

Do you want to come with me? - Gusto mo ba sumama s'akin?

Do you want to come with us? - Gusto mo ba sumama s'amin?


Money - Pera

I want that / I would like that - Gusto ko

How much? - Magkano ba?

How many? - Ilan ba?

Greeting People

Good morning - Magandang umaga po

Good afternoon - Magandang hapon po

Good evening - Magandang gabi po

How are you? (formal) - Kumusta na po kayo?

How's it going? - Kumusta na?

My name is John - Si John po ako