It is very easy to pronounce Filipino because it is not tonal. For those of you in Malaysia, just apply the "Bahasa Baku" standard.


23rd Dec 2009 
“Maligayang Pasko at Manigong Bagong Taon" - Merry Christmas & Prosperous New Year

18th Feb 2009 
“Daing na Bangus" - Fried boneless bangus (milk fish)
Milk fish or "bangus" is very popular with Filipinos. This fish has a lot of tiny bones. The bones are expertly removed and the fish is fried whole. It is often served with garlic rice and pickled vegetables.


17th Feb 2009 
“Longganisa" - Filipino-style sausages
These sausages are quite sweet and the most famous ones come from Vigan. Before frying it, the sausages should be steamed. This will prevent the skin from breaking during frying.


16th Feb 2009 
“Bulalo" - Soup of cow's bones and "petchay"
The large thigh bones are boiled with Chinese cabbages or "pak choy" (often referred to a "petchay"), producing a clear soup and very tender meat still attached to the bones. Similar to our Malaysian sup ekor. Sometimes, a straw is supplied for the customer to suck out the tasty bone marrow. Restaurants specializing in bulalo are called bulalohan.


15th Feb 2009 
“Crispy pata" - Filipino version of "German knuckles"
The "knuckles" (pig's leg, minus the trotters/hooves) are marinated and deep-fried whole.


14th Feb 2009 
“Sisig" - Another uniquely Filipino dish
Originally, this dish has the skin (and whatever meat there is) on the head and top part of the pig's neck cooked with the pig's brain. It is served on a sizzling hotplate. I am told that they do not use the brain nowadays. In its place, they use mayonnaise.


13th Feb 2009 
“Lechon" - Roast pork
This is roast pork done very much in the Chinese piglet style. It is very popular among the Filipinos. In Manila, you can see them roasting on the roadside. If it is roast chicken, it is called "lechon manok."


12th Feb 2009 
“Laing" - Filipino dish from the South
This is taro(yam) leaves cooked in coconut milk. Yam or taro is called gabi. They sometimes make it spicy by having a whole chilli in it. (Their idea of spicy/hot is nothing compared to the Malaysian idea.) They may also have minced meat.


11th Feb 2009 
“Adobo" – Popular Filipino dish 
This is a meat dish: usually chicken or pork. So, it is either "Adobong manok" (Adobo chicken) or "Adobong baboy" (Adobo pork). The meat is cooked with garlic, soya sauce, vinegar and sugar/salt/pepper.


10th Feb 2009 

“Pinakbet" - Illocano dish
This is a popular dish among the Illocano people of the Philippines. The dish is a kind of mixed vegetables: pumpkin, bitter gourd, four-angled beans, etc. fried with a prawn paste that looks like the Malaysian cincalok. They may also scrape some deep fried pig skin to give some fragrance at the end. Sometimes, they may cook this dish with some meat or fish. This is our favorite Filipino dish.


9th Feb 2009 
“Halo-halo" – Special dessert drink like the Malaysian Ais Kacang 
"Halo-halo" can sometimes used to refer to things that are all mixed together, somewhat like the way Malaysians use the word, "rojak."


8th Feb 2009 
“ulam," "kanin" – "viand," "food"
"Ulam" is of course also a Malay word. In English, it can be roughly translated as "dish" as in some cooked food. Filipinos use another English word, "viand." I have not heard of this English word until I came to the Philippines. I have since checked the dictionary and found that it is indeed an English word. It is a little archaic, though. The word for "food" in Filipino is "kanin."


7th Feb 2009 
“Sari-sari" – "mixed . . . sundry"
"Sari-sari" store is a small sundry shop. "Sari-saring gulay" is "mixed vegetables." The " . . . ng" at the end of the sari-sari is a linker.


6th Feb 2009 
“Anong ginagawa mo dito?" – "What are you doing here?"
This is now my favorite way of starting a conversation with a student. If there are more than one student, the plural expression is "Anong ginagawa ninyo dito?"


5th Feb 2009 
“Bawal umihi dito" – "Do not urinate here"
Just like the "Bawal magtapon basura," we can find the "Bawal umihi dito" sign everywhere. I often joke at Filipino churches that this is the first phrase I learned when I arrived in the Philippines. You will find this sign everywhere in the Philippines.


4th Feb 2009 
“Bawal magtapon basura dito" – "Do not dump rubbish here"
"Huwag" is more polite while "bawal" is more legalistic. "Magtapon" is the verb "to dump" "basura" means "garbage." "Dito" means "here" (those of us who know Cantonese will remember this easily).


3rd Feb 2009 
“Yong lang" – "That's all"
Depending on the tone, this can be a question or a statement. If you are expecting something more, you can ask the question, "Yong lang?


2nd Feb 2009 
“Huwag kang mahiya" – "Do not be shy"
This is a polite thing to say to guests to get them to eat.


(Sorry for ANOTHER break . . . very busy with the transition . . . )


11th Jan 2009 
“Ang panalo" – "The winner"
I get lots of SMS on my mobile phone announcing that I am "and panalo." These are all advertisements trying to sell me stuff.

10th Jan 2009 
“Tara na" – "Let's go" . . . similar to our Bahasa: "Jom" or "Cabut"

5th Jan 2009 
“atay ng baboy" – "pig's liver"
Moon Tee and I had lunch with a Malaysian lady in Baguio this afternoon. She is a missionary from Sandakan who is attached to a Catholic spiritual community here in Baguio. We took her to the famous "O'Mai Khan," which is a "Mongolian Barbeque" restaurant. (Our Mongolian students however say that there is no such food/cuisine in Mongolia!!) While there, I asked the lady what is liver in Tagalog. She replied: "atay ng baboy." When you come to Baguio, I can take you to "O'Mai Khan" and you can have "atay ng baboy."

31st Dec 2008 
“May ticket ka na?" – "Do you have the ticket already?"
I was entering the parking area at the SM Mall in Baguio a couple of days ago. The lady in the booth gave me a ticket and collected my money. As she was giving me her change, she asked, "May ticket ka na?" I was excited that I understood her. 

30th Dec 2008 
“Uli" – "Repeat"
When I greeted someone in church, "Manigong bagong taon," she was so excited that she said: "Uli, uli . . ." I did not know what that meant but I guessed she wanted me to repeat what I said. I came home to check my dictionary and I was right.  

29th Dec 2008 
“Manigong Bagong Taon" – "Happy New Year"  

28th Dec 2008 
“Maligayang Pasko" – "Merry Christmas"  
You will see this sign everywhere in the Philippines throughout the "-ber" months (September, October, November and December). Philippines is reputed to have the longest Christmas season in the world.  

(Long break because of travels to Switzerland and Dubai for meetings and ministry.)

12th Dec 2008 
“dalawampu" – "twenty"  
"dalawampu't isa" (twenty-one) is shortened from "dalawampu at isa". "At" means "and". So, you will have "dalawampu't dalawa" (twenty-two); "dalawampu't tatlo" (twenty-three); "dalawampu't apat" (twenty-four), etc. 

11th Dec 2008 
“labing-" – for numbers 11-19 
"labingisa, labingdalawa, labingtatlo, labingapat," etc.

10th Dec 2008 
“anim, pito, walo, siyam, sampu" – "six, seven, eight, nine, ten"  
Again, Malaysians will recognize at least one similarity. Try counting one to ten in Filipino now . . .

9th Dec 2008 
“isa, dalawa, tatlo, apat, lima" – "one, two, three, four, five" 
Malaysians will recognize some similarities.

8th Dec 2008 
“Simbahan" "Kapihan" "Kainan" "Kambingan" etc. – "Church" "Coffeshop" "Restaurant" "Restaurant selling goat dishes"  
By adding the suffix, "-an" to a word so that it means a place. "Simbahan" means a place where "simbah" or worship takes place. "Kape" is coffee while "kapihan" means coffeeshop. "Kain" means food . . . therefore "kainan" means restaurant. If you are a Malaysian, you can easily guess what "kambing" and "kambingan" mean.

7th Dec 2008 
“palengke" – "market" 
"Palengke" usually refers to the open (wet or dry) market and NOT the supermarket.

6th Dec 2008 
“Saan ka pupunta?" & "Saan ke galing?" – "Where are you going?" & "Where are you coming from?"  
Very polite "Asian" questions. Westerners will probably feel that these are rude and intrusive questions.

5th Dec 2008 
“Pasalubong" – "Gift"  
When Filipinos come back from a trip, they are expected to bring some gifts back. This is very Asian. Malaysians call these gifts "buah tangan."

4th Dec 2008 
“Hindi ako Korean." – "I am not Korean."  
The largest foreign community in Baguio. Therefore, many Filipinos there have learnt to greet them in Korean. Many Filipinos think that we are Korean and they will say to us: "Anyong Haseyo," which is the Korean equivalent of "Hello." We have learnt to say to the Filipinos, "Hindi ako Korean." Or, we can say "Hindi kami Korean" ("We are not Koreans")

3rd Dec 2008 
“Taga saan ka?" – "Where are you from?"  
This question is usually asked of a person's hometown, not just where a person is living. The standard answer is: "Taga-(name of place)." I will answer "Taga Kuala Lumpur po." Sometimes, the follow up question is: "Saan sa Kuala Lumpur?" Then, the answer would be: "Sa Jinjang."

(Sorry for ANOTHER break . . . very busy in Kuala Lumpur . . . )

23rd Nov 2008 
“Sandali” or "Sandali lang" – "Wait" or "In a little while"

22nd Nov 2008 
“Far . . . near” – "Malayo . . . malapit"
Very far" is "Malayung malayo" and "very near" is "malapit na malapit.

21st Nov 2008 
“Diretso, kaliwa, kanan” – "Straight ahead, left, right"

(Sorry for the break . . . had some visitors to Baguio . . . )

“Paano ba pumunta sa Baguio?” – Literally, “How to go to Baguio?”
This is one of the first phrases I learned but when I put it into practice and actually asked for directions, the response I got was in Filipino . . . which I barely could understand!

6th Nov 2008
“Saan ka pupunta?” – “Where are you going?”
Most times, this is more a greeting than an actual question. The short answer to this greeting will be in the form of, “Sa . . .” E.g. “Sa APTS” (“To APTS”); “Sa Baguio” (“To Baguio”); “Sa Palengke” (To the market); “Sa opisina” (To the office).

5th Nov 2008
“Tapus na.” or “Hindi pa.” – “Already finished.” Or “Not yet.”
Standard answers to the question, “Kumain ka na ba?”

3rd Nov 2008
“Kumain ka na ba?”
– “Have you eaten yet?”

Like Chinese, Filipinos sometimes also ask this as a greeting. But, this is not as common as “kumusta.”

2nd Nov 2008
“Saan ang CR.” – “Where is the CR (Comfort Room)?”
“Sa” is the multi-purpose Filipino preposition. It can mean “to,” “from,” “for,” “with,” “at,” “on,” “in,” etc. When attached with “an” as above, it becomes an interrogative word, “where.” “Ang” is the Filipino article, somewhat equivalent to the English, “the.” CR stands for “Comfort Room,” which is the Filipino euphemism for toilet.

1st Nov 2008
“Ako ay Tham Wan.”or “Si Tham Wan ako.” – “I am Tham Wan.”
Malaysians can easily understand the word, “Ako” which means “I.”

31st Oct 2008
“Maligayang kaarawan.” or "Maligayang Bati." – “Happy Birthday”
Today is Moon Tee's birthday! We can ask her, "Ilang taon ka na?"

30th Oct 2008
“Ilang taon ka na?” – “How old are you now?”
“Ilan” means “how many.” The spelling above is “Ilang” because of the additional linker, “ng.” “Ng” is pronounced “nang.” So, if your name is David Ng, they will call you David Nang! You probably can recognize the word, “taon,” which is similar to our B.M. “tahun.”

29th Oct 2008
“Anong pangalan mo?” – “What is your name?”
“Ano” means “what.” The spelling above includes the linker, “ng.” You can perhaps notice the similarity between “pangalan” and the B.M. “pengenalan.”

28th Oct 2008
"Mahal kita” – “I love you”
You can perhaps notice that mahal can also mean “expensive.” “Mahal kita Panginoon” means “I love you Lord.” If you want to say, “I love you very much,” it will be “Mahal na mahal kita.”

27th Oct 2008
“Sayang!” – “What a waste!”
Very similar to Malay usage of the same word. However, in Filipino, “Sayang” does not mean “love.”

26th Oct 2008
“Walang tawad?” – “No discount?”
Notice the similarity between the Filipino “tawad” and the Bahasa Malaysia “tawar.” The more proper way to say the same thing would probably be: “Wala bang tawad?” – Isn't there a discount?

25th Oct 2008
“Mahal . . . mura” –
“Expensive . . . cheap”

These are two other two useful words for shopping in the Philippines. You will notice that they are almost the same as in Bahasa Malaysia.

23rd Oct 2008
“Magkano?” – “How much?”
This is the word you need when you go shopping. Most short-term missions teams from Malaysia go away remembering this word more than any other.

22nd Oct 2008
“Wala” – “None”
“Wala na pera” means “No more money.” I think “wala” is different from “hindi” in that “wala” is more an adjective while “hindi” is a noun.

20th Oct 2008
“Oo/Hindi” – “Yes/No”
“Oo” is pronounced “oh-oh” but if the word of respect “po” is added, it will be “opo.” For “Hindi,” it is “hindi-po.” I have learned to say, "Hindi ako Koreano." It means "I am not a Korean." This is very useful here because, with so many Koreans in Baguio, we are always mistaken for Koreans.

19th Oct 2008
“Sige” – “OK” or “Goodbye”
“Sige” is used freely and regularly to mean “Goodbye” although it probably meant “OK” in the literal sense. It is often also used in the literal sense too. So, you can say “Sige” if you agree with someone. Actually, there is a word for “Goodbye” in Filipino – “Paalam” – but this word is archaic. I said “Paalam” to some young people and they laughed at me because it sounded like I am in an old movie!

18th Oct 2008
“Magandang . . . umaga/tanghali/hapon/gabi” – “Good . . . morning/noon/afternoon/evening”
“Magandang” literally means “beautiful.” It is used here as a greeting for different times of the day. Malaysians will easily recognize “tanghali” as noon. You can also say “Magandang araw” (“Good Day”) for anytime of the day (while the sun is still up). “Araw” means “day” here but can also mean “the sun.”

17th Oct 2008
“Walang Anuman” – “You are welcome.”
This phrase is equivalent to our English, “You are welcome,” when responding to someone who has just said, “Thank You.” Literally, I think it means: “Nothing,” probably similar to when we say, "No problem" to someone who said "Thank you."

15th Oct 2008
“Salamat” – “Thank You.”
This is perhaps the easiest word for Malaysians to remember because it sounds almost the same as the Malay word, “Selamat.” Again, remember to add the word of respect, “po” if you are speaking to someone older or more senior. So, most times you will be saying: “Salamat po.” If you want to say, “Thank you very much,” it will be “Maraming Salamat.” If you want to say “Thank you very, very much,” it will be “Maraming-maraming Salamat.”

14th Oct 2008
“Mabuti “ -“Fine/Good”
This is the standard reply when you are asked, “Kumusta ka?” If you are replying an older or more senior person, you need to add the enclitic of respect: “po.” So, you will be saying: “Mabuti po.”

13 Oct 2008
"Kumusta ka?" - "How are you?"
This is perhaps the first phrase to learn in the Philippines. You can ask this anywhere, anytime. But, if you are asking someone older or more senior, you will need to add the enclitic of respect: "po." So if you are saying this to someone older, you will say: "Kumusta ka po" or to be even more respectful, you may say, Kumusta po kayo." "Kayo" is the plural for "ka" (you). But, here you can use it even if you are speaking to one person because it is a plural of respect.
Before I came to the Philippines, I thought that the main greeting was "Mabuhay" but I found out quickly that the word is used mainly in tourism brochures. It is hardly ever used in day-to-day conversation. When you meet someone, you will usually ask: "Kumusta ka?