If you are a foreigner and wish to visit or live in the Philippines, you should learn to properly greet the people you meet in that country. Filipinos are generally hospitable and approachable, and many of them understand the English language. Either way, learning a bit of Filipino or Tagalog (or Tagalog), the language from which Filipino is largely derived, can go a long way in creating a respectful and friendly interaction. If you want to greet people in the Philippines the same way they do, here are some very simple ways you can learn to be nice and friendly.
Method 1 of 2: Learn the Basics
Step 1. Remember that almost everything you read in Tagalog or Filipino is phonetic
This means that the words can be pronounceable. Try to pronounce them the way you see them and it is very likely that you are very close to the correct pronunciation.
- The pronunciation of the vowels is more pronounced than in American English, but softer than the British accent. Also, vowels are rounded, except / o /.
- Although there are exceptions: ng it is pronounced 'nang' and mga pronounced 'muhNGA'. The '-ng', which is a single letter, is pronounced as in the words' ca nge 'o' cha ngor'.
Step 2. Learn a bit of the language before your visit
You can learn Filipino or Tagálog by reading books, watching TV, listening to music or through videos. Just like any other language, it is still a better option to practice it by talking to someone who knows it.
If you have a limited period of time, focus your study on common greetings that you can use. If your visit is coming up, don't try to learn all the grammar and structure of the language
Step 3. Learn to say the equivalent of “good morning”, “good afternoon” and “good night”
There are no literal translations for these phrases. Instead, Filipinos greet each other by saying "nice or pretty" before day, noon or night."
- To say good morning, you can say "Magandang umaga" (ma-gan-dang u-ma-ga), which means beautiful morning.
- To say good afternoon, use "Magandang hapon" (ma-gan-dang ha-pon), which means nice afternoon.
- To say good night, say "Magandang gabi" (ma-gan-dang ga-bi), which means nice night.
Step 4. Try speaking in English if all else fails
Filipinos are generally used to speaking English, so you can just say "Hi," "Hello," 'Good Morning,' etc. The people you greet will probably understand your basic English greeting.
- If you get stuck and don't know what to say, just speak in your language. It is better to say something than to remain silent.
- Either way, if you want to make a good impression with those you interact with, take the step and study the language to be prepared.
Step 5. Greet a group of friends
If you are trying to impress a new group of friends, say "Kumusta kayó" when you approach them. This means "How are you?"
It is pronounced / kah - mu: s - ta: ka: - I: /
Step 6. Talk differently with older people
If you are talking to someone who is older or of a higher social position than you, always add po to your sentences. Usually Po is added to the end of the sentence, for example "Salamat po" means "thank you."
Also, use opo to say "yes." This is basically the equivalent of saying "yes, ma'am" or "yes, sir."
Method 2 of 2: Interact with New People
Step 1. Shake hands with people
In Filipino culture it is often best to shake someone's hand when you first meet. It is usually a gentle greeting, without being abrupt.
- Greet someone you just met with a kiss on the cheek, or a hug, is not used. This is usually done when you have already cultivated a closer relationship.
- If you are in a Muslim area of the Philippines, the rules of contact, especially between women and men, may be different. A handshake is considered appropriate but will require the men to take the initiative. Pay attention to what the people around you are doing and let yourself be guided.
Step 2. Consider using a "hand" greeting with seniors
Filipino seniors generally greet each other by bringing their left hand up to touch your forehead. This is called "hand." It is especially important to do it with members of your own family and with those who are the oldest adults.
- If an older adult holds their hand in front of their body, palm down, it means they are expecting a "hand" greeting.
- This greeting shows respect for your elders but it also means that the adult is blessing you by touching your forehead.
Step 3. Keep the conversation simple and friendly
Like people in any other part of the world, Filipinos don't necessarily want to discuss politics or serious issues with strangers. Instead, talk about the good things in life: family, food, or fun. This will make the experience of meeting new people more enjoyable.