10 Filipino Language Antics that Prove it’s More Fun to Speak Tagalog

No, Buwan ng Wika is not right around the corner nor am I gonna preach about being a malansang isda. I don’t remember enough of Philippine History to talk about Jose Rizal and his devotion to our national language. What I do know are the things I missed after moving to a non-Tagalog speaking country. I felt limited in being able to express myself and constantly at a loss for words whenever an emotion stirred up. There’s just so much that you can express with Tagalog and its direct translation is either too much or lacking in feeling. After all, how do you even explain ‘pabebe’? So before I start going off on a rant, here are 10 reasons why it’s more fun to speak Tagalog.

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10. Conyo

Need I say more? Conyo is basically its own culture and it wouldn’t have come about if it wasn’t for the birth of our national language and people’s blatant misuse of “make”. I mean, how do you make explain ba kasi conyo without making gamit of it in a sentence? Aside from the noticeable jump from English to Tagalog and vice versa, I usually remember a stereotype of conyos being in Starbucks during most of their breaks and heading off to Greenhills or Eastwood for a bit of a fun after work or school. Either way, it’s a culture you can’t easily ignore.

9. Petmalu, lodi, werpa, etc.

I’m not exactly a big fan of these words at first, but you must admit that the creativity of Filipinos is endless when it comes to our mother tongue. Not only do these words make sense, but it also grows on you after a while. It’s a fun quirky way to explain how you feel while being incredibly cash about it. You know, cash? Like, casual. WERPA!

8. Sagalagamagat

You might think this is a tongue twister, but if you don’t know what this word means, then you are missing out. Sagalagamagat and pagaagalagam are only a few of the words we used to say when we were kids in order to hide our thoughts from our parents or, you know, convince ourselves that they actually don’t know what it means when in fact, they were probably the ones who invented it. Either way, you can’t help but admit the memories it brings back whenever you hear such phrases. IGIBAGANG KLAGASEGE KAGASIGI AGANG TAGAGAGALOGOG!

7. Nakakapagpabagabag

Oh, you long word even native Tagalog speakers can’t pronounce! How dare you make our lives funny as hell when we can’t say you fast? There are so many words in Tagalog that you will find yourself having a hard time speaking even if you grew up with the language. Although, that doesn’t stop you from practicing them every day just to impress that cute co-worker, does it? Say it with me now: nakakapagpabagabag. Now, say it again. And again. And again.

6. Makata

O, irog kong giliw na aking sinisinta, ang diwa ko’t isip ay tila nagwawala! Pagka’t ubos na ang tinig at natitirang salita kung san ang bawa’t sambit ay walang kahulugan at diwa!

And uhm, yeah…

I don’t really know how to translate that properly in English so I’d leave it to your imagination. However, it doesn’t remove the fact that this way of speaking is intoxicatingly romantic in our Philippine Literature. Remember Florante at Laura, anyone? Enough said. Okay, moving on now.

5. Ano kasi

Alam mo yun? Yung ano? Nakaka-ano kasi e, diba? Parang, ano ba? Nang-aano ka na e. In a group of ten or five—probably three, if you’re feeling lucky, there will always be that one conversation that you will somehow understand despite the lack of adjectives, pronouns and verbs, and isn’t that just magical?

You don’t even have to know them sometimes. You just have to know Tagalog. Easy!

4. Ikaw na!

You already! And while this phrase can be directly translated into English, you can’t exactly use it without the receiver’s basic knowledge of the context and origin. How do I know this? Let’s just say that I may or may not have looked stupid in front of a few non-Tagalog speakers. And no, I refuse to elaborate.

3. Bekimon

Wit ka mag-livin la vida loca if wit mo knowingnerz ang bekimondia! Sanitch bey original ng keribells? Edi bekilese! Ay!

And while my bekimon has declined over the years, you can’t deny the undeniable appeal of this seemingly mysterious and ever-evolving language. So before your brain starts spitting random bekimon, let’s start with some basics that you probably already know. PAK! TRU! BET! TRULALOO! O diba, CHURCHILL!

2. Bababa ba?

“Bababa ba?” “Bababa!” 

Oh, yes! The legendary “bababa ba?” and the answer that goes with it. How can you not appreciate Tagalog when the language itself is like a magical spell from Harry Potter. Okay, let’s not go that far. However, you have to admit that creating an entire sentence with just two syllables and answering the same exact sentence with the same exact syllables are quite a feat to accomplish.

1. Kilig, tampo, atbp.

Sometimes, it’s just really hard to explain what you’re feeling because the direct translation doesn’t quite make up for it. Take, for example, kilig! Kilig is specifically about gushing over someone or something that someone has done for us. It’s a way of explaining these uncontrollable butterflies fluttering inside you whenever someone you appreciate makes you feel all kinds of things you just can’t explain. Speaking of not being able to explain, do you see where I’m getting at? Kilig is just one word and yet, it feels like it’s going to take forever just to explain its meaning, so here’s a gif to make it easier for all of us instead:

Don’t even get me started on tampo because I swear to you that I am going to make tampo na with you if you ask me to make explain everything. I mean, ano ba? Gets mo na dapat yun, diba? Don’t ask me to make pabebe pa with you para lang you let me off the hook na! It’s the end na, DUH!


What are your favorite Filipino language antics? Tell us in the comments!