When island hopping through the various tropical paradises that make the Philippines such a hotspot for international tourists, you’re definitely going to want to have a few Filipino slang words in your back pocket. Not only will this help you get along in everyday life, but it’s a great way to integrate yourself into local culture and immerse yourself in your surroundings.
And, seeing as the Philippine archipelago is home to over a hundred different ethno-linguistic groups, Filipino slang words come from a variety of different origins. It’s what makes this Southeast Asian archipelago country so culturally and historically unique.
Now, ready to jump into a comprehensive Tagalog lesson? Okay, so maybe lesson is a strong word to use here, but we’ve compiled a list of the ten most popular Filipino slang words to help you sound like a local during your next visit.
Need the basics? Master the essential Filipino phrases here first.
Filipino Slang Words
This is a great one to start off with. Agik in Tagalog means something similar to “okay” or “all right.” So, if you’re headed off to shop at a local store or are visiting a Filipino restaurant, you will likely hear this one a lot. It’s the base of a lot of Filipino sentences and it’s a great Filipino slang word for you to learn as a jumping off point to eventually become, dare we say, fluent.
Kilig is one of the most interesting Filipino slang words, as there’s really no exact equivalent in English, Spanish, or other Latin languages. You know when you stare at the person you love and your stomach fills with butterflies? That’s kilig. It’s the giddy feeling inside of your stomach that makes your face blush and fills you with the good kind of nervous anxiety.
In modern day millennial slang, English speakers might literally say the works “jk” as in “just kidding.” Adding that to the end of any sentence is a great way to let people know you’re just joking around. And, in Filipino slang the equivalent is charot. It means “just kidding” and it’s a great way to ensure everybody knows you’re being a bit sarcastic or light-hearted.
In Spanish slang this is “que chulo,” and in Boston slang this is “wicked.” But, in Filipino slang the word for “wow how cool” is petmalu. You can use it to describe something that’s exceptional, cool, extraordinary, or even extreme.
This one should be a bit easier to understand. You see, not all Filipino slang words are totally different than they are in English. A mumshie is a mom in the Philippines. Honestly, this one is super cute and we’re going to start using it even when we’re not trying to learn Filipino slang.
If you’re a foodie then this is one of the best Filipino slang words for you to learn straight away. Chibog, or likewise, you can pronounce it bogchi, simply means “eating time.” If you’re partying with locals and you all order food to chow down on, once it arrives, you’ll likely hear a few people use this to let everything know it’s time to eat.
Looking for love in the Philippines? Jowa is a great slang word to know, as it’s used to describe a boyfriend or a girlfriend. There are other Filipino slang words you can use to describe a relationship that might not be as serious, but jowa is the word for when you guys have made it official that you’re boyfriend and girlfriend.
There are a few contextual meanings of the slang word praning. First of all, you’ll likely hear this one a lot, especially if you spend time around younger locals. It’s the slang word for somebody or something that’s “crazy” or out of their mind. However, you might also hear it used to describe somebody who’s legit out of their mind on drugs.
Chika looks very similar to the Spanish word chica, but they’re really not connected even in the slightest. In Filipino slang, the word chika is for asking someone what’s up. You might hear it as part of a phrase when someone asks how you’re doing. Or, they might use the similar word chikahan, which means “conversation” or “chat.”
Many Filipino words are borrowed from Spanish, and if you speak Spanish then you might understand what the slang words wafu and wafa mean. They’re similar to guapo and guapa in English, which mean that somebody is “handsome” or “pretty.” So, if you’re at a bar in the Philippines and see a cute guy or gal, try using this slang word to see if they’re impressed.