Terms and Phrases


The following is a list of terms, jargon, and other words or phrases you will need to know if you are going to live or visit the Philippines and not learn to speak the language.

Aircon – Air conditioner

Comfort Room or CR – Bathroom or Restroom

Dry Market – a market with small retailers selling all sorts of items from dry and canned goods to household items like buckets, wastepaper baskets, utensils, plates, etc….

Foreigner Tax / White Man Tax / White Guy Tax – this is when a Filipino merchant/vendor marks up the price for goods or services when the customer is from another country. This is also a very common practice among taxi and tricycle drivers.

Jeepney – the most popular form of transportation in the Philippines. It’s generally very cheap to ride a jeepney so that might account for the popularity of it. There are 2 basic size jeepneys but the larger more common one carries a total of 20 or so people if you count the two passengers who share the front seat next to the driver.  People generally cram into a fully loaded jeepney like sardines.

Jejemon – texting (SMS) and internet chatting language that is popular in the Philippines.

Jollibee – Fast food restaurant in the Philippines very similar to and a direct competitor to McDonalds. Actually, Jollibee is more popular in the Philippines than McDonads is. The mascot is a big red and yellow bee.

KTV / KTV Bar – Karaoke or Karaoke bar. They’re pretty much the same thing.

MRT / LRT – Metro Rail Transit / Light Rail Transit

Ref – Refrigerator

Suki – A loyalty or rewards program like frequent flier programs or supermarket discount cards for example.

Sari Sari Store – a small “mom and pop” type store. Usually run out of the front of a home and caters to a single street. They usually carry everyday items like food, diapers, soda, beer, eggs, and other assorted small items.

Tagalog – the official language of the Philippines

Trike / Tricycle – a motorcycle with a sidecar. These are used like taxis to shuttle people over distances that are too long to walk. They are very common in the Philippines. They are sometimes used for other uses like hauling relatively small amounts of cargo or for doing deliveries of things like LPG gas (propane gas)  tanks or 5 gallon mineral (filtered) water containers.

Philippines Trike or Tricycle

Philippines Trike or Tricycle

Ukay Ukay Store – this store sells used goods. Mostly used clothing but you can find other items like sheets, comforters, etc. Jenn’s grandmother found a used but good condition Barbie sleeping bag. We washed it thoroughly and put two large pieces of foam inside it and then sewed it shut to make a mattress for my daughter Nicole.

Visayan / Bisayan – used to describe people, things, or the language of the Visayas areas of the Philippines.

Wet Market – a market with small retailers selling raw food like fish, meat, and poultry from small stalls.

Yaya – ‘nanny’ is probably the easiest way to describe it



Ako si _________ = I am ______(name)

Anong oras na? / Oras na? (informal) What time is it?

Hindi. (informal) No

Hindi po (formal/polite) No

Kumain ka na ba? / Kumain ka na? (informal) Did you eat yet?

Kumusta ka? (informal) How are you?

Magkano (Pronounced ma-kah-no) Tagalog for “How much?”

Mahal Kita – Tagalog for “I love you!”

Opo (formal/polite) Yes

Oo (informal) Yes

Salamat po. (formal/polite) Salamat. (informal) Thank You

Saan ka papunta? (informal) Where are you going?



Harina – flour

Mantika (man-tee-ka) Cooking oil


If you have any suggestions/corrections for this list please let us know.