Precy enjoys helping others learn to speak and appreciate the Filipino and Ilocano language. She also writes about Filipino culture.
With the holiday season coming, especially Christmas and New Year, family gatherings are sure to happen. These two are the biggest celebrated holidays and that means foods, festivities and fun.
The holiday season means merriment, but it can also be a great opportunity to keep on learning while having all the fun and delicious sticky rice cakes over karaoke or a good movie with your Ilocano-speaking family. So, to help you prepare for the holiday celebration, I wrote all the Ilocano phrases I could think of—from greetings, to dining and even Ilocano phrases you can use when it's time to prepare leftovers.
Useful Ilocano Words for the Holidays
These Ilocano words will also appear in the Ilocano phrases below, so let's warm you up with these on the list. This will also help to make it easier for you to recognize them later once we get to the Ilocano holiday phrases. The Filipino/Tagalog counterparts are included as well for Filipino speakers who are more comfortable with Ilocano-Tagalog translations.
Foods prepared for the celebration, party or occasion
Ilocano Holiday Phrases With Tagalog
On the table below are phrases and greetings in Ilocano that you can use not only for the holiday season, but some of these you can use as well when attending other gatherings and parties. Again, with their Filipino/Tagalog counterparts included.
Naimbag a Paskua kenyayo.
Merry Christmas to all of you.
Maligayang Pasko sa inyo.
Naimbag a Paskua kenka.
Merry Christmas to you.
Maligayang Pasko sa 'yo.
How have you been?
Kumusta ka na?
Kumusta ni (insert name)?
How is (insert name)?
Kumusta si (insert name)?
Ania/Inya ti kayat mo nga regalo?
What gift would you like to receive?
Anong gusto mong regalo?
Come on open it now.
Buksan mo na.
Bisitaennak intono (insert day).
Come visit me on (insert day).
Bisitahin mo ako sa (insert day).
Umay kami dita agbakasyon.
We'll have our vacation there.
Pupunta kami diyan magbakasyon.
Did you like it?
Naimbag ah ta nagustuam.
It's good that you like it.
Mabuti ah at nagustuhan mo.
It's Christmas again.
Pasko na naman.
Intono no Paskua kami mapan dita.
We will be there on Christmas Day.
Sa Pasko kami pupunta diyan.
Intono Paskua ak agpasyar dita ayan yo.
I will come visit you on Christmas Day.
Sa Pasko ako papasyal diyan sa inyo.
Imbagam kinni Auntie/Uncle, Merry Christmas.
Tell Auntie/Uncle, Merry Christmas.
Pakisabi kay Auntie/Uncle, Merry Christmas.
Andito na kami!
While this article highlights useful phrases for celebrating holidays like Christmas and New Year, conversations often start with "How are you?" or "How have you been?" so I am going to throw in some phrases as well just for that.
On the table below are responses you can use when asked "Kumusta kan?" or "How have you been?"
Mabuti naman ako.
I'm good/I'm doing good/I'm fine.
Nasayaat met ti biag.
Mabuti naman ang buhay.
Life is good.
Nasayaat met gayyem.
Mabuti naman kaibigan.
I'm fine my friend.
Sika? Kumusta kan?
Ikaw? Kumusta ka na?
You? How have you been?
Sikayo? Kumusta kayon?
Kayo? Kumusta na kayo?
You guys? How have you been? (Speaking to two or more)
Nasayaatak met Auntie/Uncle.
Mabuti naman Auntie/Uncle.
I'm fine/I'm good Auntie/Uncle.
Tawagannak tapno agistorya ta manen.
Tawagan mo ako para makapagkwentuhan tayo uli.
Call me so we can catch up again.
When It's Time to Eat
Holiday season also means endless catching up stories and recounting memories while sharing and enjoying a scrumptious meal. So for that, I've included some Ilocano phrases you can use during mealtime. I have also included some that you will likely hear in conversations around the table.
Mangan tayon/Inta manganen.
Kain na tayo.
Lets eat now.
Umupo na kayo.
Take a seat now.
Agtugaw ka ditoy Auntie/Uncle.
Upo ka dito Auntie/Uncle.
Sit here Auntie/Uncle.
Ang sarap ng mga ito!
These look so delicious!
Kayat ko pay ti inapoy.
Gusto ko pa ng kanin.
I want more rice.
Kayat ko nga ramanan daytoy.
Gusto kong tikman ito.
I want to try this.
Kayat ko pay mangan.
Gusto ko pang kumain.
I still want to eat.
Kayat ko daytoy.
Gusto ko ito.
I like this (dish).
Kasla naimas daytoy (insert dish) ah.
Parang masarap itong (insert dish) ah.
This (insert dish) looks delicious.
Ikkan nak man ti inapoy/name of dish.
Bigyan mo nga ako ng kanin/pangalan ng ulam.
Give me rice please/name of dish.
Mangala ka pay.
Kumuha ka pa.
Mangala ka pay ti (insert dish).
Kumuha ka pa ng (insert dish).
Get more (insert dish).
Busog na ako.
I'm already full.
The Pluralization of Pronouns
Most of these phrases have Ilocano pronouns in them. So I want to tackle this a little bit as well—that way you'll have some understanding of the proper pronouns to use. Most of these pronouns used are similar to Filipino/Tagalog pronouns. Let's have one from the table above. "Kayat ko daytoy,'" which means "I like this," shares the same pronoun in Filipino/Tagalog, which is ko.
Some pronouns in Ilocano have the -n attached to them. The first one on the table above is a good example: "Mangan tayon." It also shares the pronoun tayo in Filipino/Tagalog, the English pronoun us, but with the -n attached to it. This is the adverb now and already.
Useful Phrases When Preparing Leftovers
Christmas and New Year parties not only mean spending time with family and friends over scrumptious meals, but they often also mean sharing all that tasty food to take home after everyone has had their fill. So for that, the following phrases will be helpful.
Agyamanank ngem haanen.
Salamat pero hindi na.
Thanks but I'd rather not.
Haanen. Agyamanak. Baka adda pay sumangpet nga bisitam.
Hindi na. Salamat. Baka may darating pang bisita mo.
Oh I'd rather not. But thank you. There are probably visitors that are still coming.
Wen. Mangala ak madamdama no agawid akon.
Oo. Kukuha ako mamaya kapag uuwi na ako.
Yes. I'll take some later when I'm ready to go home.
Wen. Mangala ak madamdama no inkami agawiden.
Oo. Kukuha ako mamaya kapag uuwi na kami.
Yes. I'll take some later when we're ready to go home.
Mangala ak ti (insert dish) madamdama. Nagimas ket.
Kukuha ako ng (insert dish) mamaya. Ang sarap kasi.
I'll get (insert dish) later. It's so good.
Koston daytoyen. Agyamanak.
Tama na ito. Salamat.
This is enough. Thank you.
Mangala ak man daytoy ta haan ko naramanan.
Kukuha nga ako ito at hindi ko natikman.
I'll get some of this as I didn't get the chance to try it.
Kasla naimas daytoy. Inya daytoy?
Parang masarap ito. Ano ito?
This looks good. What is this?
Mabalinak makaala daytoy? Kasla nagimas.
Pwede akong makakuha nito? Parang ang sarap.
Can I get some of this? It looks so delicious.
Showing Respect With Honorifics
There are also honorifics used in Ilocano that you need to be aware of to show politeness when speaking to someone older or to an elderly person. Manang and manong are used to address older siblings. Older sisters and female cousins are addressed as manang, while manong is used for older brothers and male cousins. These are used alone or before names. Auntie and uncle are also used.
Apo is another honorific used in Ilocano. This is specifically used when responding to an eldery person such as a grandmother or a grandfather. The first on the table above for example is used when responding to a person about your age, but when responding to someone older, let's say your friend's grandfather, "Agyamanak ngem haanen apo" is the polite response.
Now that I've tackled this notable information in learning Ilocano, I wish you a fun learning experience and a joyful Christmas and New Year this holiday season.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
precy anza (author) from USA on October 19, 2020:
@Abby Slutsky @Umesh Chandra Bhatt
Thank you both. I love writing here and sharing all these to my language learners on my FB page and to my fellow writers here.
Abby Slutsky from America on October 19, 2020:
Thanks for updating us on all of these terrific phrases.
Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on October 18, 2020:
Useful information for visitors, well presented.