Precy enjoys helping others learn to speak and appreciate the Filipino and Ilocano language. She also writes about Filipino culture.
Once the so-called ber months start, it's a totally different vibe across the country and within Filipino households. This means the start of the two biggest celebrated holidays: Christmas and New Year. Filipinos are known to celebrate Christmas the longest, starting as early as September. Christmas garlands, holiday lights, and Christmas lanterns called parol made of different materials and of different styles adorn the streets, business establishments, and homes.
What else does it mean? Holiday season means Christmas parties. An opportunity to practice what you already know and make new friends. And of course, it's the perfect chance to keep on learning. I wrote all the Filipino/Tagalog phrases and words I could think of to give you a boost and prepare yourself for the holiday season.
Useful Words for the Holidays
Before learning holiday phrases, let's warm you up a little bit by learning words first. Not only are these great to start with, but once we get to the holiday phrases, you'll easily recognize these words and you will know exactly what they mean.
Foods Prepared for Occasions
Midnight Mass/Dawn Mass
The traditional feast with favorite Filipino Christmas foods after the midnight mass on the 24th of December.
Mga Dekorasyog Pang-Pasko
Mga Kantang Pang-Pasko
To Sing Christmas Carols
To Prepare Different Kinds of Food
To Put Up Decorations
In this section, you'll find not only phrases you can use for Christmas and New Year's Day celebrations, but greetings as well to help you start off some conversations.
Thank you for the invitation.
Salamat sa imbitasyon.
Thank you for inviting us.
Salamat sa pag-imbita sa amin.
Merry Christmasto all of you.
Merry Christmas sa inyong lahat.
Happy New Year.
Manigong Bagong Taon.
Happy New Year to all of you.
Manigong Bagong Taon sa inyong lahat.
I will be there on Christmas.
Andyan ako sa Pasko.
How are you?
How is (insert name)?
Kumusta si (insert name)?
Come on open it now.
Sige na buksan mo na.
You shouldn't have bothered.
Hindi ka na dapat nag-abala.
Thank you so much.
Andito na kami.
Say Merry Christmas to Uncle/Auntie for me.
Pakisabi kay Uncle/Auntie Merry Christmas.
What gift would you like to receive?
Anong gusto mong matanggap na regalo?
Did you like it?
Nagustuhan mo ba?
I hope you like it.
Sana nagustuhan mo.
Visit me here on Christmas.
Pasyalan mo ako dito sa Pasko.
Visit us here on New Year's Day.
Pasyalan mo kami dito sa Bagong Taon.
Thank you for visiting.
Salamat sa pagpasyal.
Visiting a Filipino home and sharing the joy of the holiday season means food and seemingly unending catch-up stories with laughter, and of course, compliments are certain to happen. The following are useful phrases you can familiarize yourself with to be able to respond to given compliments or to say some in return.
Maganda itong lugar niyo.
Your neighborhood is beautiful.
Ang sarap ng mga handa!
The foods are so delicious!
Masarap ang (insert dish).
The (insert dish) is good.
Ang ganda naman ng Christmas tree niyo!
Your Christmas tree is so beautiful!
Ang ganda dito!
It's so nice/beautiful here!
Ang galing mo naman magluto!
You're such a good cook!
Magaling ka rin naman magluto.
You're a good cook too.
Salamat. Ikaw rin naman.
Thank you. You too.
The Pluralization of Pronouns
While the highlight of this article are the holiday phrases, I want to add something as well about using the pronouns since I have them along with the phases. Two pronouns used on the table above are mo and niyo, which is usually shortened to n'yo. Mo is the pronoun you and niyo is the plural form to use when speaking to two or more people.
Looking at the first example above, "Maganda itong lugar niyo" is used when referring to the whole family or when speaking to the hosts. "Maganda itong lugar mo" is used when speaking to the host who lives by himself/herself.
When It's Time for Preparing Leftovers
As the celebration ends, don't be surprised if the host invites you to prepare and wrap any food you like to take home. The host will also do it herself and hand one to leaving guest/s. It's very common in Filipino gatherings and celebrations. You can use the following words and phrases for this.
Naku! Salamat pero hindi na.
Oh my! Thank you but I'd rather not.
Naku! Salamat pero hindi na baka may darating pang mga bisita.
Oh my! Thank you but I'd rather not as there are probably visitors still coming.
Salamat. Hindi ako tatanggi diyan.
Thank you. I wouldn't say no to that.
Sige, mamaya. Salamat.
Ok, I'll do it later. Thank you.
Kukuha ako ng (insert dish) ha? Ang sarap kasi.
I'll get (insert dish) is that ok? It's so good.
Kukuha ako ng (insert dish). Patitikman ko sa asawa ko.
I'll get (insert dish). I'll let my hubby/wife try it.
Tama na ito. Salamat.
This is enough. Thank you.
Kukuha ako nito. Hindi ko ito natikman kanina.
I'll get some of this. I wasn't able to try it earlier.
Mukhang masarap itong (insert dish). Pero allergy ako sa (insert dish/ingredient).
This (insert dish) looks good. But I'm allergic to (insert dish/ingredient).
With all these phrases given, I need to add as well that Filipinos use honorifics and chances are you will hear these during holiday gatherings. Kuya is used to address an older brother or cousin, ate for an older sister/cousin, auntie, uncle, lolo and lola for grandpa and grandma. Po and opo are also used to show respect, especially when speaking to the elderly.
Now that I've tackled this important information in learning the language, I wish you a fun learning experience 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.
Abby Slutsky from America on October 07, 2020:
This was interesting, but I would have preferred the phonetic way to pronounce it next to the phrases. Thank you for sharing.