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55 Examples of Filipino Proverbs

Famous salawikain, or Filipino sayings
Famous salawikain, or Filipino sayings | Source

Salawikain: Famous Sayings From the Philippines

Filipino proverbs, or salawikain, echo the values of the Philippines. Though they have been retold and passed down from one generation to another, and the values and lessons they impart to us still hold true to this day.

Here are 20 examples of Filipino proverbs with literal translations or analgous English sayings.

Examples of Filipino (or Tagalong) Proverbs With the English Translation

A broom is sturdy because its strands are tightly bound. —Filipino proverb
A broom is sturdy because its strands are tightly bound. —Filipino proverb

1. A broom is sturdy because its strands are tightly bound.

Matibay ang walis, palibhasa'y magkabigkis.

People gain strength by standing together.

2. While the blanket is short, learn how to bend.

Hangga't makitid ang kumot, matutong mamaluktot.

If your blanket is too short to cover you completely with your legs straight, bend them so that you fit. In other words, learn how to adapt to your environment and be satisfied with what you have. If you have less in life, learn to be frugal until you come to the point when you can spare some money for a little bit of luxury.

3. It is hard to wake up someone who is pretending to be asleep.

Mahirap gisingin ang nagtutulog-tulugan.

While it is easy to tell people something they do not know, it is much harder if they are willfully choosing not to see what is before them.

4. If you persevere, you will reap the fruits of your labor.

Pag may tiyaga, may nilaga.

They don't call them the fruits of labor for nothing. Hard work and perseverance are needed to reach your goals. But if you keep trying, one day you will enjoy the results of your efforts.

5. New king, new character.

Bagong hari, bagong ugali.

New leadership always brings new ways.

If you plant, you harvest. —Filipino proverb
If you plant, you harvest. —Filipino proverb

6. If you plant, you harvest.

Kung may tinanim, may aanihin.

Your future will be the result of your actions today. Plan ahead.

7. Weeds are difficult to kill.

Mahirap mamatay ang masamang damo.

It can be hard to completely rid yourself of bad things or people.

8. Don't trust strangers.

Huwag kang magtiwala sa di mo kilala.

This is self-explanatory—you can never be sure that people you don't know truly have your well-being in mind. Don't put yourself in their hands.

9. Nothing destroys iron but its own corrosion.

Walang naninira sa bakal kundi sariling kalawang.

Iron is known for its strength, but it can destroy itself when exposed to certain conditions. Similarly, even a strong person can be undone by his or her own actions or habits.

10. Even though the procession is long, it will still end up in church.

Pagkahaba-haba man daw ng prusisyon, sa simbahan din ang tuloy.

Some things are inevitable. This proverb specifically refers to a couple that seems destined to marry, even if it takes a long time.

There is no need to cry over spilt milk. —Filipino proverb
There is no need to cry over spilt milk. —Filipino proverb

11. There is no need to cry over spilt milk.

Magsisi ka man at huli wala nang mangyayari.

There is no point in wasting emotion over something that has already happened and can't be changed.

12. Opportunity only knocks once: Grab it or you'll lose it.

Ang pagkakataon sa buhay ay madalang dumating. Kapag narito na, ating samantalahin.

This is another proverb that means exactly what it says. Don't live with regret because you thought the opportunity would come again.

13. What comes from bubbles will disappear in bubbles.

Ang kita sa bula,sa bula rin mawawala.

Easy come, easy go.

14. The early comer is better than the hard worker.

Daig ng maagap and masipag.

The early bird catches the worm.

15. A rolling stone gathers no moss.

Batong pagulong-gulong, di kakapitan ng lumot.

A person who does not settle in one place cannot gather possessions, wealth, status, or commitments.

If someone throws stones at you, throw back bread. —Filipino proverb
If someone throws stones at you, throw back bread. —Filipino proverb

16. If someone throws stones at you, throw back bread.

Kung pukulin ka ng bato, tinapay ang iganti mo.

Instead of looking for revenge, show love and forgiveness.

17. Don't count chicks until the eggs are hatched.

Huwag magbilang ng sisiw hanggang di pa napipisa ang itlog.

Eggs are extremely delicate, and not all of them go on to become chickens. Don't act on the assumption that you have something before actually do.

18. If a stone thrown upward hits you, don't take offense.

Batu-bato sa langit, tamaan huwag magagalit.

If you perceive criticism in something that was not directed at you, you shouldn't take offense because you deserve it.

19. A thief hates a fellow thief.

Ang magnanakaw ay galit sa kapwa magnanakaw.

A thief may hate another thief for many reasons. One thief makes life more difficult for the other and also acts as a reminder of his or her own wrongdoing. No matter the explanation, that hatred is hypocritical.

20. Whatever you do, think about it seven times.

Anuman ang gagawin, pitong beses iiipin.

Think before you leap. Often, if you give yourself some time, you can save yourself from making foolhardy decisions.

A person who does not remember where he came from will never reach his destination. –Filipino pro verb
A person who does not remember where he came from will never reach his destination. –Filipino pro verb

21. A person who does not remember where he came from will never reach his destination.

Ang hindi lumingon sa pinanggalingan, hindi makakarating sa paroroonan.

It's important to look back at your roots and show gratitude to those who came before you. It is because of them that you are where you are today.

22. Health is wealth.

Ang kalusugan ay kayamanan.

Health is one of the most valuable possessions. Treasure and protect it.

23. Life is like a wheel: Sometimes you're up, and sometimes you're down.

Ang buhay ay parang gulong, minsang nasa ibabaw, minsang nasa ilalim.

You will have good times and bad times.

24. He who does not love his mother tongue is worse than a rotten fish.

Ang hindi marunong magmahal sa sariling wika, ay mahigit pa sa mabaho at malansang isda.

Honor your origins and the language of your ancestors.

Poverty is not a hindrance to success. —Filipino proverb
Poverty is not a hindrance to success. —Filipino proverb

25. Poverty is not a hindrance to success.

Ang karukhaan ay hindi hadlang sa pagtatagumpay.

When there's a will, there's a way.

26. Imitate the rice stalk: The more grains it bears, the lower it bows.

Ang palay ay parisan, habang nagkakalaman ay lalong nagpugpugay.

The more you acquire, the more humble and respectful you should become.

27. A quitter never wins; a winner never quits.

Ang umaayaw ay di nagwawagi, ang nagwawagi ay di umaayaw.

To be successful, you must try until you reach your goal.

28. Seldom seen, soon forgotten.

Bihirang masilayan, agad nakakalimutan.

Out of sight, out of mind.

29. No pain, no gain.

Walang tiyaga, walang nilaga.

Just as your muscles must become sore before they become strong, sacrifices must be made in order to achieve goals.

You cannot pull hair from the bald. —Filipino proverb
You cannot pull hair from the bald. —Filipino proverb

30. You cannot pull hair from the bald.

Wala kang masasabunot sa kalbo.

You cannot draw blood from a stone. In other words, you expect a person to give something he or she does not have. This also applies to appealing to an emotion that a person does not have—for example, asking an uncharitable person for money.

31. Even a log soaked in water will burn if it is placed near a fire.

Kahoy mang babad sa tubig, kapag nadarang sa apoy sapilitang magdirikit.

Anyone will react when placed in the correct conditions.

32. United, we stand; divided, we fall.

Magsama-sama at malakas, magwatak-watak at babagsak.

When a group of people work toward the same cause, they have strength. However, if they are not working together, each voice is weakened.

33. The truth hurts.

Masakit ang katotohanan.

Sometimes the truth is not what you wanted to hear.

Better late than never. —Filipino proverb
Better late than never. —Filipino proverb

34. Better late than never.

Huli man daw at magaling, naihahabol din.

Even if you should have already done something in the past, there is value in completing it today.

35. A sleeping shrimp is carried away by the current.

Ang tulog na hipon, tinatangay ng agos.

You snooze, you lose. If you aren't paying attention, you won't have any control over the outcome.

36. Marriage is not a joke. It is not like food that you can spit out when it is too hot to chew.

Ang pag-aasawa ay hindi biro, 'di tulad ng kanin, Iluluwa lung mapaso.

Marriage is a longterm commitment. When things become uncomfortable, you have to face the problems instead of running away.

37. You will know a true friend in time of need.

Ang matapat na kaibigan, tunay na maaasahan.

A true friend will stand by you even when you have nothing to offer him or her.

Still waters run deep. —Filipino proverbs
Still waters run deep. —Filipino proverbs

38. Still waters run deep.

Kapag and dagat ay tahimik, asahan mo at malalim.

Babbling brooks and white water rapids show motion on the surface of the water because there are rocks just beneath the surface. In contrast, a deep river will appear to have a more still surface. Similarly, people who appear very calm on the outside may have strong passions beneath the surface.

39. Emulate what is good; ignore what is bad.

Pulutin ang mabuti, ang masama ay iwaksi.

This proverb means exactly what it says—when you see something that's done in an upstanding and excellent manner, imitate it.

40. Nobody who spits upward does not spit on his face.

Walang lumura sa langit na di sa kanyang mukha nagbalik.

Those who disrespect others disrespect themselves.

41. Of what use is the grass when the horse is already dead.

Aanhin pa ang damo kung patay na ang kabayo.

This is another way of saying that something is too little, too late.

42. A man that talks too much accomplishes little.

Maraming salita, kulang sa gawa.

People who spend their time doing what they say they will have less need to talk about it. Actions are worth more than words.

Every pot has a matching lid. —Filipino proverb
Every pot has a matching lid. —Filipino proverb

43. Every pot has a matching lid.

Walang palayok na walang kasukat na tungtong.

Everybody has someone out there who's a perfect fit for his or her personality. Love just takes time before people meet their match.

44. Easier said than done.

Madaling sabihin, mahirap gawain.

To say that you will do something takes very little energy. Actions are more difficult to accomplish.

45. Spend lavishly and you end up with nothing.

Ubos-ubos biyaya, pagkatapos nakatunganga.

Do not spend frivolously.

46. While there is life, there is hope.

Habang may buhay, may pag-asa.

Never give up. There is always a chance of a recovery until the end.

47. Anything that is heavy can be light if we put our resources together.

Ang mabigat ay gumagaan, kung pinagtutulungan.

Many hands make light work.

An empty container makes a lot of noise. —Filipino proverb
An empty container makes a lot of noise. —Filipino proverb

48. An empty container makes a lot of noise.

Ang lalagyang walang laman ay maingay.

Which will make more noise: a jar that contains one marble or a one that is packed full with marbles? Similarly, a person who doesn't know what he or she is talking about will often put on more of a show than someone who relies on facts. Another way to interpret this is that a hollow container makes more noise when struck than a full one.

49. In every forest , there is a snake.

Lahat ng gubat ay may ahas.

Everywhere you go, there will be people who should not be trusted.

50. Before you point out others people's shortcomings, correct your own first.

Bago ka bumati ng sa ibang uling, uling mo muna ang iyong pahirin.

Don't criticize people for what you do yourself.

51. He who takes a lot of risks loses more than he can gain.

Naghangad ng kagitna, isang salop ang nawala.

Be cautious when you make decisions with a lot to lose.

Strength is defeated by strategy. —Filipino proverb
Strength is defeated by strategy. —Filipino proverb

52. Strength is defeated by strategy.

Ang lakas ay daig ng paraan.

Even a strong opponent can be defeated by a strategy that exploits its weaknesses.

53. No crime is left unpunished.

Walang salang hindi pinagbabayaran.

What goes around comes around. In other words, karma will make sure that a wrongdoer gets what's coming to him or her.

54. Speech is silver but silence is golden.

Pananalita'y pilak, ngunit ang katahimikan 'y ginto.

While eloquence is impressive, sometimes being a trustworthy person who is silent at the right times is more valuable.

55. The pain of the little finger is felt by the whole body.

Ang sakit ng kalingkigan, sakit ng buong katawan.

The world is connected—an injustice or disservice to one person impact more than just that person.

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