April 2006


Here are Tagalog lessons about Semana Santa or Holy Week.

Holy Week is an important part of Philippine culture. It’s a time to pause and reflect on the state of your spiritual development, spend time with your family (particularly with your grandparents), deepen your relationship with God, or quickly recharge your office-fried brain with a quick three-day soak in the beach.

Tagalog Words / Phrases

Mahal na araw – Holy Week (literally: days of love)

Domingo de Ramos / Linggo ng Palaspas – Palm Sunday
Lunes Santo – Holy Monday
Martes Santo – Holy Tuesday
Miyerkoles Santo – Holy Wednesday
Huwebes Santo – Maundy Thursday
Biyernes Santo – Good Friday
Sabado de Gloria – Black Saturday

Don’t do these on Good Friday:
Huwag kang maligo. – Don’t take a bath.
Huwag kang lalabas. – Don’t go out.
Huwag kang gagawa ng mabigat. – Don’t work (or engage in heavy labor).
Bawal kumain ng karne. – Eating meat is prohibited.

Biyernes Santong Biyernes Santo, eh… – It’s Good Friday, fer cryin’ out loud…

Pasko ng Pagkabuhay – Easter Sunday
Linggo ng muling pagkabuhay – Easter Sunday
Pasko – Christmas
Linggo – Sunday
pagkabuhay – life

Pasyon – Passion (of the life of Christ)
Pabasa – reading /chanting
Bisita Iglesia – visit churches
Senaculo – dramatization / play / re-enactment of the Passion of Christ

Deboto – flagellants
kusang palo – initiative
kusa – self
palo – spank

Hudas – Judas
Hudas ka! – Betrayer! (Or: You are like Judas)
Nanghudas – betrayed
Ipinagkanulo – betrayed / handed over to one’s enemies (what Judas did to Christ)

God knows Hudas not pay. – God knows who does not pay.
(Sign found in some jeepneys)

Download Episode 24 – Holy Week
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Here are Tagalog phrases about honeymoons and weddings.

In the Philippines, weddings are rarely just about two people in love. They’re usually about family. Big families. And their neighbors. And officemates. And yes, even the corner sari-sari store owner. For Filipinos, it’s not a simple “welcome to my family”… it’s more of a “welcome to my world.”

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Here are Tagalog lessons about phrases Filipinos utter when we’re near pregnant women and children.

If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a barangay here in the Philippines to raise a child, even if the baby is still in the womb. There’s this familiar sense of community, as if one’s family went beyond extended relations and into neighbors, whether they’re next door, in the hallway, or in the adjacent cubicle.

Tagalog Words / Phrases

Hi, buntis! – Hello! (said to someone who’s pregnant)

Siguro, babae yan. – I think your baby is a girl.
Maganda ka kasi. – Because you’re pretty (maganda).
Maaliwalas ang mukha mo. – Your face (mukha) looks content (or at peace).
Mabilog ang tiyan mo. – Your stomach (tiyan) is round (mabilog).

NOTE: it’s ma-bi-log (please don’t mix your syllables!)

Siguro, lalaki yan. – I think your baby is a boy.
At bakit? – And why? (asked by the pregnant woman)
Ah, uh… – [It's hard to tell the truth, so just wait for the pregnant woman to say:]
Bakit? Kasi malaki ang ilong ko? – Why? Because my nose (ilong) is big (malaki)?
Maitim ang leeg ko? – My neck (leeg) is dark (maitim)?
Matulis ang tiyan ko? – My stomach is pointed/sharp (matulis)?

Kelan ang labas? – When are you due (to deliver)?
Anong ipapangalan mo? – What name will you give your baby?

Anong gusto mo, babae o lalaki? – What do you want, a girl or a boy?

Kahit ano. – Any will do.
Basta malusog. – As long as the baby’s healthy.

*** After the baby is born ***

Kamusta ka na, mommy? – Mommy, how are you?
Normal ba o CS? – Did you deliver normally or via C-Section?

Ang ganda ng baby mo! – Your baby is beautiful!
Ang gwapo ng bata! – The child is handsome!

Kanino nagmana? – Whom did the child take after?

Siyempre, sa tatay. – Of course, the child took after the father.
Siyempre, sa nanay. – Of course, the child took after the mother.

Ang lago ng buhok. – The child has a full head of hair.
Ang taba! – How fat!
Tabachichay! – Chubby!

Pwera usog. – Loose transation: No misfortune. Or knock on wood. (This is to counter potential hexes unwittingly placed by visitors on a child.)

Hoy, nag-alcohol na ba kayo? Hey, have you cleaned yourselves with alcohol?

Kelan ang binyag? – When’s the christening?
Ninong ako, ha? – Get me as godfather, ok?
Ninang ako, ha? – Get me as godmother, ok?
Ilista mo ako, ha? – List me as godparent, ok? (for proxy godparents who are far away)

Download Episode 22 – Baby Village
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