6 Best Ways To Say Hello In Tagalog [A Traveler's Guide]

As a lifelong Filipino and native Tagalog speaker, I've seen countless tourists light up with delight when greeted in our language. It's true – we Filipinos are known for our warmth and friendliness. But behind all that, I know that we can also be surprisingly shy around visitors.

Want to instantly break the ice and win hearts?

It's simple: learn to say hello in Tagalog.

In this guide, I'll share not just the words, but the cultural nuances behind our greetings. Whether you're planning a trip to our beautiful islands or just want to surprise your Filipino friends, mastering these hellos will open doors you never knew existed.

Is It Important To Say Hello In Tagalog?

Yes, saying hello in Tagalog is important when visiting the Philippines. It shows respect for Filipino culture, helps break the ice with locals, and can enhance your overall travel experience. While English is spoken by 47% of Filipinos, especially in business settings, using Tagalog greetings demonstrates a genuine interest in connecting with us and our traditions.

By making an effort to speak at least some Tagalog words, you're likely to have more meaningful exchanges and potentially gain access to local insights and experiences that might otherwise be missed. It's a small gesture that can make a big difference in how you're perceived and welcomed during your visit.

Kumusta is Hello In Tagalog

What Is Hello In Tagalog?

Interestingly, there's no direct translation for "Hello" or "Hi" in Tagalog. Instead, Filipinos use a Tagalized version of the Spanish phrase cómo está, which in Tagalog is "Kumusta?" This greeting serves as the closest equivalent to "Hello" in everyday conversations.

To better understand how Filipinos greet each other, let's explore the casual, formal, and slang ways of saying hello in Tagalog.

Casual Ways To Say Hello in Tagalog

  1. Hello/Hi: These English greetings are commonly used in natural conversations, often with "po" added for respect.
    Example: "Hello po!" (Hello, sir/ma'am!)
  2. Kumusta/Kumusta: This is the most common greeting, equivalent to "How are you?"
    Example: "Kumusta ka?" (How are you?)
  3. Kumusta kayo: This is the plural or more formal version of "Kumusta ka?"
    Example: "Kumusta kayo, Ginoo?" (How are you, Sir?)

Formal Ways to Say Hello in Tagalog

  1. Mabuhay: This formal greeting literally means "live" and is used in ceremonial or very formal situations.
    Example: "Mabuhay, mga kababayan!" (Greetings, fellow countrymen!)

Slang Ways To Say Hello In Tagalog

  1. Hoy: A casual way to get someone's attention, used among close friends.
    Example: "Hoy, kumain ka na ba?" (Hey, have you eaten yet?)
  2. Oy: Similar to "Hoy," this is a very informal way to call out to someone you're familiar with.
    Example: "Oy, dito ka!" (Hey, over here!)

Remember, the context and your relationship with the person you're greeting play a significant role in choosing the appropriate Tagalog hello. The slang terms should be used cautiously as they can sound impolite and almost like a Tagalog swear word if used incorrectly or with strangers.

20+ Irresistible Tagalog Pick Up Lines That Actually Work
Did you know Filipinos are ranked 53rd among the most good-looking nationalities in the world? That’s right, we’re not just about killer karaoke skills and mouth-watering adobo. We’ve got looks that could stop traffic – or at least make it slow down a bit. But let’s face it, even the most

Polite Ways To Say Hello In Tagalog

Politeness is a cornerstone of Filipino culture, deeply embedded in social interactions. Using respectful language is not just appreciated but expected, especially when greeting others.

Let's explore some ways to make your Filipino greetings extra native-sounding.

Saying 'Po' And 'Opo'

'Po' and 'opo' are honorific particles that convey respect and politeness in Tagalog. They're commonly used when speaking to elders, authority figures, or in formal situations with strangers.


  • "Kumusta po kayo?" (How are you? - polite form)
  • "Kamusta po?" (How are you? - shorter polite form)

Just to be clear, please remember that 'opo' is the polite Tagalog equivalent of 'yes'.

Saying Mano Po  and pagmamano in the Philippines

Saying Mano Po

"Mano po" is a unique Filipino cultural tradition that serves as both a greeting and a profound gesture of respect towards elders. This practice, deeply rooted in Filipino values of family, respect, and hierarchy, is an essential part of Filipino social etiquette.

The ritual involves the following steps:

  1. The younger person says "Mano po" to the elder.
  2. They then take the elder's hand.
  3. They bring the back of the elder's hand to their forehead.

This gesture is called "pagmamano" and is believed to be a way of receiving the elder's blessing. The word "mano" comes from the Spanish word for "hand," while "po" is the Tagalog respect particle.

"Mano po" is typically used with:

  • Parents and grandparents
  • Aunts and uncles
  • Godparents
  • Elderly relatives
  • Respected community elders
  • Former teachers or mentors

Polite Words For Greeting Someone Based On Gender

In Tagalog, there are gender-specific terms used to show respect when greeting or addressing people. Understanding how to use these words correctly is crucial for polite interaction.

Here's how to incorporate them into your greetings:

'Kuya' is used when addressing older males, though it can be used for younger men as a sign of respect. It's typically placed at the beginning of the sentence or immediately before the name.


  • "Kuya, kumusta po?" (Brother, how are you?)
  • "Magandang umaga, Kuya John." (Good morning, Brother John.)

'Ate' is the female equivalent of 'Kuya', used for older women or as a polite term for younger women. Like 'Kuya', it's usually placed at the beginning of the sentence or before the name.


  • "Ate, kumusta na po kayo?" (Sister, how are you doing?)
  • "Hello po, Ate Maria." (Hello, Sister Maria.)

'Tito' is a respectful term used for addressing older men, typically those of your parents' generation. It literally means "uncle" but is often used for family friends or older male acquaintances as well.


  • "Tito, magandang hapon po." (Uncle, good afternoon.)
  • "Kumusta po, Tito Carlos?" (How are you, Uncle Carlos?

'Tita' is the female equivalent of 'Tito'. It means "aunt" and is used to address older women, including family friends, and acquaintances of your parents' age group.


  • "Tita, salamat po sa pagpunta." (Aunt, thank you for coming.)
  • "Magandang gabi po, Tita Elena." (Good evening, Aunt Elena.)
Mabuti naman po - I am fine

How To Respond To Hello In Tagalog

In Filipino culture, greetings are more than just a formality – they're an opportunity to show respect, establish rapport, and express genuine interest in others' well-being. Knowing how to respond appropriately to a greeting in Tagalog is crucial for navigating social interactions in the Philippines.

Let's explore the various ways to reply to greetings in Tagalog, from basic responses to more nuanced and context-specific replies:

Basic Responses

When someone greets you with "Kumusta?" (How are you?), you have several options:

  • "Mabuti" (Fine/Good)
  • "Mabuti naman" (I'm doing well)
  • "Okay lang" (Just okay)

Polite Responses

In formal situations or when addressing elders, add "po" to show respect:

  • "Mabuti po" (Fine, sir/ma'am)
  • "Mabuti naman po, salamat" (I'm doing well, thank you sir/ma'am)

Reciprocating the Greeting

It's customary to inquire about the other person's well-being in return:

  • "Mabuti, ikaw?" (Fine, and you?)
  • "Okay lang. Ikaw, kumusta?" (Just okay. How about you?)

Casual Responses

In informal settings or among friends, you might use:

  • "Ayos lang" (All good)
  • "Okay lang" (Just okay)
  • "Buhay pa" (Still alive - a humorous response)

How To Greet Someone At Different Times Of The Day

In Tagalog, like in many languages, there are specific greetings for different times of the day. These greetings can be used before or instead of "Kumusta ka?" to show awareness of the time and add a touch of formality or warmth to your greeting. Here are the common time-specific greetings in Tagalog:

EnglishTagalogPronunciation Guide
Good morningMagandang umagaMa-gan-dang oo-ma-ga
Good noonMagandang tanghaliMa-gan-dang tang-ha-li
Good afternoonMagandang haponMa-gan-dang ha-pon
Good eveningMagandang gabiMa-gan-dang ga-bi
Good dayMagandang arawMa-gan-dang a-raw
Have a nice dayMagandang araw sa iyoMa-gan-dang a-raw sa i-yo
Good night (when parting)Magandang gabiMa-gan-dang ga-bi

Say Hello In A Foreign Language With Lingopie

So, you've nailed those Tagalog greetings, huh? Awesome! But why stop at one language when you could learn so much more?

Say hello to Lingopie - the coolest way to level up your language game while binge-watching your favorite shows. Yep, it's the secret that turns your TV time into language-learning time. Just imagine being able to...

But that's not all! French, German, Portuguese, Russian - it's a whole world tour without leaving your couch! So the next time someone gives you a grunt about your TV habits, hit 'em with this: "I'm not just watching shows, I'm learning languages!" Boom!

Give Lingopie's features a try now!

You've successfully subscribed to The blog for language lovers | Lingopie.com
Great! Next, complete checkout to get full access to all premium content.
Error! Could not sign up. invalid link.
Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.
Error! Could not sign in. Please try again.
Success! Your account is fully activated, you now have access to all content.
Error! Stripe checkout failed.
Success! Your billing info is updated.
Error! Billing info update failed.