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10 Tagalog Phrases Kids Can Say to their Moms

Learn Tagalog Phrases To Say to Mom

In honor of Mother’s Day, I thought it would be fun for my kids to learn some phrases that I would want to hear as a mom. The kids practiced with their Daddy this past week, and we recorded their audio, which we included below. With time and practice, it will sound more fluid, but we are proud of their attempts and efforts to continue learning new words and phrases.

If any of these phrases resonate with you, feel free to learn them to tell your Mom or Mother figure, and have your kids try some that you would like to hear from them. 🙂

Pabitin Craft

We will be sharing how to make a mini-pabitin craft. A “pabitin” is a popular Filipino party game where treats, toys, and money are suspended from a wooden hanging. The actual life-size pabitin is large enough for many guests at the party to jump and try to grab the suspended goodies. It is quite a festive tradition!

For our craft, we will share how to make a miniature version, to give your child a sampling idea of the concept.

Here is what you will need:

Supplies:

  • 8 Popsicle/Craft sticks per pabitin
  • String/Yarn
  • White glue or glue gun
  • Scissors
  • Small treats, small toys, and/or money

(Optional) Francesca: Isa, Dalawa, Sorpresa by Cel Tria, Illustrated by Gel Relova. Reading this Filipino children’s book is a wonderful extension to this activity because not only does it feature the pabitin in the story, but it also teaches more about the Filipino culture and the Tagalog language. It is also an adorable story about a girl celebrating her birthday. (If you’re curious to learn more about the book, check out our video walk-through of the book. (Related post: Interview with the author and illustrator).

The digital audiobook is available on iBooks and the paperback book can be purchased on Amazon.

Steps:

  1. Lay out 4 craft sticks, evenly spaced.

2. Add a drop of glue to the end of each stick.

3. Place one craft stick across the top of the 4 craft sticks, securing it in place with the glue.

4. Add a drop of glue to the other end of the craft sticks.

5. Lay a popsicle stick across the ends of the 4 popsicle sticks. Adjust the positioning as needed to straighten the alignment of the craft sticks.

6. Repeat the steps above and add 2 more rows of craft sticks in the middle.

7. It will be a total of 4 rows horizontally and vertically.

8. While the glue is drying, cut 4 pieces of yarn/string about 8 inches long. (This can be adjusted depending on how long you prefer the hanging to be).

9. Tie one string to each corner of the pabitin square.

10. Once you have tied the strings, gather the ends at the top.

11. Tie a knot/ribbon at the top to secure the 4 ends together.

12. Cut between eight to sixteen 6″ strings that will be used to suspend the treats, toys, or money.

13. Attach the toys, treats, and/or money to the strings and tie it to the pabitin.

14. The pabitin can be suspended to hang from a branch or stick.

15. My kids enjoyed using their pabitin with their mini figurine toys. They pretended their toys were celebrating a birthday, and they had their toys “jump” to grab their treats.

We hope you enjoy making this craft with your family! It is a fun way to share more about the Filipino culture.

Tagalog Starter Kit Sign-Up

Have you been wanting to implement Tagalog in your home, but need a little boost getting started?

It can be challenging knowing where to begin, how to start the habit, and how to enjoy the learning process as a family.

If this sounds like you, we have a FREE Tagalog Starter Kit that includes introductory tools to jumpstart Tagalog in your home. 

For the next 4 weeks, I will send you 2 Tagalog phrases (each week) that you can implement in your daily routine with your family. Along the way, I will include tips & resources, a habit tracker, and flashcards to accompany the phrases you learn. 

Although it is for 4 weeks, it is flexible enough for you to learn and apply 1 or both phrases per week.  

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7 Fun Ways to Learn Tagalog with Your Child

It sounds intimidating to learn another language and even more so to teach your child a language that you may not be fluent in either. But learning another language with your child can be turned into an enjoyable educational activity that you can share together.

Here are 7 fun ways to learn Tagalog with your child (in no particular order):

Read bilingual books

A wonderful way to build language and literacy is through books. Immersing oneself with a wide array of quality picture books builds vocabulary and adds context through corresponding pictures. The Filipino children’s book selection is amazingly growing due to talented and passionate authors, illustrators, and publishers who are dedicated to spreading the Filipino culture through books. 

Some places to find Filipino/Fil-Am children’s books are:

Also, check your local libraries, bookstores or Filipino festivals in your area. Selections can vary depending on your location. Another tip (if your library has the policy to request books) is to ask your librarian to consider purchasing a suggested booklist.

(Please contact me if you know a good place to get Filipino children’s books that is not listed above and I can update the list.)

Arts & crafts that incorporate Tagalog vocabulary

Incorporating Tagalog vocabulary in arts and crafts is another fun and simple way to reinforce the language. Even if the craft was not initially intended to be focused on Filipino culture or language, the vocabulary can still be tied. For example, talking about the colors or shapes that are used in the craft can be a way to implement Tagalog. (For craft ideas, check out our page Tagalog Activities & Book Units which has many different ideas).

You can also follow us on Instagram (@filamlearners) where we also share more craft ideas and activities to try out to teach Tagalog.

Vocabulary games

Playing games such as Memory, matching card games, Pictionary, Charades are enjoyable bonding activities to review and teach language (regardless of which language).

Apps & Videos

Watching appropriate children’s videos or playing educational apps is another way to learn a language. Here are suggested YouTube channels and apps (but please preview them first to gauge the appropriateness for your little ones).

Filipino music

We find that music is an engaging and entertaining way to learn Tagalog. Some YouTube channels we follow for educational songs are:

I create lyrics sheets to accompany some of the songs we learn each month. Head over to our Filipino Children’s Songs + Lyrics post to download/print the lyrics sheets.

Cook and/or Bake

Involving your children in the kitchen not only teaches them cooking skills that set them up for independence and educates them on nutrition, but is also a seamless way to have conversations and build on language. You can share more about the culture of the food and key vocabulary of the ingredients, cooking utensils, and skills such as stirring, baking, frying.

Below is a video from FilipinoPod101 teaching basic Tagalog words themed around the kitchen.

Listen to podcasts or audio stories

Tagalog Phrases When Meeting Someone New

Here is a three-page printable of some basic phrases to use when meeting someone new. They can be kept as reference charts or cut up to be used as vocabulary cards. I included phrases using both formal and informal tone.

In Tagalog, there are two tones for conversation: formal and informal. With formal conversation, “po” is added as a form of respect when speaking to someone elder or someone respectable. Informal conversation is used when speaking to peers or those who are younger.

The third page of numbers 1 – 10 in Tagalog was added in case you want to identify the number of children or siblings you have.

We hope these help you for the next time you meet someone new and want to practice using Tagalog with them!

Philippine Flag Activity

Learn about the Philippine Flag

Learn about the flag of the Philippines with this craft. This two-page printable has basic facts about the meaning of the colors and symbols of the flag. It includes a Philippine flag craft for the child to color, cut, and paste.
Read more about the story behind the Philippines flag with these sources:

Abakada – Filipino Alphabet

Ready to learn the Filipino alphabet with us? We have a fun and special challenge to help you learn more Filipino vocabulary, more about food, culture, and geography using each letter sound of the original Filipino alphabet, known as Abakada.

In collaboration with Filipino children’s book author, Joy Francisco (@littleyellowjeepney), and Filipino food vlogger, Jeanelle Castro (@Jeanelleats), we shared words and phrases focusing on one letter of the Abakada each week. The Instagram challenge ran from the week of November 10, 2019 and ran for 20 weeks (ending the last week of March 2020).

It was an enriching experience learning from one another, and we looked forward to seeing the participation each week. We applaud those of you who learned the words for yourselves, shared the vocabulary with family and friends, commented on our posts with words you know that go along with that week’s featured letter, or who shared relevant content on your social media during each week’s #AbakadaChallenge. 

Although the “live” portion of the challenge is now over, feel free to go back to our Instagram profiles to review the past Abakada-related posts. I also saved the posts in our Story Highlights.

Filipino food-related words- @Jeanelleats

Tagalog phrases – @filamlearners

Filipino culture words – @littleyellowjeepney

To go along with the challenge, I made a printable booklet for you (and/or your kids) to write down or draw the words that we share each week and any additional words you come up with or find from other resources. Feel free to take a picture of your completed pages each week or after the whole challenge and share it with us by using the hashtag #abakadachallenge or tagging @filamlearners @littleyellowjeepney and @jeanelleats so we can see all of the amazing words you are learning. 

We also created a lyric sheet of the “Abakada Song” with alphabet cards to cut out and practice putting in order. Download the activity below and watch the video underneath for the song.

Other resources to learn the Filipino alphabet:

Want to learn the Abakada song? Click below to listen and watch the Abakada version from Robie317. 

Recommended Books to teach the Filipino alphabet:

Click on each book below to learn more about them or to purchase them.

A special thank you to Jeanelle & Joy for this wonderful collaboration and for the inspirational work they do.

Want to learn more Tagalog for yourself & your kids?

Check out our Tagalog membership/subscription for Parents.

Pan de Sal Saves the Day- Lesson Activities

Pan de Sal Saves the Day is a Filipino children’s story about a girl named, Pan de Sal, who starts off feeling self-conscious in comparison to her classmates and later discovers her talents and uniqueness as a person. As people, sometime in our lives, we go through moments of feeling not good enough or comparing what we look like or what we do with someone else. This book is a wonderful introduction to some aspects of Filipino culture while also bringing concepts of self-worth and pride to the forefront.

Pan de Sal Saves the Day is written by Norma Olizon-Chikiamco, illustrated by Mark Salvatus, and published by Tuttle Publishing. It is a bilingual book written both in English and Tagalog and a great picture book to add to your young child’s library.

To help you bring the book to life, we have created a unit of 6 activities that you can do with your child or student.

pandesal saves the day lesson activities

The activities include:

  • Book discussion questions
  • “What Makes You Special” picture and writing activity
  • Make a sipa craft
  • Bread/Pastries Comparison Activity
  • Pandesal recipe
  • Suggested music activity

Tagalog Plurals & the Use of “Po”

This post includes a chart of singular and plural pronouns for reference. In addition, there is the audio for some of the plural pronouns. If it is not noted, the phrases listed in the themes area are primarily directed to a single person or can be universally for both singular or plural. Any phrase you see with a (+2) indicates that the phrase is directed to 2 or more people when speaking to them. For many of the sentences, the singular pronoun can be swapped out for the plural phrases without changing the sentence structure. We also include any exceptions where the order of the words is moved within a sentence.

If this chart is overwhelming, don’t worry too much about it at this moment. For now, focus on hearing the recorded phrases and getting accustomed to how they sound, rather than overthinking rules.

(Next project for near future: I plan to color code the pronouns in the guides and flashcards so you can quickly know when you can swap out words to make them singular or plural).

You — Ikaw

You (+2) – Kayo

You — Ka

You (+2) – Kayo

You (I to you)– Kita

You (I to you) (+2) — Ko Kayo

Belongs to (person) — Kay

Belongs to (+2 people) — Kina

He/She— Siya

They (+2) — Sila

His/Her— Kaniya

Their (+2) — Kanila

Your – Mo

Your (+2) — Niyo

To you — Iyo

To you (+2) — Inyo

For you – Sa’yo

For you (+2) — Sa inyo

The words below indicate plural pronouns.

Us (You + I) — Tayo

We (Other people + I) — Kami

Our — Natin (including person who you are speaking to)

Our — Namin (excluding person who you are speaking to)

The use of “po” for respect

In Filipino culture, it is important to show respect when speaking to elders. It can be children and adolescents to their elders, and even adults speaking to their elders. One way to do this is to use “po” when addressing others formally and respectfully.

Po

Featured Filipina: Roanne de Guia-Samuels

I am so inspired by this month’s Filipina feature — Roanne de Guia-Samuels and am so thrilled to be able to share more about her with our community! Roanne is a loving mom, dedicated psychotherapist, and creator of the blog, Kalamansi Juice. She is such a resourceful woman and shares beautiful insight on supporting mental health and happiness. Almost every post she shares on her blog and on social media has been so relatable to me as a Filipina mom. It is such a breath of fresh air hearing her perspective on well-being and parenting. Read on to find out more about Roanne. 

Q: Where do you currently live? Where are you from?

A: I live in the East Bay in California. I was born & raised in Manila, Philippines.

Q: Tell us a little bit about your cultural background. 

A: I come from an ethnically diverse background, my grandmother was Irish/Scottish who married my grandfather from mainland China. My mother grew up with the label-  ”mestizang intsik”. My father was born & raised in a province called Marinduque. He came from humble beginnings and sold coffee to help his family make ends meet. Both my parents still live in the Philippines. Together with my brother, I immigrated to the States to live at a relative’s home at the age of 23.

Q: What do you want others to know about the Fil-Am/Filipino culture? 

A: Filipino culture is like a song. The songs we know from the heart are not once we necessarily know the exact words to but ones whose hymn, rhythm, tone, and inflection reach the inner recesses of our soul. Filipinos communicate through their food, through their haplos (touch), through their pasalubongs, through the expression of their unique Pinoy Love Languages ( ex. Lambing, Tampo, etc). Filipinos are people whose heart will always speak louder than their voices. 

Q: What do you currently do or have you been doing in hopes to contribute to the Fil-Am/Filipino community? 

A: I am the creator of Kalamansi Juice, a platform that provides happiness tools that elicit self-awareness and practical tips for Filipino families living abroad. I am also a licensed Psychotherapist that has dedicated my clinical practice in only serving Filipino women, specifically Filipino moms. 

Many Filipino women living in America (and abroad) hold traditional cultural dialogues in their head that clash with the Western cultural norms. Through my creative work- my blog, my other writings and free resources, I hope to forge a new way of reflective thinking that reconcile the Western way of living  so that you can confidently decide what Filipino values to keep and what to leave behind, living your best life, tailored to you and your family.

Q: What or who is your inspiration behind what you do?

A: My parents were civic-minded people. In particular, my mom taught me the value of serving the community. I remember for 10 years during our Noche Buena, a time where both kids and adults flash their best bestida/baro(dress) and work the whole day towards creating a feast that can feed the entire  barangay, my siblings and I spend the day preparing food in styrofoams ala assembly-line style so that we can traverse under the bridge, along the dark alleys in Manila to give the neediest their taste of Noche Buena. This is a reflection of my mother’s and not mine, nevertheless, it gave the lessons of empathy and service beyond any book or class can ever teach. 

Since my mother fostered an environment that allowed me to hang out with people from different walks of life, I’ve realized at a young age, that riches lie in the mind. I’ve met both- the rich, happy man and the poor happy man, and conversely, the unhappy rich woman and the unhappy poor woman. True wealth is cultivated in the mind. I became a therapist because I believe in changing the world, by helping facilitate change, one mind at a time. I have the best job in the world because as a prerequisite, it holds me accountable with my own, so I’m always learning, always evolving. 

Helpful Resources from Roanne

For additional Happiness Tools including relaxation exercises for both Adults and kids and Mental Health handouts in Tagalog ( Ano Ang Stress? AND Simpleng Kalungkutan o Depression?) check out our Happiness Tools Page @ https://kalamansijuice.com/happiness-tools/

If you’re interested in online therapy, schedule a free 20-minute session here: https://kalamansijuice.com/contact/

We just launched our YouTube channel, and we would love for you to subscribe! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7tlYsomNrJk

Thank you for those who support my work, you are my inspiration!