Ready to learn the Filipino alphabet with us? We have a funand 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 will be sharing words and phrases focusing on one letter of the Abakada each week. Make sure to hop on Instagram to follow our challenge, which starts the week of November 10 and will be going on for 20 weeks.
We want this to be an enriching experience to learn from one another, so we welcome your participation. Whether you learn the words for yourselves, share the vocabulary with family and friends, comment on our posts with words you know that go along with that week’s featured letter, or share relevant content on your social media during each week’s challenge, there are many ways to partake in the #AbakadaChallenge.
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.
Get your printable Abakada Booklet by doing 1 of the following below:
If you have already opted in to our Fil-Am Learners Free Resource Library of printables, you may proceed to get the activity booklet there.
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.
The activities include:
Book discussion questions
“What Makes You Special” picture and writing activity
Counting is a basic skill that children learn at a very young age. It is very easy to apply in our daily conversation as we count items around them such as toys, snacks, people, cars we see on the road, etc.
We have a few resources to share below to teach numbers 1 – 10 in Tagalog.
Throughout the book, it shows 10 different insects hiding in nature, and counts from 10 to 1.
Tagu-Taguan is completely in Tagalog and a great way to introduce lots of vocabulary.
Francesca: Isa, Dalawa, Sorpresa!
Francesca: Isa, Dalawa, Sorpresa!, written by Cel Tria and illustrated by Gel Relova, is a charming book about a girl, Francesca, celebrating her birthday. This is a bilingual book (English & Tagalog) that introduces learning concepts including colors, numbers, and birthday party elements. It too counts down from 10 to 1 as we learn a new element for the party. (We did a whole review of the book & e-Book of Francesca in another blog post. Read our full review here).
Isa, Dalawa, Tatlo … Ito Ay Obalo!: Numbers and Shapes in Filipino
The pages have a clean look of vibrant colors and basic shapes with the Tagalog and English words for the numbers and shapes.
Joy Francisco continues to add on to her developing series of books to introduce basic learning concepts and Tagalog vocabulary. You can learn more about her and the other books she has produced on her website, Little Yellow Jeepney.
Printable Coloring Activity
To reinforce learning, we created a printable coloring booklet to teach numbers 1 through 10 in Tagalog.
Mother’s Day is coming up and we have some activities for how you can show these special women in your lives you appreciate them while learning some Tagalog and Filipino culture.
Read the Filipino Children’s Book, “Cora Cooks Pancit.”
“Cora Cooks Pancit” is an adorable story about Cora, a young girl, who wants to cook Filipino foods with her Mama, but is usually sitting on the sidelines. She finally gets the opportunity and not only feels like such a grown up cooking alongside her Mama, but she learns more about her family roots, making her Lolo’s pancit recipe. Learn more about the book and author, Dorina Gilmore, in our Filipino Children’s Book Corner post.
A fun activity to do with your mom or lola is to cook pancit with her or for her (if you learn to do it with another family member).
If cooking isn’t possible at this time, enjoy a plate of pancit from a local restaurant or from a family or friend who can make a delicious pancit dish.
Fil-Am Learners Printable Activities
Show your mom (ina) and grandma (lola) how you feel in English and Tagalog with the following printable activities.
Tagalog/English Mother’s Day Cards
Tagalog/English Mother’s Day Cards (FREE in our subscriber-only Tagalog Printable Resource Library. This is an exclusive FREEBIE for our subscribers. So if you haven’t signed up yet, head over here to sign up for our newsletter to get access to these printables along with many other free printables.
Mother’s Day Writing & Craft Activity
In our shop, we feature a Tagalog/English Mother’s Day Writing Prompt and Craft to learn Tagalog vocabulary to describe your mom or grandma. There is an accompanying writing activity and a paper craft, which would go well as a thoughtful gift. Head to this post in our Shop to learn more.
Another year has gone. For most, it is filled with many successes and challenges alike. For sure, many memories have been shared throughout the past 12 months. New Year’s Eve is a way to commemorate the year, to celebrate with loved ones, to reflect, and to wish for a prosperous new year.
New Year’s celebrations tend to be festive, joyful, and filled with unique traditions. Growing up, my Filipino family’s New Year’s festivities included the following traditions:
Family-centered: It was a tradition that the family stays together on New Year’s Eve. Whether with immediate or extended, our New Year’s Eve celebrations are traditionally centered around family.
Having a Clean Home: We necessarily don’t like to keep a dirty home generally but for New Year’s it is imperative to do a more thorough clean of the home and start the new year fresh. Sweeping, mopping, decluttering and having fresh towels and linens.
12 lucky round fruits: My mom emphasized the importance of displaying 12 fruits (especially round fruits) on our table. She explained to me that for New Year’s, the round shape is good luck and represents good wealth and fortune. The number 12 represents the 12 months of the year.
Jingle coins in your pocket: During the last minute counting down to midnight, each person would jingle piggy banks or put coins in their pockets to jingle. When the clock strikes midnight, coins would be tossed to the ground for others to gather.
Jump at the stroke of midnight to get taller: Another tradition at midnight is to jump as high as possible. It was said that jumping as high as we can help us grow taller. (Being that I’ve been 5 foot tall since I reached adolescence, I know jumping has not realistically been helping me grow, but we still continue this fun tradition to jump for joy at midnight.
Noisemakers: With our voices as noisemakers, party horns, pots and spoons, and jingling piggy banks our family gets loud! We cheer for the new year and the family’s volume sure is contagious.
Food: For all Filipino celebrations in general, food is one of the main highlights. For New Year’s Eve there are several circular foods offered. Some of the ones our family would serve are:
Ginataang bilo bilo- a sweet coconut milk stew of sticky rice balls, jackfruit, sweet potatoes, and plantains).
Puto- a Filipino steamed sweet cake)
Arroz caldo- a gingery rice soup with chicken and hardboiled eggs.
Sopas – a milky chicken macaroni noodle soup with quail eggs
Pansit or sotanghon- Not a round food dish, but the Filipino noodles represent long life. (Pansit is also traditionally served on birthdays)
Wearing polka dots: As mentioned, circles mean good fortune, so with that, Filipinos will wear clothes with polka-dots to wish for prosperity in the new year.
These traditions are some of the greatest memories I have with my family during this holiday. I hope to continue sharing many of them with our younger generations and to make new traditions as well.
What does New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day look like for your family? Feel free to share your traditions in our comment section or on social media.
We have also created a printable activity for your child to do. It teaches how to say Happy New Year in Tagalog and to practice writing it. It also includes a second page for your child to illustrate and color what New Year’s looks like for your family.
It is a great activity to have a discussion on your family’s traditions and also a wonderful keepsake to save for the future and look back on what the New Year’s celebration looked like through the eyes of your child/children during that year. The pages can be printed in the future years too if you want to date it and see the progression of the illustrations and memories.
Christmas in the Philippines is known to be one of the most festive and grand celebrations. Between the assortment of delicious food, bright and colorful decorations, large family gatherings, and Simbang Gabi, Pasko (which is Tagalog for Christmas), is such a special celebration that carries on through the month and even longer.
Filipinos all over the world celebrate this wondrous holiday in ways that both have commonalities and that also include traditions unique to each family. This post is a round-up of Filipinos and Filipino-Americans who each are taking a moment to share their special traditions.
If you’ve never been to the Philippines during Christmas, the following posts give us a taste of “Paskong Pinoy.”
Ria Pretekin of Urban Ohana recounts her interfaith family’s celebrations of Christmas and Hanukkah in her post, “Latkes and Lumpia.” Much of their tradition is decorating the tree with Filipino decorations including mini parols, attending Christmas mass, and taking pictures with Santa.
For the holidays, Chef Rafi enjoys many kinds of Filipino foods including morcon, embutido, adobo, and hamonado, and take their New Year’s fruit picture. Chef Rafi’s YouTube channel has videos in multiple Philippine languages showing how to make these foods, such as their traditional pork adobo. In addition, they share another popular Christmas tradition of making the sweet, nutty dessert known as Food for the Gods (Head over here to see their video in Cebuano, Bisaya, and English)
Crafts and Activities
Are you or your kids into those surprise balls? This Surprise queso de bola activity (created by Albert @Filipeanut) is the perfect blend of the widely-known surprise ball with a Filipino twist. It is a Filipino Christmas tradition to serve queso de bola (ball of cheese) during Noche Buena. Learn how to make this fun craft here.
Maligayang Pasko! A Filipino Christmas unit: If you have children from Kindergarten through third grade, this printable unit on Filipino Christmas (from Teachers Pay Teachers) might be for you. It includes writing activities, a booklist, vocabulary cards, a mini-booklet, a parol craft, and more.
Last, but certainly not least, we musttalk about the parol when we bring up Filipino Christmas traditions! The parol is a brightly colored star-shaped lantern that is displayed magnificently lighting up our homes and streets during the holiday season. When seen, the parol symbolizes Christmas at its best.
So let’s hear from you. What are your favorite Filipino Christmas traditions? Comment below to share. Our community loves to hear and share cultural stories with each other.
Related post: Managing the Stress of the Holidays
Although Christmas is such a joyous time of year, it can also be hectic at times with the preparations and planning. Roanne of Kalamansi Juice shares her tips to help minimize the stress in her post, “A Filipina Mom’s Mini Survival Guide to a Stress-Free Holiday.”
Books About Christmas & Other Celebrations in the Philippines
Do you know someone who loves to read? These books make great reads for this holiday season and teaches so much more about Filipino heritage and their many celebrations.
Shopping for someone with style? Get exquisite handcrafted products made by Filipino artisans at Cambio & Co.
With Thanksgiving on its way, it is the perfect time to stop and reflect on what we are thankful for. In another one of our posts, “Showing Respect in the Filipino Culture,” we mention the Tagalog phrase, “salamatpo,” which means “thank you” as a way to show respect to others. To express that we are thankful for someone or something, we use the phrase, “nagpapasalamat ako” (translated “I’m thankful”). For example, if we wanted to say, “I am thankful for my family,” we would say in Tagalog, “Nagpapasalamat ako sa aking pamilya.”
We have created a craft activity for you and/or your child to make a beautiful gratitude banner. It can be hung this month (or any time of the year) as a visual reminder of all of the wonderful things you are thankful for.
The printable templates and labels for the banner are FREE and are available in our Free Tagalog Printables Resource library.. Once you download and print them out, pictures can be pasted on or drawings may be illustrated and colored to go with each Tagalog/English label.
Blank labels are also included for you to customize and fill in your own response of what you are thankful for.
It’s October! That means it’s time to celebrate Filipino American month. There is so much to be told and shared from the history of Filipino Americans. When did Filipino first migrate to the United States? How were their lives like? How did they establish themselves in this country?
The Filipino American story, that is not published and shared enough in history books, in our country, is out there to be uncovered by more people and passed along so that our current and future generations can see the hardship and beauty of this culture.
This month we will be sharing resources and facts from Filipino American history. Keep reading on to find a list of resources.
While learning more about the history of our culture, we have created a printable fact sheet graphic organizer for you or your kids to fill in some facts that resonated with you.
Resources to Learn About Filipino American History
FAHNS (Filipino American History National Society) – A national organization, founded by Dr. Dorothy and Dr. Fred Cordova in 1982 with a mission to preserve and document Filipino American history. Their site is filled with extensive resources, a gallery, information about the museum, events, educational activities, and more.
Salamat Po! was written by Adriana Allen, a mother who wanted to teach her Filipino American children about the Filipino culture, but couldn’t find many books on it, so she decided to write her own book to share. It is an adorable picture book teaching children how to show respect in the Filipino culture, which is a very important value. (To learn more about showing respect in the Filipino culture, see related post here).
America is in the Heart by Carlos Bulosan, tells the story of growing up in the Philippines, migrating to America, and the struggles as a first-generation Filipino-American.
We’re just getting started! So stay tuned because we will continue to post resources, activities, and books to delve in Filipino culture, to commemorate our heritage month. Check back throughout the month for more cultural goodies. If you know of any resources that you’d love to share, feel free to comment below and we can add them to our list.
It’s Back to School season! We are starting a unit to learn about school-themed vocabulary words to kick off our season returning to school.
Activity 1: School Tagalog Pictionary
Our first activity for this unit is School Pictionary in Tagalog/English. It includes 18 pictured vocabulary cards to cut out. They can be used as flash cards to learn and review the words first. Then the cards can be used in an exciting game of Tagalog Pictionary.
Activity 2: Tagalog Memory Game: School-Themed Words
Using the same vocabulary words from activity 1 (Tagalog Pictionary), we have created cards to play Memory or a matching game. There is one set of picture cards and another set of just the Tagalog word for the picture.
Flip the cards over face down on a flat surface. Then choose a card from the picture pile and a card from the vocabulary word pile to see if you can make a match.
If you make a match, you can have another turn. If not, it will be someone else’s turn (If you are playing with other players).
It is a great test of memory and also a way to review Tagalog vocabulary for school-themed words.
It’s summertime and many people are traveling and going on vacation. What a perfect time to learn Tagalog words all about traveling.
This post includes 3 different lesson activities with a travel theme:
“My Maleta” Suitcase
Transportation Board Game
Activity 1: My “Maleta” Suitcase
This first activity teaches you the vocabulary words for items you possibly would pack in your suitcase. Here is a four-page printable for your child to learn the names of common items to pack, a suitcase to “pack” these items in, and two packing lists (one with English translation and the other is Tagalog only).
First, the child will decorate his/her suitcase (or “maleta” in Tagalog).
The next step is to color the items and cut them out. Review the English and Tagalog words for the travel supplies.
One by one, the travel supply will be placed in the suitcase and a dry erase marker can be used to check it off on the list. Once the child is comfortable, the Tagalog only Packing List can be used.
It can be printed on regular 8.5″ x 11″ paper. It will be more durable on cardstock or if the papers will be laminated. For repeated use, the packing lists can be slipped into one of these reusable dry-erase pocket sleeves.
Activity 2:Tagalog Traveling Board Game- (Forms of Transportation in Tagalog)
Here is a printable board game to review numbers 1 through 5 in Tagalog and to introduce five different forms of transportation in Tagalog. Our family is big on board games to have fun together and if we can combine it with concepts to learn, even better!
Tagalog Audio Glossary:
Here are some tips to make the game more durable:
Print the game on cardstock.
Laminate the game, game pieces, and number cards.
Glue the game pieces on a thin cardboard (e.g. cereal box, tissue box …etc.) Snip the bottom and insert another cardboard to help the game piece stand. Here are some images to show you the steps.
First, glue the game piece to a cardboard that is slightly larger than the game piece.
Cut a small slit at the bottom of the piece. Be careful not to cut through the picture.
Cut a small rectangular piece of the cardboard the same length as the game piece.
Insert the cardboard inside of the slit of the game piece. (It will look like a +).
Trim off any cardboard as necessary to help make it stand up straight.
In this activity, you will be writing a postcard to a family or friend, pretending you are taking a vacation somewhere you have been (or would like to go). The introductory page teaches you sample Tagalog phrases to include in your postcard message. There are two versions included (One with pre-typed fill-in-the blank sentences and another with just a blank message for you to write your whole letter).
Directions to Assemble the Postcard:
After reviewing the Introductory pages and Tagalog phrases, choose which type of postcard you will create first (whether it’s the blank one or the one with a pre-typed message). Cut out both rectangles.
Glue the back of the picture portion of the postcard to the back of the letter portion.
Now you have your postcard ready to write in and draw a beautiful picture of the location where you have “traveled”!
Ready for this fun printable activity? Head over to our Free Resource Library to access your “Taglish Postcard.”
Tagalog Audio Glossary
Kamusta ka? (How are you? – informal)
Kamusta po kayo? (How are you? – respectful/formal to be used with elders)
Nandito ako sa … (I’m here at …)
Babalik ako sa … (I’m coming back on …)
Miss na miss kita (I miss you very much)
Kita tayo mamaya (We’ll see each other later)
Activity 4: Jeepney Trail of Facts
Did you know that the jeepney is one of the most popular forms of public transportation in the Philippines? Learn more about it with this interactive printable.
In the “Jeepney Trail of Facts” activity, you will be taking a “drive” through a winding path in the Philippines and will be learning facts about the jeepney along the way.