4 slang phrases you will only find in the Philippines!


21 Nov 2018

Anyone who has ever lived in the Philippines or was born there will be very used to the unique phrases and words used by locals in everyday conversation.

Some of this slang can date back generations or have been influenced by Spanish and American colonization. Others can have simply developed from recent popular culture.

Here are 4 expressions that are truly unique to the Philippines and the people who live there:


This widely-used word usually comes as a question at the end of a sentence. In English it is most similar to the expressions ‘Right?’ or ‘Isn’t it?’

A handy and easy phrase to use if you have just arrived and are trying to blend in…


As any Filipino person will know, this phrase is kept for when you’re feeling a bit exasperated or frustrated.

This tongue-twister of a word is basically like swearing as it is a combination of the Filipino words for Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

You can also use shorted versions such as ‘Sus!’ or ‘Maryosep!’ Just be careful where you say it…

Hay naku!

This is a handy way to commiserate with someone or express concern or frustration.

Hay naku can be most directly translated as similar to using a phrase like ‘oh my gosh!’ or ‘Oh no’.


This word directly translates as ‘waste’ but used in a sentence it is basically another way to say ‘what a waste’ in the Philippines.

Locals will often find themselves uttering this in relation to wasting food or a good opportunity.

If you have relocated from the Philippines and no one can understand your slang, why not send a load back home and chat to a loved one who does.

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4 slang phrases you will only find in the Philippines!