Modern Filipino slangs on Love and Relationships

Photo courtesy of PUP Stolen Shots

Photo courtesy of PUP Stolen Shots

It goes without saying that we Filipinos are one of the most expressive people in the world. Most of us are ready to indulge in any kind of emotion, and love is no exception. Love takes a special case due to our innately romantic nature and the need to shower our special halves with affection and warmth.

The new generation and introduction of technology brought an interesting development to the Filipino style of dating. Slangs and witty-callings are introduced by young teens to be ‘hip and cool’, but still remaining true to their heartfelt intentions. These words have been entrenched with our popular culture and conversation, so for those who don’t know, this is a list with a twist to help you get on with the times and take a glimpse of the Filipino wit.

Ander – short for ‘Ander the saya’ and a corrupted word of ‘under’; refers to a relationship when the the girlfriend/wife is the one totally dominating. It is important to understand the Philippines’ patriarchal roots so this slang may come off as sometimes an exaggeration by the ones speaking it.

Bitter – describes a person who has a seemingly obnoxious attitude and/or cynical point of view on love and relationships. Catchphrase: “Magbebreak din yan!” (They’ll eventually break up) At most, they’re just kidding around so don’t take them too seriously.

Chatzoned – When you and that person chats for the entire night but unable to get a proper conversation going when you’re facing each other the next day. (Or worse, you two both act as if the other doesn’t exist.)

DOTA o ako? – DOTA is a mega-popular online game among the youth which had caused small squabbles among lovers. The girl sometimes find it more difficult to drive away her boyfriend’s attention from an online game instead from other girls; When confronted by this question, this is the hardest question a guy has to face and the most heart-wrenching choice he has to make (especially if he and his guys are in the middle of a rebansa)

First Blood – commonly used among young men that probably has online game references; an act wherein they have taken the virginity of the girls they slept with and usually boast about it among themselves, as if they did something ultra-badass. (I hate this kind of men… you?)

Friendzone – this is too sad of a word to define

Haba ng hair!” – literally translated as ‘your hair is long’, refers to a girl with many admirers. I don’t have any idea where did the phrase came from, its context probably came from the fairy tale ‘Rapunzel’ (Note: This is also applicable for attractive short-haired girls. Just appreciate the irony.)

Harana – an old custom where the male suitor serenades his object of affection; used to be a form of courtship in the old days, although some people report it’s still very much alive in far-away provinces. This is a rare thing nowadays so if even if you have a voice of a dying cat, girls would still this quite romantic, so I suggest you should do this at some point in your relationship.

Kilig – that tingling, pelvic-wrenching, lightning-like jitters that ripple across your body like some sort of electricity. There are various types of kilig among the ladies, there’s the kilig with face-splitting grin, kilig accompanied by small jumps or silent kilig where you act so indifferent on the outside but screaming in joy inside (Tsundere-like)

Ligaw – Filipino term for earning the love of your object of attention; it shares the same spelling but different intonation with another root word, ligaw which means getting lost or not having any  slightest idea where you’re going. Having been around with boys who were too clueless on dealing with courtship problems,  frankly I don’t see any difference in the meaning between the two words. (See Torpedo.)

Makaraos – originally a word that denotes overcoming a great difficulty in life, this generation has now reduced the once nobly wholesome term to sexual gratification.

Mamanhikan – In the Philippines, it’s a beloved tradition for the girls to introduce their suitors to their parents as a sign of respect and approval, so when a girl invites you to her house after a few days of dating, don’t expect to get on her pants…. she just wanted you to meet her parents you pervert (Good luck with overprotective dads)

Marriage Booth – that diabolical creation during your highschool days, when your friends enlist your name and your crush and you have to spend the next hour tied up to each other, thinking of ways on how to kill your friends for what they did but super kilig inside.

MOMOL – acronym for Make Out, Make Out Lang; slang term for teens disguised as a witty, phonetically white lie. Refer to the sentence below:

Sentence: Nay: Nasaan ka na?

Ikaw: MOMOL lang kami ng boyfriend ko.

Nay: O sige, uwi ka nang maaga ah. (Mom mistakes MOMOL as magmamall, a favorite Filipino pasttime of going to the mall.)

* SHOUTOUT to Moms, now you know!

MU – or short for Mutual Understanding wherein both parties agree that they ‘like’ each other but refuses to take the relationship to a new level for various reasons like avoiding a total commitment; roughly comprises 80% of the drama in Facebook.

NBSB – No Boyfriend Since Birth. Or as local comedian and resident pogi Ramon Bautista aptly pointed out, No Valentines Since Birth. Also can be called NLSB: No lablife Since Birth.

Pakipot – a term usually used by most male suitors when the object of their attention refuses to take the relationship in a whole new level; the so-called Maria Clara of this age. The hard-to-get type. The one you either give up pursuing or end up chasing for as long as it takes.

Panagutan mo ang anak ko” – This line has been widely used in most Pinoy teleseryes which means that once you committed the horrendous act of pre-marital sex and your girlfriend ends up pregnant, there’s a 80% that both of your parents will marry the two of you off.

Silay – a Tagalog euphemism for ‘stalking’


Torpedo– Guy/Girl who are usually stuck in the Friendzone, Seenzoned, Silayzoned who will insist to you that it’s okay for them to love their object of attention at a distance, but you both know that’s a lie.

Tulay – literally translated as bridge to help the suitor earn the love of his object of affection; in the simplest term, the wingman. There are certain dangers on using a tulay to court someone as there’s a big chance that the wingman and your object of attention may fall for each other and you may end up being the miserable third wheel. So stop acting like a torpedo, don’t use the tulay and do the swimming to get her yourself!

Valentine’s Day – a.k.a Red Day; aka Flower and Chocolate Day; aka the day Motel managers are happy; aka the day wherein the Department of Health and organizations have a proper excuse of distributing free condoms to the hormonal-crazy public; aka Independence Day for happy Single Ladies/Men/In-betweens; aka Self-Awareness Day for unhappy Single Ladies/Men/In-betweens; aka the ‘Why don’t you have any Dates for the 14th?‘ Interrogation Day by nosy relatives and friends directed to people contented of being single and unavailable.


About sentimentalfreak

Consistently inconsistent. Forever searching and wandering. 'Tis only writing that calms down her restless little soul.

Posted on February 13, 2014, in reflections and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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