Discover Philippines: Cebuano Words and Phrases You Should learn Before Traveling to Cebu

“Dialect or the speech of the people is capable of expressing whatever the people are”

Sterling Brown

Regarded as the Queen City of the South, Cebu is more than just a Philippine province. 

Located at the heart of the country and in the middle of Visayas, it is mostly known for its rich history, beautiful white sand beaches, lush mountainsides, verdant landscapes, and of course, the succulent and mouthwatering lechon. These are just some of the things to do in Cebu, and seeing and trying all of these culminates in the ultimate Cebu experience. However, to have a truly authentic experience in Cebu, you need to interact with the locals and speak their language.

After all, a genuine cultural trip involves so much more than enjoying the local sights and sampling the gastronomic feasts. It entails appreciating the history and learning a few key phrases and words. 

Cebu’s dialect, known as Cebuano, is the second most widely spoken dialect in the Philippines after the national language “Filipino.” Most locals have an excellent command of the English language. They can speak it reasonably well, but learning just a few key Cebuano phrases and words will significantly help you during your trip to Cebu. 

Below are just a few of the phrases and words you can use during your trip to Cebu: 

1.) Greetings 

Make a good impression on locals and greet them whenever you can. Below are just a slew of Cebuano greetings you can use: 

*Maayong Buntag!- Good Morning! 

*Maayong Adlaw- Good Day! 

*Maayong Udto!- Good Noon! 

*Maayong Hapon!- Good Afternoon! 

*Maayong Gabii!- Good Evening! 

*Kumusta na ka? – How are you? 

*Kumusta imong adlaw?- How is your day? 

2.) Courtesies 

Locals will genuinely appreciate it when you convey courtesies in their local language. Below are just some of the ways you can do it: 

* Salamat!- Thank you! 

* Daghang Salamat- Thank you very much!/ Thanks a lot! 

* Way Sapayan- You are welcome! 

* Palihug- Please 

* Pasaylo-a ko- I am sorry 

* Wala ko kasabot- I do not understand 

* Wala ko kahibaw/ Wala ko kabalo- I do not know 

3.) Basic questions 

Below is a list of basic Cebuano questions that you are likely to encounter during your visit to Cebu. Below are some of the basic questions and answers: 

* Unsa imong pangalan? – What is your name? 

* Pila na imong edad?- How old are you? 

* Taga asa man ka? Where are you from? 

* Asa ka nag puyo? Where do you live? 

* Oo- Yes  

* Dili- No 

* Wala- Nothing/None 

* Kaya na nimo! / Kaya nimo na!- You can do it!

* Kani/Ni- This 

*Kana/Na- That 

4.) Cebuano Phrases related to Dining 

With a myriad of iconic Visayas dishes in Cebu, it is inevitable for you to sample some of them during your visit. Some of the Cebuano dishes you should try are kinilaw, tuslob buwa, Ngohiong, ginabot and lechon. For an authentic experience, put the Cebuano phrases below to good use: 

* Mangaon ta!- Let’s eat! 

* Gi-uhaw ko- I am thirsty! 

* Gigutom ko- I am hungry 

* Busog na ko- I am full

* Wala koy gana- I have no appetite

* Kalami sa pagkaon- The food looks so delicious 

* Lami!- Delicious! 

* Ang bayronon palihug/ Ang bill palihug- Check, please! / The bill please!

5.) Getting Around 

The city of Cebu is rife with exotic and picturesque destinations. Peppered with pristine white sand beaches, historical sites, marine life activities, and plenty of verdant landscapes, the city of Cebu has no shortage of places for you to visit. 

* Mogikan ko sa (place) – I am coming from (place)

* Muadto ko sa (place)- I am going to (place) 

* Padong na ko- I am coming

* Adto na ko- I am leaving 

* Kita lang ta unya- Let us see each other later 

* Asa ko manaog? – Where do I alight/ get off? 

* Tagpila ang plete?- How much is the fare? 

* Asa ang (place)?- Where is the (place)? 

* Asa ang atanganan ug bus?- Where is the bus stop? 

* Mo-agi ba ni sa (place)? – Is this going to pass through (place)?

* Unsay sakyan padong (place)?- Which transport will take me to (place)? 

* Tagpila? – How much? 

* Unsa ni?- What is this? 

* Mo bayad na ko- I wish to pay 

6.) Other key Cebuano phrases and questions

Below are key Cebuano questions and phrases that you will likely encounter during your trip to Cebu: 

* Do you have? – Naa kay…?/ Adunay…? 

* How?- Unsaon? 

* What did you say?- Unsa toh? 

* Why? – Nganong? 

* Who?- Kinsa? 

* Where? – Asa? 

* How far is it?- Unsa kalayo? 

* How?- Unsaon? 

Now that you have an idea of the basic Cebuano phrases and questions, you can now start to learn them and make your trip to Cebu more immersive, memorable, and fulfilling.

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