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Learn Ilocano: Helpful Words and Phrases for Local Travel

Knowing the language of the place you’re traveling to has its perks. You don’t have to speak the language fluently, but being familiar with some catchphrases and basic terms like “Hello” and “Thank you” can get you a long way in getting around and making a good first impression among the locals of your destination. 

The Philippines has eight major languages across its many islands. One of them is Ilocano, a native language spoken in several areas and is considered the third most-spoken language in the country. It is prevalent in Northern Luzon, Central Luzon, and SOCCSKSARGEN.

Planning to explore more of the local scene? Here are some basic Ilocano words and phrases that will definitely come in handy on your next trip to Central or Northern Luzon:


On the Language

If you are not yet confident in Ilocano, ask anyone first if they can speak Tagalog or English. Below you can find how to politely say that you do not understand something or to let the person you are talking to know that you only speak little Ilocano or not at all.

  • Ammom ag-Tagalog? – Do you speak Tagalog?
  • Basit lang. – Just a little.
  • Haan ko ammo ag-Ilocano. – I don’t speak Ilocano.
  • Dyak maawatan. – I don’t understand.


Basic Greetings and Personal Introductions

In learning a new language, knowing how to introduce yourself and greet other people is a good place to start. Check out these phrases when meeting Ilocanos and converse like a local!

  • Kablaaw – Hello!
  • Naimbag nga bigat! – Good morning!
  • Naimbag nga malem! – Good afternoon!
  • Naimbag nga rabi-i! – Good evening!
  • Kumusta ka? – How are you?
  • Siak ni [name] – I am [name].
  • [Name] ti nagan ko – My name is [name].
  • Anya ti nagan mo? – What’s your name?
  • Mayat met, agyamanak. – I’m fine, thank you.
  • Taga [country/province/city] ak. – I’m from/I live in [country/province/city].
  • Agyamanak unay! – Thank you very much!
  • Awan anyaman. – You’re welcome!
  • Pakada/Agpakadaakon/Kasta pa – Goodbye.

Read Top 10 Ilocos Norte Tourist Spots



If there’s one thing Filipinos love to do, it’s getting together to eat. In eating out with your Ilocano friends or when invited to their household for lunch or dinner, these phrases can be useful during mealtime.

  • Mangan tayon! – Let’s eat.
  • Nangan kan? – Have you eaten yet?
  • Wen, nalpasen. Agyamanak!  – Yes, I just ate. Thanks!
  • Haan pay. – Not yet.
  • Nagimas ti sida yo! – Your food is so good!
  • Naimas! – Delicious!
  • Mabisinakon – I’m hungry.
  • Nanganakon – I already ate.
  • Ayana kayat mo panganan? – Where do you want to eat?
  • Mangan ka pay. – Eat more.

Read 10 Best Restaurants in Ilocos Norte

Getting Around


One of the best parts of traveling is seeing the sights, which usually comes hand in hand with shopping for souvenirs and experiencing the local scene. These Ilocano phrases are useful for meeting with friends, shopping for goods, using public transportation, or simply going out for errands in the area.

  • Mapanakon. – I’m leaving/Going now.
  • Agsubli ak. – I’ll be back.
  • Asidegakon – I’m almost there.
  • Para/Ditoyen Manong! – Please, pull over!
  • Pakiyawat man atoy pletek! – Please pass my fare.
  • Rumuar kami mangan dyay [food place/restaurant] – We’re going out to eat at [food place/restaurant].
  • Adda gatangen ko. – I need to buy something.
  • Paggatangak ti – Can I buy?
  • Paggatangan – Where can I buy?
  • Manu – How many?
  • Sagmamano – How much?
  • Adda ____ yu? – Do you have ____ ?
  • Awan tawar na? – Can I get a discount?/Last price?

Read Top Things to Do in Ilocos Norte

Learn to travel like a local with these Ilocano phrases and find the best flight, hotel, and Xperience deals on Traveloka. 

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