Happy February! With Valentine’s day coming up, I can’t help thinking about Filipino culture and the way they love to show love. There are so many Tagalog words that simply have no English equivalent, and many of them are just to express emotions. Anyone who’s caught a glimpse of Filipino cinema can attest to the fact that Filipinos are an emotional bunch, and there’s a reason we’ve got so many different ways to express emotions! Here are some of my favorite words about love that are uniquely Filipino:
1. “Sinta” - darling, my dear; an old fashioned word for love
Filipinos are true romantics, and how lovely is it that they’ve got different ways to say the word “love”? No matter how far removed you are from your Filipino roots, you probably already know the phrase “mahal” and can say I love you in Tagalog, but there’s something so beautiful about using a word from another lifetime. Next time, call your partner “sinta ko” or “aking sinta” meaning “my love”!
2. “Kilig” - romantic excitement, to have butterflies in one’s stomach
Kilig is a sort of sudden giddy feeling -- like a rush -- you get when something romantic happens. It's similar to the euphemism of having butterflies in your stomach, but really it’s so much more. Kilig is happiness and exhilaration and being on cloud 9, like the first time someone you like holds your hand, or your very first kiss. Kilig actually comes from the word kiliti, meaning to tickle, which relates to the ticklish feeling it pertains to quite well!
3. “Lambing” - intense tenderness and affection
While google translates “lambing” to “tenderness,” it doesn’t fully capture what this word means. Think of it this way: affection + tenderness + sweetness + wanting to be caressed = lambing. In the Philippines, they say that, when a person is upset, he or she just needs a little lambing, that is, a bit of wooing and cajoling in a warm and loving manner, and everything will be fine again. Filipino children have this down to an art. Usually, it’s the tactic sneaky kids employ against their parents when they know they’re about to be scolded. It’s also how you want to be showered with affection after you’ve been neglected by your partner and you want them to make it up to you. Nobody says no to a lambing.
4. “Gigil” - uncontrollable urge to pinch or squeeze something unbearably cute
This is my favorite word on this list by far. “Gigil” is when something is just so freaking cute you want to give them the biggest squeeze and can’t let them go, or pinch their cheeks so hard they cry. It’s an untranslatable word for pure joy, and Filipinos have managed to put this feeling into a single term. Gigil can also refer to wanting to pinch or squeeze someone aggressively because you’re angry, not because they’re cute. So use this word subjectively!If you want to learn more words and phrases that Filipinos use everyday, feel free to join Johannah and I for Tagalog Table this Sunday ;-) Whether it’s around Valentine’s day or not, always remember to tell your people you love them!
Regina - Community and Culture
Wherever you go in the Philippines - in the cities, provinces, bougie neighborhoods, or slums - you will inevitably see people in basketball jerseys and basketball hoops or courts everywhere. Basketball was introduced in the Philippines when the country was acquired by the United States in 1898 due to the Spanish-American war. During the American colonial period, American teachers taught the sport through schools and YMCAs across the country. Ever since this introduction, basketball has been ingrained in Filipino culture.
Are you interested in learning Tagalog? Do you want to impress your friends and family with some new vocabulary and basic Tagalog expressions? This is your chance! Let Johannah and I know if you are interested in joining us for some relaxed lessons and ~good vibes~, we are so excited to teach you and learn together!! Please fill out this interest form! :)