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No Language Barrier in the Philippines

Are you thinking you may experience a language barrier in the Philippines? If you’re an English speaker, then you will be happy to know that speaking English in the Philippines is fairly common, especially closer to and in the major metropolitan cities such as Manila.

Roman Alphabet

Did you ever try to look up a Chinese symbol in the Chinese dictionary or Japanese or Korean? Where do you start? You really have to know the language before you can look up the words and not knowing the base or root word for a given meaning can be very confusing without proper instruction teaching you the language. Between the Chinese above and the Tagalog below, which do you think is easier to find in the dictionary?

There is a benefit in the Philippines that is shared by only a couple of other Southeast Asian countries. The official language, Tagalog, shares the same basic Roman alphabet we use in English meaning that it is much easier to pronounce and understand with hearing someone else speak the language as these are sounds and pronunciations you may be more familiar with. Though with some differences. This helps with the language barrier in the Philippines by at least making it a bit easier to read signs if you can read English.

It is also phonetic, meaning you pronounce every individual letter similar to English and some Spanish. This actually makes it easier to learn and to speak than English because there are no silly silent letters which often confuse many other speakers when trying to learn the English language. Who thought of that anyhow? Adding a letter to a word and then ignoring it? I learned the language using the dictionary below many years ago. Now they have a number of online Tagalog to English dictionaries that are free. You can access it on your smartphone. Look at the word, type it in, and know what it means in seconds.

I actually have a lot of fun with Tagalog. A common phrase they use to curse here is “putang ina mo” which is said very quickly, almost as if it is one word, and literally means, ”your mother is a whore”. To replace this I use “Utang ina mo” also said quickly and sounding very similar, but meaning ” your mother owes me” or another one “Utong ina mo” meaning your mother’s nipple.

Lot’s of fun to be had here.

Tagalog Similar to Spanish?

Some will notice the similarities to Spanish both in the sentence structure and some of the words found in the Tagalog language. Remember, this was a Spanish colony for almost 400 years so it makes sense why this is the case for many. As a tribute to the independent nature of the Filipinos, this was all they adopted from the Spanish and you will see this the longer you spend time here in the Philippines. Conversely, the areas of South America and Central America that were also colonized by Spain during the same period retain Spanish as their official language. Not here in the Philippines, the more you get out and around the locals here in the Philippines you will see that the Filipino way of living is their own, and no one else can tell them otherwise.

So Is there a Language Barrier in the Philippines?

I don’t think so. The Philippines is actually the second or third largest English-speaking country in the world depending on how you measure it which means you can get by with basic English in even some of the most rural provinces here on the islands. One measurement is the number of people in the country that speak English the other is the percentage of the population that speak English but either way it’s good news for us. By us, I don’t necessarily mean native English speakers but foreigners in general. English has become the international language and most travelers, adventurers, and entrepreneurs share this language which makes it perfect for those wanting to explore every part of this beautiful country without having to worry about carrying around a translation book or dictionary. I consider myself extremely lucky to have learned this one first and have the utmost respect for anybody that can master it as a second language.

Other Asian Countries and English

Japanese, Chinese, and Koreans flock to the Philippines by the thousands to learn English from Filipino University students who graduate speaking perfect English without an accent.

Vietnam, Malaysia, and Indonesia also share the Roman or Latin alphabet with us but there the similarities end. The Philippines not only embraces the alphabet but also the English language. English is taught in the schools and is in use almost exclusively for law and business. This drastically helps reduce the language barrier in the Philippines.

You have no idea how beneficial this is until you have had to look at a Thai business contract and rely 100% percent on someone else’s assurance that it is beneficial to you and your business. Then, when things get sideways, as they sometimes do, have to sit in court powerless and uncomprehending while the words swirl around you and your fate is decided.

Communication is the key to the world, travel, and business and a language barrier in the Philippines would make things a bit more difficult than your experience in some other countries around Asia.

I guarantee, in this aspect, you won’t find another exotic, tropical paradise as accommodating as the Philippines. If you are ready to come to experience the ease of travel around the 7 thousand islands found here in the Philippines book your next trip with us!

Choose from one of our amazing BADLADZ Adventure Resorts found here in Puerto Galera, less than a 4 hour trip from Manila, outside of the busy city, and enjoy this tropical paradise without the hassle of spending a day or more in travel alone. We offer the best locations, amazing international restaurants, and a semi-private beach all accessible from any one of our Adventure Resorts here on the island of Mindoro. If you are ready to enjoy this paradise for yourself, book a room with us today and you will be glad you did!




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