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In Tagalog: Mahal, Pag-ibig, Pagmamahal and More!


Since Valentine’s Day is near, let’s learn about the romantic words and phrases in the Tagalog language. The Tagalog dictionary has many words that translate to the word “love”, namely:


♥ mahal
♥ pag-ibig
♥ pagmamahal
♥ irog
♥ sinta


and more…




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Among these words, “mahal” is the most complex because it is used as a noun, adjective or an adverb. Aside from “love”, the word “mahal” also means “expensive”. More on “mahal” later.


“Pag-ibig” and “pagmamahal” are used as a noun. Let’s get examples from Filipino love songs.


Example: ♫ “Ang pag-ibig ko sa iyo’y totoo.”

Translation: “My love for you is real.”



Example: ♫ “Ang pagmamahal sa kapwa ay isipin mo…”

Translation: “Think about love for your neighbors.”   (Biblical teaching)


Irog / Sinta

“Irog” and “sinta” are nouns that refer to a person whom you love. To understand the usage of these words, think about the lyrics of Lionel Richie’s songs, “My Love” and “Endless Love”. Love here refers to a person in the same context as the meaning of the Tagalog words “irog” and “sinta”.


In everyday Tagalog language, “irog” and “sinta” are not commonly used. These words are popular in traditional Filiipino literary works, particularly from the classic novel “Florante at Laura” by Francisco Balagtas. Balagtas is a romantic poet from the province of Bulacan. He is one of the greatest Filipino literary laureate. His masterpiece novel “Florante at Laura” is comparable to Shakespearean sonnets. This literary piece uses deep Tagalog language that teaches about love, loyalty, heroism and forgiveness of enemies at war. The in-depth study of “Florante at Laura” is a compulsory subject in the educational curriculum for high school here in the Philippines. Even foreign students are required to take up this subject in some private schools.


If you call your lover “irog” or “sinta”, it will sound like you are from the 18th century like Francisco Balagtas. Therefore, it’s not advisable to use these words on everyday conversation since it sounds too old-fashioned. It is good to be familiar with these words though since you might encounter them in traditional Filipino songs or classic literature.





❤ 1. “Love”

Tagalog words often have multiple meanings. One of them is “mahal” which popularly means “love”.

a. Example: “Mahal kita.”

Translation: “I love you.”

b. Example: “Minamahal kita.”

Translation: “I love you.” (with emphasis on the present time)


c. Example: “Lagi kitang mamahalin.”

Translation: “I will always love you.” (with emphasis on present and future)

Word guide:

Lagi – (adverb) always

kita – (pronoun) you | suffix “ng” is added to the pronoun to precede a verb

mamahalin – (verb) root word “mahal”


d. Used as a noun to refer to a person – Just like “irog” or “sinta”, the word “mahal” is also used under the same context. The difference is that “mahal” is used in everyday conversation. Lovers call each other “mahal” or parents usually call their children “mahal” as well. Let’s pick an example from a Tagalog song…

Example: ♫ “Ikaw ang aking mahal.”

Translation: “You are my love.”


♔ 2. “Expensive” or “pricey”

Example: “Ang mahal naman nito!”

Translation: “This is so expensive!”

Word guide:

Ang – article

mahal – (adjective) expensive

naman – a word used to emphasise a point

nito – (pronoun) this


 As a guide, so that you won’t forget the two meanings of the word “mahal”, remember the phrase — “Love is expensive”.



 ❤♡ Happy Valentine’s Day from Expatch!  ♡



Author: Expatch Editorial Team

Photo source:
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