A Brief Guide to Filipino Slang

Maybe you’re planning a trip to the Philippines and want to impress the locals. Or maybe you’re just trying to figure out what your Filipino friend is talking about. Whatever the reason, Filipino slang has its own fun color and flair. Here are some Filipino slang terms you won’t be able to stop using.



A combination of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph (ha, get it now?!), this expression can be shouted out or whispered under your breath for just about any situation. It portrays extreme shock, anger, or annoyance. If you forget to cook rice for the third time in a row, your mom might say, “Susmaryosep!”


A sound of disappointment. The English equivalent is probably “yikes” or that sarcastic “haha” you do when your friend tells an incredibly cheesy joke. Perfect for cringeworthy moments, like when the shirt you bought online looks nothing like the picture. Nye.




The Filipino version of “bestie” or best friend. Usually used by young women, this describes your homegirls, your ride-or-dies.


It’s a slang term for mom. You probably wouldn’t call your own mother this, it’s more what moms like to call each other. So if your mom goes out with her friends to do mom things, she might greet them with a “Hi mumshies!”



This is a very versatile word. Imagine an adorable overweight baby with huge cheeks. That overwhelming urge to squeeze their cheeks can be described as “feeling gigil”. But now imagine your insufferable co-worker who needs to talk about themselves during all waking hours. You probably want to squeeze them too, but somewhere else this time. That is also “gigil”.


You know that feeling when your crush compliments you, or your favorite actor looks at the camera and into your soul? And you get butterflies in your stomach and want to scream into a pillow? Filipinos have a word for that, and it’s kilig!



If you want to know what this means, read it backwards! Lodi is what you call your idol, whether it’s a celebrity or a friend you look up to. Kind of like the Filipino version of the Japanese “Senpai”.


The tea. The gossip. The scoop. Making “chika” is your aunties’ favorite activity at a large family gathering. But make sure you don’t do it too much, or you’ll be called a “chismosa”—not a title to be proud of.


You’re trying to explain the last two seasons of Lost to your friend. She shakes her head and says, “Nanonosebleed ako.” (I’m getting a nosebleed). Filipinos use this expression when they’re faced with something too complex that they have to strain to keep up. It’s frequently used to tease people when they’re getting carried away with their words or using too much English.

High blood

Why are there so many Filipino slang terms that have to do with your body? Anyway, Filipinos like to say that you are giving them “high blood” (high blood pressure) when you stress them out. Try to avoid this. You do not want to see a Filipino when they are getting “high blood”.


If you liked this, check out this list of the best dishes to satisfy your Filipino food cravings! 

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