“Maligayang Pasko” & More Useful Christmas Words In Tagalog

18 December 2023
By Sarah Angela Almaden
Japanese House

Flickr: Darren Kumasawa

Believe it or not, the Christmas season starts as early as September in the Philippines. Not that December lasts about four months in Filipino time. It’s just that Filipinos love the heartwarming feels of the yuletide season, so Christmas there is celebrated for a bit longer.

Anyway, another reason why Christmas starts really early could be… because September ends in the suffix -ber. And if you’ve paid close attention, December also ends in -ber. Which means that both months (September and December) rhyme. Therefore, you could say that the months with the -ber suffix signals the beginning of the “Ber” months. It goes without saying that the -ber endings are really just code for Christmas time. So from September – don’t forget October and November – to December, the holiday cheer is all around.

With that being said, it is more than safe to say that Christmas is one of the most important celebrations in the Philippines. Of course, lots of traditions and festivities happen in between all the days leading up to the happy holidays. Nevertheless, it is the Christmas spirit and magic that is something special to many Filipinos around the world.

  • Merry Christmas: Maligayang Pasko (mah-lee-ga-yang pas-ko)
  • Christmas: Pasko (pas-ko)
  • Christmas tree: Christmas tree (kris-mas tree)
  • fireworks: paputok (pah-pu-tok)
  • snow: niyebe (nee-yeh-beh)
  • angel: anghel (ang-hel)
  • Santa Claus: Santa Claus (san-tah klaws); Santa Klaus (san-ta klaws)
  • Christmas lantern: parol (pa-rol)
  • Nativity scene: belen (be-len)
  • Christmas day: araw ng Pasko (ah-raw nang pas-ko)
  • stocking: medyas (med-yas)
  • guest, visitor: bisita (bee-see-tah)
  • candle: kandila (kan-di-lah)
  • cheese ball: queso de bola (keh-soh de boh-lah)
  • candles: mga kandila (ma-nga kan-di-lah)
  • The Three Kings: ang tatlong hari (ang tat-long ha-ri)
  • Midnight mass or Rooster’s mass: Misa de Gallo (mi-sa de ga-yoh)
  • night mass: Simbang Gabi (sim-bang gah-bi)
  • elf: duwende (du-wen-deh)
  • chestnuts: kastanyas (kas-tan-yas)
  • wreath: wreath (reeth)
  • bell: kampana (kam-pa-na)
  • Christmas Eve: Bisperas ng Pasko (bis-pe-ras nang pas-ko)
  • Christmas gift (usually refers to gift in the form of money): aguinaldo (ah-gi-nal-doh)
  • Christmas gift: pamasko (pa-mas-koh)
  • Christmas Eve feast: Noche Buena (no-che bwe-na)
  • stars: mga bituin (ma-nga bit-win)
  • church: simbahan (sim-ba-han)
  • hot chocolate: tsokolate (cho-ko-la-teh)
  • ornaments: mga palamuti (ma-nga pa-la-moo-ti)
  • Saint Nicholas: San Nikolas (san ni-ko-las)
  • reindeer: reindeer (reyn-deer)
  • it’s Christmas again: Pasko na naman (pas-ko na na-man)
  • December: Disyembre (dis-yem-breh)
  • Christmas caroling: karoling (kah-roh-ling)