Filipino proverbs

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Unless otherwise stated, the following proverbs are in Filipino, the national language of the Philippines, where they are called salawikain. Since the Filipino language does not have separate articles for male and female (he or she), translations containing he are understood to mean both genders. Literal translations are given, followed by an explanation if needed.

Contents

A

  • Aanhin ang malaki na hahanapin pa, kung mayroong maliit na nasa kamay na?
    • What would one do with a big one that needs to be searched for, if there is a small one that is already in one's hands?
  • Aanhin mo ang palasyo, kung ang nakatira ay kuwago? Mabuti pa ang bahay kubo, ang nakatira ay tao.
    • What good is a palace if it's inhabited by owls. Better a straw hut inhabited by humans.
      • A shot at materialism, this proverb states that it is better to live in a shabby house and be humane than to live in a lavish house and act like a low-life or animal.
  • Aanhin pa ang damo kung patay na ang kabayo?
    • What good is grass when the horse is already dead?
  • Aanhin pa ang kabayo kung patay na ang damo?
    • What good is a horse when the grass is already dead?
  • Ang buhay ay parang gulong,minsang nasa ibabaw, minsang nasa ilalim.
    • Life is like a wheel, sometimes (you're) at the top, sometimes (you're) at the bottom.
  • Ang gawa sa pagkabata, dala hanggang pagtanda.
    • What one learns in childhood he carries into adulthood.
  • Ang hindi marunong magmahal sa sariling wika, daig pa ang malansang isda.
    • He who does not love their national language is worse than a putrid fish.
  • Ang hindi marunong tumingin sa pinanggalingan ay di makakarating sa paroroonan.
    • He who does not know to look where he came from will never get to his destination.
  • Ang katamaran ay kapatid ng kagutuman.
    • Laziness is the sibling of starvation.
  • Ang langaw na dumapo sa kalabaw, mataas pa sa kalabaw ang pakiramdam.
    • A fly that lands on a carabao feels itself to be higher than the carabao.
  • Ang lumalakad nang mabagal, kung matinik ay mababaw. Ang lumalakad nang matulin, kung matinik ay malalim.
    • Thorns bury shallowly into one who walks slowly. Thorns bury deeply into one who walks fast.
  • Ang maniwala sa sabi-sabi, walang bait na sarili.
    • He who believes in hearsay has no sanity.
  • Ang masamang damo, matagal mamatay.
    • Bad grass does not die easily.
  • Ang nagtanim ng hangin, bagyo ang aanihin.
    • He who sowed wind, reaps a typhoon.
  • Ang pagsasabi ng tapat ay pagsasamang maluat.
    • Truthfulness ensures a lasting relationship.
      • Literally translated : Telling the truth is getting along well.
  • Ang pili ng pili, natatapat sa bungi.
    • One who spends too much time choosing ends up with cracked wares.
      • Humor : A person who keeps on picking (a picky person) his/her partner (romantically) ends up with someone gap-toothed.
  • Ang taong nagigipit, sa patalim kumakapit.
    • A desperate person will even hold on to a knife edge.
  • Ang taong walang kibo, nasa loob ang kulo.
    • A person who is outwardly calm has anger raging inside.
  • Ang tunay na anyaya, sinasamahan ng hila.
    • A sincere invitation is accompanied by a pull (of the hand).
  • Ang umaayaw ay di nagwawagi, ang nagwawagi ay di umaayaw.
    • He who quits does not succeed, he who succeeds does not quit.
  • Anuman ang gagawin, makapitong isipin.
    • Whatever you do, think about it seven times.

B

  • Batu-bato sa langit, ang tamaan, huwag magagalit.
    • Stones hurled to the sky. Don't get angry if you get hit.
    • Meaning: Don't be angry if you get criticized without naming names.
    • Stones in the sky, he who gets hit, shouldn't get angry.
    • Interpretation : If you feel like the target of criticisms that target no one in particular, you shouldn't get angry.

D

  • Daig ng maagap ang taong masipag.
    • The prepared beats the hardworking person.
  • Damitan mo man ang matsing, matsing pa rin.
    • A monkey dressed up is still a monkey.
  • Di lahat ng kagalingan ay may dalang katamisan.
    • Not all goodness brings sweetness.

H

  • Habang maikli ang kumot, matutong mamaluktot.
    • While the blanket is short, learn to bend (to fit).
  • Huli man daw at magaling, naihahabol din.
    • It is never too late to offer anything that is good.
  • Hanggang may buhay may Pag-asa.
    • If there's life, there's hope.

K

  • Kung ano ang puno, siya ang bunga.
    • Whatever the tree, so is the fruit.
  • Kung may isinuksok, may madudukot.
    • If you stash, you have something to withdraw.
    • If something was stashed, there is something to withdraw.
  • Kung may tinanim, may aanihin.
    • If you plant, you harvest.
  • Kung nasaan ang asukal, naruon ang langgam.
    • Wherever you find sugar, you'll find ants.
  • Kung sino ang masalita ay siyang kulang sa gawa.
    • He who speaks too much works too little.
  • Kung may tiyaga, may nilaga.
    • If you persevere, you'll have stew.
    • Interpretation : He who works, gets compensated.
  • Kung sino ang pumutak, siya ang nanganak.
    • He who cackled is the guilty party.
  • Kunwaring matapang bagkus duwag naman.
    • Acts tough but really a wimp.

L

  • Ligaya ang itawag mo sa akin.
    • Be happy.
    • Just call me joy.

M

  • Madali ang maging tao, mahirap magpakatao.
    • It is easy to be a man. It is hard to make oneself human.
  • Matalino man ang matsing, napaglalamangan din.
    • An intelligent monkey can still be beaten.
  • Matibay ang walis, palibhasa'y magkabigkis.
    • A broom is sturdy because its strands are tightly bound.
  • May tainga ang lupa, may pakpak ang balita.
    • The earth has ears, news (gossip) has wings.

N

  • Nasa Diyos ang awa, nasa tao ang gawa.
    • Mercy resides in God; deeds are in men.

P

  • Pagkahaba-haba man daw ng prusisyon, sa simbahan din ang tuloy.
    • No matter how long the procession, it still ends up in church.
      • This proverb actually connotes courtship and a boy-girl relationship. Along the way, there would be a lot of trials between, but in the end of all of it, if love prevails, marriage would take place.

S

  • Sa taong may tunay na hiya, ang salita ay panunumpa.
    • To a person who has real shame, words are oath.

W

  • Walang ligaya sa lupa na hindi dinilig ng luha.
    • There is no earthly bliss not watered by tears.
  • Walang mahirap na gawa pag dinaan sa tiyaga.
    • No undertaking is difficult if pursued with perseverance.
  • Walang mapait na tutong, sa taong nagugutom.
    • There is no bitter crust to a hungry person.
  • Walang matigas na tinapay sa mainit na kape.
    • No bread is too hard for warm coffee.
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