As vegan travelers, communication means everything, especially in countries where English is not widely-spoken, or where veganism is not well-known.
As visitors, it’s our responsibility to prepare for any language barriers to avoid accidentally eating something non-vegan. In countries where people may still speak English, learning a bit of the local language can be a fun way to immerse ourselves locally, as well as help us share and talk about veganism.
How To Order Vegan In The Philippines
In the Philippines, English is the second language taught in schools, behind the national language of Tagalog. Still, the word “vegan” is not common, and some people may think that not eating meat means you can still eat seafood or chicken, so you have to be specific and check ingredients.
Vegan options in the Philippines are possible, and delicious. You just have to do your research beforehand. For vegan and vegan-friendly restaurants in the Philippines, scroll on over to my posts for vegan eats in Makati and Metro Manila.
Philippines Vegan Language Starters:
▢ There is no word for “vegan” in Tagalog. You can try saying a vegan is “like” a vegetarian, but doesn’t consume eggs, milk, etc.
▢ The safest bets are always all-vegan restaurants and fresh fruit and veg in a market.
▢ When ordering at non-vegan places, you can ask if a dish can be veganized by removing the obvious: any meat, fish, chicken, eggs, milk, cheese.
▢ Be extra clear about: mayo, butter/margarine, cheese, oyster sauce, fish sauce (“patis”), and Magic Sarap (a beef/chicken flavoring)
▢ When in doubt, order stir-fried veggies in simple soy sauce, salt and pepper saute.
▢ Honey: honey is not commonly used, but for foods that may usually contain honey, ask about it. “Pulot” is honey in Tagalog.
Basic Vegan Language Phrases
Here are some basic Tagalog phrases for your next trip to the Philippines! My best advice is to just start speaking. Memorize some basics, and practice out loud! That’s what I do in front of friends and family. They might give you looks, but it’s totally worth it and a lot of fun! 🙂
-“po” is added to sentences as a sign of respect for elders or strangers
-“meron” = is there?/there is
-“wala” = none
-“itong” = this
Does this have___?
“Meron po itong ____?”
Pronunciation: Meh-ron poh it-tong
Yes, there is: “meron.”
No, there isn’t: “wala.”
Filling in the blank: “Meron po itong ____?”
Does this have Meat?: Meron po itong karne? (car-neh)
Does this have Milk?: Meron po itong gatas? (gah-tuss)
Eggs: itlog (it-log *log as in low)
Cheese: keso (keh-soh)
Chicken: manok (muh-nok)
Fish: isda (iss-dah)
Fish Sauce: patis (pah-tiss)
Shrimp Paste: bagoong (bah-goh-ong)
Magic Sarap: Magic Sarap (Magic Sah-rap)
Saying “I don’t eat ____”
I don’t eat meat: “Hindi po ako kumakain nang karne”
Pronunciation: Hindi/Hin-dee po/poh ako/ah-ko kumakain/koo-mah-kah-in nang/nang karne/car-neh.
How are you?: Kamusta (po)? (Kah-moo-sta poh?)
Yes: Oo (o-o)
No: Hindi (Hin-dee)
How much is it?: Magkano po? (Mug-con-no poh?)
Thank you: Salamat po (Sah-lah-mhat poh)
Language speaking tips:
-Don’t be shy! The more you speak, the better you get.
-Don’t get frustrated at people. We are visitors, and they’re not obligated to know English!
-Have your basic phrases on your phone or written on paper to carry with you.
-Have fun and always be respectful with it.
-If you need help with pronunciation, check out Youtube!
Being a vegan traveler exposes us to not only cuisine from around the world, but also to different languages. Knowing even a bit of the local language can enhance our experiences as a vegan and traveler. For your next trip, consider learning some basic language phrases. You won’t regret it! Feel free to message me if you have any questions!
Thanks for reading and happy vegan traveling!
Follow my vegan adventures on https://www.instagram.com/theveganroamer/