How to Say “I Love You” in Tagalog: Filipino Words and Terms of Endearment

If you’re looking to impress your Filipina wife/girlfriend or Filipino husband/boyfriend, or perhaps, you want to express love to your children, parents, friend, or family member, then use some of these common terms of endearment in Tagalog. They’ll be floored!

Filipinos believe in a true, everlasting love that will ride out the highs and lows of even a rollercoaster-ride-like relationship. There’s something about our culture that makes us expect love and makes us want to give even more love in return. This means that we’re believers in love in its truest, purest, and yes, even cheesiest form!

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So get ready, and start studying these Filipino words and expressions about love!

1. “Mahal kita”

This is the most common way to say “I love you” in Tagalog. You can use this with a romantic partner or a family member. You will hear this phrase exchanged between parents and children as well as between lovers and spouses.

2. “Iniibig kita”

This is an archaic phrase that also translates to “I love you,” but it is now outdated. I would not recommend using this. It is a phrase you might come across in old literature and is reserved for very serious lovers. It should not be used to express love between family members.

3. “Mahal din kita”

This phrase means “I love you too.”

4. “Mahal na mahal kita”

“I love you very much.” Reserved for when you want to place extra emphasis on how you feel about someone.


This is a commingling of the words “wish” and “heart.” The origins are unclear, but the meaning of the word is similar to the word “sweetheart.”


This word is short for honey. It is a very common term used by parents or grandparents to address their children or grandchildren.


This word simply means “love.” This is very commonly used by couples who are dating or by married couples. It is sweet and simple.

Mahal kong anak

This term means “my beloved child,” but it is a bit dramatic. To affectionately refer to your children, opt for “iho” (when addressing a son) or “iha” (when addressing a daughter).

Old-Fashioned Terms of Endearment

These are only used in poems and songs, but are otherwise obsolete.

  • Giliw (dear)
  • Irog (dear one)
  • Sinta (darling or sweetheart)

You never know when the love of your life will ask you a question in their native tongue. Surprise them by responding with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’—or something in between!