The most commonly used Filipino word for grandfather is lolo. (lola means grandmother.) Sa tuhod is added to indicate a great-grandparent: lolo sa tuhod and lola sa tuhod.
Lolo and lola are sometimes used as grandparent nicknames by those not of Filipino heritage, because of their ease of pronunciation and spelling.
Other terms sometimes used for grandfather include ingkong, lelong and abwelo.
See the Filipino name for grandmother.
Pronunciation: Go to a page where you can hear the pronunciation of lolo.
Languages in the Philippines
Filipino and English are the official languages of the Republic of the Philippines. Filipino, which was once called Pilipino, is based on the Tagalog language but also includes expressions derived from other languages, especially English and Spanish. But many people use the terms Filipino, Pilipino and Tagalog interchangeably.
After Tagalog, the most-spoken Filipino variant language is Cebuano, spoken by over 20 milliion people. In Cebuano, apohan nga lalaki, sometimes rendered as apohang lalaki, is the favored term for grandfather. Cebuano also has terms for great-grandparent, sungkod: for great-great-grandparent, sungay; and for great-great-great-grandparent, sagpo.
Filipino Family Values
Family is very important in Filipino culture.
Two key concepts in Filipino life are applied assiduously to family relationships. One is pakikisama or pakisama, which refers to getting along well with others. The other is utang na loob, which can be loosely translated as reciprocity, or the repaying of good deeds. Partly because of the influence of these two concepts, grandparents often spend their later years living with family members rather than living independently.
The children repay the care their parents once gave them. At the same time, when able, the grandparents contribute to the household. Often they provide child care for their grandchildren.
The Filipino culture puts great value on making others feel comfortable and never causing another person to lose face. This is true in business, in general relationships and in the family, As in most Asian families, Filipino children are expected to routinely show respect toward older relatives. When seeing an older relative for the first time during a day, or when re-entering the house, youngsters often make the mano gesture, which consists of bowing over the older relative's hand and pressing the hand to the forehead. Sometimes the children are taught to use the expression mano po, which invites the older relative to initiate the gesture. The words po or opo are often added at the ends of sentences to show respect when addressing an older relative.
Another interesting aspect of Filipino culture is that family members are expected to provide for the financial needs of other family members, and this obligation has been made official by law. According to Family Law of the Philippines, family members are legally obligated to provide for family members in need.
Thus grandparents are legally responsible for the needs of their grandchildren whenever their parents cannot provide for them. (See Article 195 of the Family Code.)
Filipino citizens celebrate Grandparents Day on the second Sunday in September.
Some Filipino Expressions
Filipinos are a joyful people, much concerned about the welfare of others, as demonstrated by many of their everyday expressions.
- Mabuhay, translated literally, means, "Live!" It is used as a greeting and to wish a person good luck and a long life.
- Ingat ka means "be safe." It is commonly used when taking leave of someone. Sometimes "lagi," meaning "always" is added.
- Magandang araw means "beautiful day" and is commonly used as a greeting.
- Salamat means "thank you," and it is used liberally in the Philippines.
- Walang anuman means "It's nothing at all." It is used to mean, "You're welcome" after someone says "thank you."
- Kabiyak ng dibdib means “the other half of the heart” and refers to one's spouse.
- Haligi ng tahanan translates to "the post (or column) of the home" and refers to a father.