Talking KoPino – The Colorful Korean-Filipino Way of Speaking and Translation

Written by on July 7, 2014 in Worldwide Korea Bloggers

There is a language barrier, a common phrase often used when there is difficulty for most of us who aren’t really used to speaking a different language, especially if we wanted to get an important message across. And for those who love to travel a lot, this poses a huge problem. Picture this, you’ve just arrived in a place where you don’t know anyone, and to your dilemma, when asking someone you’ve just met on the street, the only way you can understand each other is only by means of pointing or hand gestures. For some, this may sound funny, but for most, this nerve-wracking or even frustrating.

After watching several videos on YouTube on Koreans trying to speak Filipino, I can’t help but share my thoughts about it. This language barrier I am talking about has been in the Philippines for quite sometime and can be shared by most. Since the start of the Hallyu Wave in the Philippines, Filipinos have enjoyed watching the Korean dramas and singing along to their favorite songs. But if you ask them if they understand anything from what they watch or they listen to, most would answer you with a limited number of yes, because of this language barrier. I also have friends who are Koreans and they told me that they had a hard time speaking Filipino as well because of this barrier. But would you believe, that this language barrier isn’t really a problem, because Korean and Filipino has an exact translation?

As a native Filipino speaker, it was very interesting for me to learn that the Korean language has an EXACT translation in Filipino, and not only that, Koreans can easily learn Filipino especially when you can write Filipino words and sentences in Hangeul, the Korean way of writing. I was able to learn from one of my friends who happens to be Korean that  talking KoPino – or short for Korean-Filipino is quite easy and it would be a good way to break this language barrier. He told me that Korean and Filipino share a lot of similarities with regards to the language. Even my professors at the university where I studied Korean shared the same information with me. So this inspired me to learn KoPino speaking and translation. What I liked about it most was that both Korean and Filipino share the same respect with regards to how they address elders. This similarity can be found in the word “po” (뽀), which is a sign of respect in Filipino and it is the 요 (yo) in Korean.

Here are some basic examples of KoPino Speaking/Translations:

안녕하세요 / 안녕                정말 고마워요 / 정말 고마워

헬로뽀 / 헬로                       마라밍살라맛뽀 / 마라밍살라맛

Hello po / Hello                  Maraming salamat po / Maraming salamat

응 / 네                                          아니 / 아니요

오오 / 오뽀                                  힌디 / 힌디 뽀

oo / opo                                       hindi / hindi po

사랑해요 / 사랑해

마할 뽀 키타 / 마할 키타

Mahal po kita / Mahal kita


This would be easy for Koreans who would like to learn our language yes?

With the help of the internet nowadays, there will be even better ways for Koreans who would like to learn the Filipino language, so there would be no language barriers between the Philippines and Korea. The site: will help Koreans learn Filipino/Tagalog better. You can easily look up Korean words and it would give you the Filipino translation.

Screenshot of the website of

Screenshot of the website of


On Facebook, you may even like the Philippine Tourism fan page, they share interesting KoPino vocabularies every now and then. Very helpful, if I may add.

Philippine Tourism Facebook status, where Korean-Filipino vocabularies are posted every now and then. Credits to Facebook

Philippine Tourism Facebook status, where Korean-Filipino vocabularies are posted every now and then. Screenshot credits to Facebook

More KoPino vocabularies being shared by the Philippine Tourism Fan page on Facebook. Screenshot courtesy of Facebook

More KoPino vocabularies being shared by the Philippine Tourism Fan page on Facebook. Screenshot courtesy of Facebook

Talking KoPino, or the Korean-Filipino way of speaking has been made easier with the help of technology. It not only gives us the information that we need, but it also breaks the language barrier between Korea and the Philippines. But for me, nothing beats enrolling in a class and making friends to learn a language faster.

So to Koreans out there who would like to learn my language, and my fellow Filipinos who would like to learn the Korean language, you will find it that talking and learning KoPino is fun. And you will be happy to know that, it’s easy to learn both ways. This will not only make it easy for us to understand each other, but also break the language barrier as we know it.


Pen and Paper. An instrument used to get messages across. Symbolically, it is also a way to break language barriers. © At the Pinto Art Museum, Tiosen Library 2014

About the Author

Feliz Gemmavyn Tiosen

Feliz is a senior law student at a university in the Philippines. A total Korean drama and culture enthusiast, Awi (as she is called fondly by her friends), watches Korean dramas in her spare time and enjoys reading Korean literature and eating Korean food. She's an avid analyst. Total pop culture fanatic. General thinker. Internet ninja.Total web advocate. Social media enthusiast. Creator. General twitter trailblazer. Travel fan. Professional food lover. Extreme coffee enthusiast.