December 13, 2018

100 Old Tagalog Sayings with English Translations Told in Balayan, Batangas

Extracted from the book "History and Description of Picturesque Philippines."  Colorized courtesy of Algorithmia.
Extracted from the book "History and Description of Picturesque Philippines."  Colorized courtesy of Algorithmia.
[In this article: National Library of the Philippines, historical data, Balayan Batangas, salawikain, Filipino sayings, Filipino maxims, Filipino adages, wisdom from elders]

From the so-called historical data1 of Balayan, Batangas, we extract these delightful Tagalog sayings complete with translations into English. These historical data were documents submitted by Department of Education districts around the country in the early fifties to help reconstruct local histories destroyed during the war.

Even in the present day, one frequently hears people say “sabi ng mga matatanda” (as said by elders); and from this collection of sayings, the reader will recognize some that he or she would have heard of in lessons back in elementary or high school; those that sound like variants of other Filipino sayings; and others that sound completely unfamiliar.

Because translations into English were thoughtfully provided by the teachers who compiled these riddles, the reader will also understand from context some Tagalog words or those from the Batangas dialect that might have become archaic in the present day. Below are the sayings told in Balayan, with annotations in brackets [x] where Batangas History feels necessary:

    SAYINGS (FROM BALAYAN)
  1. Ang palanganga, hindi nakikilala sa labi.
  2. Whether or not one chews buyo (betel) can be told from the lips.
  3. Kung ano ang bigkas, siya ang bikas.
  4. A person’s appearance tells us what he is.
  5. Ang pagmamalinis ay hindi pagmamainam
  6. Neatness is not necessarily pretense [probably in the context of better than what one really is].
  7. Ang gawang pamihasnan, maliwag malimutan
  8. What one has been used to is hard to forget.
  9. Walang humipo ng palayok na hindi naulingan.
  10. Hands that hold dirty pots will certainly catch dirt.
  11. Kapag ang tao ay walis ng walis, agahan mo at may yagit.
  12. When one sweeps and sweeps there must be dirt. [This translation appears off but the saying is figurative and sounds similar to the previous one.]
  13. Ang bibig mo ay ilapat, nang huwag manggaling sa iyo ang usap.
  14. Hold your tongue. [Sounds like an admonition against gossiping.]
  15. Hindi dapat ipagka-ila, ano mang ginawa.
  16. Tell the truth.
  17. Mabuti pa ang matakaw kaysa magnanakaw.
  18. A greedy man is better than a thief.
  19. Ang taong sinungaling ay dapat maging matandain.
  20. A liar must have a good memory.
  21. A magdaraya ay hindi pinagpapala.
  22. A liar is never appreciated. [A better translation will probably be “A cheat is never blessed.”]
  23. Ang taong bulaan, yukuran at hagkan.
  24. A liar is the brother of a thief. [The translation seems off.]
  25. Kung ano ang bukang bibig, siyang laman ng dibdib.
  26. What a man says so does he feel.
  27. Ang maibigin sa kasinungalingan, ay kapatid ng bilanguan.
  28. A liar eventually lands in jail.
  29. Kung sino ang palasumpain ay siyang sinungaling.
  30. They that frequently swear frequently lie [probably a better translation would be “They that frequently swear to the truth are in fact the real liars.”]
  31. Hindi lahat ng napasok sa simbahan ay banal.
  32. All are not pious that go to church. [A better translation would have been “Not all who go to church are pious.”]
  33. Ang mabuting pangaral, walang katumbas na halaga.
  34. Good advice is priceless.
  35. Ang hanap sa bula, sa bula di mawawala.
  36. Easy come, easy go.
  37. Ang hanap sa hamog, sa tubig naaanod.
  38. What comes from the dew you gathered must vanish with the water.
  39. Kamay na di malabanan, yukuran at hagkan.
  40. There are hands that you must respect, kiss and obey.
  41. Sa masunurin sa magulang lumalapit ang kayamanan.
  42. Those who are obedient to their parents attract good fortune.
  43. Hampas ng magulang ay nakakapagpataba.
  44. Punishments from parents are blessings in themselves.
  45. Sumunod ka at nang ikaw ay sundin.
  46. Obey and you will be obeyed.
  47. Ang marahang pangunugsap, sa puso ay nakakalunas.
  48. A soft answer softens the heart.
  49. Ang mabuting kalooban ay malaking puhunan.
  50. An obedient nature is an investment. [A better translation will probably be “A good heart is a large investment.” However, the time context of the saying must also be taken into consideration.]
  51. Ang taong lampas sa gulang, di dapat pakitunguhan; ang iyong pagpaparoonan, ay tatanda ka rin naman.
  52. Do not quarrel with the old for you will one day be old too.
  53. Ang sumunod sa aral, karaniwa’y nakikinabang.
  54. Those who hearken (listen) to good advice reap the fruit[s] of their labor.
  55. Ang puri ay sa nagbibigay at hindi sa pinagbibigyan.
  56. They honor themselves that [who] honor others.
  57. Ang magandang asal ay kaban ng kayamanan.
  58. To the good and courteous belong the best in this world [kaban ng kayamanan is probably better translated as “cache of riches or treasures.”]
  59. Ang tao hindi man mahal, bigyan puri at kalugdan.
  60. Be courteous even to the lowly.
  61. Ang salitang matatamis, sa puso ay nakaaakit, nagpapaluwag ng sakit.
  62. Sweet words soften the heart and ease the pain.
  63. Ang anak na di marunong sumunod sa utos ng magulang ay hindi pinagkakalooban ng mabuting kapalaran.
  64. Those who are discourteous and disobedient to their parents do not get the blessings of good luck.
  65. Kung ano ang masama sa iyo, huwag gawin sa kapuwa mo.
  66. What is bad to you, do not do to others.
  67. Ang perlas ay nananatili ang halaga kahit nasa putik.
  68. The genuine pearl is always [still a] pearl even when found in the mud.
  69. Magmamakipot ay maluwag, magmamapino ay magaspang.
  70. Trying to be tight but [actually] loose; trying to be fine but [actually] coarse.
  71. Ang isda ay sa bibig nahuhuli.
  72. Fish is hooked by its mouth. [Figurative, likely in reference to catching liars.]
  73. Ang dila ay hindi patalim, nguni’t kung sumugat ay malalim
  74. The tongue is not a blade; but it can cut deep.
  75. Magbigay ka at ika’y bibigyan.
  76. Give and you shall be given.
  77. Kung sino ang maawain, siyang papalarin.
  78. The kind are always blessed with good fortune.
  79. Kung ano ang itinanim, siyang aanihin.
  80. What you planted you shall reap.
  81. Huli man at magaling ay maihahabol din.
  82. A good act is never late.
  83. Makikilala mo ang taong may bait sa kumpas ng kamay at buka ng bibig.
  84. The good in a man his gestures show, his words prove what is true. [A better translation, albeit figurative, is probably “You can tell a good man from his words and deeds.”]
  85. Ang inilalago ng lirio’t sampaga, sa nag-aalagang loob na maganda.
  86. Flowers bloom through the kindly touch of the hands that tend them.
  87. Ang taong hindi marunong magmahal sa sariling wika, katulad ng hayop at malansang isda.
  88. He who does not love his native tongue is worse than the lower creatures. [Most readers will probably recognize this as popularized by Dr. Jose Rizal.]
  89. Ang tao pag mayaman, marami ang kaibigan; pag mahirap na ang buhay, di man batiin sa daan.
  90. When one is rich, he has many friends; when he becomes poor, all turn away from him.
  91. Matamis ang mamatay ng dahil sa bayan.
  92. It is sweet to die for one’s native land.
  93. Ang puri ng tao kung pahahalagahan, ay gaya ng tubig na nasa tapayan. Kaunting langis na ito’y mapatakan, hindi iinumin at pandidirihan.
  94. Honor is like drinking water in a jar; a little oil dropped in it will make it repugnant.
  95. Kung tunay na tubo, matamis hanggang dulo.
  96. True sugarcane is sweet up to its tip.
  97. Pag ang sakit ay malaki, pangako ay marami; kung gumaling na at maigi, Dios man ay di masabi.
  98. We promise so much when in pain and forget them all when in good health. [Sounds more like a call to prayer even when in good health.]
  99. Ang bayaning masugatan, nag-iibayo ang tapang.
  100. The wounded brave becomes doubly brave.
  101. Kung ano ang tugtog, siyang sayaw.
  102. Dance with the music.
  103. Bagong hari, bagong ugali.
  104. A new king gives new rules.
  105. Kung ano ang tabas, siyang labas.
  106. The cut determines the shape.
  107. Kung ano ang lakad ng alimangong matanda, siyang lakad ng alimangong bata.
  108. Like father, like son.
  109. Ang lahat ng tao mag-away man, huwag ang mag-asawa sa loob ng bahay.
  110. The whole town may quarrel but the married couple should not.
  111. Ang hindi lumingon sa pinanggalingan, hindi makararating sa paroroonan.
  112. They who forget their own past will not reach their destinations.
  113. Pag may hirap, may ginhawa.
  114. If there is hardship, there is joy.
  115. Pag maaga ang lusong, maaga ang ahon.
  116. Work early and you will rest early.
  117. Daig na agap ang liksi.
  118. Forethought is better than alertness.
  119. Aanhin pa ang damo kung patay na ang kabayo.
  120. The grass is useless when the horse is dead.
  121. Masisi na sa agap, huwag sa kuyad (kupad?).
  122. Better be blamed for being too soon than being too late.
  123. Ang taong nagigipit sa patalim ma’y kumakapit.
  124. The desperate become fearless. [Very figurative translation. Probably better interpreted as “a desperate man takes risks he otherwise won’t.”]
  125. Malakas ang loob, mahina ang tuhod.
  126. Some are brave but weak-kneed.
  127. Malaking kahoy walang lilim.
  128. A big tree without a shade.[Can be an admonition against having big expectations that will bring only disappointment; or a reference to something huge that has no practical use.  This saying is also contained in the “Kartilya ng Katipunan” as an encouragment to live a life of purpose.]
  129. Kapag duwag, walang palad.
  130. To the coward does not go the spoils.
  131. Ang kapangahasa’y bunga ng pag-asa.
  132. Those what attempt are ever hopeful. [A better translation will probably be “Brazenness or boldness is a consequence of hope.”]
  133. Ang hindi mapagtipon, walang hinahong magtapon.
  134. Those who do know not what thrift is lead a life of waste.
  135. Pagkaraan ng kasaganahan, susunod ang kasalatan.
  136. Years of plenty are followed by years of want.
  137. Magtanim ka nang magtanim, nang marami kang anihin.
  138. Those who planted much will harvest plenty.
  139. Ubos-ubos biyaya, mamaya nakatunganga.
  140. Give away, give away; someday you will have nothing for yourself.
  141. Kapag may sinuksok, may titingalain.
  142. Those who save have something to fall [back] on in times of want.
  143. Sa maliliit na dampa nagmumula ang dakila.
  144. The great are born in humble huts.
  145. Ang maliit na umpisa malaki ang hangga [hangganan?]
  146. Great things from small beginnings.
  147. Ang naniniwala sa sabi-sabi, walang bait sa sarili.
  148. Rely on yourself not on others. [Sounds like a very liberal translation. May mean more like an admonition to rely on rumors.]
  149. Ang ulang atik-atik, malakas magpaputik.
  150. Continuous showers make the ground muddy.
  151. Ang laki sa layaw, karaniwa’y hubad.
  152. A pampered child is reared in vain. [Probably better translated as “A pampered child grows up vain.”]
  153. Ang bato ay hindi lalapit sa suso.
  154. The stone does not go to the snail. [Figurative, an encouragement to seek out opportunities.]
  155. Walang binhing masama sa mabuting lupa.
  156. Any kind of seed will thrive in fertile soil. [Albeit probably figurative, an allusion to the rearing of a child in a good family.]
  157. Maglaan sa kabataan ng tukod sa katandaan.
  158. Make hay while the sun shines. [Again, a very liberal translation, as cryptic as the Tagalog version. Sounds a lot like an encouragement for one to save while one is young.]
  159. Kung saan ka nadapa, doon ka bumangon.
  160. Rise where you fall.
  161. Walang luha na tumatagal ng isang taon.
  162. There is no sorrow time cannot heal.
  163. Pag may kasayahan, may kalungkutan.
  164. Where there is sorrow, there is joy.
  165. Ang pag-asa ay lunas.
  166. Hope brings joy.
  167. Pag may hirap, may ginhawa.
  168. Those who have suffered will find their rewards.
  169. May tenga ang lupa, may pakpak ang balita.
  170. Do not gossip. [Not a direct translation, yes, but another admonition against gossiping.]
  171. Ang bait ng bata nasa matanda.
  172. The old [people or elderly] set the right examples [for the young to follow].
  173. Madali ang maging tao, mahirap ang magpakatao.
  174. It is easy to be born a man but difficult to behave like one.
  175. Ang mahinhing dalaga, sa kilos nakikilala.
  176. Modesty is in being not seeming. [A confusing translation. Probably better translated as “One gets to know a prim lady more by her actions.]
  177. Di man magmana ng ari, magmana ng ugali.
  178. Inherit not riches but good manners.
  179. Ang lumakad ng matulin, kung matinik ay malalim.
  180. If the swift walker is pricked by a thorn, it goes deep. [Figurative, more an advise to favor caution over haste.]
  181. Hindi lahat ng ginto ay dalisay.
  182. Not all gold is pure.
  183. Walang sunog na tutong sa taong nagugutom.
  184. To a hungry man, the rice is never scorched. [Can figuratively mean a hungry man will eat anything or a desperate man will grasp anything that will bring solace.]
  185. Ang langaw na nakatungtong sa kalabaw ay mataas pa sa kalabaw.
  186. The fly on the carabao’s back feels higher than the carabao.
  187. Ang malas daw sa huego [juego, gambling] ay buwenas sa pag-ibig.
  188. Unlucky in gambling, lucky in lovemaking.
  189. Kung saan nakahilig ang punongkahoy, ay doon mabubuwal.
  190. As a tree is incline, so it falls.
  191. Magpakahabahaba ang prusisyon, sa simbahan din ang tuloy.
  192. Even the longest procession leads to the church.
  193. Walang mataas na bakod sa taong natatakot.
  194. There is no fence too high for a frightened person.
  195. Huwag kang makipaglaro sa kuting, baka ka kalmutin.
  196. Don’t play with a kitten lest it scratches you.
  197. Walang matimtimang birheh sa matiyagang manalangin.
  198. Persistence wins the most stubborn girl’s consent [or heart].
  199. Mabuti ang sampal na kaibigan kaysa halik ng kaaway.
  200. Better a friend’s slap than an enemy’s kiss.


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Notes and references:
1Historical Data of Balayan,” online at the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections.

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