Time in Tagalog

Beginning Tagalog Vocabulary

Time

As in most Southeast Asian cultures, Filipinos tell time based on the sun’s position in the sky. The word araw refers to the sun, and gabi refers to night time.  Madaling araw literally means “the sun hurrying to show up” in the sky. Hence, the time between 1:00  and 5:00 o’ clock in the morning is madaling araw or dawn. Umaga is the period between 6:00 in the morning and just before 12:00 noon when the sun is already up in the sky.  Tanghali is 12:00 noon or midday. Hapon is from 1:00 to 5:00 o’ clock in the afternoon, and past 6:00 o’ clock is gabi or evening. It used to be that Filipinos observe the orasyon when church bells ring at exactly 6:00 in the evening to mark the end of the daytime with prayers and meditation. In the rural areas, farmers end their day’s work in the field as soon as the sun sets, and they return home for dinner.

It is interesting to note that Tagalog-speaking Filipinos are fond of using vague words and phrases with reference to time. For example, mamaya na means “later” and bukas na means ” tomorrow” (both of which connote procrastination). It is quite common to hear responses from Tagalog-speakers in the Philippines such as mamayang haponmamayang gabibukas ng umagabukas ng haponbukas ng gabi, or simply mamaya  to time questions without really knowing the exact time.

Clock TimeTagalog
(Spanish root)
English
1:00-5:00 AMala 1:00-5:00
madaling araw
1:00-5:00
early morning
6:00-11:00 AMala 6:00-11:00
umaga
6:00-11:00
morning
12:00 Noonalas 12:00
tanghali
12:00
noon
1:00-5:00 PMala 1:00-5:00
hapon
1:00-5:00
afternoon
6:00-11:00 PMala 6:00-11:00
gabi
6:00-11:00
evening
12:00 Midnightalas 12:00
hating gabi
12:00
midnight

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