Cracking the Code: Decoding Pinoy Mom Lingo


Because we all know they have their own language



No two people are the same, but let’s be honest: there’s an undeniable similarity that ties Filipino moms together. Wait, scratch that. There’s a language exclusive to Pinoy moms that binds them like a common thread. From the archetypal “face the wall” to the admittedly catchy “close the lights,” there are just words that take us back to childhood and make us think about the women who raised us.


In celebration of Mom’s month, we round up five things Filipino Moms say and what they actually mean. We’ve even thrown in a few suggestions on how to respond. Take it from us, a lot of the things they say probably rub you the wrong way, but perhaps reading through will strike up fondness or maybe even change your mind about these lines we inevitably hear from time to time. Remember, she knows best, after all.




A call to attention, an umbrella term at best. Simply put, the word anak is the end all, be all to all our names. When you hear your mom say this, whether in a moderate voice or at the top of her lungs (beware in cases such as these!), it would be in your best interest to respond immediately. Alternatively, if you have siblings, she may call out the names of every single one of your brothers and sisters—except you.


Isa… Dalawa…

Uh-oh. When your mother starts counting, you know she’s losing her patience. But come on, we all know she’s never actually going to reach tatlo.


*Calls you by your full name*

Oh, you’re in trouble now. The adult equivalent of “face the wall” and “go in the corner,” you know you’re treading on thin ice when nicknames and terms of endearment are dropped in favor of your full name. Perhaps now would be a good time to repent for your sins, anak.



Sumasagot ka na ngayon?

This often comes hand-in-hand with heightened volume and raised eyebrows or the good old kunot na noo. It’s pretty much an unspoken rule in the Filipino household: thou shall not answer back. Kudos to the brave souls far and few who defy this unofficial law. When your mother utters these words, there’s no doubt about it: she’s taken offense, no matter how gently you may have tried to word your sentiments.



Anong oras ka uuwi? Sinong kasama mo?

Ah, the quintessential mom text. Despite how overbearing or overprotective it may seem, or how annoyed you might be at her attempts to pry, the bottom line is this: she’s worried about you. More often than not, mothers orbit around their kids. These menial questions that tick us off are her little ways of keeping us safe. Maybe, just maybe, your mom deserves a response. Reply to that text, ‘nak.




There’s no time like the present; there’s no better time to appreciate the most important women in our lives than here and now. In the spirit of celebrating these heroines (and all their hilarious, memorable quips and lines) this May, we thank the women who taught us to speak, to live and to love; may we all learn to #LoveLikeMom.