Artwork by JuRaCa

“Kaon ‘Ta” and MORE Hiligaynon Words for Travelers

By Harren Fegarido

This article is is the second of a two-part series. Click here for the first part, “Sa Lugar Lang” and Other Hiligaynon Words for Travelers”.

Language plays a big part for a traveler; it may either create a bridge or a barrier to the people, their culture and, more importantly, their place. So, it should follow that getting to know the language of a place should be a part of every traveler’s preparations. In addition, speaking the locals’ dialect should help create a unique bond between them and the traveler. And yes, us Ilonggos love to hear foreigners—or even any other local tourist, really—speaking Hiligaynon, particularly if it’s delivered in a malambing (“melodious”) tone.

In light of the first article we published about the appropriate Hiligaynon words that should be used when traveling in Iloilo (which you can read here), here are more words and phrases below that you could use for this exact purpose!


I’m sure this phrase is the most familiar with any traveller who is going or has gone to Iloilo; “namit” is, after all, the Hiligaynon word for “delicious”.  If you really want to give your compliments to the chef, then say “Namit-namit guid!” (“Very delicious!”)

Kaon ‘ta!

Basically: “Let’s eat!” Although almost every Ilonggo has been conditioned to decline an invitation like this particularly from someone they don’t know very well, this phrase is also synonymous with being polite. Don’t blame us; the food’s just namit, after all!

Of course, if someone does decide to eat with you because you invited him or her to do so… well, good luck with that!


It simply means “Beautiful!” or “Nice!”. It’s appropriately used when describing an object, a scenery, or simply just about anything that could make you mouth “AWE-SOME”. And true to form, it can also be used for sarcasm.


Guwapa” refers to a beautiful woman, and “Guwapo” refers to a handsome man. Despite the gendered term, many Ilonggos also use “guwapo” in almost the same way they use “nami”, which is also to describe something cool. And, again, it can also be used for sarcastic purposes, as well. Getting confused yet?

“Sa wala/tuo”

Wala” means left, while “tuo” means right. Either of these words are very useful when taking any transportation within Iloilo (i.e. “sa wala” or “pa-tuo, manong”). Speaking of transportation…


Every Filipino or person who has stayed here in the Philippines know what a tricycle or trisikad is, so it should be no surprise that those two are very common forms of public transportation here in Iloilo. However, if “mobility” is what you’re looking for, then nothing can beat the “single”: simply, just a lone motorcycle where the driver is expected to carry up to two (or even more, God willing) passengers while holding on for dear life.

While it’s rare to encounter people renting out singles in the city, this type of transportation is very common in the provinces where usual public transportation vehicles like jeepneys or tricycles are incredibly rare and, most tellingly, are expected to pass through notoriously unpaved roads (which oftentimes lead to farmlands or mountainous areas).  Also: if you happen to be flooded while in the city, expect a single to come to your rescue… in exchange for a costly fee, of course. No wonder a lot of underprivileged students prefer to walk to their schools instead.

Here are more Hiligaynon words that are pretty self-explanatory below:

“Buwas – “Tomorrow”

“Subong” – “Now”

“Lakat ‘ta!” – “Let’s go!”

“Lagaw ‘ta!” – “Let’s go somewhere!” (Usually refers to the general act of going somewhere for fun)

“Diri” – “Here”

“Didto” – “There”

So, anyone think we made this list comprehensive enough? If you’ve got more Hiligaynon words to add to this list, you can write them in the comments section below!

Harren Fegarido is a wanderer