How to Say “Lover”

There are many ways of saying ‘lover’ in Tagalog.

In popular usage, a kalaguyo means a lover outside marriage. Your wife is your asawa (‘spouse’) or misis, while the other woman is the kalaguyo. It sounds wicked in Tagalog.

Another Tagalog word for ‘mistress’ is kerida from the Spanish querida, meaning a cherished one. It sounds nice in Spanish, but not in Tagalog!

A kasintahan is someone with whom you have promised love. There is no sexual connotation to this word, which sounds very pure and beautiful and sparkly in Tagalog. It derives from the root word sinta, an old-fashioned term for ‘love.’ Two people (a couple) are magkasintahan.

nobyo (from the Spanish novio)
boyfriend

nobya (from the Spanish novia)
girlfriend

boypren (Taglish word from the English)
boyfriend

girlpren (Filipinos pronounce ‘f’ as a ‘p’)
girlfriend


irog (a very archaic word)
darling / beloved

O, irog ko!
Ah, my beloved!

mahal ko
my love

Ikaw ang mahal ko.
You’re the one I love.


Magkasintahan sila.
They are boyfriend and girlfriend.

Magkasintahan kami. 
We (she/he and I) are boyfriend and girlfriend.
We (she/he and I) are in a steady relationship.

Magkasintahan tayo. 
We (you and I) are boyfriend and girlfriend.
We (you and I) are in a steady relationship.