The only common usage of the standalone word ma in Tagalog is short for Mama.
Ma, anong oras na?
Mom, what time is it now?
Ma! Nasaan ang baon ko?
Mom! Where’s my food to go?
Ma… Pagod ka ba? May kailangan kasi ako, eh.
Mom… Are you tired? I need something, you see.
The standard word for “mother” in Tagalog is nanay.
There is a very obscure definition for ma as a species of mollusk but it is not common.
The syllable ma is very common as the first syllable of Tagalog adjectives and verbs. It is even used in front of English nouns.
full of pride
Dangerous to others.
malaki, maliit, mataas, mababa, maganda, maitim, maputi, matanda
big, small, high, low, beautiful, black, white, old
maisagawa, magawa, maipagawa
to put into action, to be able to do, to be able to have something done
Ang ma- ay unlapi na nagbabadya ng katangian ng salitang ugat.