The Influence of the Americans on Filipino English

Crazy Comparison: Filipino English and American English

Filipino English and American English are often compared due to their similarities in pronunciation and spelling. Rooting back, the Philippines has been colonized by the American for 48 years and the influence it created to the Filipinos did play a significant role in the country’s educational system.

Due to this influence, the Filipino English accent is almost the same as the American English accent except for the fact that it’s a little strong compared to the latter. It is interesting to note that now English is considered as the 2nd language of the Philippines, if not the official language by some Filipino people especially those who are living in metropolitan cities like Metro Manila and Cebu. Surely, wherever you are in the Philippines, Filipino will wow you with their English communication skills.

But did you know that Filipino English has gotten its own variant of English? What’s sillier is that these terms common ONLY in Filipino English but never in American English. Now, let me teach you about the 6 Crazy Terms Used in Filipino English.

SALVAGE and SAVAGE are twins.

Who would have thought that the word SALVAGE means “to Kill extra-judicially” in the Philippines? While the dictionary meaning of the word is “to save”, in the Philippines it is the total opposite. For Filipinos, this word has the exact meaning of “to kill”. Many believed that the meaning of the word “salvage” became popular during the regime of Marcos dictatorship. According to some, it was first used during the regime of Marcos dictatorship when he ordered the military to execute thousands of Filipino without legal proof, cause, or trial.  The term is believed to have originated from the Tagalog word ‘salbahe’ (derived from the Spanish salvaje), which means brutal or savage. In the present time, it seems that the words “SAVAGE” and “SALVAGE” are twins in Filipino English! Fun Fact!

It’s Rest Room for Americans but C.R. for Filipinos!

Call of Nature? You better rush yourself to the CR! Yes, you hear it right because Filipino’s are more familiar with the term than with American terms’ Restroom or Washroom. Some Filipinos might take you to the bedroom because that is literally a room where you can rest or to the shower room because you sure can wash and clean yourself inside a washroom. Hilarious!

You’re a Hostess? Disgusting!

In American English, a hostess refers to a woman who hosts or throws a party but in Filipino English, it has its own negative connotation. In fact, if your Filipina friends find out that you’re a hostess, be ready to lose them all. Why? Simply because the word “Hostess” means a “prostitute” in Filipino English same goes with the acronym G.R.O., meaning Guest Relations Officer. If you still want to receive another party invitation  again, better forget that term hostess and just say “someone who throws a party.” The Longer, the safer!

‘Ref’ for Filipinos. ‘Fridge’ for Americans!

The shorter the better! This is what Filipinos love to do. If you ask someone where the cold drinks are, he sure will answer “The drinks are inside the REF!” For Filipinos, the word refrigerator is exhausting to pronounce because it’s LONG. A fridge is a little long, but a REF is just too short! To sum it up, it’s ‘Ref’ in the Philippines but ‘Fridge in the USA.

Fill Up  Vs. Fill Out

When you are in the Philippines, signing a document can become a little tricky. Some Filipinos will instruct you to  “FILL UP” a form.  Hold your breath and make sure you don’t laugh at them. By definition, the phrasal verb “FILL UP” in American English means to make something full or to become full. However, in Filipino English, “FILL UP” means to complete something with the information, like a form or a survey. By now, you should know that “FILL UP” and “FILL OUT” have no difference at all.

Nose Bleed!

The chance of hearing this term is unavoidable! Yes, Filipinos can understand and speak English but some of them are scared and have a hard time expressing themselves in fluent English. “NOSE BLEED” doesn’t mean his/her nose bleeding. It is a term used in self-deprecating humor and means that Filipino can’t keep up with the other person’s English or has difficulty understanding his accent. It is their way of indirectly telling you that they no longer understand what you are talking about. When you hear a Filipino speaking says, “WAIT, NOSEBLEED”, don’t laugh because that simply means “STOP, I DON’T REALLY UNDERSTAND YOU ANYMORE or SORRY, MY ENGLISH IS LIMITED.” So, when you hear this expression, don’t get pissed. Just laugh along with them and just repeat yourself and use simpler and easier words.


These are but some of the funny terms you can’t hear in AMERICAN ENGLISH because they are ORIGINALLY found ONLY in FILIPINO ENGLISH! These terms truly represent how quirky and creative Filipinos are. American English sounds really fun but I say Filipino English is absolutely FUNNER!

Learn more about some fascinating words in English and enrich your vocabulary box by discovering new words in English in our daily blog posts at

Crazy Comparison: Filipino English and American English

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