Filipino, Pilipino, Pinoy, Pilipinas, Philippines — What’s the Difference?

Filipino is the Hispanized (or Anglicized) way of referring to both the people and the language in the Philippines. Note that it is also correct to say Filipino for a male and Filipina for a female. Never use or say Philippino, because that doesn’t sound right.

On the other hand, Pilipino, is how the locals from the Philippines refer to themselves, or to their national language. When applied to the language, Pilipino is synonymous with Tagalog, the language widely spoken in Manila, Bulacan, Bataan, and Batangas. The “P” or “Ph” is used because most Filipino languages do not have the “F” sound (with the exception of some native people in the Cordillera and Mindanao, like the Ifugao and the Teduray). Today, the Filipino alphabet consists of 28 characters, with the letters F, ر and Ng added on top of V, Q, X, Z and other Latin characters. The same goes for Pilipinas, which is the name of the country itself. It is derived from the Hispanized word Filipinas, the old Spanish name of the country Las Islas Filipinas (Anglicized equivalent: Philippine Islands or P.I., when it was still a colony).The “Ph” is from Philip, the English equivalent of the Spanish King Felipe II.

Pinoy is the shortened, colloquial version for Filipino to mean the people, but never the language. It becomes Pinay when referring to a female, although Pinoy is also used to refer to both male and female.

“Modernization” of the Philippine national language has incorporated these new characters into the alphabet since 1987, junking the old Abakada (or baybayin). Part of the reason is that the traditional Abakada is limited and sometimes sounds funny or becomes the butt of jokes, as in the way certain words are spelled. For example, bote (bottle) and titik (letters) are spelled Abakada style as “ba-o-ta-e” and “ta-i-ta-i-ka,” which even make children die laughing! The accepted way is to spell these words as “bi-o-ti-ey” and “ti-i-ti-i-key” or something to that effect.

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