Love in Tagalog: Pag-ibig / Pagmamahal

There are many different Tagalog words for love. Two commonly used nouns are pag-ibig and pagmamahal.

pagmamahal ng ina
a mother’s love

ang pagmamahalan natin
= ang ating pagmamahalan
our (bond of) love

ang pag-ibig natin
our (romantic) love

sulat pag-ibig
love letter

Ang pag-ibig ko ay tunay.
My love is true.

The root word ibig by itself can denote fondness or wanting to do something, but in conjugated form, it can mean friendship such as in the word kaibigan (friend). The word umibig (fall in love) is a verb.

 Umibig ako uli.
I fell in love again.

Iniibig kita.
I love you.
(dramatic, only for lovers)


The phrase ibig sabihin (to mean) is used when asking what something means.

ang ibig kong sabihin
what I mean to say / what I want to say

As a verb, the word mahal means ‘to love’ but as an adjective it means ‘expensive.’

Bakit ang mahal magmahal?
Why does it cost so much to love?