10 Fascinating Filipino Words About the Weather

...aside from ambon and ulan!

(SPOT.ph) You probably already know habagat, amihan, ulan, and ambon. But what are the Filipino words for fog, mist, and dew? Thankfully, our meteorological agency, the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration, and our Filipino language institution, Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino, compiled all local weather-related words through this cool book called Patnubay sa Weder Forkasting. It not only serves as a guide for our weather reporters, obviously, but also as a good way to beef up our vocab in our own national language.

Here's a sampler:


Pronunciation: a·lim·pu·yó

English equivalent: Whirlwind

Dictionary definition: Mabilis na paikot na galaw ng hangin sa ibabaw ng lupa o tubig

Alimpuyó can also be called alimpulós, from Sebwano; and aripúros, from Bikol.



Pronunciation: a·ngëp

English equivalent: Fog

Dictionary definition: Makapal na ulap na mababa at karaniwang sayad sa lupa

Because of its Ilokano origins, the word angëp is pronounced with a schwa indicated by the umlaut or dieresis (a.k.a. tuldik patuldok). The next time you're in Baguio, you know what to call that low-lying cloud like a local.


Pronunciation: ba·la·ngáw

English equivalent: Rainbow

Dictionary definition: Arkong may sari-saring kulay na nabubuo sa kalangitan dahil sa pagtama ng liwanag sa mga patak ng tubig sa atmospera

Balangáw (a.k.a. bahaghari) traces its roots from a lot of Philippine languages such as Agutaynen, Bikol, Cuyunon, Hiligaynon, Kinaray-a, Tagalog, and Waray. It can also be called arkuíris, from Spanish; bulaláyaw, from Bikol; bulangín, from Yogad; bulutóng, from Tagbanwa; and gabón, from Hiligaynon.

Recommended Videos


Pronunciation: bu·ha·wì

English equivalent: Tornado

Dictionary definition: Unos ng malakas at umiikot na hangin, may kakayahang tumangay ng mabibigat na bagay, at lumikha ng malalaking alon sa dagat

In 2011, Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) chief Nathaniel Servando assured the public that the local buhawi are "not like tornadoes in the U.S. Here, the effects are short-lived and they’re not that strong." 


Pronunciation: da·lú·yong

English equivalent: storm surge, tsunami

Dictionary definition: Malaking along likha ng matinding hangin, lindol, o anumang lakas ng kalikasan

When Typhoon Yolanda hit the Philippines in 2013, it didn't only bring strong winds and heavy rainfall. Storm surges in the Visayas region claimed more than 6,000 lives and wiped out towns and provinces in Leyte and Samar. We heard it in the news as "storm surge", and not as the local term dalúyong, more specifically dalúyong bagyó.



Pronunciation: ha·móg

English equivalent: Dew

Dictionary definition: Mga butil ng tubig mula sa hangin na namuo nang magdamag sa mga dahon ng halaman o iba pang malamig na rabaw; halumigmig na nagsalikido

Hamóg traces its origins from Sebwano, Waray, and Tagalog languages. Remember when your mom would stop you from playing outside after dusk when you were a child? She'd usually say, "Baka mahamugan ka."



Pronunciation: í·pu·í·po

English equivalent: Waterspout

Dictionary definition: Hanging paikot at pataas ang direksiyon at tumatangay ng mga bagay na dinaraanan nito

Buhawì and ípuípo may look the same but the latter is formed only on waterÍpuípo is a type of an alimpuyó


Pronunciation: sig·wá

English equivalent: Tempest

Dictionary definition: Unos sa dagat

The word sigwá is often associated with the First Quarter Storm, a period of student revolt pre-Martial Law in the Philippines. This makes sense because it was a time when the "young ones really created a storm to fight the dictatorship," according to Joel Lamangan, director of 2010 Cinemalaya film Sigwá.



Pronunciation: ú·li·ú·li

English equivalent: Whirlpool

Dictionary definition: Umiikot na agos ng tubig, lalo na ang maalimpuyo at nanghihigop pailalim

Contrary to popular belief, the úliúli isn't that dangerous. Stories of powerful whirlpools killing unlucky seafarers and sucking in large ships are just fictional tales written by novelists Edgar Allan Poe and Jules Verne.


Pronunciation: ú·lop

English equivalent: Mist

Dictionary definition: Manipis na angëp

Angëp is often denser than úlop and tends to last longer. So, maybe Tagaytay just has the úlop.

References: UP Diksiyonaryong Filipino (Anvil Publishing, 2010); Patnubay sa Weder Forkasting (PAGASA and Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino, 2015)

More stories from Spot.ph

Share this story with your friends!

Help us make Spot.ph better!
Take the short survey

Read more stories about

Latest Stories

Load More Stories