As you might have learned in a previous post, Tagalog speakers use three different ways to count numbers: the native Tagalog way, the Spanish-derived Tagalog way, and the English way.
The same goes for saying the names of colors in Tagalog.
There are no official rules on which one you need to use when referring to a particular color, but there are cases where one way is traditionally preferred or more commonly used than the others.
For example, in many casual conversations, Filipinos simply refer to colors using their English names except for a few basic colors. Examples of these are red, yellow, white, and black. Other basic colors like green and blue are referred to with their Spanish-derived Tagalog words, on the other hand.
In some cases, there are no direct Tagalog translations for the English names of colors, so what Tagalog speakers usually do is to use the name of the thing most commonly associated with the color in question. We then add the word “kulay” (color) before the name of the color and that’s it.
Below are a couple of examples showing how this is done.
These are the Tagalog names for colors that you will most typically encounter in daily conversations. There are some colors not mentioned on the tables that have Tagalog translations or counterparts, but are largely archaic and not typically used in everyday life even by Tagalog speakers themselves. You can see some examples of these colors and their names in native Tagalog here.