What writing system(s) does this language use?


Waray and almost all of the languages in the Philippines are written using the Latin alphabet.

Upper case A B C D E F G H I J K L M N Ñ NG O P Q R S T U V W Z X Y Z
Lower case a b c d e f g h i j k l m n ñ ng o p q r s t u v w x y z

The Waray alphabet includes all of the same letters we use in English, along with 'Ñ' (enye), which the Filipinos borrowed from the Spanish, and 'Ng', a digraph already available as a single character in Baybayin.


Engraved — to carve into a material.


Colonize — to migrate and settle a place and occupy as a colony.


digraph — when two letters are used to show one sound.

How many people speak this language?


There are 3.6 million native speakers of Waray as of 2015.

Where is this language spoken?

Areas where Waray is spoken in the Philippines

Waray is an Austronesian language and the fifth-most-spoken native regional language of the Philippines, native to Eastern Visayas. It is the native language of the Waray people and second language of the Abaknon people of Capul, Northern Samar, and some Cebuano-speaking peoples of western and southern parts of Leyte island. It is the third most spoken language among the Bisayan languages, only behind Cebuano and Hiligaynon.

What is the history of this language?


Waray is an Austronesian Language. It was thought that the Austronesian language came from Taiwan and migrated southwards through sailing. They first reached Batanes islands, by around 2200 BCE.

Soon after the Age of Contact came and the Philippines started trading with other people like Persians, Arabs, Malays, Indians, Japanese, and Chinese. The people who traded with the Filipinos also introduced their language and culture, and soon after the Filipinos started using words from their languages and dressed, ate, and lived like them.

The Spaniards came and introduced Spanish, taught the Filipinos Spanish, and soon after many Spanish words entered the Language. The Americans came and introduced English and encouraged the use of English, so English words also entered Waray. Waray therefore is one of the most diverse languages of the world, with Sanskrit, Malay, Javanese, Mandarin Chinese, Nahuatl, Persian, Arabic, Japanese, Spanish, and English loanwords.


loanwords — words in a language that have been borrowed from other languages.

Who are some famous authors or poets in this language?

  • Norberto Romualdez y Lopez or known as Norberto Romualdez Sr. is a Waray ethnic writer. In 1908, Romuáldez wrote Bisayan Grammar and Notes on Bisayan Rhetoric and Poetic and Filipino Dialectology, a treatise on the grammar of the Waray language. The following year (1909) he founded the Sanghiran san Binisaya ha Samar ug Leyte (Academy of the Visayan Language of Samar and Leyte) for the purpose of promoting and intellectualizing Waray.

What are some basic words in this language that I can learn?

Tubag Responses
oo yes
diri no
siguro probably, perhaps
Mga Pagbati Greetings
Kumusta? Hi, how are you?
Maupay man, salamat. I'm fine, thank you.
Maupay nga adlaw. Good day.
Maupay nga aga. Good morning.
Maupay udto. Good midday.
Maupay nga kulop. Good afternoon.
Maupay nga gabii. Good evening.
Asa ka gikan? Where have you been?
Damo nga salamat Thank you
Waray sapayan. You're welcome.
Makadi na ako. Good-bye.
Basic phrases
Maaram ka mag-Iningles? Do you speak English?
Hain iton banyo? Where is the bathroom?
Karuyag ko . . . I like . . .
Diri ko karuyag . . . I don't like . . .
An ngaran ko kay . . . My name is . . .
Ano imo ngaran? What's your name?
Numero Numbers
usa one
duha two
tulo three
upat four
lima five
unom six
pito seven
walo eight
siyam nine
napulo ten
Counting Units
gatos hundred
yukot thousand
milyon million

What is a simple song/poem/story that I can learn in this language?


This is a Waray version of the Tagalog song Bahay Kubo.

An amon balay bisan la gutiay
Damo an tanaman nga hikirit-on
Singkamas ngan tarong, sigarilyas ngan mani
Sitaw, bataw, patani.
Kundol, patola, upo ngan karubasa
Mayda pa labanos upod an mustasa,
Sibuyas, kamatis, lasona ngan luy-a
Ha palibot hini kamakalilipay.

Here is the English translation of that song.

Nipa hut, though small
The plants there are varied
Turnip and eggplant, winged bean and peanut
String bean, hyacinth bean, lima bean.
Wax gourd, luffa, white squash, and pumpkin,
And there also are radish, mustard,
Onion, tomato, garlic, and ginger
And all around are sesame seeds.