Being born and brought up in a country colonized by Spain for 333 years, Spanish should have been the second language after our mother tongue. Americans “conquered” us for only 48 years but we’re much better speaking English than speaking Español, which isn’t bad especially that English is the universal language of the century (it might change a few decades later, who knows!).

The nice thing though is that we have tons of words coined and borrowed from the Spanish language. These phrases, which have been colloquial to us, make it easy to learn Spanish.

I was “formally introduced” to the Spanish language when I was in secodary school. There was a summer class about learning how to speak basic Spanish. My mom told me that Spanish subjects used to be part of the curriculum in the school (and she always gets A’s on those subjects!) but it was removed after we got so hooked to the “American-ization” way of life. Out of curiousity, I joined the class and learned the basic greetings such as,

Como estas
Donde estas
Buenas noches
Buenos dias
Buenas tardes

I still remember some of the phrases but I’ve forgotten the correct grammar and conjunctions–I remember some sequences though: soy, eres, es. It’s not a language that is used in my hometown so it was difficult to practice, unless you’re staying in Zamboanga where the local dialect is Chavacano–80% similar to the Spanish language and was called “lenguaje del calle” during the Spanish era.

I tried reviving my interest in learning the language but I wasn’t getting the fun and the “push” to do so. I know that we are intrinsically trilingual (sometimes even quadlingual): Filipino/Tagalog + English + home dialects, so it should not be difficult for us to learn a third language. Fortunately, there’s a mobile application (for Android and iOS) that will help equip yourselves with a few more languages in your sleeves.




Duolingo is a mobile application developed to help the language enthusiasts learn other languages for free. It offers an interactive and exciting way of learning different languages. It was started by a professor from the Carnegie Mellon University, Professor Luis von Ahn. If you want to know how they manage to make the services free, please go to their website:

The learning is phased into different levels and different groups, e.g. colors, food, animals, possesion, etc. You can always go back to each lesson and answer the questions over and over. It helps in memory recall.

If you are not particularly keen in learning Spanish, you can also try French (I tried this before, but I quickly failed on the pronunciation and listening part, maybe I need to mingle more with the French people in Singapore), English, German, Portuguese and Italian.

The app can be downloaded here:
Duolingo for iOS
Duolingo for Android

Duolingo - free language education to the world

Duolingo – free language education for the world

Duolingo grading

Duolingo grading


Translate English sentences to Spanish

Translate English sentences to Spanish and reminds you of the accented letters!


Duolingo stages

Duolingo stages


Tips and tutorials

Tips and tutorials


Some Tips in Learning Spanish

For us who grew up in the Philippines, it’s easy to learn basic Spanish. Here are a few tips that I have:

1. Remember the numbers that we normally use when we play “teks” or cards?

Uno, dos, tres, quatro, singko, sais, siete, ocho, nueve, d—yes!

This is actually the same numbering system used in Spain.

2. I had problem remembering when to use “o”, “e”, “es” at the end of the verbs, but simply put it this way:
when you use the word “yo” (which means “I”, please don’t get confused this with the “you” of English), most of the time the verb will end with an “o”. For example:

yo como
yo bebo
yo leo
yo escribo

If it is an “usted” or “tu” (which means “you” in singular), most often the verbs will end win an “es” or “as”. For example:

Usted comes
Tu hablas
Usted lees
Tu escribes

For a more detailed explanation, you can refer to

3. There are a lot of Spanish words that sounds like Filipino words. I am pretty sure, you all know what is the Filipino translation of the following:


Write your answers at the comment section below. I believe you’re going to get a perfect score.

I’m looking for a Spanish-learning buddy. We can meet up once or maybe twice a month and start conversing in Spanish (no matter how crazy we sound!). If you’re up to the challenge, drop me a tweet, a facebook or a linkedin message. 🙂

Instead of playing Candy Crush, why don’t you try Duolingo?

Buena suerte!!