Editor’s Note: This FilipinoPod101 review is up to date as of February 17th, 2022. The article contains affiliate links, however we only recommend products that we have personally used and believe in.
The country of the Philippines has recently been designated as Newly Industrial and also as an Emerging Market, so there is no better time than now to learn to speak or polish up on the Filipino language.
Filipino is, in fact, one of the most geographically dispersed languages in the world, second only to English. It is likely that whether planning your next exotic vacation, connecting with business prospects, or learning about other cultures, you have come across the Filipino language or one of its close relatives.
FilipinoPod101, created by Innovative Languages, is one of the quickest ways we’ve found to learn Filipino on your own time.
FilipinoPod101 Review: Summary
In a Nutshell: FilipinoPod101 takes a logical approach to language learning by offering myriads of podcasts, videos, and assorted learning tools. With mobile apps and desktop tools, how to learn Filipino is completely up to you.
Quality of Learning Materials:
Quantity of Lessons:
Effective and Efficient:
Teaches Useful Phrases:
Overall Score: 4.2
Filipino vs. Tagalog
Wait, you might think, shouldn’t I learn to speak Tagalog? Isn’t that what is spoken in The Philippines?
The answer is yes, along with many other dialects that are all variations of Filipino. Tagalog is spoken by about 1/3 of the country’s population and is very wide-spread throughout the world.
FilipinoPod101 Review: Overview
FilipinoPod101 boldly proclaims that it will teach you the Filipino language in the most fun, easiest, and fastest way possible. You can quickly try out a free lesson before even signing up. Once you decide to sign up for a monthly subscription, you have a free lifetime account. Then, you can choose your subscription options. A seven-day trial period is absolutely free.
With a free account, you’ll have access to a whole bunch of curated audio and video lessons, learning tools like flashcards, and common Filipino word lists. If you then choose to upgrade to one of the monthly subscription plans, you’ll also receive access to:
The Pros: What We Liked About FilipinoPod101
We really enjoyed the time we spent learning on the platform. Here are the things we liked the most:
Pro #1: Complete Access to Video and Audio Library
As soon as you start your subscription you will have full access to thousands of videos, podcasts, and learning tools. There are so many lists of words and phrases that make sense in today’s world. Whether you want to quickly ask someone the way to the gym or where to find a smoothie shop, you will easily find it.
Pro #2: Extensive Lesson Library, Modern Topics
FilipinoPod101 boasts the largest lesson library in the world, with over 215 hours of real lessons delivered by professional language tutors. The range of topics available is just as vast – from ‘A Filipino Feast’ to ‘Essential Filipino for Emergencies’.
Whatever you need, you’ll probably find a whole lesson on it. Plus you can even search through the entire library for the topic you’re after. With so many language programs out there consisting of outdated and boring content, FilipinoPod101 provides a breath of fresh air when it comes to finding something interesting to study.
Pro #3: Mobile Applications
Take your lessons on the go. Instead of wasting time away on the subway or in traffic, listen to your lessons right on your phone. With the ability to learn anytime you want, you can easily review lessons almost anywhere.
Pro #4: Fully Downloadable Content
From the MP3 files to the comprehensive lesson notes, everything is available to be downloaded for offline learning. This way you can listen on the go, and study anywhere you are without wifi. And with each lesson being on average only 15 minutes long, you can really squeeze in extra language practice into your schedule and fit your studies around your life, picking up again exactly where you left off.
Pro #5: Immersive Lessons with Native Speakers
All the instructors on FilipinoPod101 are native speakers of the Filipino language. This means you get to hear the dialect of a true Filipino speaker. It makes pronunciation much more accurate when trying out your skills with other speakers.
The Cons: What we Didn’t Like About FilipinoPod101
No language learning program is perfect and this one has a few downsides. Here’s what we didn’t like as much:
Con #1: Advanced Learning is Lacking
Though FilipinoPod101is an excellent tool for beginning to intermediate speakers, advanced speakers wanting to take their fluency to the next level may not find the content very challenging. If you were once fluent in Filipino and are looking for a refresher course, you may find some decent review topics but lacking in terms of advanced learning content.
Con #2: Higher Price
The price for the PremiumPLUS subscription is one of the highest around. Though the quality and quantity of learning materials is superb, this cost might just be too much for all but the most dedicated learners.
Con #3: Feels a Bit Unstructured
Unlike a traditional textbook or set syllabus, FilipinoPod101 is all about letting you (the learner) select your own lessons from their vast lesson library. For this reason, some students have commented that it all feels a bit disorganised without a clear syllabus to follow.
For some students who prefer to be guided along and find the prospect of taking your own learning into your own hands a bit daunting, we recommend using the course alongside a more dedicated textbook. Otherwise the Premium PLUS subscription will be of great use to you since you’ll be provided with a personalized learning program with a 1-on-1 instructor to guide through every step of the way.
Personally, we feel that the learning methodology is actually a huge advantage to your studies, allowing you to focus on only the topics and content you find the most interesting and need to work on the most. The grammar can always be assimilated as you encounter more and more authentic language in context, which is why we love that almost every lesson contains a dialogue or some kind of authentic audio text, broken down line-by-line for you to study.
What are the Lessons Like
The lessons do not need to be completed in order, which offers you further customization of your learning. However, they are generally structured to take you up the ladder toward fluency. Absolute Beginners start out with learning “hello” and how to introduce themselves. The Beginner level starts with learning “I love you” and other simple phrases.
Intermediate lessons start off with a focus on more conversational topics and interactions with others, Upper Intermediate lessons and Advanced learners begin to learn more about Filipino festivals, about Metropolitan Manila and the government. In all levels of the lessons, the Philippine culture is sprinkled throughout, immersing you deeper into the history of the Philippines.
Within each level, you can select which lesson ‘pathways’ to pursue by selecting ‘Add To Dashboard’. The pathways will then be available from your central dashboard where you can track your progress and see other similar lessons that may be recommended to you.
A learning pathway consists of many individual lessons, centered around either an audio podcast or YouTube-style video. It’s first recommended to listen or watch the video to hear the language initially in context. The instructor also often drops in interesting cultural information and takes their time to clarify any complicated grammar.
The real meat of the lesson then comes next, with the line-by-line dialogue, vocab list and grammar bank. You can now take your time to listen to each line in isolation, and even record your own pronunciation! The vocab list includes any new words that the lesson introduces, each with plenty of example sentences.
Finally, everything is summarised rather concisely into the lesson notes. You’ll probably find yourself spending most of your time studying these since they contain everything from the lesson and do an amazing job of explaining the grammar rules and structure of the language.
You can then test your knowledge by taking a short quiz or assessment (depending upon the pathway type) and move onto the next lesson in the series. And remember – everything is fully downloadable at no extra cost!
To help you really expand your range of vocabulary, FilipinoPod101 features some really useful built-in tools for you to utilize at any time, in between lessons or even straight from the app.
1) Vocab Lists
We found the vocab lists to be a great help whenever you get bored during lessons. They cover all sorts of random and fascinating topics, from surviving a zombie apocalypse to Filipino chat-up lines. There’s enough material to keep you browsing away for hours, and constantly adding to your palette of Filipino vocabulary.
2) Spaced Repetition Flashcards
The flashcards work similarly to the vocab lists; however you not only have a large pool of pre-existing sets to choose from, but you can create your own from scratch and share amongst friends. Like the more popular Anki or Quizlet, you can then test yourself by translating the English, Filipino or image. Your progress is tracked and the ones you get wrong the most will be shown more frequently until they are committed to memory.
3) Core 2000 Word List
Want to bypass all the obsolete and useless language and cut right through to the core of what locals actually say? The core 2000 words list is a comprehensive list of the most frequently used words in the FIlipino language. You can even narrow the list further to show only the top 100 or so words and filter by category.
4) Word of the Day Emails
An optional extra that you can opt into. You’ll receive a new word to your inbox daily. A useful tool to keep your language learning ticking over with new language being learnt daily.
5) Word Bank
During any of the lessons or activities you might encounter some new words you don’t want to let slip away. This is what the word bank is for, allowing you to save any word into your personal word bank and even categorise or label them individually. You can also export your list at any time.
Who Should Buy FilipinoPod101?
FilipinoPod101 is an exceptional learning tool for those who:
Who Shouldn’t Buy FilipinoPod101
Since everyone learns best in different ways, you cannot find an all-encompassing language learning program. Those who may not benefit from FilipinoPod101 include those who:
FilipinoPod101 vs. The Competition
There are quite a few other apps and programs out there that promise to teach you to speak Filipino quickly. However, the truth is that most of these free apps are nothing more than a glorified translation dictionary. This means they truly can’t compare to the in-depth learning you will find in FilipinoPod101.
Since Filipino is not a highly sought after language, you will find little in the way of local community college courses and even online materials. Here is a brief comparison of the few that we did find.
FilipinoPod101 vs. MyLanguageExchange.com
My Language Exchange claims to be the best way to learn Filipino. The idea is fairly simple. You are paired with a Filipino speaker who wants to learn English (or your native language.) All lessons are planned by a certified teacher and are hosted on the website.
There is no educational requirement of your paired speaker, so you may not receive correct information from them. If used in conjunction with another learning application, this could be highly beneficial but not as a primary way to learn Filipino.
FilipinoPod101 vs. Rosetta Stone Tagalog
First, we must note that standardized Filipino language learning programs are few and far between. We did find Rosetta Stone offers courses so you can learn to speak Tagalog. While many speak this version of Filipino, we prefer to start learning with the standardized version first.
That being said, Rosetta Stone offers a 3-day trial period for their latest available lesson. You can then decide whether you want to sign up for 3-, 6-, 12- or 24-month subscription with an increasing discount for the longer the term. You can add tutoring online for an additional fee. Though you receive access to both the desktop version and mobile app, you will need to purchase a microphone and speakers to get the most from this system.
Is it Worth the Money?
Ultimately, that depends on how keen you are to learn Filipino. We recommend testing out the platform first with a free 7-day trial, and then seeing if you find it useful for your level and learning style. This is a great option for those who are sitting on the fence about learning Filipino.
Dedicated learners will certainly benefit from a Premium or PremiumPLUS subscription with one-on-one instruction included. If you’ve already made up your mind and have decided to get a membership, use our link below to get 30% off:
The 1 Dollar Initial Offer
If you’d like to try the program out for longer than 7 days then you’re in luck! After you’ve signed up for your free account you’ll be offered a full 30 days of FilipinoPod101 Premium for only $1. We’re telling this now because once you click away you won’t have this option again.
But be careful, after the 30 days is up you’ll be automatically placed on the premium subscription and charged $25 a month. So it might be best to just sign up for a 3, 6 or 12 month membership from the get-go to make best use of the subscription discounts on offer, in addition to our 30% off coupon code.
The Secret Lifetime Membership Option
I’ll be honest: I’m not a big fan of paying monthly (or even yearly) for something. If this is you too, there’s a secret lifetime membership option that you may not have heard about.
For the price of roughly 3-4 years membership, you can get lifetime access to FilipinoPod101. If you know you’re a lifelong learner and are dedicated to a long term goal, this might be your best bet.
For the obsessive polyglots out there, there’s also an option to purchase lifetime premium access to all 34 languages (Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Italian, French… etc). It’s not cheap, but could be great value for the right person.
FilipinoPod101 Review: Summary
We can confidently recommend FilipinoPod101 for both Philippines expats and leisure travelers alike. With a mobile app and online access to FilipinoPod101’s entire learning library, you can easily fit learning Filipino into your already busy lifestyle.
Michael has lived in Japan on and off for almost 10 years. He loves studying Japanese, and is currently working on going from N2 to N1 on the JLPT.