People in the Philippines say “Tao po” when knocking on someone’s door. It translates to “I am a human being”. It comes from the belief that evil entities cannot do human speech. “Tao po, hindi aswang” is the original phrase, meaning “I am a human, not a flesh eating monster”
Puwera usog, tabi tabi po, and tao po are common phrases in the Philippines, each tied to a history of supernatural beliefs. The phrases are hundreds of years old, with “tao po” predating the Spanish colonization of the Philippines.
For centuries, Filipinos have used the phrase “tao po!” whenever they come visiting another person’s bahay kubo in precolonial times. Apparently, its original purpose was to declare you’re human and not an aswang.
Roots of the Phrase ‘Tao Po’
According to historian Ambeth Ocampo, pre-colonial Filipinos used the phrase to declare themselves as humans, thus: “Tao po ako, hindi aswang!” (“I am human and not aswang”)
Over time, the frequency of usage shortened the phrase from “tao po ako” to the pres… Continue Reading (2 minute read)