Conyo: The Philippine Language That Defined a Social Class

Masungi Georeserve, Philippines
Masungi Georeserve, Philippines | Photo by Mark Felix Pisan Jr. on Unsplash

The Filipino language is widely spoken in the Philippines, but there are a variety of languages across the archipelago. These may be native to a particular area, depending on the island group. In some cases, a group of slang words and phrases emerged from daily conversations and gave birth to a new type of language, such as conyo.

Did you know you can now travel with Culture Trip? Book now and join one of our premium small-group tours to discover the world like never before.

Mines View Park, Baguio, Philippines

What conyo really means

If you search for the origin of the word conyo, the results might surprise you. The meaning of the Spanish word conyo, or coño, refers to the female genitalia. It’s a common Spanish idiom, often tagged as vulgar, that’s usually used by locals to emphasize a certain emotion.

It’s not just a language

The conyolanguage is prominent among youth in the upper class. It’s usually heard in everyday conversations among high school and college students who study at expensive colleges and universities. It has become more than a language, as the term has been used to describe people as conyo, since these people (who are often wealthy or social climbers) speak this language and have certain characteristics or mannerisms: They are up-to-date with the latest gadgets, do not know how to ride public transport, and own expensive belongings.

Because of such observations, some locals have stereotyped people who speak in this manner as “conyo kids,” even when they don’t belong to the upper class. Rich kids, on the other hand, are instantly dismissed as “conyo kids” because of their social status. Either way, there have been negative views about the use of the language or culture of conyobecause it suggests that there’s a need to incorporate the English language into the native dialect and that only well-educated people speak it.

Common conyo phrases and signs

Do you know someone who unintentionally speaks conyo or who proudly speaks this way? Here are common phrases you’ve probably heard or characteristics you’ve observed from them:

They insert words such as make or so into their sentences.

You’ve probably heard some students say, “Let us make pasok to class,” or “Let’s go to class.” They also say, “Don’t make me lakad na,or “Don’t make me walk any further.” In some cases, they use so, such as “It’s so sarap,” or “It’s very delicious.”

They love to reply in abbreviations.

Ask them if they’re coming to the party tonight, and you’ll get a message that says “G!” which means they’re game for it. Having an unfortunate moment? They’ll tell you it’s “BV” or “bad vibes.”

They usually don’t know how to commute.

Because people who are identified as conyo usually come from wealthy families, they are often unaware of how to use public transportation. They’ll either bring a car or take a cab to get to their destination.

They know the latest trends and the most expensive brands.

You’ll probably observe that they replace their phones every time a new smartphone model is available on the market. And, when it comes to signature brands? They know how to distinguish a fake item from an original one.

landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Winter Sale Offers on Our Trips

Incredible Savings

Edit article