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The Soapbox Filipina | October 15, 2019

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What Makes You Kilig? - The Soapbox Filipina

Pier Angeli B. Ang Sen


What is Kilig?


I love this Tagalog word kilig. I cannot think of a direct translation in Bisaya. ( It is just like not having an equivalent for “po” and “opo”I do not know what Cebuano word I used in my younger days, to mean it. How ever did I call, what I felt when I was kilig, I don’t know or can’t remember.


What is kilig, anyway? Or as Sharon Cuneta says in my time, kilig to the bones. says,  kilig: to tremble, shudder kiligin: to be tickled pink

ex. When a young Filipina gets the opportunity to see her favorite movie star in the flesh, she experiences kilig. 

ex. Kinilig ako nang makita ko ang crush ko. (I shuddered in delight when I saw my crush.)


Others say, it is like having butterflies in the stomach. One of my friends says that the nearest English word, for the tagalog word kilig is the word giddy or the context by which giddy is being used. The feeling of lightheartedness coupled with dizziness and excitement. So giddy, be it.  (or maybe) 

ex. I am so giddy over Adam Levine. Or Ako ay na gi-giddy kay Adam Levine.

Kilig feelings are like those synaptic nerves we have. Just as our brain synapses connects to our dendrites and axons, kilig feelings are those connectors to that delightful feeling of love and being loved.


And also, just like our synapses which are not “actually connected  to our nerves, kilig only connects, when triggered.


Kilig may be actions taken by your husband, your crush, your idol, your favorite singer and your favorite author. They could set off your kilig.

While serotonin(or 5-hydroxytryptamine, 5HT) the happy chemical, is the presynaptic cell (the sending cell), between synapses that prompts the feelings of well-being and happiness, kilig is generated by a thousand different feelings, including happiness as the main by-product.

ex.  Kinikilig ako sa ‘yo. I am “synaptically” all over you, serotonin and all. (all sparks na all sparks it is, with the word kilig)


Kilig is also not limited only to a certain kind of love. It is born from different sorts of cute-happy feelings.  Kilig should also not be something limited only to the youngster. If at fifty you do feel kilig, then by all means, do so. When was the last time you felt kilig? I wrote mine down because it made me appreciate the little things that made me happy.

I love this word kilig, it is overflowing in this blog piece.

Try writing down the times or things that made you kilig. You will be surprised on how funny, exciting and crazy your life is. Do not hold it back. Be kilig like crazy.  


There is alway that inexplicably gushing feeling when one is kilig.




I felt kilig…


1.  the first time I became an aunt


2.  with Sheryl and Romnick and with Sharon and Gabby


3.  with Kathniel and with Laida and Miggy


4.  with Ross and Rachel


5. with the answers err pieces of advice, my government officials gave on the Mamasapano massacre/misencounter. (oh, that should be nginig not kilig – but heavens, it gave me the goose bumps and kilabot, all the same. Pero sila ‘di man lang kinilabutan sa mga pinagsasabi nila)


6. with the Montgomery brothers in the Velvet Saga Books of Jude Deveraux.


7. with Maeve Binchy’s books that I loved in the nineties


8. over that love angle between Ron and Hermione


9. over Pokwang and Lee O’ Brien
( I hope it is true and not for movie purposes only, kasi hindi lang traffic ang dala ni Edsa, pati din kilig)


10. over Elmo Magalona and Janine Gutierrrez (like Bagets all over again -in a Monching and Kiko sort of way)


11.  over that kiss in the rain, between Ryan Gosling and Rachel Mc Adams, in the movie adaptation of The Notebook.


12. on that one time, Nina Garcia favorited my tweet -a picture of all her four books that I own.


13.  when on her show, Ellen tried to play cupid to people


14.  over Aling Nene’s barbecue, Wai-ying’s hot salad roll and McChicken sandwich


15.  when watching flash mob proposals and the lengths men go through, for their girlfriends.


16.  when my husband, my suitor then, brought me a dozen roses to the office, thrice.


17.  when my husband remembered bringing me home, my favorite Chocnut.


18.  when my husband unconsciously reaches for my hand and holds it, like it is the most natural right thing in the world to do.


19.  or when my husband looks at me like I am Solenn Heussaff...naaaaaman -ayos ang buto-buto.


20.  that time when my then two-year old son would just point at Angel Locsin on the t.v.  screen and say, ” Moommmmy”. ( straight from the mouth of babes,  lamang lang naman si Angel s’akin ng million followers sa twitter, other than that, nothing significant)



Happy Valentine’s Day everyone, do not forget to list down your kiligs.



So, what makes you kilig?




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