In the Philippines, Filipinos followed and still follow varying types of name systems, whether it was family name first, given name last, a mixture of a native convention and neighbor's convention (Example: Natives in Wawa (now Guagua, Pampanga) tended to mix their native surnames with Chinese surnames), "Christian name" from "surname", a convention similar to the British one: given name-middle name-family name, or the Spanish system, however, given that the Spanish system of naming was introduced before the British system, most Filipinos still follow the Spanish system to some degree.
For the most part, most Filipinos do not have middle names in the Anglo-American sense but adopted the dual first name-last name Spanish system. An example would be John Paul Reyes y Mercado becoming John Paul Mercado Reyes, shortened as John Paul M. Reyes. The y is dropped, and the mother's last name is then used as a middle name, probably to preserve the mother's maiden name. The middle name in its natural sense would have been the second name if the person had one. John Paul would simply become John Paul Reyes or John Reyes if he did not have a second name to begin with.
The construct of having several names in the middle name convention is common to all systems, but to have multiple "first" names and only one middle and last name is a result of the blending of American and Spanish naming customs. So in this case the Philippine naming custom is coincidentally identical to the Portuguese name customs.
Almost all Filipinos have Spanish or Spanish-sounding surnames imposed on them for taxing reasons (See: Alphabetical Catalogue of Surnames), and a number of them have indigenous Filipino surnames. Most members of the newer generation of Filipinos have English Christian first names, but some still have Spanish or indigenous Filipino names.
Most of the newer generation have English Christian names because of the American influence. Almost all Filipinos speak English as it is required to do business, and the vast majority of advertising is in English. Derivatives are also common but have no formal indigenous sources. For example, a man named Rafael (Spanish name) would be given a Filipino nickname of Paeng, coming from a local rendering of the last two syllables of Rafael.
Governor General Narciso Clavería y Zaldúa issued a decree on 21 November 1849 which is known as the Clavería Decree which states that Filipinos should adopt Spanish surnames to make census counting easier. Some Filipinos retained their native precolonial names, especially those who were exempted from the Clavería decree such as the descendants of rulers of the Maharlika or noble class. These surnames include Lacadola, Urduja and Tupas who each descended from different Datus. They were allowed to keep the name to claim tax exemptions.
Many modern-day Chinese Filipinos have traditional last names with one syllable like Lim, Tan, and Sy. However, early Chinese Filipino families took on the complete name of their patriarch, thus their names had three syllables. These were adopted into the mainstream Filipino surnames and don't exist anywhere else in the world. Their names were transcribed using the Spanish orthography in effect during the 19th century.
Of particular interest is the convention of Chinese surnames ending in -co or -ko. That suffix is an honorific in the Chinese language retained in the surname. However, "co" by itself is also a valid surname. In general, if it is at the end it is an honorific. An example of this is Cojuangco. Their patriarch was Co Chi Kuan, who was addressed respectfully as Co Kuan Co (one given name dropped). Co Kuan Co eventually became Cojuangco to better adapt to the social norms dictated in the Spanish era.
The use of Arabic names is prominent among the Filipino Muslims. There are Islamic influence from Arabs, Persians, Malays, Indonesians, and Indian Muslims. Some names that are common in Spain from Arab influence, including Fatima, Omar, and Soraya, have both Spanish and directly Arabic sources in the Philippines.
Filipinos tend to be the only people with middle names and surnames derived from Chinese, Spanish, or Philippine roots combined with Spanish or English given names (can be more than one). Some typical combinations are: "María Bernadette de los Reyes Cuyegkeng," "Iván Theophilo R. Ho," "George Bernard T. Cho III," "Hillary P. Dimagiba," "Jimson Ricardo Chadwick Uy Cuenco Jr." "Irish Diamond Fuentes Amoroso," and so on (these examples are fictional). A few names also derive from Tagalog and other Philippine languages but these are not common: "Bayani" (hero), "Luningning" (brightness/sheen), "Dakila" (great), "Kalayaan" (freedom), "Isagani" (unknown meaning).
The Spanish surname category provides the most common surnames in the Philippines. These include Mendoza, García, (de la) Cruz, (de los) Reyes, (de los) Santos, González/Gonzales, Torres and López.
Read more about Philippine Name: Autochthonous Surnames, Franco-Iberian Surnames, Filipino-Japanese Surnames, Anglo-American English Surnames, German Surnames, Surnames of Filipino Muslims, Other Filipino Surnames of Foreign Origins, Altered Spanish and Foreign Surnames, Other Altered and Combined Surnames, Maternal Middle Names and Paternal Family Surnames, Married and Maiden Names, Given Names, Aliases, and Monikers
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