The colorful history of the Philippines significantly shows why the country is considered as a melting pot of different cultures. For instance, the common Tagalog names of the natives reflect the strong influence of cultures such as Spanish, American, and even Italian. Since the country has experienced significant shifts in terms of religion, government, and culture, throughout the years many of the Filipinos proudly sport names with variations (or combinations!) which makes Filipino names extraordinarily unique and beautiful.
For more than 300 years, the Philippines were under the rule of the Spanish regime who insisted that Filipinos should adopt Catholic or Spanish-sounding names. Due to that, Hispanic names such as Carlos, Luiz, Rosa, and Teresa dominated the naming customs of the country. However, the younger generation is slowly shifting from the use of Spanish names to English names such as John Paul, Justine, Jasmine, and Mariel.
Ever wondered what your name means in the Tagalog language? To avoid confusion and learn more about Filipino names, this article will discuss the major basis for the naming conventions in the country and the common Tagalog names for males and females. If you are ready for that, then off we go!
Many of the Filipino names are based on the following conventions, which makes each name unique yet somewhat connected to its historical roots. As you will see in the lists of names below, most of the names are directly influenced by other cultures (Spanish and English names) since traditional Tagalog names are viewed as old-fashioned at present.
The Catholic church plays an integral role in Spanish culture. Since the Philippines have been colonized for such a long time, many of the Filipinos are still embracing the tradition of naming their babies based on the personas from the Bible or Catholic saints.
|Tagalog Name||Religious influence||Gender|
|Manuel||Emmanuel or “God is with us”||Male|
|Adriana||Names of popes||Female|
|Carmelita||Garden of Eden||Female|
Traditional Tagalog names are still existing today despite being viewed as old-fashioned. What makes this naming system special is that the parents usually name their little one based on a specific quality or characteristic.
|Makisig||Male||Elegant and dashing|
|Mayumi||Female||Shy and tender|
At present, Filipino parents are becoming more open to the idea of unique naming conventions. For instance, it is common to see reversals, combinations, mundane Tagalized variations, and Anglicization. Below are some of the examples for common Tagalog names that follow such naming instances.
|Olrac||Male||Reversal for the name “Carlo”|
|Dranreb||Male||Reversal for the name “Bernard”|
|Elliza||Female||Combination of “Elvin” and “Liza”|
|Tonio||Male||Tagalized version of “Anthony”|
|JayPee||Male||Tagalized version of “John Paul”|
|Edward||Male||Modernized version of “Eduardo”|
Ever heard of the name Juan dela Cruz? You see, this name is the direct Tagalog form of the English name John. As we have mentioned earlier, traditional Filipino families usually name their children based on the Bible - for this case he is "John of the Cross". One example of a popular personality with this name is the Filipino painter, Juan Luna.
Note: It is so popular that "Juan" even became the national personification of the country!
This name can be linked back to the English biblical name, "Joseph." One example of a notable bearer of this name is none other than the popular Filipino and national hero, José Protasio Rizal Mercado y Alonso Realonda.
Similar to the aforesaid names, the name "Pedro" has a direct link on the English biblical name, "Peter." One example of a notable name bearer is the Filipino Roman Catholic saint, Blessed Pedro Calungsod.
This name is very popular not only in the Philippines since the name is packed with "heavenly" vibes. You see, this originated from the Hebrew name, "Immanuel" meaning "God is with us." The popular personalities who hold this name are the former presidents of the Philippines, Manuel Roxas, and Manuel Quezon.
This name is a direct Tagalized version of the English form "Anthony." It is a more popular choice of name for traditional families with Spanish blood. One example of a notable name bearer is the Filipino army general, Antonio Narciso Luna de San Pedro y Novicio Ancheta.
Owning to the Catholic population of the country, many of the parents are still naming their daughter after the Spanish version of the biblical name, "Mary" the mother of Jesus. Today, more and more Filipinos prefer abbreviating the name ("Ma.") for example, Ma. Cristina. One example of a popular personality with this name is the Filipino-American journalist and co-founder of Rappler, Maria Anghelita Ressa.
This Spanish-sounding Filipino name is very popular due to its "heavenly" meaning. You see, this name is from a Latin word which means "follower of Christ." It is a highly popular choice of name among Filipinos that even the second-highest waterfall destination in the Philippines is named after it, Maria Cristina Falls.
Unlike our other entries above, this common name is deeply rooted in the traditional naming conventions. In Tagalog, "mutya" meaning a "prized amulet" or jewel in English. Aside from being a name, this word is so popular that it is used as one of the titles for women who join local beauty pageants in the country.
Similar to "mutya", this common Tagalog name is also rooted in the traditional naming conventions. The popular word itself is a direct translation for "joy." Local musicals such as Ang Huling El Bimbo still named one of their main characters with Ligaya as a metaphor for life's happiness.
This name is very popular not only in the Philippines since the name is packed with "heavenly" vibes. You see, what makes this Filipino name a special one is because it is from a Greek word which means "messengers of the good news."
Are you enjoying learning about the Filipino names? This is one of the reasons why you should learn this unique language.
What do you think of these names and which among them is your favorite? These are just some of the common Tagalog names and their meanings, but there is so much variety outside of these (especially now that certain adjustments are made to make sure of full uniqueness).
Filipinos are very keen on making remarkable names, in fact, there is news in the country wherein a Filipino mom even named her kid "Covid Bryant" in memory of Kobe Bryant's tragic death and the pandemic 🙂 And if that is not witty enough, you might be surprised that there is an actual baby in the Philippines with the name "Covidubidapdap!"
Interested to learn more Tagalog language vocabulary words like how to express simple words like hello and goodbye? Then you definitely should use the Ling Tagalog app to pump up your vocabulary and find the right words to fill the void and sound like a total native.