Whenever we talk about apelyido or Filipino last names, what usually comes to mind are the popular Spanish-based surnames like Santos, Cruz, and Reyes. But since the Philippines' history shows that many other countries have conquered it, there is no surprise why some of the existing clan names have originated from its previous colonizers. For instance, it is also common to hear Chinese, Portuguese, and Italian-sounding names. If you'd like to learn more about these, then you've come to the right place!
As we have discussed in our previous post about the most common Tagalog names, there are different bases when it comes to earning your name back in the day. Prior to the prevalence of the Spanish culture in the Philippines, names are usually based on personal characteristics and physical traits. For this reason, there are names in the traditional family tree that sounds a bit odd. When the Spaniards came, and the Philippines became a major trade route, several families have started adopting different last names.
While not many history books recognize this fact, there are few anecdotes that state that some of the Spanish surnames then were simply given by the government and were based on everyday words, indigenous terms, and a few derogatory remarks. In fact, there used to be surnames like asuang, ungu, and ungu, which all means "monster" in the Tagalog language. Interested to know more about the origins and the most common Filipino surnames today? Read on below.
While there is no denying that most Filipino names are derived from Spanish and can be found on the Catalogo Alfabetico de Apellidos. On the flip side, newer variations of the name have been "Filipinized", which means that some of the letters may have changed or are even misspelled. To learn more about the Spanish surnames that the locals have used, check out the table below.
|Cruz||Cross||Cruces / De la Cruz / Cruse|
|Del Rosario||Rose garden / Rosary||Rosario / Rozario / De Sario|
|Gonzales||Castle / son of Gonzalo||Conzalaz / Gonzalas Gonsalas|
|Hermano||Brother||Herman / Germano / German|
|Oracion||Prayer||Orsen / Orsin / Orson|
|Reyes||Royals / Kings||Reyez / Reis / De los Reyes|
|Salvador||Savior||Salvatore / Salvato / Salcedo|
|Santos||Saint||De Santo / Santiz / Sentis|
|Torres||Towers||Torrez / Tores / Torez|
Aside from all those, let us just clarify that the most common surname based on the 2016 report of the Philippine Statistics is Valencia and it refers to the Spanish word meaning valor, vitality, and health.
Since different cultures can be found in the country, you might be surprised by how many families in the Philippines make use of surnames of Chinese origin.
|Gu||To care for|
|Lee / Li||Logic|
Now that we know the most common surnames in Spanish and Chinese let us now draw our attention to the 100% Tagalog surnames. As we have discussed before, most surnames in Tagalog are based on a specific characteristic of a person. With this being said, it is not uncommon to hear surnames starting with "dima" like the following:
Odd as it may be, these Filipino surnames have been passed down by their ancestors, and you'd be surprised that there are literally streets and towns named after these last names.
|Abayan||To stand aside||Tagalog|
|Bacolod||From Negros Island, Philippines||Western Visayas|
|Batungbakal||Stone / Steep||Tagalog / Filipino|
Now that we know the traditional Filipino surnames, we hope that you are able to show the world now that you know all the meanings behind almost every last name of Filipinos! But if you think that that is all the surnames we have for you today, we also have listed below many surnames that are also used in the country.
|Abe||Father of many|
|Aquino||St. Thomas Aquinas|
|Argüelles||Son of Arguello|
|Bautista||St. John the Baptist|
|Garcia||Son of Garcia|
|Perez||To penetrate / breach|
As we reach this part of the post, we hope that you were able to find the meanings behind the family names in the Philippines. Which of these Filipino surnames is your favorite? Let us know in the comment section down below. Also, suppose you are interested in getting to know more about the rich culture, traditions, and language of the Filipinos. In that case, we highly recommend that you read our most recommended learning resource below.
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