Filipino Culture

Naming

  • The Spanish heritage of the Philippines continues to influence the Filipino naming conventions.
  • The typical naming format is for someone to acquire their mother’s maiden name as a middle name, whilst their father’s surname is adopted as their surname (e.g. Maria CRUZ SANTOS). Sometimes the Spanish format of adding a ‘y’ (‘and’) is practiced in formal events (e.g. Maria CRUZ y SANTOS).
  • It is also common for someone to have more than one first name.
  • Many names in the Philippines are Spanish translations of Catholic saints (such as Miguel for Michael).
  • It is also common for sons to adopt their father’s name, thus acquiring the suffix of Junior (Jr.).
  • Women tend to adopt their husband’s surname, but it not uncommon for a woman to hyphenate their maiden name with their husband’s surname.
  • It is common for someone to have a nickname that is often a repeat of a syllable from that person’s name (e.g. ‘Mon-Mon’ as the nickname for ‘Ramon’). However, this is reserved for people who are close to the person, such as family and friends.
  • Another common way to gain a nickname is by the use of diminutive forms of words that describe physical characteristics. Such nicknames may be given to someone when they are young and will last with them throughout their life. These nicknames are used by friends and family to express endearment, rather than as an insult.
  • If meeting someone for the first time, use the appropriate title along with their whole surname.
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