Filipinos are among the funniest people on earth as explained, in part, by their names. Because while other peoples from other countries bear the names that are native to their race, Filipinos only have borrowed names, not just from one country but from two or more.
Most commonly, their names are borrowed from two languages, namely: English and Spanish. In one person’s name, two languages usually serve as their sources. The first name is English; the last name is Spanish. Of course, some names are purely Spanish (both first and last names), while others have pure English names, particularly the kids of English-speaking natives.
Somehow, colonization could explain this. For nearly four hundred years, the Philippines was colonized by Spain. And since there was a time when the Spanish authorities had required the Filipinos to use Spanish names, their family names, or last names, became Spanish names. The Filipinos borrowed these names without returning them. Seriously, they assumed the Spanish surnames—family names, last names, and surnames are the same, by the way.
But right after the Spaniards left for good, another breed of colonizers set foot on these islands and occupied the archipelago—the Americans. It was then that Filipinos got exposed to another culture, another language. This paved the way for British and American names to become popular among Filipinos, or to make it to people’s full names. Instead of the name Berting, one’s name became George. Instead of Dukoy, the name became Arthur.
That’s for the first names because when the Americans came, Filipinos already had family names, which are mostly Spanish. Such names include Reyes, Perez, de la Cruz, Marquez, and many more. New generations of Filipinos then are bearing names that are half English and half Spanish. Samples of those names could be Albert Martinez, Arthur Delgado, Robert Cruz, Jane Colasito, Emerald Dequito, etc. Aren’t these unique? Yes, indeed.
First names or given names may even come as double or triple names, just like John Michael, or Rose Anne Joy. But then again, the family names are still Spanish—John Michael Parado, and Rose Anne Joy Fabillar. Still a combination of two languages and racial names.
That makes most of the modern-day Filipino names inconsistent. If both the first name and last name are Spanish or English, then there is consistency. But with the combination of the two, they become inconsistent. Perhaps, that’s our way of representing those colonizers in our names. That’s how we exhibit our colonial mentality, too. Thinking that by associating ourselves with these people, we elevate our status in society before the eyes of the world.
Unknown to us, it also implies our loss of identity. We no longer have originality. We have lost ourselves behind the shadow of other dominant races, cultures, and names. We lost our faces or traded them for something else. Name-wise, we are neither Spanish nor English; we aren’t Filipinos, either. We are nobody, with no names of our own.