Tag Archives: Filipino family names

Traditional Filipino Family Names

I’m writing about traditional Filipino family names to coincide with the Philippine observance of National Heroes Day on August 31.  Our forefathers were able to keep Filipino family names despite colonization of our country and I consider it a strong sense of patriotism or nationalism for them to keep our culture and identity as a people.

 I thought about this topic when I was watching a Filipino-American ( with an American father and a Filipina mother and now resides in the US) stand-up comedian who said in his spiel that we Filipinos are Spanish-Asians as can be gleaned from our family names which are much the same as Mexicans’ family names. Definitely, many or majority of Filipino family names are Spanish in origin. This dates back to the Spanish decree at that time to use Spanish family names to facilitate transacting with the government. However, I can easily call to mind Filipino family names which are not Spanish. There are Filipino surnames spelled in Spanish but are Filipino words or derived from Filipino words.

In my own family, there are really more Spanish surnames but I can trace Filipino surnames. Tolentino from my paternal grandfather is not Filipino as well as Geneblazo my paternal grandmother’s family name. Ramos, my maternal grandmother’s is definitely Spanish but Lerum from my maternal grandfather doesn’t sound Spanish.  (I’ve searched on Lerum because there is no equivalent Filipino word for it but that calls for another article, perhaps another Family website for the purpose)

Down the generations of my immediate family , I gathered these Filipino-sounding family names.

  1. Lerum
  2. Galang
  3. Narito
  4. Talidong
  5. Pagtakhan

Then I looked at the family names of our neighbors, relatives and friends in our hometown. There are a few families descended from Spaniards who married Filipinas e.g. Morato, Pica, Urrutia. There are many more Spanish surnames like those of my grandparents’ but there are also Filipino surnames like the following:

  1. Ambas
  2. Andal
  3. Banal
  4. Banta
  5. Balilo
  6. Bantug
  7. Batao
  8. Cabangon
  9. Caña
  10. Capiña
  11. Dalida
  12. Dapito
  13. Dapula
  14. Dayao
  15. Depusoy
  16. Dimaculangan
  17. Dimatera
  18.  Dimalanta
  19.  Dingalan
  20.  Dinglasan
  21.  Diomano 
  22.  Dulay
  23.  Ibay
  24.  Intoy
  25.  Lahati
  26.  Licas
  27.  Lusanta
  28.  Macayan
  29.  Macahia
  30.  Madarang
  31.  Magsino
  32.  Magsombol
  33.  Malabuyoc
  34.  Manalo
  35. Manigbas
  36.  Manga
  37. Mangunay
  38.  Marasigan
  39.  Mariquit
  40. Masaganda
  41.  Matibag
  42. Nuga
  43.  Pabalan
  44.  Pacaigue
  45.  Pagsuyuin
  46.  Pamilaran
  47. Panaligan
  48.  Paraiso
  49.  Peña
  50.  Pera
  51.  Sasot
  52. Sibulo
  53. Sumilang
  54.  Umali
  55.  Ylagan

There are more traditional family names from other regions based on people I personally encountered when I went to Metro Manila for my tertiary education and eventually settled to pursue my career.

In the national scene we have Presidents, government officials, businessmen and other public figures who bear traditional Filipino family names.

In my research about traditional Filipino family names, I found sites dedicated to them. This shows the longing of the people to know their roots. And by the simple act of asserting their freedom to use their own names, our forefathers have left us a valuable and enduring legacy.

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You might also like to read Filipino Naming Traditions and Practices