Filipino Names, Part Deux

Oh why not, why not, since self awakens groggy (much movement in living room: son arriving home at 1:30 AM, beagles skittering over hardwood floors at 5:30 AM) and learns from viewing blog stats that her second attempt to interest loyal blog readers in post about Gone Baby Gone has gone flat, as usual. Apologies, Ben: though you may be directing genius, people still not ready to perceive you as auteur rather than actor.

So self has yanked you — yes, she has.

To be replaced with this post, a wonderful post about that most unique of cultural phenomena, the Filipino name.

A long long time ago, dear blog reader, when self’s mentor Doreen F was still alive and still head of Department of Communications at self’s dear old alma mater, that exclusive “bastion on a hill” in environs of Manila, self was enabled to teach a class at the college.Β  It was a small class, consisting of less than 20 students. Self distinctly remembers one telling her about sighting “dwende” (little people, for those of you not insiders to the Filipino culture) around the Ateneo campus. Another had the perspicacity to inquire in class why self never discussed her husband (Ha ha ha ha ha!).

Since self is in “clean-up” mode and has been junking old stuff faster than you can type “Hallelujah”, self was ransacking her closet and tossing old papers when she came across this beauty, the class roster for the one and only class she ever taught at the Ateneo. And here are more wonderful names! Names she can use for future stories about college students in Manila! Here, in its entirety (missing one name, which was an illegible scrawl) are the first names of her students:

First Names (Male and Female):


And here are their last names, and self thinks blog readers should have tremendous fun mixing up last names with first names, and hopefully no one reading this blog knows any of these people:


There are more last names than first names, self does know how to count, dear reader. But some names were illegible. There was a time when self was made to take handwriting class for half an hour each week. This was at her other school, the fabled Assumption Convent, alma mater of such luminaries as Phil. President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Director Marilou Diaz-Abaya and also cousin in Virginia (who is the only recipient of the Mother Marie Eugenie Award that self knows personally). And when people look at self’s handwriting the response is always, “Wow!” (Now if only self could get that or similar response when people looks at self’s person, self would be so happy that there would be no need of this blog, which self suspects, deep down, caters to her very base need for attention). But, strangely enough, self did not earn A’s in that class (Once again, I digress).

Apropos of which, self is still immeresed in J.M. Coetzee’s account of his youth (told in third person, a first in self’s reading experience), and she learns that Coetzee was not anywhere near the top of his class in English. And five years ago he did win the Nobel Prize for Literature. So, self is sure that even now there is someone sitting in one of self’s classes who she is giving B’s and C’s and even D’s to, and this someone will go on to become a startlingly successful novelist, richer even than Danielle Steel. Self can feel it in her bones.

Stay tuned, dear blog reader, stay tuned.

11 thoughts on “Filipino Names, Part Deux

  1. Since you (we) are on the subject of names… your post made me recall the names in the numerous classes I taught at the University of the Philippines Baguio, and then much much later at De La Salle U in Manila. Memorable ones: Edgar Allan Pu. And how about Mary Johnston as a kid’s first name? (He pleaded with me to just call him Johnston; apparently he was named after the hospital where he was born). At DLSU there was a girl whose first name was Precious Irish; she had not a drop of Irish blood in her. πŸ™‚


  2. Sure! I’d be happy to help you think up a cool name for your Filipino restaurant! I’m very flattered that you asked.

    First of all: Where is it?

    And: What’s your specialty?

    And, finally: What’s your name? And your children’s names?


  3. Huloo, again. What a blast from the past and an inspiration to write again, Ma’am!

    Right after college I pursued writing for a couple of years. I did a lot of freelance work, news wires (breaking news for, reviews for magazines and even medical articles. After some time, I pursued other interests mostly small businesses and web development.

    Now I’m maintaining my small web development firm and an entrepreneurial blog which is slowly helping me revive the passion to write again, and maybe even inspire me for my old dream to write a non-fiction in the likes of Ken Wilber or Robert Pirsig – two authors that really rocked me to the core since college.

    Hope you don’t mind if I keep in touch once in awhile. Happy Holidays!


  4. I was just complaining to my sister today that I need to find more Filipino names because I end up using my family members names in my fiction and they think I’m writing about them. . .

    Anyways, I’m looking forward to meeting you face to face at AWP!


  5. Grace,

    In spite of writing this post, I can never find it at the right moment (when I need to name a character), so I still end up using the same names over and over πŸ™‚

    I’m likewise really looking forward to meeting you!


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