45 Popular Filipino Last Names With Meanings And Origins

by Team Scary Mommy
Originally Published: 
filipino last names, scene in the Philippines
Christian Paul/Pexels

When you think about last names, the first thing that comes to mind is probably family history: tracing your family tree back through the generations to learn what you can from ancestors who shared your name. But last names are also an important part of cultural and political history, providing us with a glimpse into the major events (both good and bad) that shaped a nation. Filipino last names are a good example of this. For centuries, Filipinos used descriptive last names, most commonly, indicating that they are the mother or father of [their child’s name], or taking names referring to one of their physical traits, like being tall. But this all changed once Catholic missionaries came to the Philippines in 1565.

At that point, many Filipino families began adopting last names paying homage to various Catholic saints while others had Spanish surnames imposed on them. Filipino culture is a mixture of Spanish heritage. But they also have Chinese, American, and Latin influences as well. Filipino heritage balances between all of these different cultures but at its base, their use and appreciation for last names are tied to their love and respect for family and religion. Their belief in Bayanihan is known as the “community spirit.” (Fun fact: they also have one the longest Christmas celebrations).

So many families took on the same handful of names it made it difficult to keep track of the population. After that, in order to use a particular last name, Filipinos had to prove that it had been with their family for generations. Then, in 1849, the Spanish authorities decided to create a standardized system for Filipino last names. That sort of took, but many families (understandably) opted to keep their traditional Filipino last names instead. After all that history, here’s a look at some of the most popular Filipino last names, along with their meanings and origins.

  1. Abe

Meaning: Father of many Origin: Hebrew

  1. Abdulatip

Meaning: Servant of the gentle Origin: Filipino, Maguindanao, Dagestani, Avar, Kumyk, Indonesian

  1. Abalos

Meaning: Desert tunes Origin: Filipino

  1. Abayan

Meaning: To stand beside Origin: Tagalog

  1. Aquino

Meaning: A prosperous family in Italy. The family belonged to a historic noble house Origin: Spain, Portugal, Italy

  1. Baccay

Meaning: To guard Origin: Tagalog

  1. Bacolod

Meaning: Someone who lives near a hill or mound Origin: Bacolod on Negros Island in Western Visayas, Philippines

  1. Bacunawa

Meaning: Serpent or dragon in Visasyan mythology Origin: Cebuano

  1. Baguinda

Meaning: The Minangkabau title for prince Origin: Sulu Archipelago

  1. Balaguer

Meaning: Someone from the city of Balaguer in Catalonia Spain. Origin: Arabic

  1. Balindong

Meaning: Philosopher Origin: Maranao

  1. Baluyot

Meaning: Bag, sack, or pouch Origin: Tagalog

  1. Basilio

Meaning: Kingly or royal Origin: Filipino

  1. Baquiran

Meaning: Forest Origin: Ilocano, Filipino

  1. Batungbakal

Meaning: Stone, iron, or steel Origin: Tagalog, Filipino

  1. Bautista

Meaning: Baptist Origin: Arabic

  1. Calinao

Meaning: Clarity Origin: Cebuano

  1. Cruz

Meaning: Cross Origin: Spanish

  1. Del Rosario

Meaning: Rose garden, garland of roses, or rosarium Origin: Portugues, Spanish, Italian

  1. Dimagiba

Meaning: Indestructible Origin: Tagalog

  1. Facundo

Meaning: Talkative or eloquent Origin: Spanish, Portuguese

  1. Garcia

Meaning: Son of Garcia; rule of the spear Origin: Iberian, Portugal, France

  1. Gatus

Meaning: Hundred Origin: Cebuano

  1. Gonzales

Meaning: Castle or son of Gonzalo Origin: Spain

  1. Habalo

Meaning: Hurrying in order to overtake; pursuing; chasing; object of pursuit; claim Origin: Filipino

  1. Halili

Meaning: Successor Origin: Tagalog

  1. Halimaw

Meaning: Monster or a huge creature or thing Origin: Filipino

  1. Halina

Meaning: Come along Origin: Filipino

  1. Halum

Meaning: Gentle, forbearing, mild, patient, understanding, indulgent, slow to anger Origin: Arabic

  1. Hangad

Meaning: Yearning or desire Origin: Tagalog

  1. Harap

Meaning: Foreground; front; to face or meet Origin: Tagalog

  1. Harata

Meaning: Turn morning, dawn, or daylight Origin: Filipino

  1. Henson

Meaning: Son of Henry Origin: Filipino

  1. Hermano

Meaning: Brother Origin: Spanish

  1. Laxamana

Meaning: Admiral or officer Origin: Sanskrit

  1. Magasaysay

Meaning: To tell, to narrate Origin: Cebuano

  1. Mendoza

Meaning: Cold mountain Origin: Philippines

  1. Oracion

Meaning: Prayer Origin: Spanish

  1. Perez

Meaning: To breach or burst forth Origin: Spanish, Hebrew

  1. Posadas

Meaning: Standstill or resting place Origin: Latin

  1. Radiomoda

Meaning: Young king Origin: Maaranao

  1. Reyes

Meaning: Kings or royals Origin: Spanish

  1. Salvador

Meaning: Savior Origin: Spanish

  1. Santos

Meaning: Saint Origin: Spanish

  1. Tibayan

Meaning: To strengthen Origin: Tagalog

If you’re interested in the last names and meanings of other countries, check out our package on last names from around the world. See how many you recognize: Irish, French, Russian, Brazilian, Italian, Japanese, Welsh, Thai, Vietnamese, Korean, and African last names, among others.

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