Popular Filipino Last Names/ Surnames With Meanings And Origins

23 Popular Filipino Last Names With Meanings And Origins

November 2, 2020 Updated January 6, 2021

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When we 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 15 of the most popular Filipino last names, along with their meanings and origins.

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: IrishFrenchRussianSpanishMexicanBrazilianPortugueseItalian, Japanese, Welsh, Thai, Vietnamese, Korean, and African last names, among others.

  1. Abe
    Meaning: Father of many
    Origin: Hebrew
  2. Abdulatip
    Meaning: Servant of the gentle or “servant of the”
    Origin: FilipinoMaguindanaoDagestaniAvarKumykIndonesian
  3. Abalos
    Meaning: Desert tunes
    Origin: Filipino
  4. Abayan
    Meaning: To stand beside
    Origin: Tagalog
  5. Baccay
    Meaning: To guard
    Origin: Tagalog
  6. Bacolod
    Meaning: Hill or mound. This is a name based on the region someone lives.
    Origin: Bacolod on Negros Island in Western Visayas, Philippines
  7. Bacunawa
    Meaning: This last name comes from the Cebuano word “bakunawa,” which is a serpent or dragon in Visasyan mythology.
    Origin: Cebuano
  8. Baguinda
    Meaning: This name is the Minangkabau title for prince.
    Origin: It comes from the Mininakabau prince of Sulu Archipelago, Rajah Baguinda Ali.
  9. Balaguer
    Meaning: This name refers to someone who is from the city of Balaguer in Catalonia Spain.
    Origin: Arabic.
  10. Balindong
    Meaning: Philosopher
    Origin: Maranao
  11. Baluyot
    Meaning: Bag, sack, or pouch
    Origin: Derives from the Hiligaynon word baluyot
  12. Basilio
    Meaning: Kingly or royal
    Origin: Filipino
  13. Baquiran
    Meaning: Forest
    Origin: Ilocano, Filipino. It derives from the word “bakiran.”
  14. Batungbakal
    Meaning: Stone, iron, or steel.
    Origin: Tagalog, Filipino. This name is a blend between the name “bato” and “bakal.”
  15. Calinao
    Meaning: Clarity
    Origin: Cebuano
  16. Cruz
    Meaning: Cross
    Origin: Spanish
  17. Dimagiba
    Meaning: Indestructible
    Origin: Tagalog
  18. Facundo
    Meaning: Talkative or eloquent
    Origin: Spanish and Portuguese
  19. Gatus
    Meaning: Hundred
    Origin: Cebuano
  20. Halili
    Meaning: Successor
    Origin: Tagalog
  21. Laxamana
    Meaning: Admiral or officer
    Origin: Sanskrit
  22. Magasaysay
    Meaning: To tell, to narrate
    Origin: Cebuano
  23. Mendoza
    Meaning: Cold mountain
    Origin: Philippines
  24. Oracion
    Meaning: Prayer
    Origin: Spanish
  25. Perez
    Meaning: To breach or burst forth
    Origin: Spanish, Hebrew
  26. Posadas
    Meaning: Standstill or resting place
    Origin: Latin
  27. Radiomoda
    Meaning: Young king
    Origin: Maaranao
  28. Reyes
    Meaning: Kings or royals
    Origin: Spanish
  29. Salvador
    Meaning: Savior
    Origin: Spanish
  30. Santos
    Meaning: Saint
    Origin: Spanish
  31. Tibayan
    Meaning: To strengthen
    Origin: Tagalog