Popular Filipino Last Names/ Surnames With Meanings And Origins

45 Popular Filipino Last Names With Meanings And Origins

November 2, 2020 Updated March 1, 2021

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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
  2. Abdulatip
    Meaning: Servant of the gentle
    Origin: FilipinoMaguindanaoDagestaniAvarKumykIndonesian
  3. Abalos
    Meaning: Desert tunes
    Origin: Filipino
  4. Abayan
    Meaning: To stand beside
    Origin: Tagalog
  5. Aquino
    Meaning: A prosperous family in Italy. The family belonged to a historic noble house
    Origin: Spain, Portugal, Italy
  6. Baccay
    Meaning: To guard
    Origin: Tagalog
  7. Bacolod
    Meaning: Someone who lives near a hill or mound
    Origin: Bacolod on Negros Island in Western Visayas, Philippines
  8. Bacunawa
    Meaning: Serpent or dragon in Visasyan mythology
    Origin: Cebuano
  9. Baguinda
    Meaning: The Minangkabau title for prince
    Origin: Sulu Archipelago
  10. Balaguer
    Meaning: Someone from the city of Balaguer in Catalonia Spain.
    Origin: Arabic
  11. Balindong
    Meaning: Philosopher
    Origin: Maranao
  12. Baluyot
    Meaning: Bag, sack, or pouch
    Origin: Tagalog
  13. Basilio
    Meaning: Kingly or royal
    Origin: Filipino
  14. Baquiran
    Meaning: Forest
    Origin: Ilocano, Filipino
  15. Batungbakal
    Meaning: Stone, iron, or steel
    Origin: Tagalog, Filipino
  16. Bautista
    Meaning: Baptist
    Origin: Arabic
  17. Calinao
    Meaning: Clarity
    Origin: Cebuano
  18. Cruz
    Meaning: Cross
    Origin: Spanish
  19. Del Rosario
    Meaning: Rose garden, garland of roses, or rosarium
    Origin: Portugues, Spanish, Italian
  20. Dimagiba
    Meaning: Indestructible
    Origin: Tagalog
  21. Facundo
    Meaning: Talkative or eloquent
    Origin: Spanish, Portuguese
  22. Garcia
    Meaning: Son of Garcia; rule of the spear
    Origin: Iberian, Portugal, France
  23. Gatus
    Meaning: Hundred
    Origin: Cebuano
  24. Gonzales
    Meaning: Castle or son of Gonzalo
    Origin: Spain
  25. Habalo
    Meaning: Hurrying in order to overtake; pursuing; chasing; object of pursuit; claim
    Origin: Filipino
  26. Halili
    Meaning: Successor
    Origin: Tagalog
  27. Halimaw
    Meaning: Monster or a huge creature or thing
    Origin: Filipino
  28. Halina
    Meaning: Come along
    Origin: Filipino
  29. Halum
    Meaning: Gentle, forbearing, mild, patient, understanding, indulgent, slow to anger
    Origin: Arabic
  30. Hangad
    Meaning: Yearning or desire
    Origin: Tagalog
  31. Harap
    Meaning: Foreground; front; to face or meet
    Origin: Tagalog
  32. Harata
    Meaning: Turn morning, dawn, or daylight
    Origin: Filipino
  33. Henson
    Meaning: Son of Henry
    Origin: Filipino
  34. Hermano
    Meaning: Brother
    Origin: Spanish
  35. Laxamana
    Meaning: Admiral or officer
    Origin: Sanskrit
  36. Magasaysay
    Meaning: To tell, to narrate
    Origin: Cebuano
  37. Mendoza
    Meaning: Cold mountain
    Origin: Philippines
  38. Oracion
    Meaning: Prayer
    Origin: Spanish
  39. Perez
    Meaning: To breach or burst forth
    Origin: Spanish, Hebrew
  40. Posadas
    Meaning: Standstill or resting place
    Origin: Latin
  41. Radiomoda
    Meaning: Young king
    Origin: Maaranao
  42. Reyes
    Meaning: Kings or royals
    Origin: Spanish
  43. Salvador
    Meaning: Savior
    Origin: Spanish
  44. Santos
    Meaning: Saint
    Origin: Spanish
  45. 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: IrishFrenchRussianBrazilianItalian, Japanese, Welsh, Thai, Vietnamese, Korean, and African last names, among others.