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Updated April 28, 2022

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If you have a Filipino background and are looking to find some history on your last name, you may find what you are searching for here. Below we talk about the history and traditions of Filipino last names. There are lists of the most common Filipino surnames as well as ones of Tagalog origin, and more.

History of Filipino Last Names

The Philippines is a very diverse country. Their culture pulls inspiration from many others, and this includes names. Many Filipino surnames have roots in Arabic, Spanish, Portuguese, and even Chinese languages. You will also see Tagalog surnames as well since the Tagalog people make up a quarter of the population of the Philippines, making it the second most popular language.

The native surnames that the Filipino people had changed to Christian names once the Spanish colonized the Philippines in the 16th century. Naming traditions changed as many Filipinos converted to Catholicism.

Filipino Naming Practices

Spanish Governor-General Narciso Claveria tried to restrict the surnames used by the Filipino people. He did this by attempting to enforce the Claveria Decree in 1849 which would make all people in the Philippines adopt a Spanish surname.

In Modern days, children in the Philippines take on their mother’s father’s last names. This is a practice that came directly from the Spanish.

Common Filipino Last Names

  1. Castro - This is a topographic name for someone who lived near a castle or fortress. It was one of the approved surnames in the Claveria Decree of 1849.
  2. de la Cruz - This common Filipino last name means “of the cross” in Spanish.
  3. de Leon - This name was derived from the Spanish word for “lion.”
  4. Fernandez - This is a patronymic Spanish surname that means “son of Fernando.” It is also of Filipino origin.
  5. Garcia - This is an Iberian surname commonly found in the Philippines and Spain. It is patronymic for “son of Garcia.”
  6. Mendoza - This surname originated in the Basque region in Spain. It means “cold mountain.”
  7. Santos - This name means “saints” in Spanish and is of Christian origin.
  8. Tolentino - This is one of the most common Filipino last names. It originated in Italy as a habitational name for someone who lived in the city of Tolentino in the Macerata province.
  9. Torres - This last name is seen both in the Philippines and Spain as a habitational name for someone who lived in or near a tower.

Tagalog Last Names and Meanings 

  1. Baluyot - This Tagalog surname is derived from the Hiligaynon word “baluyot” which means “bag” or “pouch.”
  2. Bautista - This name of Tagalog origin is the Spanish word used to refer to John the Baptist.
  3. Capili - This last name means “fellow chosen” in Tagalog.
  4. Dalisay - This name is of Tagalog and Cebuano origin. It means “my faith is pure.”
  5. Dimaano - This surname is a combination of two Tagalog words “not” (di) and “have something happen” (maano). SO this name translated to “not touched.”
  6. Halili - In Tagalog, this last name means “successor.”
  7. Liwanag - This Filipino last name means “light” in Tagalog.
  8. Silang - This name has two meanings in Tagalog; “birth” and “rise.”

More Popular  Filipino Last Names

  1. Abalos -This Filipino surname means “desert ridge.”
  2. Abe - This name is derived from the Hebrew name “Abraham” and it means “a father of many.”
  3. Agbayani - This is an Ilocano Filipino last name and it means “to be heroic.”
  4. Almazan - This is a habitational name for the city of Almazan located in the Soria province.
  5. Bacolod - This is derived from the name of the “Stonehill city” Bacolod located in the Negros Occidental province in the Philippines. The Hiligaynon word “bakolod” also means “hill” or “mound.”
  6. Baquiran - This surname is derived from the Ilocano word “bakiran” which means “forest.”
  7. Chavez - This ancient Portuguese name means “keys” and it is used as an occupational surname in the Philippines for a key maker.
  8. Dagohoy - This last name is derived from the town Dagohoy that’s located in Bogol, Philippines.
  9. Del Rosario - This name means “of the rosary” in Spanish and Portuguese.
  10. Labrador - This is an occupational Filipino last name that was used for a laborer who worked the land.
  11. Suarez - This last name is less commonly found in the Philippines when compared to Spain or Cuba. It is patronymic for “son of Suero” or “son of Soeiro.”
  12. Trinidad - This Spanish name refers to “the Holy Trinity.” “La Trinidad” is a 1st class municipality and capital of Benguet, Philippines.
  13. Valle - This is a Spanish topographic name for someone who lived in or near a small valley.
  14. Velasco - This name is derived from the Basque word that means “crow” or “raven.”

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Stefanie Miller

About Stefanie

Stefanie is an experienced parenting writer and has published works in other publications… Read more

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