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100 Filipino Last Names With Meanings: Common to Unique

Updated
Open up a new world of interesting Filipino last names with their own histories.

Filipino last names date back to the Spanish colonization of the Philippines, yet they only became official during the mid-19th century. Along with most Spanish-based surnames, many people in the Philippines also kept their native names. How do you crack the code behind this unique cultural tradition?

Discover every category of Filipino surnames, from Spanish ones to those originating in the Tagalog language. In addition, you’ll learn about famous namesakes, variations, and the correct way to pronounce each name.


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100 Traditional Filipino Last Names

Dig deep into Filipino last names, from the most popular to the very unusual.

Adlawan

In Cebuano, the language used in the southern Philippines, Adlawan means “in daylight.” In Visayan, another Filipino language, the root “adlaw” means “sun” or “day.”

  • Origin: Filipino, Cebuano
  • Meaning: Daytime
  • Pronunciation: AAD-laa-Wahn
  • Namesakes: Aloy Adlawan, a Filipino filmmaker known for the horror film Ouija (2007). Irma Adlawan, a Filipino actress known as the “Queen of Independent Cinema.”
  • Popularity: Adlawan is rare worldwide and primarily used in the Philippines, where it ranked 787th in 2014.
Unusual, Old

Agbayani

Agbayani is among Filipino last names taken from a nickname. It’s made up of the prefixes “ag-” and “bayani,” meaning “hero.” Agbayani is considered both a traditional Filipino given name and surname.

  • Origin: Filipino
  • Meaning: To be heroic
  • Pronunciation: Ahg-baey-AA-nee
  • Namesakes: Tetchie Agbayani, a Filipino actress known for The Emerald Forest (1985). Antonino Agbayani, Jr., an American judge on the Superior Court of San Joaquin County, California.
  • Popularity: Agbayani is rare worldwide and mainly used in the Philippines, ranking 895th in 2014.
Nicknames, Native

Alcantara

Alcantara is one of many Spanish-Filipino surnames associated with a place. It means “the bridge,” based on the Arabic “al-qantara,” and is the name of a Valencian town.

  • Origin: Filipino, Spanish
  • Meaning: The bridge
  • Pronunciation: Aul-KAAN-taa-Rah
  • Namesakes: Kyline Alcantara, a Filipino actress known for the series Inagaw na Bituin (2019). Arismendy Alcántara, a Dominican baseball player with the Chicago Cubs.
  • Popularity: Alcantara ranked 1,673rd worldwide and is primarily used in the Philippines, where it ranked 70th in 2014.
Geographical, Common

Andrada

Andrada is derived from the first name Andreas, meaning “man” and “warrior.” It represents a female spelling of Andreas and can mean “strong” or “brave.” Andrada is also a Romanian name meaning “queen of God that slays life.”

  • Origin: Filipino, Spanish
  • Meaning: Warrior
  • Pronunciation: Aan-DRAA-dah
  • Variations: Andrad, Andrade
  • Namesakes: Esteban Andrada, an Argentine footballer for Monterrey. Manuel Andrada, an Argentine polo player and gold medalist at the 1936 Summer Olympics.
  • Popularity: Andrada is rare worldwide, primarily used in Argentina, and ranked 449th in the Philippines in 2014.
Traditional, Unique

Angangco

Angangco also appears as Ang-Angco, but its meaning has yet to be discovered. Both forms of Angango are quite rare and only used in the Philippines.

  • Origin: Filipino
  • Meaning: Unknown
  • Pronunciation: Ahn-GAHNG-koh
  • Variations: Ang Anco
  • Popularity: Angangco is extremely rare worldwide, with 25 known occurrences in 2014, mainly in the Philippines.
Unusual, Rare

Anquino

Aquino means “eagle” in Spanish and is often used as a surname for Chinese Filipinos. It was initially an Italian name derived from Aquinas, which also appeared in the Lombardy house. In Italy, Aquino means “from the water” and “aquatic.”

  • Origin: Filipino, Spanish
  • Meaning: Eagles
  • Pronunciation: Ahn-KWEEN-oh
  • Variations: Aquino
  • Namesakes: Angel Aquino, a Filipino actress known for Dirty Linen (2023). Luis Aquino, a Puerto Rican baseball player for the Toronto Blue Jays.
  • Popularity: Anquino is extremely rare worldwide, with 161 known occurrences in 2014, primarily in Mexico.
Geographical, Royal

Bacolod

Bacolod is based on the Filipino-Hiligaynon language. It uses the root word “buklod,” meaning “stonehill,” for the city of Bacolod, Philippines. It also means “turtle,” “mound,” “hillock,” or “down” in the Philippines.

  • Origin: Filipino
  • Meaning: Stone hill
  • Pronunciation: Baak-OH-lawd
  • Namesakes: Mark Shandii Bacolod, a Filipino director known for Ben & Sam (2010). Nikki Bacólod, a Filipino singer and first runner-up in the 2005 Search for the Star in a Million season.
  • Popularity: Bacolod is rare worldwide and primarily used in the Philippines, ranking 892nd in 2014.
Geographical, Native

Baluyot

A good example of indigenous Tagalog surnames meaning “rice container” or “sack.” It was also an occupational name for someone who made sacks for a living.

  • Origin: Filipino, Spanish
  • Meaning: (Rice) sack
  • Pronunciation: Baa-LUW-yot
  • Namesakes: Sotero Baluyot, the Filipino Secretary of Public Works and Communications from 1951 to 1952.
  • Popularity: Baluyot is rare worldwide and mainly used in the Philippines, where it ranked 491st in 2014.
Occupational, Native

Bautista

Bautista is the Spanish form of “the baptizer” or “one who baptizes.” It’s also a first name inspired by the title of Saint John the Baptist, after whom many were named.

  • Origin: Filipino, Spanish
  • Meaning: Baptizer
  • Pronunciation: Bauw-TIYZ-Taa
  • Variations: Baptista, Batista, Battista
  • Namesakes: Andres D. Bautista, the chairman of the Commission on Elections of the Philippines from 2015 to 2017. Enrique Bautista, a Filipino sprinter who competed at the 1960 Summer Olympics.
  • Popularity: Bautista ranked 570th worldwide, is primarily used in Mexico, and ranked 9th in the Philippines in 2014.
Popular, Traditional

Canosa

Canosa denoted those from the Galician A Coruña province in Spain. It also means “cave” or “reed” when derived from the Latin “cana.”

  • Origin: Filipino, Spanish
  • Meaning: Cave
  • Pronunciation: Kaa-NOHS-ah
  • Variations: Di Canosa, De Canosa
  • Namesakes: Erick Cañosa, the current mayor of Gingoog, Misamis Oriental, in the Philippines, since 2019. Rodrigo Canosa, a Uruguayan footballer for Lautaro de Buin.
  • Popularity: Canosa is rare worldwide, primarily used in Spain, and ranked 1,286th in Uruguay in 2014.
Geographical, Unique
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Capili

Capili comes from the Filipino-Tagalog “pili,” meaning “to choose” and the Hispanic prefix “ka-.” It was likely originally a nickname given to a very “fussy and fastidious” person.

  • Origin: Filipino, Tagalog
  • Meaning: Fellow chosen
  • Pronunciation: Kaa-PEEL-iy
  • Popularity: Capili is rare worldwide and mainly used in the Philippines, ranking 523rd in 2014.
Nicknames, Native

Castillo

Castillo refers to a “dweller in, or near, the large fortified building,” often a “castle.” It originated as the Latin “castellum” and refers to those working in a castle or living nearby.

  • Origin: Filipino, Spanish
  • Meaning: Castle
  • Pronunciation: Kaas-TEE-yoh
  • Variations: Castello
  • Namesakes: Amy Perez-Castillo, a Filipino TV presenter called the “Best Female Morning Show Host” at the 6th Paragala Central Luzon Media Awards. Ramón Castillo, the president of Argentina from 1942 to 1943.
  • Popularity: Castillo ranked 204th worldwide, is primarily used in Mexico, and ranked 16th in the Philippines in 2014.
Occupational, Popular

Castro

Castro was given to someone who “lived at, or near, a castle or fortress” in Spain. It was part of a more extensive list of Spanish-Filipino last names included in the 1849 Claveria Decree, which instructed all Filipinos to officially take surnames.

  • Origin: Filipino, Spanish
  • Meaning: One who lived near a castle
  • Pronunciation: KAAS-troh
  • Variations: Castrillo
  • Namesakes: Fidel Castro, the leader of Cuba from 1959 to 2008. Jayson Castro, a Filipino basketball player for the TNT Tropang Giga.
  • Popularity: Castro ranked 215th worldwide, is mainly used in Mexico, and ranked 20th in the Philippines in 2014.
Popular, Famous

Cayabyab

Cayabyab is a traditional Filipino occupational name for a grain worker. It’s composed of the Tagalog “yabyab,” meaning “to pound rice or grains,” and the Hispanic prefix “ka.”

  • Origin: Filipino
  • Meaning: To pound rice
  • Pronunciation: Kaey-AHB-yahb
  • Namesakes: Ryan Cayabya, a Filipino musician named National Artist of the Philippines for Music in 2018.
  • Popularity: Cayabyab is rare worldwide and mainly used in the Philippines, where it ranked 317th in 2014.
Unusual, Occupational

Chavez

In Spain and Portugal, Chaves means “keys” when based on the Latin “clavis.” It denotes someone who could open a door, like a locksmith. Chavez also refers to a “descendant of Isabel” and appears as Chaves in Portuguese.

  • Origin: Filipino, Spanish
  • Meaning: Keys
  • Pronunciation: CHAA-Vehz
  • Variations: Chaves
  • Namesakes: Coronado Chávez, the president of Honduras from 1845 to 1847. Alexis Sebastian Chavez, an Argentine paralympic sprinter and bronze medalist at the 2020 Summer Paralympics.
  • Popularity: Chavez ranked 335th worldwide, is primarily used in Mexico, and ranked 96th in the Philippines in 2014.
Popular, Old

Corpuz

Corpuz represents a Filipino spelling of the Spanish Corpus, referring to the “feast of Corpus Christi.” It was used for those born during The Feast of the Blessed Sacrament.

  • Origin: Filipino, Spanish
  • Meaning: Body (of Christ)
  • Pronunciation: KOHR-Puuz
  • Variations: Corpus
  • Namesakes: Teddy Corpuz, a Filipino TV presenter and judge on the variety show It’s Showtime. Niña Corpuz, a Filipino broadcast journalist for the newscast TV Patrol.
  • Popularity: Corpuz is rare worldwide and mostly used in the Philippines, ranking 45th in 2014.
Unusual, Unique

Cortéz

Cortéz is the Spanish form of the Old French “corteis,” meaning “courteous” or “polite.” It was given as a nickname for someone known to be “refined” or “accomplished.”

  • Origin: Filipino, Spanish
  • Meaning: Courteous
  • Pronunciation: Kaor-TEHZ
  • Variations: Cortes
  • Namesakes: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the U.S. representative for New York’s 14th congressional district since 2019. Joana Cortez, a Brazilian tennis player who peaked at 204th in 2001.
  • Popularity: Cortéz ranked 859th worldwide, is mainly used in Mexico, and ranked 60th in the Philippines in 2014.
Nicknames, Popular

Cruz

Because Cruz means “cross,” it was used for a “dweller at, or near, a cross.” It first appeared in Castile, Spain, but became common among Filipino surnames.

  • Origin: Filipino, Spanish
  • Meaning: Cross
  • Pronunciation: KRUWS
  • Variations: Cruze
  • Namesakes: Penélope Cruz, a Spanish actress known for All About My Mother (1999). Ella Cruz, a Filipino actress known for the series Aryana (2012).
  • Popularity: Cruz ranked 158th worldwide, is primarily used in Mexico, and ranked 12th in the Philippines in 2014.
Popular, Traditional

Dasalan

Dasalan comes from the Filipino-Tagalog root “dasal.” It indicates a traditional “place of prayer.”

  • Origin: Filipino, Tagalog
  • Meaning: Place of prayer
  • Pronunciation: DAA-sah-LAAN
  • Popularity: Dasalan is extremely rare worldwide, with 125 known occurrences in 2014, mainly in the Philippines.
Rare, Native

De Guzman

De Guzman denotes a “descendant of Guzmán,” meaning “good man.” It was used for military members, especially those of a noble lineage. The village of Guzman is also located in Burgos, Spain.

  • Origin: Filipino, Spanish
  • Meaning: Descendent of Guzman
  • Pronunciation: Daey-GUHZ-maan
  • Variations: Guzman
  • Namesakes: Luis Guzmán, a Puerto Rican-American actor known for Traffic (2000). Ralph Guzman, a Filipino reporter for the GMA Network.
  • Popularity: De Guzman is uncommon worldwide and mainly used in the Philippines, where it ranked 13th in 2014.
Common, Geographical
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Dela Cruz

Dela Cruz is a Filipino-specific spelling of De la Cruz, meaning “of the cross.” In addition to the Philippines, this spelling is very popular in Mexico.

  • Origin: Filipino, Spanish
  • Meaning: Of the cross
  • Pronunciation: Daey-laa-KRUWS
  • Variations: De la Cruz
  • Namesakes: Francisco Dela Cruz, a member of the Northern Mariana Islands House of Representatives from 2006 to 2014. Josh Dela Cruz, a Filipino-American actor known for Blue’s Clues & You!
  • Popularity: Dela Cruz ranked 836th worldwide and is primarily used in the Philippines, where it ranked #1 in 2014.
Popular, Unique

De Leon

De Leon is the most literal and elegant Spanish way to announce you’re “from the kingdom of Leon.” It was associated with top families from the Kingdom of León or the Province of León.

  • Origin: Filipino, Spanish
  • Meaning: From Leon
  • Pronunciation: DAEY-lee-Ohn
  • Variations: Del Leon, DeLeón, Deleon
  • Namesakes: Joey de Leon, a Filipino comedian who created the variety show Eat Bulaga! José De León, a Puerto Rican baseball player for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
  • Popularity: De Leon ranked 1,017th worldwide and is mostly used in the Philippines, ranking 23rd in 2014.
Geographical, Common

Dimaala

Dimaala is a nickname for someone who doesn’t tire. It’s based on the Tagalog “dimalanta,” meaning “not wiltable,” which dates back to the Hindi language.

  • Origin: Filipino, Tagalog
  • Meaning: Doesn’t wilt
  • Pronunciation: DIY-maa-Laa
  • Popularity: Dimaala is very rare worldwide and mainly used in the Philippines.
Nicknames, Uncommon

Dimaandal

Dimaandal is one of many Tagalog surnames that start with “dima.” These names represent a personal trait, as in “one who cannot be shoved.”

  • Origin: Filipino, Tagalog
  • Meaning: Un-shovable
  • Pronunciation: Diy-MAAN-Dahl
  • Popularity: Dimaandal is very rare worldwide and primarily used in the Philippines.
Rare, Unusual

Dimabuyû

Dimabuyû means “cannot be provoked” in Tagalog. Like the other names based on personal traits, it doesn’t appear much outside the Philippines.

  • Origin: Filipino, Spanish
  • Meaning: Un-provokable
  • Pronunciation: Dee-maa-BUEY-uw
  • Popularity: Dimabuyû is very rare worldwide and primarily used in the Philippines.
Traditional, Rare

Dimaculangan

Dimaculangan derives from the Tagalog and Hindi “makulangan,” meaning “can’t be reduced.” The Tagalog “di makulangan” also means “cannot be missed” or “the person is never lacking.”

  • Origin: Filipino, Tagalog
  • Meaning: To be not lacking
  • Pronunciation: DEE-Maak-uw-LAANG-ahn
  • Variations: Dimkulangan
  • Namesakes: Ney Dimaculangan, a Filipino singer and former member of 6cyclemind. Rhea Dimaculangan, a Filipino volleyball player with the Philippines women’s national team.
  • Popularity: Dimaculangan is rare worldwide and mainly used in the Philippines, where it ranked 838th in 2014.
Unusual, Rare

Dimaguiba

Dimaguiba denotes someone who is “indestructible” in Tagalog. It’s made up of “di,” meaning “no,” and “giba,” meaning “demolished.” Hesus Nazareno “Tanggol” Dimaguiba is a character’s name in the series Batang Quiapo.

  • Origin: Filipino, Tagalog
  • Meaning: Impenetrable
  • Pronunciation: Dih-MAA-gee-Baa
  • Variations: Dimagiba
  • Popularity: Dimaguiba is extremely rare worldwide, with 28 known occurrences in the Philippines in 2014.
Unusual, Native

Dimalanta

Dimalanta means “doesn’t wilt” or “always fresh” when referring to a plant. It’s used as a Filipino nickname for someone “not wiltable.”

  • Origin: Filipino, Tagalog
  • Meaning: Does not wilt
  • Pronunciation: Dee-maa-LAANT-ah
  • Namesakes: Al Dimalanta, a Filipino musician, and member of the punk band Dead Ends.
  • Popularity: Dimalanta is rare worldwide and primarily used in the Philippines, ranking 1,442nd in 2014.
Nicknames, Traditional

Dimasalang

Among Filipino last names with Tagalog origins, their meanings also focus on someone’s personality. Many surnames, starting with “dima,” describe certain traits for each person with the name.

  • Origin: Filipino, Tagalog
  • Meaning: Untouchable
  • Pronunciation: DEE-Maa-sah-LAANG
  • Variations: Dimasilang
  • Popularity: Dimasalang is extremely rare worldwide, with 116 known occurrences in 2014, mainly in the Philippines.
Native, Rare

Dimatibág

Dimatibág is used for someone who “cannot be harmed.” It resembles the Filipino first name Dimatibai and has no popularity statistics as a surname.

  • Origin: Filipino, Tagalog
  • Meaning: Cannot be harmed
  • Pronunciation: Dih-MAA-tiy-Baag
  • Variations: Matibag
Unusual, Rare
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Dimayuga

Dimayuga consists of the Tagalog “di,” from a Hindi word meaning “never” and “mauga,” meaning “to uproot.” It’s given to someone thought to be “unshakable.”

  • Origin: Filipino, Tagalog
  • Meaning: Unshakable
  • Pronunciation: Diy-maa-YEW-gaa
  • Namesakes: Efraín Dimayuga, a Mexican footballer for Acapulco.
  • Popularity: Dimayuga is rare worldwide and mainly used in the Philippines, where it ranked 1,186th in 2014.
Strong, Common

Divata

Divata is based on the Sanskrit Devata, which means “goddess.” In Filipino mythology, “diwatas” were supernatural beings who oversaw the everyday world.

  • Origin: Filipino, Sanskrit
  • Meaning: Goddess
  • Pronunciation: Dih-VAA-taa
  • Popularity: Divata is extremely rare worldwide, with only five known occurrences in 2014, primarily in the DR Congo.
Old, Strong

Dizon

Dizon is a Filipino last name linked to China. In terms of birth order, it means “second grandchild.” Filipinos of Chinese descent represent nearly 2% of the Philippines’ population.

  • Origin: Filipino, Chinese
  • Meaning: Second grandchild
  • Pronunciation: Dee-ZAHN
  • Namesakes: Mylene Dizon, a Filipino actress known for 100 (2008). Jordon Dizon, an American football player and current National Scout for the Philadelphia Eagles.
  • Popularity: Dizon is uncommon worldwide and primarily used in the Philippines, running 42nd in 2014.
Traditional, Old

Domingo

Domingo means “Sunday” in Spanish and originated from the Latin Dominicus, meaning “of the Lord.” Domingo refers to Sunday, which is “the day of the Lord” in Catholicism.

  • Origin: Filipino, Spanish
  • Meaning: Sunday
  • Pronunciation: Doh-MIHNG-oh
  • Variations: Domingos
  • Namesakes: Plácido Domingo, a Spanish opera singer best known as one of the Three Tenors. Robi Domingo, a Filipino VJ who competed in Pinoy Big Brother: Teen Edition Plus in 2008.
  • Popularity: Domingo is uncommon worldwide and mainly used in the Philippines, where it ranked 24th in 2014.
Traditional, Common

Elyas

Elyas is a unique spelling of the first name Elia from the Hebrew Eliyahu. Its many forms mean “the highest God” or “my God is Yahweh.” Elyas is part of a rich naming tradition in the Philippines, Ethiopia, and Malaysia.

  • Origin: Filipino, Spanish
  • Meaning: Highest God
  • Pronunciation: EHL-Yaas
  • Variations: Elias
  • Popularity: Elyas is rare worldwide and primarily used in Sudan, ranking 304th in 2014.
Unique, Old

Espinosa

Espinosa comes from the Latin “spinosus,” meaning “thorny thicket.” It was used to refer to various towns and villages known for their many “thorns.”

  • Origin: Filipino, Spanish
  • Meaning: Thorny
  • Pronunciation: Ehs-pih-NOUW-Saa
  • Variations: Espinoza
  • Namesakes: Luisito Espinosa, a Filipino boxer and the WBC featherweight champion from 1995 to 1999. Rod Espinosa, a Filipino comics creator known for The Courageous Princess.
  • Popularity: Espinosa ranked 899th worldwide, is primarily used in Mexico, and ranked 90th in the Philippines in 2014.
Geographical, Popular

Espiritu

Espiritu is derived from the Spanish phrase “del Espiritu Santo,” meaning “of the Holy Spirit.” It was considered a cute Pinoy name given to babies born during the Pentecost.

  • Origin: Filipino, Spanish
  • Meaning: Of the Holy Spirit
  • Pronunciation: Ehs-PEE-ree-Tuw
  • Variations: Espirito
  • Namesakes: Christian Espiritu, a Filipino fashion designer and the chief couturier of Imelda Marcos. Elmer Espiritu, a Filipino basketball player for Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters.
  • Popularity: Espiritu is rare worldwide and mainly used in the Philippines, ranking 81st in 2014.
Unique, Uncommon

Fabroa

Fabroa means “lucky” in Tagalog and is considered a variation of Fabro. It’s one of the rarest Tagalog surnames and doesn’t appear much outside the Philippines.

  • Origin: Filipino, Tagalog
  • Meaning: Lucky
  • Pronunciation: Faa-BROAH
  • Variations: Fabro
  • Popularity: Fabroa is very rare worldwide and primarily used in the Philippines.
Unusual, Rare

Fajardo

Fajardo is a Spanish-Galician surname referring to someone living near a “beech tree” or “beech wood.” It dates back to the Latin “fagea,” meaning “arbor beech tree.”

  • Origin: Filipino, Spanish
  • Meaning: Beech tree
  • Pronunciation: Faa-HHAAR-doh
  • Namesakes: Franzen Fajardo, a Filipino TV host and former contestant on the series Pinoy Big Brother. Sharif Fajardo, a Puerto Rican basketball player with the Puerto Rican national basketball team.
  • Popularity: Fajardo ranked 1,977th worldwide and is mainly used in the Philippines, where it ranked 88th in 2014.
Geographical, Common

Felongco

Felongco’s meaning is unknown in Tagalog. It mostly appears in the Philippines and differs from the many surnames that describe someone’s personality.

  • Origin: Filipino, Tagalog
  • Meaning: Unknown
  • Pronunciation: Feh-LAHN-koh
  • Namesakes: Noel Felongco, the lead convenor of the National Anti-Poverty Commission of the Philippines since 2018.
  • Popularity: Felongco is very rare worldwide and mainly used in the Philippines.
Uncommon, Unusual
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Fernandez

Fernandez is a patronymic surname for a “son of Fernando,” the Spanish form of Ferdinand. Fernando means “brave traveler,” “bold voyager,” or “adventurer.”

  • Origin: Filipino, Spanish
  • Meaning: Son of Fernando
  • Pronunciation: Fehr-NAAN-dehs
  • Variations: Fernandes
  • Namesakes: Rudy Fernández, a Spanish basketball player for Real Madrid. Mark Fernandez, a Canadian pair skater and the 2007 Canadian national junior silver medalist.
  • Popularity: Fernandez ranked 162nd worldwide, is primarily used in Spain, and ranked 11th in the Philippines in 2014.
Traditional, Popular

Ferrer

Someone named Ferrer first acted as “the farrier,” or someone who made horseshoes. The first official use of Ferrer as a surname in the Philippines occurred in 1824 in Pangasinan.

  • Origin: Filipino, Spanish
  • Meaning: The farrier
  • Pronunciation: Feh-REHR
  • Variations: Ferrero
  • Namesakes: James Ferrier, an Australian golfer and winner of the 1947 PGA Championship. Paul Ferrier, a French dramatist known for the play “L’Art de tramper les femmes” (1890).
  • Popularity: Ferrer ranked 1,642nd worldwide and is mainly used in the Philippines, ranking 52nd in 2014.
Common, Occupational

Flores

Flores comes from the Spanish first name Floro, meaning “flower.” It originated with the Latin “flos” and “floris,” both given to those living near where flowers grow.

  • Origin: Filipino, Spanish
  • Meaning: Flowers
  • Pronunciation: FLOH-rehs
  • Variations: Florez
  • Namesakes: Von Flores, is a Filipino-Canadian actor known for the series Kung Fu: The Legend Continues. Cristian Flores, a Mexican footballer and current manager of the Mexico national under-15 team.
  • Popularity: Flores ranked 148th worldwide, is mainly used in Mexico, and ranked 7th in the Philippines in 2014.
Traditional, Popular

Francisco

Francisco is better known as the Portuguese form of the Latin Franciscus, meaning “frank” or “Frenchman.” It’s also given to a “son of Francis.” One of the Spanish nicknames for Francisco is Pancho.

  • Origin: Filipino, Spanish
  • Meaning: Frenchman
  • Pronunciation: Fraan-SIS-koh
  • Variations: Francis
  • Namesakes: Jason Francisco, a Filipino actor who competed in the series Pinoy Big Brother: Double Up. Frank Francisco, a Dominican baseball player for the Texas Rangers.
  • Popularity: Francisco ranked 512th worldwide, is primarily used in Angola, and ranked 17th in the Philippines.
Popular, Strong

Garcia

Garcia describes a “descendant of Garcia,” the Spanish form of Gerald, meaning “spear” and “firm.” It’s sometimes linked to the Basque “garze(a),” meaning “young” when talking about a “young bear.”

  • Origin: Filipino, Spanish
  • Meaning: Son of Garcia
  • Pronunciation: Gaar-SEE-ah
  • Variations: Garsea
  • Namesakes: Caloy Garcia, a Filipino basketball coach for the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters. Cheska Garcia, a Filipino actress, appearing on the series Ang TV from 1992 to 1996.
  • Popularity: Garcia ranked 47th worldwide, is mostly used in Mexico, and ranked 2nd in the Philippines in 2014.
Strong, Popular

Gatchalian

Gatchalian is composed of the Tagalog “gat,” meaning “lord,” “sa,” an object marker, and Li-Han, the former name of Malolos. It honors a historic ruler of Ma-i, a pre-colonial Filipino state in the ancient world.

  • Origin: Filipino, Tagalog
  • Meaning: Ruler of Ma-i
  • Pronunciation: Gaa-CHAA-liy-Ahn
  • Variations: Gat Salian, Gatsalian
  • Namesakes: Rex Gatchalian, the 28th Filipino Secretary of Social Welfare and Development since 2023. Win Gatchalian, the Filipino Mayor of Valenzuela from 2004 to 2013.
  • Popularity: Gatchalian is rare worldwide and mainly used in the Philippines, where it ranked 497th in 2014.
Royal, Old

Gonzalez

Gonzales is a Spanish occupational name for a “metalworker” or “smith.” It’s also a form of the Latin Gundisalvus and ranked 13th among U.S. surnames in 2017.

  • Origin: Filipino, Spanish
  • Meaning: Metal worker
  • Pronunciation: Gahn-ZAA-lehs
  • Variations: Gonsales
  • Namesakes: Andrew Gonzalez, a Filipino presidential Adviser for Academics and Research at De La Salle University from 2003 to 2005. Raul Gonzalez, the Filipino press secretary for President Diosdado Macapagal from 1961 to 1965.
  • Popularity: Gonzalez ranked 62nd worldwide, is primarily used in Mexico, and ranked number one in Venezuela, Argentina, Chile, and Paraguay.
Occupational, Popular

Guinto

Guinto comes from the Tagalog “ginto,” meaning “gold.” It was first an occupational name for a gold miner or gold trader.

  • Origin: Filipino, Spanish
  • Meaning: Gold
  • Pronunciation: GWEEN-toh
  • Variations: Guinta
  • Namesakes: León Guinto, the mayor of the City of Greater Manila in the Philippines from 1942 to 1944.
  • Popularity: Guinto is rare worldwide and primarily used in the Philippines, ranking 348th in 2014.
Occupational, Unique

Gutierrez

Gutierrez refers to a “son (or descendent) of Gutierre,” the Spanish variant of Walter. It means “he who rules” and is currently ranked 24th among Hispanic surnames.

  • Origin: Filipino, Spanish
  • Meaning: Son of the small man
  • Pronunciation: Guw-tee-EHR-ehs
  • Variations: Gutierez, Guterrez, Guiterrez
  • Namesakes: Chin-Chin Gutierrez, a Filipina actress known for Maalaala Mo Kaya: The Movie (1994). Raymond Gutierrez, a Filipino-American TV host for Pinoy Idol in 2008.
  • Popularity: Gutierrez ranked 187th worldwide, is mainly used in Mexico, and ranked 46th in the Philippines in 2014.
Popular, Traditional

Halili

In Filipino-Tagalog, Halili means “successor,” “substitute,” or “replacement.” It was typically used for political successors in government but is also an Albanian name based on Halil.

  • Origin: Filipino, Tagalog
  • Meaning: Successor
  • Pronunciation: Haa-LEE-liy
  • Variations: Hallilee, Halliley, Halily
  • Namesakes: Mico Halili, a Filipino sportscaster for the PBA and UAAP basketball games. Sheena Halili, a Filipino actress known for the series Marimar (2007).
  • Popularity: Halili is rare worldwide and primarily used in the Philippines, where it ranked 1,197th in 2014.
Strong, Native
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Hermedilla

Hermedilla refers to any Filipino from the Batangas province in Southern Tagalog. It came into being while under Spanish rule and is rarely heard today.

  • Origin: Filipino, Spanish
  • Meaning: From Batangas
  • Pronunciation: Hehr-meh-DEE-yaa
  • Variations: Hermella
  • Popularity: Hermedilla is extremely rare worldwide, with 220 known occurrences in 2014, mostly in the Philippines.
Old, Rare

Lee

Lee started as a Chinese surname meaning “plum tree,” which became common in Korea and Vietnam. There is also an English version of Lee, meaning “meadow.” It appears in the Philippines but not as much as in other Southeast Asian countries.

  • Origin: Filipino, Chinese
  • Meaning: Plum tree
  • Variations: Li
  • Namesakes: Brandon Lee, an American actor known for The Crow (1994). Jim Lee, a Korean-American comic-book artist and current president of DC Comics.
  • Popularity: Lee ranked 232nd worldwide, is mainly used in the U.S., and ranked 3rd in Malaysia in 2014.
Popular, Traditional

Limcangco

Limcangco is an example of Chinese surnames used in the Philippines. It relates to similar Chinese last names like Lin and Lam, which are linked to those from China’s Fujian province.

  • Origin: Filipino, Chinese
  • Meaning: Unknown
  • Pronunciation: Lihn-KAANG-koh
  • Variations: Limcanco
  • Popularity: Limcangco is extremely rare worldwide, with 180 known occurrences in 2014, primarily in the Philippines.
Unusual, Rare

Lopez

In Spanish, Lopez means “the son of Lope or Lupe.” It also translates to “son of the wolf,” when taken from the Latin “lupus,” meaning “wolf.”

  • Origin: Filipino, Spanish
  • Meaning: Son of Lupe
  • Pronunciation: LOH-pehz
  • Variations: Lopes
  • Namesakes: Fernando Lopez, the vice president of the Philippines from 1965 to 1972. Angelica Lopez, a Filipina beauty pageant contestant, crowned Binibining Pilipinas International 2023.
  • Popularity: Lopez ranked 59th worldwide, is mainly used in Mexico, and ranked 14th in the Philippines in 2014.
Strong, Popular

Lumaban

Like other Pinoy and Pinay surnames, Lumaban was originally a nickname. It describes someone who “likes to fight” and is mainly heard in the Philippines.

  • Origin: Filipino, Tagalog
  • Meaning: To fight
  • Pronunciation: LEW-maa-Baan
  • Popularity: Lumaban is very rare worldwide and mainly used in the Philippines.
Unique, Uncommon

Macaraeg

Macaraeg is continually associated with the Tagalog Macaraig. This nickname uses the root “daig,” meaning “to have surpassed or excelled.” It also includes the Spanish prefix “maca,” meaning “ability” or “cause.”

  • Origin: Filipino, Tagalog
  • Meaning: To excel
  • Pronunciation: MAAK-uh-Raeg
  • Variations: Macaraig
  • Popularity: Macaraeg is rare worldwide and primarily used in the Philippines, ranking 395th in 2014.
Nicknames, Unique

Magtanggol

Magtanggol means “to defend” or “protect someone from harm” in Tagalog. It geographically refers to “barrios,” or “villages,” located across the Philippines. Victor Magtanggol is also the name of a 2018 Filipino fantasy TV series.

  • Origin: Filipino, Tagalog
  • Meaning: To defend from harm
  • Pronunciation: MAAG-taang-Guwl
  • Namesakes: Eleuterio Adevoso (known as Terry Magtanggol), a Filipino war hero during the Japanese occupation of the Philippines.
  • Popularity: Magtanggol is extremely rare worldwide, with 231 known occurrences in 2014, mainly in the Philippines.
Nicknames, Native

Manalo

Manalo means “to win” in Tagalog, yet it’s also linked to the Spanish Manaló, a form of Maneló. Maneló itself derives from the first name Manel, a nickname for Emmanuel.

  • Origin: Filipino, Tagalog
  • Meaning: To win
  • Pronunciation: Maa-NAA-loh
  • Variations: Maneló
  • Namesakes: Marlon Manalo, a Filipino pool player and gold medalist at the 1991 Southeast Asian Games. John Manalo, a Filipino actor known for Feng Shui (2004).
  • Popularity: Manalo is rare worldwide and mainly used in the Philippines, where it ranked 40th in 2014.
Nicknames, Traditional

Mariano

Mariano dates back to Latin, where it denoted a form of Marius, meaning “manly.” A patronymic surname for a “son of Mario,” Mariano may allude to the Virgin Mary, known as Maria in the Philippines.

  • Origin: Filipino, Spanish
  • Meaning: Son of Mario
  • Pronunciation: Mah-ree-AH-noh
  • Variations: Marianos, Mariana
  • Namesakes: Belle Mariano, a Filipino actress appearing in the series Goin’ Bulilit (2005). Nelson Mariano, a Filipino chess player and the 1994 Asian Junior Chess Champion.
  • Popularity: Mariano ranked 1,527th worldwide, is primarily used in Brazil, and ranked 65th in the Philippines in 2014.
Traditional, Common

Martinez

Like other Spanish surnames, Martinez is based on the first name Martin and the Latin Martinus. It originally refers to Mars, the Roman god of fertility and war.

  • Origin: Filipino, Spanish
  • Meaning: Son of Martin
  • Pronunciation: Maar-TEE-nehz
  • Variations: Martiniz
  • Namesakes: Albert Martinez, a Filipino actor known for Rosario (2010). Michael Christian Martinez, a Filipino figure skater and the 2015 Asian Figure Skating Trophy champion.
  • Popularity: Martinez ranked 63rd worldwide, is primarily used in Mexico, and ranked 2nd in Colombia and El Salvador.
Traditional, Popular
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Masipag

Masipag is one of a few Filipino surnames mostly limited to the Philippines. In Tagalog, Masipag describes someone who is both “diligent” or “hardworking.”

  • Origin: Filipino, Tagalog
  • Meaning: Hardworking
  • Pronunciation: MAA-sih-Paag
  • Popularity: Masipag is extremely rare worldwide, with 244 known occurrences in 2014, mainly in the Philippines.
Native, Nicknames

Mendoza

Mendoza is a combination of the Basque “mendi,” meaning “mountain,” and “(h)otz,” meaning “cold.” It was given to a “son of the mountain dweller” in Spain and ended up in the Philippines.

  • Origin: Filipino, Spanish
  • Meaning: Cold mountain
  • Pronunciation: Mehn-DOH-zaa
  • Variations: Mendosa, Mendozo
  • Namesakes: Pauline Mendoza, a Filipino actress appearing in the series “Babawiin Ko ang Lahat” (2021). Javier Mendoza, a Mexican boxer and former IBF Light flyweight champion.
  • Popularity: Mendoza ranked 209th worldwide, is primarily used in Mexico, and ranked 5th in the Philippines in 2014.
Geographical, Popular

Mercado

Mercado originally denoted someone “from Mercado” but became a name for someone who lived “near a marketplace.” It could also be used for someone who worked at a marketplace, from “mercatus” in Latin.

  • Origin: Filipino, Spanish
  • Meaning: Marketplace
  • Pronunciation: Mehr-KAA-doh
  • Variations: Mercados
  • Namesakes: Jerges Mercado Suárez, the Bolivian president of the Chamber of Deputies since November 2022. Óscar Mercado, a Colombian-American baseball player with the San Diego Padres.
  • Popularity: Mercado ranked 995th worldwide and is mainly used in the Philippines, ranking 36th in 2014.
Common, Traditional

Morales

Morales represents a Spanish place name for two locations in Spain and one in Guatemala. It also comes from the Spanish “mora,” meaning “mulberry” or “blackberry.”

  • Origin: Filipino, Spanish
  • Meaning: Mulberry tree
  • Pronunciation: Moh-RAA-lehs
  • Variations: de Morales
  • Namesakes: Vina Morales, a Filipino singer and Album of the Year winner at the 2000 Awit Awards. Natalie Morales, an American journalist and co-host of the show The Talk.
  • Popularity: Morales ranked 170th worldwide, is mainly used in Mexico, and ranked 35th in the Philippines in 2014.
Popular, Geographical

Ocampo

An alternate Spanish form of the Galician Docampo, which describes “the field.” Ocampo is very popular in the Philippines, where it also appears as Deocampo.

  • Origin: Filipino, Spanish
  • Meaning: From the field
  • Pronunciation: Oh-KAAMP-oh
  • Variations: Deocampo
  • Namesakes: Satur Ocampo, a member of the Philippines House of Representatives from 2001 to 2010. Ambeth Ocampo, a Filipino journalist with the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
  • Popularity: Ocampo ranked 1,645th worldwide and is mainly used in the Philippines, where it ranked 69th in 2014.
Geographical, Common

Ortega

Ortega is the name of several towns across Spain known for “ortiga,” meaning “nettle.” Ortega is also a name meaning “black grouse,” given to a “dweller at the sign of the grouse.”

  • Origin: Filipino, Spanish
  • Meaning: Nettle, grouse
  • Pronunciation: Ohr-TAY-gaa
  • Variations: Ortego
  • Namesakes: Ashley Ortega, a Filipino-German actress appearing in the series My Destiny. Daniel Ortega, the president of Nicaragua since 2007.
  • Popularity: Ortega ranked 385th worldwide, is mainly used in Mexico, and ranked 93rd in the Philippines in 2014.
Popular, Traditional

Pabalat

Pabalat is a Tagalog term for “cover” or an occupational name for a “saddle maker.” Pabalat also refers to a unique papercutting style that first occurred in the Bulacan province of the Philippines.

  • Origin: Filipino, Tagalog
  • Meaning: Saddle
  • Pronunciation: Paa-baa-LAAT
  • Popularity: Pabalat is extremely rare worldwide, with 49 known occurrences in 2014 in the Philippines.
Occupational, Rare

Panganiban

Panganiban derives from the Tagalog “panganib,” which means “to be careful about possible danger.” It’s also a nickname for someone aware of danger.

  • Origin: Filipino, Spanish
  • Meaning: Aware of danger
  • Pronunciation: Paan-gaa-NEE-bahn
  • Namesakes: Angelica Panganiban, a Filipino-American actress awarded the 2014 Bert Marcelo Lifetime Achievement Award. Artemio Panganiban, the 21st Supreme Court Chief Justice of the Philippines from 2005 to 2006.
  • Popularity: Panganiban is rare worldwide and primarily used in the Philippines, ranking 126th in 2014.
Native, Nicknames

Pascua

Pascua means “Easter” in Spanish and is linked to the first name Pascual. Pascua is also a nickname for someone born around Easter.

  • Origin: Filipino, Spanish
  • Meaning: Easter
  • Pronunciation: PAAS-kwaa
  • Variations: Pasqua
  • Namesakes: Lucila Pascua, a Spanish basketball player and silver medalist at the 2016 Summer Olympics.
  • Popularity: Pascua is rare worldwide and mostly used in the Philippines, where it ranked 71st in 2014.
Old, Unique
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Perez

Perez means “son of Pero or Pedro,” both Spanish variations of Peter. As a Sephardic-Jewish surname, Perez is currently ranked 4th among surnames in Israel.

  • Origin: Filipino, Spanish
  • Meaning: Son of Pedro
  • Pronunciation: Peh-REHZ
  • Variations: Peretz
  • Namesakes: A.J. Perez, a Filipino actor appearing in the miniseries Your Song Presents: Underage (2009). Mariano Ospina Pérez, the 17th president of Colombia between 1946 and 1950.
  • Popularity: Perez ranked 77th worldwide, is mainly used in Mexico, and ranked 2nd in Guatemala and The Dominican Republic.
Traditional, Popular

Pineda

Pineda is the name of many towns in both Spain and Italy. It denotes any place with a “pine grove,” “pine forest,” or a “dweller near a pine tree.”

  • Origin: Filipino, Spanish
  • Meaning: Pine grove
  • Pronunciation: Piy-NEH-daa
  • Namesakes: Allan Pineda Lindo (known as apl.de.ap), a Filipino-American musician and member of the Black Eyed Peas group. Amado Pineda, the first weather presenter in the Philippines.
  • Popularity: Pineda ranked 732nd worldwide, is primarily used in Mexico, and ranked 67th in the Philippines in 2014.
Geographical, Unique

Pulumbarit

Pulumbarit is considered a native Tagalog name, but its meaning is unknown. Pulumbarit is hardly used today, and when it is, it appears in the Philippines.

  • Origin: Filipino, Tagalog
  • Meaning: Unknown
  • Pronunciation: PEW-lumm-Behr-iht
  • Variations: Palumbarit
  • Popularity: Pulumbarit is very rare worldwide and mostly used in the Philippines.
Native, Uncommon

Radiomoda

Radiomoda means “young king” in the Philippines. It’s one of the rare Filipino surnames that comes from the Muslim Maranao people. Radiomoda is a royal title once used by sultans.

  • Origin: Filipino, Maranao
  • Meaning: Young king
  • Pronunciation: RAEY-dee-Oh-MOH-daa
  • Popularity: Radiomoda is extremely rare worldwide, with just seven known occurrences in 2014, in the Philippines.
Royal, Unusual

Ramos

Ramos refers to a “descendant of Ramos,” a name meaning “palms.” It’s associated with the religious traditions of Palm Sunday and was also given to someone from Ramos, Spain.

  • Origin: Filipino, Spanish
  • Meaning: Branches
  • Pronunciation: RAA-mohs
  • Namesakes: Aldrech Ramos, a Filipino basketball player for the Terrafirma Dyip. Fidel V. Ramos, the 12th president of the Philippines from 1992 to 1998.
  • Popularity: Ramos ranked 160th worldwide, is mainly used in Brazil, and ranked 4th in the Philippines.
Traditional, Popular

Reyes

Reyes is the Spanish plural form of the Latin “rex” and “regis,” meaning “king.” It was given to someone who played a king in a play or one who worked in the king’s household.

  • Origin: Filipino, Spanish
  • Meaning: Kings
  • Pronunciation: REY-ehs
  • Variations: De Reyes, De los Reyes
  • Namesakes: Cristine Reyes, a Filipino actress known for Untrue (2019). Efren Reyes, a Filipino pool player inducted into the Billiard Congress of America’s Hall of Fame in 2003.
  • Popularity: Reyes ranked 174th worldwide, is primarily used in Mexico, and ranked 3rd in the Philippines in 2014.
Royal, Strong

Rivera

Rivera indicates a “dweller near a brook or stream” when using the Spanish root “ribera,” meaning “riverbank.” It originated with the Latin “rivus,” meaning a “small river.”

  • Origin: Filipino, Spanish
  • Meaning: Near a stream
  • Pronunciation: Rih-VEH-raa
  • Variations: Rivero, De la Rivera
  • Namesakes: Salvador Guerra Rivera, a Spanish chess FIDE Master who won the 2016 European Youth Chess Championship. Jamie Rivera, a Filipino pop singer known for the 2015 Papal Visit theme song, We Are All God’s Children.
  • Popularity: Rivera ranked 243rd worldwide, is primarily used in Mexico, and ranked 18th in the Philippines in 2014.
Geographical, Traditional

Rodriguez

Rodriguez is a Spanish patronymic name meaning “son of Rodrigo.” Rodriguez is very popular in Latin America, South America, the Philippines, and Spain.

  • Origin: Filipino, Spanish
  • Meaning: Son of Rodrigo
  • Pronunciation: Raad-REE-gehz
  • Variations: Rodrigues
  • Namesakes: Mariel Rodriguez, a Filipino-American TV presenter and a co-host for the show Pinoy Big Brother from 2005 to 2010. Robert Rodriguez, an American filmmaker known for From Dusk Till Dawn in 1996.
  • Popularity: Rodriguez ranked 57th worldwide, is mainly used in Mexico, and ranked first in Colombia, Cuba, and The Dominican Republic in 2014.
Traditional, Popular

Rosales

Rosales is the plural form of the Spanish “rosal,” meaning “rose bush.” It’s the place name for several towns in Spain and one in Chihuahua, Mexico.

  • Origin: Filipino, Spanish
  • Meaning: Rose garden
  • Pronunciation: Roh-SAA-lehs
  • Variations: de Rosales
  • Namesakes: Elisa Rosales Ochoa, the first woman elected to the Philippine Congress in 1941. Jericho Rosales, a Filipino actor called the Asian Drama King of Primetime.
  • Popularity: Rosales ranked 733rd worldwide, is primarily used in Mexico, and ranked 63rd in the Philippines in 2014.
Geographical, Unique

Salazar

Salazar was first the Basque Sarasaitzu and then Sarasaz. The surname refers to someone “from Salazar” with a “manor house.” Otherwise, it’s a surname given to someone living anywhere sacred to St. Lazar.

  • Origin: Filipino, Spanish
  • Meaning: Old farmhouse
  • Pronunciation: SAAL-ah-Zaar
  • Namesakes: Vicente Lucio Salazar, the acting president of Ecuador between April and September 1895. Francisco Salazar, a Chilean handball player for the Chile national team.
  • Popularity: Salazar ranked 351st worldwide, is primarily used in Mexico, and ranked 51st in the Philippines in 2014.
Old, Popular
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Sanchez

Sanchez indicates a “son of Sancto,” a medieval form of the Spanish Sancho. Based on the Latin “sanctus,” Sanchez also means “sanctified.”

  • Origin: Filipino, Spanish
  • Meaning: Son of Sancto
  • Pronunciation: SAAN-chez
  • Variations: Sanches
  • Namesakes: Korina Sanchez, a Filipino TV news anchor and chief reporter for the Integrated News and Current Affairs Division of ABS-CBN. Armando Sanchez, the 22nd Governor of Batangas from 2004 to 2007.
  • Popularity: Sanchez ranked 88th worldwide, is mainly used in Mexico, and ranked 21st in the Philippines in 2014.
Traditional, Popular

Santiago

Santiago denotes someone “from Santiago (St. James)” in Spain. It comprises the Spanish “santo,” meaning “saint,” and Yago, an old Spanish variant of James.

  • Origin: Filipino, Spanish
  • Meaning: From Santiago
  • Pronunciation: SAAN-tee-Ah-goh
  • Variations: Sancto
  • Namesakes: Randy Santiago, a Filipino actor appearing in Paikot-ikot (1990). Marikit Santiago, a Filipina-Australian artist and winner of the 2020 Sir John Sulman Prize.
  • Popularity: Santiago ranked 520th worldwide, is primarily used in Mexico, and ranked 27th in the Philippines in 2014.
Geographical, Old

Santos

Santos was first used for those from Dos Santos or Los Santos in Portugal and Spain. It’s the plural form of the Latin “sanctus,” meaning “holy one” or “sacred place.”

  • Origin: Filipino, Spanish
  • Meaning: Saints
  • Pronunciation: SAAN-tohs
  • Variations: de Santos, dos Santos, Santo
  • Namesakes: Charo Santos, the Filipino CEO of ABS-CBN Corporation from 2012 to 2016. Vilma Santos, a Filipino actress known for Lipad, Darna, Lipad! (1973).
  • Popularity: Santos ranked 131st worldwide, is primarily used in Brazil, and ranked 6th in the Philippines in 2014.
Popular, Traditional

Simpauco

Simpauco appears similar to the Spanish “simpatico,” meaning “nice” or “like-minded.” Among Filipino last names, Simpauco is linked to Filipino-Chinese names and originally appeared as Sim Pao Co.

  • Origin: Filipino, Chinese
  • Meaning: Unknown
  • Pronunciation: Sihm-PAUW-koh
  • Popularity: Simpauco is very rare worldwide and mainly used in the Philippines.
Uncommon, Unique

Sioson

For Filipinos of Chinese descent, Sioson refers to “the youngest grandson.” It’s made up of the Chinese “sio,” meaning “little,” and “sūn,” meaning “grandchild.”

  • Origin: Filipino, Chinese
  • Meaning: Youngest grandchild
  • Pronunciation: SAEY-ah-Sohn
  • Popularity: Sioson is rare worldwide and primarily used in the Philippines, ranking 1,968th in 2014.
Uncommon, Unusual

Soriano

Soriano dates back to the Latin “sorianus,” given to someone “from Sora (or Soria)” in Spain. It originated in Aragon and Murcia and is quite popular in the Philippines today.

  • Origin: Filipino, Spanish
  • Meaning: From Sora
  • Pronunciation: Soh-riy-AA-noh
  • Variations: Sorianos
  • Namesakes: Roberto Soriano, a German Italian footballer for Bologna. Osvaldo Soriano, an Argentine journalist for the newspaper La Opinión.
  • Popularity: Soriano ranked 1,529th worldwide and is primarily used in the Philippines, where it ranked 28th in 2014.
Geographical, Common

Sulu

Sulu is a native Filipino surname indicating someone “from the sea.” Central to the Philippines, it’s known for the Sulu Sea and the Mr. Sulu character on the original Star Trek series.

  • Origin: Filipino, Tagalog
  • Meaning: From the sea
  • Pronunciation: SUW-lew
  • Namesakes: Aytaç Sulu, a Turkish-German footballer for Samsunspor.
  • Popularity: Sulu is rare worldwide, mainly used in Turkey, and ranked 123rd in the Solomon Islands in 2014.
Unusual, Famous

Sumulong

Sumulong means “to advance” or “to progress” in Tagalog. It’s typically used as a nickname for someone who “moves forward” in life.

  • Origin: Filipino, Tagalog
  • Meaning: To advance
  • Pronunciation: SUW-muw-Lohng
  • Variations: Sumalong
  • Namesakes: Corazon Aquino (born Maria Corazon Sumulong Cojuangco-Aquino), the 11th president of the Philippines from 1986 to 1992. Lorenzo Sumulong, a member of the Philippines Senate from 1949 to 1967.
  • Popularity: Sumulong is very rare worldwide and primarily used in the Philippines.
Uncommon, Unusual

Tagalicud

Tagalicud is one of the rarest Filipino surnames, with an unusual meaning – used mainly by Filipinos of Chinese descent.

  • Origin: Filipino, Tagalog
  • Meaning: From the rear
  • Pronunciation: TAA-gaa-Liy-KEWD
  • Variations: Tagalicod
  • Popularity: Tagalicud is very rare worldwide and primarily used in the Philippines.
Native, Nicknames

Tan

Tan is a unique form of the Chinese surname Chen and ranks 56th among Chinese last names. It refers to the ancient State of Tan, which is in the modern-day Shandong Province of China.

  • Origin: Filipino, Chinese
  • Meaning: To explain, old
  • Variations: Tam
  • Namesakes: Tan Dun, a Chinese-American composer who won the 2000 Academy Award for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000). Tan Sui Hoon, a Malaysian badminton player and bronze medalist at the 1991 Asian Championship.
  • Popularity: Tan ranked 49th worldwide, is mainly used in China, and ranked 37th in the Philippines in 2014.
Popular, Traditional
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Tiu

Tiu is the Filipino variation of the Chinese surname Zhang and is quite common in the Philippines. In Chinese, it means “to open up,” like an arching bow, which is how Tiu is symbolized in Mandarin.

  • Origin: Filipino, Chinese
  • Meaning: To spread
  • Pronunciation: TEE-uw
  • Namesakes: Chris Tiu, a Filipino basketball player for the Ateneo Blue Eagles.
  • Popularity: Tiu is rare worldwide and primarily used in the Philippines, where it ranked 834th in 2014.
Unique, Common

Tolentino

Tolentino is most notably the name of a city in the Macerata province of Italy. It became a well-known surname and first name in Spain when associated with St. Nicholas of Tolentino.

  • Origin: Filipino, Spanish
  • Meaning: From Tolentino, Italy
  • Pronunciation: Touw-len-TIY-Noh
  • Namesakes: Arvin Tolentino, a Filipino basketball player for the NorthPort Batang Pier. Lorna Tolentino, a Filipino actress known for Narito ang Puso Ko (1992).
  • Popularity: Tolentino is uncommon worldwide and mostly used in the Philippines, ranking 32nd in 2014.
Geographical, Unique

Tomás

Tomás is the Spanish form of the given name Thomas, meaning “twin” in Aramaic. It’s one of the rare surnames that is more popular as a given name for boys.

  • Origin: Filipino, Spanish
  • Meaning: Twin
  • Pronunciation: Touw-MAAS
  • Variations: Tomaso
  • Namesakes: João Tomás, a Portuguese footballer for Braga. José Tomás, a Spanish classical guitarist who won first prize at the 1961 Concurso Internacional de Guitarra.
  • Popularity: Tomás is uncommon worldwide, mainly used in Mozambique, and ranked 272nd in the Philippines in 2014.
Unique, Old

Torres

Torres described a “dweller at or near a tower or spire” or someone “from Torres” in Spain or Portugal. Torres is ultimately derived from the Latin “turris” for “tower.”

  • Origin: Filipino, Spanish
  • Meaning: Tower
  • Pronunciation: TOHR-ehz
  • Variations: Torrez
  • Namesakes: Norberto Torres, a Canadian-Filipino basketball player for the Meralco Bolts. Lucy Torres-Gomez, the mayor of Ormoc in the Philippines since 2023.
  • Popularity: Torres ranked 154th worldwide, is primarily used in Mexico, and ranked 22nd in the Philippines in 2014.
Geographical, Popular

Valdez

Valdez was first used in Asturias, Spain, where it indicated a place called Val De As, meaning “valley of the ace.” An ace was a term for a “stream” or “source of water.”

  • Origin: Filipino, Spanish
  • Meaning: Valley of the ace
  • Pronunciation: Vael-DEHZ
  • Variations: Valdes
  • Namesakes: Alyssa Valdez, a Filipino volleyball player for the Creamline Cool Smashers. Ronaldo Valdez, a Filipino actor known for The Mad Doctor of Blood Island (1969).
  • Popularity: Valdez ranked 692nd worldwide, is primarily used in Mexico, and ranked 33rd in the Philippines in 2014.
Geographical, Common

Velasco

Velasco first appeared as the Basque “belasko,” meaning “small valley” or “ravine.” It can also refer to a “son (or descendent) of Velasco,” meaning “raven.”

  • Origin: Filipino, Spanish
  • Meaning: Ravine
  • Pronunciation: Veh-LAAS-koh
  • Variations: Belasco
  • Namesakes: Camile Velasco, a Filipino-American singer who ranked 9th on the third season of the American Idol series. Roel Velasco, a Filipino boxer and bronze medalist at the 1992 Summer Olympics.
  • Popularity: Velasco ranked 1,081st worldwide, is mainly used in Mexico, and ranked 48th in the Philippines in 2014.
Geographical, Common

Vergara

Vergara is the name of a few towns in the Spanish provinces of Gipuzkoa and Navarre. It relates to any “yard or garden located in high mountains.”

  • Origin: Filipino, Spanish
  • Meaning: Garden in high mountains
  • Pronunciation: Vehr-GAAR-aa
  • Variations: Bergara
  • Namesakes: Sofía Vergara, a Colombian-American actress known for the sitcom Modern Family (2009 to 2020). Al Vergara, a Filipino basketball player for the Muntinlupa Cagers.
  • Popularity: Vergara ranked 1,231st worldwide, is primarily used in Colombia, and ranked 78th in the Philippines in 2014.
Common, Unique

Villanueva

Someone from a “villanueva” came from a “recently founded settlement.” It’s associated with various towns in Spain, as well as towns in Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and Nicaragua.

  • Origin: Filipino, Spanish
  • Meaning: New estate
  • Pronunciation: VEE-Ah-Nuw-EHV-ah
  • Variations: Villanuevo
  • Namesakes: Anthony Villanueva, a Filipino boxer and silver medalist at the 1964 Summer Olympics. Rene Villanueva, a Filipino playwright and winner of multiple Philippine National Book Awards.
  • Popularity: Villanueva ranked 725th worldwide and is mostly used in the Philippines, where it ranked 10th in 2014.
Traditional, Popular

Yap

Yap is a southeastern Asian form of the Chinese surname Ye, meaning “to be in harmony,” “leaf,” or “page.” Yap is more frequently heard in Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand.

  • Origin: Filipino, Chinese
  • Meaning: To be in harmony
  • Variations: Yapp, Yiapp
  • Namesakes: Gary Yap, a Malaysian TV personality and a host on Star Search Talent Quest. Arthur C. Yap, the governor of Bohol in the Philippines from 2019 to 2022.
  • Popularity: Yap is rare worldwide, mainly used in Malaysia, and ranked 98th in the Philippines in 2014.
Unique, Rare

Yutadco

Though its meaning is unknown, Yutadco seems to be the most common among Chinese Filipinos. It’s as rare as Tagalog surnames come since it’s hardly heard today.

  • Origin: Filipino, Tagalog
  • Meaning: Unknown
  • Pronunciation: Yuw-TAAD-koh
  • Popularity: Yutadco is extremely rare worldwide, with 84 known occurrences in 2014, primarily in the Philippines.
Rare, Unusual
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About the Author

Maryana Vestic

Maryana Vestic is a Brooklyn-based writer, editor, and food photographer with a background in entertainment Business Affairs. She studied film at NYU, Irish Theatre Studies at Trinity College Dublin, and has an MFA in Creative Writing Nonfiction from The New School. She loves cooking, baking, hiking, and horror films, as well as running a local baking business in Brooklyn with her boyfriend.
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