Don’t you just hate it when the professor does not pronounce your name right on the first day of school? Or don’t you just hate it when your name is long that one part of your name only gets called by anyone you know? More important, don’t you just wish that you would have a common Filipino last name with a Hispanic touch like Blanco, Castillo, Castro, Chavez, Gonzales (sometimes with a letter Z), Guevara, Guerrero, Gutierrez, Flores, Fuentes, de la Cruz, Cruz, Reyes, Rivera, de los Reyes, Vergara or whatever last name that can be pronounced easily with a Hispanic descent.
Most of the time we just let people like teachers like professors go on with pronouncing our name LIKE THAT because we’re too tired of correcting and telling them how it is really pronounced since the beginning of our lifetime. Sometimes I want to write the phonetic spelling of my last name for people to really understand but again I’m too tired. These are moments in school where you just want to call upon the spirit of your ancestors just to spook the living daylights out of the person mispronouncing or misspelling your name. You’re just lucky to have professors who would have the courtesy to momentarily pause and ask if they are pronouncing your name correctly. This is why some females can’t wait to get married so that their maiden names would be replaced by their future husband’s name. Can you just imagine Miss Universe Philippines 2011, Shamcey Supsup’s thoughts at the back of her head when she got married?
When I was in third grade, I felt so low when my last name was cussed by some guy named Mendoza and I would always get his crap at the school bus regardless whether if we were going to school or going home from school. It really sucks to look back to those moments. I just hope he’s not in a relationship to a woman with a name that screeches when someone scratches a blackboard and when they get married I hope they don’t name their children with names that give an emphasis to the letter H like Dhaniel or Khatryn.
During the latter years of my high school, I’m just lucky to have friends and teachers who really know how to pronounce my last name. When I got into college I’m more than lucky to have professors who really know how to nail it on the first day of class giving you that empowering moment.
Sometimes if you have a friend with a foreign last name like a Filipino-American or Filipino-German friend. You would have a hard time pronouncing their last name that you would just call them by their nickname or first name.
When it comes to my first name Enrique, I really don’t know if I’m lucky to be named after businessman Enrique Zobel de Ayala because it sounds good but as my parents would tell me, I am not named after the patriarch of the Ayala group but according to my father. The name Enrique means man of the house in which I have yet to live by since I’m not yet a family man.
As for my last name Agcaoili, my ancestry is Ilocano but I barely visit Ilocos Norte and barely speak the dialect of my ancestors. One of the people I know who had a hard time with our last name is my father’s cousin and my uncle overseas because on the day of his son’s moving up day, the school’s photographer misspelled our family name by spelling AGIAOLI instead of AGCAOILI and as I type this, I begin to think how my uncle struggled to correct some of the people when he was growing up.
As for me, lucky for me back to the day of my high school graduation as I got my high school diploma I immediately checked if the school misspelled my last name and lucky for me they did not misspell my last name! I was ready to sue the school. My batch mate was also ready to sue the school if they misspelled his family name.
I have attended baptisms in which I have seen and heard of names that are amusing and cringe worthy.
In one baptism that I attended, I have seen a baby baptized by the name of CHRISTOPHER REEVE and I kid you not because I overheard the priest who blessed the kid joke to the parents saying, “Is this kid Superman?” In another baptism I have seen a baby baptized by the name of RIHANNA AVRIL. The mother must have been a fan of both Avril Lavigne and Rihanna.
I can’t remember the most bizarre name that any parent could give to their child. But if there’s one name, it’s from what I read in Lourd de Veyra’s book one of “This Is A Crazy Planets” in which he mentioned that he has a friend who named their child Axl in honor of the Guns N’ Roses vocalist, Axl Rose who is born by the name of William Bailey. Another that he mentioned in his book was a friend who named their child STALIN which is deemed unacceptable for a first name by the Catholic Church because even before the start of World War II, Joseph Stalin of the USSR (present day Russia) has killed more people than Hitler. A moment in their history that historians called, The Great Purge.
I have met and known people who have the most unconventional names that their nicknames are a far cry from their given name. I have also met someone with a name so colorful that you just have to control yourself from asking ‘why is your name like that?’
I know someone with a name so long that we just call her Nikki and her mom with a name so traditional we just call her Tita Mamu. Another person that I know with a nickname that is a far cry from his birth name is my uncle we call Tito Toti and his birth name is really Gonzalo and my cousin his son nicknamed Ian is also a far cry from his birth name Lemuel.
I have met people with names so traditional that you just keep your mouth shut because it might just be a family tradition to pass on someone the elder’s name. Like in our family, the elders passed on the name Oscar beginning with my late great grandfather to his youngest son then passed on the Oscar that ended with my father.
I have met someone with a name so old that I don’t know if his parents named him after Castro the revolutionary and Ernesto “Che” Guevara’s best friend or that other revolutionary who also donned a tobacco who jumped on EDSA then became president of the Philippines in 1992.
The funniest story that I know with regard to first names being passed on is a family in the Visayas or Mindanao region with a last name that goes by the family name of Nueve which they pass on the name Enrique from Enrique I to VIII and by the time another masculine child was about to be born, again they named it Enrique. So the child goes by the name Enrique Nueve IX which is redundant by having the Spanish translation of the number nine next to the Roman numeral namesake.
Some of those names are bound by tradition or fanaticism. I almost forgot about Eddie Gutierrez’s son named Elvis who keeps a low profile despite being the son of Monster Manager Annabelle Rama and brother of Ruffa, Richard and Raymond. It’s no secret in Philippine Entertainment and pop culture that Eddie Gutierrez is a big fan of Elvis Presley which is truly visible in his hairstyle from his younger days to portraying kingpin roles in the late ‘80s to the ‘90s and matapobre roles in soap operas.
The funny thing about names for me is keeping a pattern for the children that they name. One example is a letter pattern where one couple will only name their child with one letter from the alphabet like the letter A like Arthur then the next child will be named Arnold. Another example is the letter R like the Santiago brothers namely Rowell, Randy and Raymart Santiago. Another thing that I find funny in names is children’s name that is a combination of their parents’ names. I wish I could give an example but that would mean expulsion if she gets to read this.
Years from now, I don’t know if I will get married or not. I don’t even know who will be the lucky girl that’s going to marry me but if I do get married, I’m just going to invite a few friends and relatives. When it’s time for my wife to give birth, I would name my masculine child Rafael then if she gives birth to a baby girl, I would beg my wife to name that child Rafaella naming them after my favorite Ninja Turtle and the closest priest that I know that truly makes me feel at home in Letran.
So for the women who are madly in love right now with the man they fell for, I hope you are not just going to marry the man in the future because you love them and you don’t care if he’s rich or not. Think of what will be your last name and yourwould be child or children. As for parents who are about to have their children, make sure their name is worth writing in their birth certificate and please don’t make it hard for the nurse, city registrar or NSO officer to spell your child’s name. Help them out and don’t make them assume the spelling of the child’s name.