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The Pinoy Name Game


My Precious

Have “The Lord of the Rings” ruined the “Precious” name forever? Whenever I meet someone named Precious, I have the urge to say, “My Precious…” in Golum-like voice.

My Precious….it may be a dog’s name for Phoebe Buffay in NBC’s “Friends” but it cannot deter Filipino parents from naming their precious babies “Precious”.

The Doorbell Names

Only in the Philippines can you find a forty-five-year-old woman called “Baby” or a fifty-year-old man nicknamed “Boy”. One expat has aptly called the Filipino nicknames “Doorbell Names”. Why? Listen to these names. Bing, Bong, Ping, Ding, Dong. And some combinations: Ding-Dong, Ting-Ting, Bing-Bing and Kring-Kring.

Filipinos love to play the name game. Names like Don-Don and Ann-Ann tend to be refined further by using the “squared” symbol, as in Don2 and Ann2 or by using the number 2 with the multiplication sign, as in Don2x and Ann2x.

And there’s the randomly inserted letter “h” so Jun becomes Jhun, Dan-Dan becomes Dhan-Dhan or Dhan2 or Dhan2x.

Themes and Rhymes

How about following a theme when naming children? This can be as simple as making them all begin with the same letter as in Kaye, Kamille and Klarizza. One father named all his eight boys Manuel. They are Manuel I, Manuel II. Manuel III, and on to Manuel VIII. To avoid confusion, they are referred to as “D’First, D’Second, D’Third, and so on.

The following are all involved in the Pinoy name game:

The children that rhyme: Dadang, Deding, Dodong or Biboy and Buboy.

The dessert children: Apple Pie, Cherry Pie and Honey Pie.

The sweet children: Sugar, Candy, Honey and Chocolate.

The flower children: Rose, Lily, and Magnolia.

The fruity children: Apples and Peaches.

The numbered children: Uno (one) and Dos (two).

The birthstone children: Ruby, Sapphire, Amethyst and Pearl.

The monthly children: April, May, June, Julio, Julia and Augustus

The country children: Saudi, Russia (the aftermath of Paris Hilton’s popularity)

Before I forget, have you seen the Ai-ai de las Alas movie “Ang Tanging Ina” where she had 10 kids named as Juan, Trudis, Tri, Por, Pip, Six, Seven, Cate, Shammy and Tenten.

Composite Names

Composite names result from combining names such as Jesus, Joseph, Mary to produce one name: Jejomar. Luzviminda comes from Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao, the three islands of the Philippines. There are composite names derived from parents’ names: Alanna from Albert and Anna. A Christian chief of police named his son Jefrenor from his name Efren, his wife Nora and the ‘J’ in the beginning from ‘Jesus’.

There’s also two-name combination, such as Jacky Lou from parents Jacque and Lourdes. Junno Angelo is the son of Junn and Angelie. Norman Lou comes from Norma and Lope. An avid fan of Hollywood actor Kurt Russell named her boy Kurt Irving and her girl Russelle Ingrid. Whenever she introduces them, she points to each and says, “This is Kurt Russelle.”

Creative Sense of Humor

There is a separate field of name games where the parents have exhibited a creative sense of humor on purpose. There’s Edgar Allan Pe, Magic Chiongson, Chica Go, Tom Cruz and Special Sexcion. Not to forget Cardinal Sin.

How about the name games that Pinoys play on shops and establishments? Take a look at the following:

Candies Be Love is a candy store.

MacDonuts for a donut shop.

Doris Day and Night is a 24-hour eatery.

Wrap and Roll is a spring roll outlet.

Meating Place and Meatropolis are meat shops.

Bill Getz is an internet café, what else?

Curl Up and Dye, Saudi Hairlines and Sophisticut are hair salons

Felix the Cut is not a pet store but a barber shop.

The Way We Wear is a boutique.

Elizabeth Tailoring is, of course, a tailoring shop.

Petal Attraction is a flower shop.

When your name is Christopher and you’re into plumbing… go ahead and name your business Christopher Plumbing.

While Goldilocks is famous for its cakes and pastries, Goldirocks is popular for its sand and gravel.

‘Happy Birthday Toyo’ is a soy sauce brand in the 70s. Toyo is Tagalog for soy sauce.

If you are a jeepsetter (those who commute by jeepneys), you usually find this on every jeep that you ride: God knows Hudas not pay!

Mabuhay ang Pinoy!


Norma (author) on January 28, 2020:


Arni Abueva from Manila, Philippines on January 27, 2020:

Interesting read!

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