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“Bastos” surnames, circa 1849?

10 March 2012

There was a glaring absence of the "mythical" surname "Bagonggahasa" in the catalog.

On the 21st of November 1849, the Governor General of the Philippines, Don Narciso Claveria y Zaldua, issued a law (thereafter called the Claveria Decree) requiring Filipinos to adopt new surnames from the Catalogo Alfabetico de Apellidos for consistent civil and legal administration.

I had the opportunity to look at the annotated 1971 reprint of the catalog (printed by the Philippine Historical Institute) at the Filipinas Heritage Library this week and made a few observations.

1. The notion that the edict mandated the use of Spanish names is false. The catalog had a wealth of Spanish AND indigenous names to choose from. The fact that majority of the people selected Spanish names perhaps reflected the prevalent colonial mentality that a foreign name would make one’s family appear more distinguished.

2. The catalog is alphabetized A-Z; but the names under each letter are not consistently alphabetized.

3. I noticed several “unfortunate” surnames. I am sharing a few names which probably would be a disaster for anyone to use today. I swear, these truly were among the options our Filipino ancestors chose from!  If I applied myself, I could probably find more; but from cursory search, here’s what I got:

An-an … Anacan … Anticristo … Anuba … Aray … Ari … Baboy … Bacla … Bajo … Bastardo … Bayag-usa … Binobo … Bobo … Bocol … Boso … Cac … Cupal … Devil … Fallec … Fango … Poqui … Puse

Now aren’t you glad your great-great-great-great-Lolo had a nasty case of Spanish colonial mentality?

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