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Is Your Family Name In This Catalog Of Surnames From The Spanish Colonial Era?

Unlucky were the families that were stuck with surnames like Baboy and Gago.
IMAGE Wikipedia.com

This open-access book in Ayala Museum’s Filipinas Heritage Library Catalog contains thousands of recorded last names, written in the time of the Spanish Colonial era. Published in 1849, The Catalogo Alfabetico de Apellidos contains 141 pages of surnames with both Spanish and indigenous roots.

Authored by Spanish Governor-General Narciso Claveria y Zaldua and Domingo Abella, the catalog was created in response to the Decree of 21 November 1849, which gave every Filipino a surname from the book. The decree in the Philippines was created to fulfill a Spanish colonial decree that sought to address colonial subjects who did not have a last name. This explains why a number of Filipinos share the same surnames as many Spaniards today.

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The catalog explains that, in 1849, the provincial governors simply allocated each town a number of pages from the catalog, from which the townspeople chose their surnames. The result: To this day, there are many families in provincial towns that share the same first letter in their surname.

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“For example, in the Bikol region, the entire alphabet is laid out like a garland over the provinces of Albay, Sorsogon, and Catanduanes, which in 1849, belonged to the jurisdiction of Albay,” the catalog states.

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“Beginning with A at the provincial capital, the letters B and C mark the towns along the coast beyond Tabaco and Tiwi. We return and trace along the coast of Sorsogon the letters E to L; then starting down the Iraya Valley at Daraga with M, we stop with S to Polangui and Libon, and finish the alphabet with a quick tour around the island of Catanduanes.”

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The catalog contains common names like Mendoza and Garcia, but also some embarrassing ones like Baboy, Gago, Colangot, and Malibog. Unlucky were the families that were stuck with those names.

While Claveria intended for the decree to be followed throughout the country, success varied from province to province. Some Filipinos of Spanish, Chinese, or indigenous origins were allowed to keep the surnames they already had. Meanwhile, some rejected the decree altogether and chose surnames that weren’t on the list.

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As a result of the catalog and the inconsistency of its application, it’s hard to trace one’s lineage considering the complexities that come with colonization.

Read the open-access book here on Filipinas Heritage Library’s website and find your family's surname.

This story originally appeared on Esquiremag.ph.

* Minor edits have been made by the Candymag.com editors.

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Anri Ichimura for Esquiremag.ph
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Katherine Go A day ago

Cold Food

The most thrilling and delightful moment of any school day is opening up your baon during breaks. There is always so much excitement in unveiling your homemade meal and snacks housed inside matching heat-insulating containers. Because preparing packed meals is an age-old tradition of showing parental love, loved ones pour effort into curating a nutritious meal accompanied by a selection of side dishes, desserts, and beverages daily; it reminds us that we are being taken care of, even from far away.

Baon plays a significant role in a Filipino childhood. Almost every Filipino child comes to school with baon made especially for them by their parents or household helpers. Even Filipinos in the labor force continue to bring baon for varying reasons: to save money, recycle leftovers, cater to personal taste, or attend to special needs. Nonetheless, eating your baon is a heart-warming experience that allows Filipinos to bring a piece of home along with them wherever they go.

Even other cultures practice making packed lunch. In Japan, mothers create bento--Japanese meals in partitioned boxes. Because of the popularity of bento, trends have emerged, such as the Kyaraben, or character-themed bento. Naturally, Japanese parents and students began competing for who had the cutest and tastiest bento, and this is similar to what I have witnessed in my own childhood. I remember seeing my classmates sharing their snacks and lunches. They would compare and boast about their parents' or yayas’ cooking. In my case, I never had the chance to join in the competition or indulge in homemade cooking. Up until this day, I have never brought any baon to school.

For a long time, I envied others. As trivial or petty as it may seem, not having baon became a problem for my grade school self. During that time, I had to sit in a separate cafeteria away from my friends because the kids who bought food were assigned to sit elsewhere. You could consider me spoiled, but I wanted to experience something most kids did. I had food at home, so what made it so hard to bring some with me to school?

Now that I am on my final year in high school I have come to realize the benefits of purchasing my own food. Since I spent on food everyday, I learned to budget my allowance at a young age. Over the years, I learned to practice self-control whenever I wanted to eat more greasy fries and drink sweetened beverages. I have tasted the strangest viands at the school cafeterias, and I have repeatedly satiated myself over my latest delicious discoveries. Despite the struggles, I am thankful that I have never had baon because of what I have learned. Not to mention, I never had to experience eating cold food.

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