A Philippine Leaf

Literacy in pre-Hispanic Philippines

Katálogo ng mga Apelyidong Pilipino

List of 3,000 authentic Filipino names

Philippine History Group of Los Angeles

Special: 1896 Revolution and 1898 Independence

Silayan Dance Company

A modern look at traditional Philippine dance

Sulat sa Tansô

A newsletter devoted to ancient Philippines



Filipino Surnames

Philipino surnames are derived and influenced by many other languages. The Philippines was colonized by Spain and the United States leading many Philipino names to be influenced by English and Spanish. Many Philipino names also come from native languages like Tagalog, Ilocano, Kapampangan, and Cebuano. 

Spain had the most significant impact on surnames in the Phillippines leading the most common Filipino last names to be Spanish. Under Spanish colonial rule Filipinos adopted the custom of taking their father's surname followed by their mother's last name. This Spanish tradition changed when the United States colonized the Phillippines. Today most Philipinos use their mother's surname as their middle name and their father's surname as their last name.

While many Philipinos may have adopted the American tradition of having middle names and surnames, many of the common Filipino last names are still Spanish. Five of the most common last names include Santos, Reyes, Cruz, Bautista, and Ocampo. The top 20 last names in the Phillippines are all Spanish.

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Filipino last name meanings also are derived from different languages. The surname Santos, for instance, means 'saints' in Spanish while Reyes means 'kings' or 'royals.' Ocampo is derived from the Spanish word, 'campo,' which means field. There are also many Filipino last name meanings that are from indigenous languages. Cabasa means 'fellow reader' in Tagalog while Abog means 'dust' in Cebuano. There is also the surname Baquiran which means 'forest' in Ilocano and Pangan which means 'to eat' in Kapampangan. Surnames in the Philippines have a variety of different meanings and are derived from a variety of languages.