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    What are the most popular baby names in the Philippines? Will you consider naming your baby among the popular or will you go with the flow of the trend? What are the names to avoid and how is baby naming evolving through the times and this coming year?

    What's in a name?
    "Names reflect the values of the parents, taste, and often, their aspirations for their children. It comes or flows 'naturally' with their own beliefs and upbringing," says Hannah Glimpse Nario-Lopez, a 27-year old sociologist from UP Diliman and the associate editor for the Philippine Sociological Review. "Selecting names are important also because this will be the individual marker, your child's identity bearer for a lifetime.

    “My partner and I named our daughter Teleia Adepta Isabella Nario Lopez. "Teleia" came from "Teleia Filosofia" meaning complete philosophy; "Adepta" is lifted from Sororitas Adeptus which is a group of female knowledge-seekers from a sci-fi novel Warhammer; "Isabella" means dark-haired beauty. We fondly call her "Leila", due to the popularity of Leila de Lima, and I also noticed that she would dance in my belly when I played “Layla” by Eric Clapton when I was pregnant with her. Certainly, each name has a story. The “Glimpse” in my name actually even came from my mom's poem for my dad: A Glimpse of First Love!”

    Native Filipino names may be passé, but for this family, the values that their children can carry is worth more than the changing times and taste. Mr. Diwa Dadap, a seasoned hotelier and a concierge at the New World Makati Hotel, is the third sibling of the Dadap brood. "Our names are a product of my father's brilliant mind," he shares. "Tatay and Nanay liked the name "Love" but wanted something more original so they named my Ate "Pagibig". Then came my other sister "Mithi" (wish). My two younger brothers are "Dasig" (a Visayan name meaning "to move fast" or "swift") and "Sagisag" (symbol). "Having this unique name gave me a lot of opportunities. My name is far easier to remember than others and I was popular in school. Job interviews are always light and spontaneous because my name's origin is always the first question. Building rapport is easy, too, so the first impression I make is always favorable."


    Name evolution, transition through the years
    Dean of the University of the Philippines College of Social Sciences and Philosophy Michael L . Tan described in his PDI article "Kinder Names"  that in the old days when the country was under Spain, children were named after the Saint whose feast day falls on the child's birth date.

    Lopez adds, "This is very apparent in the mandated change of native Filipino- sounding names to Spanish names. When the Americans came, Filipinos preferred American-sounding names." Now that the Philippines has merged with other cultures, , and with our wide media and technology exposure, babies are named after prominent persons of their times like John Paul (after the Pope), Diana (after her death in 1997) and George (Prince George or Prince William and Catherine).

    Popular baby names today
    "In the 80s, priests required Christian names for babies to be baptized. Today, there's a little more freedom given to parents in naming their baby." This is according to Joan Dela Cruz, a Parish Assistant and former data encoder of Santo Nino de Tondo Parish. She adds "Common names baptized in our parish is John, Jose and Matthew for boys, and names with "Maria" (Ma.) for girls. Recently, there has been a rise on the number of names with X and Y like Lexine and Xyril. We even had a baby boy named exactly as the basketball player Michael Jordan."

    Marilyn Abad, a baptismal records keeper at the Sacred Heart church in San Antonio Village, Makati, finds that traditional names like Jose, Joseph, Jacob, Teresa, Josefa and Maria are still the most popular. "Babies named after celebrities are not common in our parish compared to foreign names.  A baby with a Japanese parent for example, takes a Japanese name, same with American babies or those of other nationalities."

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    So what should you name your baby?
    Consider giving two names instead of just one to avoid namesakes. Tan once explained in his Philippine Daily Inquirer column "Pinoy Kasi" the hassles of having a very common name, saying that, among others, when travelling abroad, he needs to secure and carry a government certification to prove that he's not the same-named person with a travel hold order. To avoid documentation problems or worse, a mistaken identity, choose a name that's least likely to have an NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) “hit”.

    Original is "in" but...
    Biblical and classical names are still preferred, but with a twist. Most of the 135 respondents from 4 different online discussions participated in by new mothers and moms-to-be prefer to "gift" their babies with unique names to mark their individuality. Difficulty in spelling and pronouncing may cause a lifetime of confusion and frustration though for both the the name-giver (the parent) and the name-bearer (the child). Despite this, Pinoy parents give more importance to unconventional names as special as their babies, and classic names are spelled differently, such as:

    Euan for Juan
    Aeric for Eric
    Mathieu for Matthew
    Yve for Ivy
    Gael for Gail

    A high count of names containing the letters X, Z, H, K and Sh/Ch/Zh were also observed. Examples are:

    Xandrei, Axel, Xyrus
    Zaren, Zhian
    Kendra/Kendric, Kleigh, Klyde, Kyra
    Jaychelle, Marishka

    Many parents also go the extra mile in searching for a one-of-a-kind name that can combine both mom and dad's initials, or contain the names of the grandparents, character from a book, movie, celebrity or video games.


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