What Is It With Pinoy Names?

By BobbyRica | January 25, 2011


After a few weeks here in the Philippines, I have seen a lot and heard a lot. Though things rarely surprise me, I find it strange — and much to my consternation — how Filipinos name themselves. I have been noticing how most Filipinos come up with these weird nicknames. Names that I think — they are blissfully unaware — may sound ridiculous to an outsider.

There are a couple of things I notice. The first one is their propensity to use a monosyllabic nicknames twice. People throw me names like Bongbong, JunJun, Dondon, TingTing, Lotlot and Ging-Ging. It’s almost onomatopoetic (meaning they refer to an actual sound like the word captions in the funny books). It’s hard to take a guy named Bongbong seriously. Hell, even they call their new President NoyNoy! I guess it’s a cultural thing. Maybe it has some faint Chinese influence. I even asked someone why their names are like that. She only laughed and couldn’t offer an explanation. One of the weirdest one I heard was Kring-Kring! How’s that for a name?


Another thing is that most people I meet don’t seem to outgrow their kid’s pet names. I mean isn’t it a bit inappropriate for a thirty year old guy to be named Dingdong? Would you date a girl named Twinkle? Would you entrust your money to a forty five year old bank manager named Cherry Pie (unless she moonlights as a porn star)? It doesn’t make sense to me. It only urges me to take them by the collar and say, “You’re an adult now. Change your name to something that is.”

If that wasn’t bizaare enough, I see other people’s names with a silent H or with unnecessary consonants to extend their names. Names like Bhoy, Nhiel, Khryzzie, Lharrie, Jhakee and Dheenah. The best one I have encountered so far is Dzherryh. I mean, what’s the point? They’re just wasting ink or making it more tedious to sign their names on forms. Some say it’s a Filipino sense of flamboyancy, I think they are just being bored and changing names is the product of an idle mind. Crazy these people are.

I also noticed how girls have the fondness for having male nicknames. What, is there an embargo of female names? I know that the Philippines, like any Hispanic cultured country, are mainly matriarchal and the women here are in charge, but seriously? Maybe they think it’s cute to adopt a male name, but I find it hard to warm up to a hot number who calls herself Stanley. Monikers like Jonah, Richie, Erich and Andy are legion. It may be cute to you, but to other people, it may sound like you’re confused with your gender.


To be fair, I guess all these names are an endearance in a way that the locals alone can understand and carry. Live and let live is what I always say. I just want them to know that to someone who first hears it, doesn’t really inspire confidence. And if you’re a tour guide, you better have a normal-sounding one because I wouldn’t go with you in a bus if you’re called Kring-Kring.

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