Of names.

Way back in ancient times, names were mere reflections of someone’s identity. Just as in the case of Malakas ang Maganda, they were actually physically strong and beautiful when they sprung out from the huge bamboo pole which the Bathala created. Then came names such as Magiting, Lakandula, Kali, Mutya, and the like. Our forefathers gave them such names based from either what they saw in the physical features of their children during their infant years or what they wanted them to be in the future.

Then came the colonizers who wanted to change this system of nomenclature just because their alphabet was different compared to ours and that they found ours hard to pronounce.

The Spaniards arrived bearing the names like Pedro, Maria, Jose, Purificacion, Primitivo and the ever-adored Juan dela Cruz which our ancestors thought (I suppose) were regal and noble. (Remember Noli, when Doña Victorina even added de in her name to add ‘class’ to it, and it really sounded so weird and funny?) Then came the American ones who brought us the names William, Charles, Mary, Josephine, and all the names we use today which sound somehow similar to theirs, thanks to their ‘sophisticated’ nature. And thank goodness we never adapted Japanese names. That would just be, oh, so, inappropriate. (Ooops!)

Until time came that the new generation of names would rise in which spellings are quite odd from what we used to have due to pop culture. My parents claim that mine came from another name, which was Guia,  one of the daughters of Alfonso Yuchengco, the man behind RCBC and GrePaLife and my parents’ boss, and made some twist. (My friends would pronounce it with so much effort the first time they see how it is spelled: GHHHHHHHHHHHHIO.) I recalled a neighbor whom his child was named Dhuszxthien Jhaey, and I remarked, “Kawawa naman ang batang ito paglaki, mahihirapan sa pagbigkas at pag-spelling ng pangalan niya paglaki.” (Oh well, he will eventually get used to it as he grows real up and old.) Some babies were even named after famous celebrities, the latest was a baby girl in UK named after the ever-weird yet amazing Lady Gaga. Woah.

If one is thinking of changing his/her name for some reason, one has to spend big. Real big. As far as I know, he must even undergo some legal processes before some agency acknowledges his request. The latest was someone in the US who changed his original name to In God We Trust for him to proudly sign his paintings with this.

And the real latest is the news of a representative who filed a bill to replace the name of EDSA (Epifanio delos Santos Avenue), the longest and busiest street in the Philippines, to give credit to the Mother of Democracy, Cory Aquino. For some, this would be a hard move, especially that this name has been written in the annals of History for being the way for democracy to be brought back. Some just disagreed for either this would just be another waste of taxpayers’ money, or that Cory wasn’t even at EDSA when the first People Power happened (she was actually in Cebu staying with the Pink Sisters), so why bother changing the name?

The most bothering question one would dare ask is: what if everything does not have a name? “Ano’ng pangalan mo?” “Ah, ano.” “Saan ka pupunta?” “Sa ano…” “Ano ‘yang kinakain mo?” “Ah, ano eh…

Look at how one sees life in the perspective of names. They present someone’s identity. They tell him who he actually is, or who they want him to be. Somehow, they are incorporated with values in which he holds on. And if he dares to change them, he will find everything else hard, tough and difficult.


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