To quote author Robert C. Lee, “The sweetest sound to anyone’s ears in the sound of his own name.” A quote I learned from my elementary days which until now I never forget.

How did I get my name? When my dearest mother was still alive, she told me that my deceased father got my name from Carlo Fortunaro Pietro Ponti, Sr.,  a famous Italian producer (11 Dec. 1912 – 10 Jan. 2007) with over 140 production credits, and the husband of Italian movie star Sophia Loren, according to a Google search. I love my name!

Antique name

My mother’s name is Patrocinio, usually mistaken as a male name. I love my mother! No matter what’s her name, she was my mother! Unlike my brother, who was embarrassed before of my mother’s first name.  Recently, I was surprised to know that the first name of our disbursing officer’s mother, Cristobal G. Demerey Jr., is also Patrocinio.

Mamerta! What’s in a name? Our provincial information officer in PIA Batangas is named Mamerta but she does not use it. She does not like her name! She preferred to be called Bhaby. Probing, she narrated why she hated her given name.

She detailed that during her elementary days, she was always vilified, the butt of jokes that her name is antique, a name for an old woman. Although she excelled in academic and extracurricular activities, she had this inferiority complex because whenever her name was called, people laughed at her.

“Napakagandang bata naman, pangit lang ang pangalan (A beautiful girl but with an ugly name.),” this was the comment she heard that caused her some sort of a phobia whenever her name is called.

Going home, she asked her mother and her father who gave her the name Mamerta. The name Mamerta is the name of her grandmother, her father’s Mom when still living requested her parents to name their baby girl, Mamerta, Bhaby said.

“I was named after my grandmother, my parents told me. Among my siblings, I am the only one with an unusual name. My brother and two sisters have beautiful names,” Bhaby added.

An antique or unusual name, we must be proud of our own name.

Fundamental right

According to humanium.org, having an identity is a fundamental human right which allows each individual the ability to enjoy all of their rights.

Identity encompasses the family name, the surname, date of birth, gender and nationality of the individual. Through these details, an individual will hold rights and obligations specific to their status (woman, man, child, handicapped, refugee, etc.).

Common names in 2014 and 2015

Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) Region 4A Statistical Analyst I Joselyn Madrigallos revealed recently at PIA 4A’s radio program the Top 10 common names of children in the country regardless of their gender in the years 2014 and 2015 based on the data gathered in their census.

In 2014, the top 10 names are: (1) Angel; (2) Gabriel; (3) Joshua; (4) James; (5) Daniel; (6) Jacob; (7) Princess; (8) John Mark; (9) Angelo; and Christian.

Meanwhile in 2015, the most common name is Nathaniel as this year the TV series about angel Nathaniel became a household name. Other most common names are Angel, Gabriel, James, Althea, Francis, Joshua, Jacob, Angelo and Princess.

Boys and girls most common name

In 2014, the name Gabriel is at No. 1 with 3,486 children named Gabriel while Nathaniel is No. 1 in 2015 with 6,482. The name Francis was also one of the favorite name as this year Pope Francis visited the Philippines.

On the other hand, Angel became the No. 1 most common name for girls in 2014 with 3,366 children were named Angel. The following year, 2015, Angel is still the leader with 2,157 girls named Angel.

Among the other most common names for girls that cropped up in 2015 were Sophia and Sofia. Names derived from the characters of a new series of Disney cartoon “Sofia the First” that first came out in TV in 2012.

Famous Filipina beauty queens

Yes! Filipino children names are not usually taken from the characters or actors playing the role in TV series or shows that became well known in the year the child was born. There are times that girls are named after beauty queens in the year they were crowned in beauty pageants.

In 1968, about 3,100 children were named after Gloria Diaz, the year she captured the Ms. Philippine-Universe crown and the next year, 1969, after winning the Ms. Universe crown, the first Filipina to win the crown, about 3,413 children were named her.

Similarly, a total of 1,706 girls were named after Ms. Margie Moran-Florendo after grabbing the Ms. Philippine-Universe crown in 1972 and in 1973, about 2,351 children were named after her upon winning the Ms. Universe crown.

Filipinos’ penchant for beauty queens are very much evident as the data collected by PSA shows that about 4,178 children were named after Charlene Gonzales, the Philippine’s candidate at the Ms. Universe pageant held in the country in 1994.

Downwardly, in 2015, only 621 children were named after Ms. Pia Wurtzbach, the reigning Ms. Universe 2015 and about 925 children were named after her in 2016.

So, what’s in a name? Whether it’s an antique name or an unusual name, still, it’s the sweetest sound in our own ears. (PIA)