A Complete List of the Most Common Traditional Filipino Surnames

When Spain colonized the Philippines, they mandated surnames for an easy census. Governor-General Narciso Claveria y Zaldua headed this mandate on November 21, 1849. The Claveria Decree requires all Filipinos to have or adopt Spanish and indigenous names from the Catalogo Alfabetico de Apellidos that may serve them for civil and legal purposes.

Filipino Surnames were adapted from Spanish, Chinese, Arabic, Japanese, American, and other countries. Some Surnames are derived from the Native Filipino languages. The majority of the Filipino surname came from Spanish surnames as mandated in the Claveria Decree.

Filipinos added surnames to their names because it is Spain’s mandate, the Claveria Decree, and Filipinos think that if they use Spanish surnames, they will appear more distinguished. To know more about traditional Filipino surnames with meanings and descriptions, I listed some so you can have a reference.


The Abad surname is very famous in the country. Some celebrities have this name, including the actress Kaye Abad. This surnames I of Spanish Origin, and it means everlasting.


Abadiano is one of the most well-known surnames in the country. This surname is originally from a village in Biscay, Spain.


Abalos is a surname that is common in the Philippines. One of the famous politicians with this surname is Benjamin Abalos and a famous actor, host, model, and endorser named Jason Joel Jimenez Abalos. The surname Abalos is a habitational name of a place in Soria province. 


Agbayani is a Filipino surname that means heroic in the Ilocano language. There is a famous comedian named Bayani Agbayani.


Aguinaldo is a very common surname in the country. The first Filipino President has the same last name, Emilio Aguinaldo. This surname is of Latin origin.


Bagatsing is a Filipino surname, but its origin is the Sanskrit words “Bhagat,” which means devotee, and “Simha,” which means lion. Some Famous Filipino people with this surname are Hyram Bagtasing, a Filipino basketball player; Ramon Bagatsing, a Filipino politician; and Raymond Bagatsing, a Filipino actor. 


Bulan is one of the traditional Filipino surnames, which means a moon or a month in the Visayan language.


Catacutan is a Filipino surname that came from the Tagalog word “katakutan,” which means fear.


The surname Cayabyab came from the Filipino word “yabyab,” which means pounding of rice grains. One of the most famous Filipino musicians, composers, and conductors is Ryan Cayabyab.


Dalisay is a popular surname in the country. The Dalisay surname originates from Tagalog and Cebuano. Dalisay means chaste or pure. One of the famous TV characters in the Filipino TV series is Ricardo Dalisay in one of the long-running TV series “Ang Probinsyano.”


When you hear the surname Duterte, you will think of one of the most prominent families in the country. One of them is Rodrigo Roa Duterte, the 16th President of the Republic of the Philippines. Duterte comes from the french word “du Tertre,” which means the hillock.


Ejercito came from the Spanish word Ejercito which means army. One of the presidents of the Philippines has this surname, Joseph Ejercito Estrada, and his son JV Ejercito.


Fernandez is a popular and common surname. This surname is a Spanish word that means the son of Fernando. One of the famous singers in the country has the same surname, Pops Fernandez.


The surname Guinto came from the Tagalog word “ginto,” Which means gold. 


Halili is one of the most well-known Filipino surnames. Halili is a Tagalog word that means successor. One of the most famous TV personalities with the same surname is Katrina Halili.


The surname Laxamana was derived from the Sanskrit word “Laksamana,” which means admiral or officer.


Lualthati came from the Tagalog word “luwalhati,” which means glory.


Macalipay came from a Cebuano or Hiligaynon word, which means comfort, pleasure, or happiness. 


Magsaysay is one of the prominent Filipino surnames, which is of Cebuano origin, which means to relate or narrate. One famous person who has this surname is the late President Ramon Magsaysay.


The surname Oracion is derived from the Spanish name “oracion,” which means a prayer or a sentence.


Pabelico is a Filipino surname derived from the word “pabel,” which means humble.


The surname Pacquiao is famous in the country because of the renowned world boxing champion named Manny Pacquiao. When you say Pacquiao, that means wholesale in Cebuano or Hiligaynon language. 


One of the most prominent Filipino surnames is Roxas. One of the late presidents of the Philippines is MAnual Roxas and one of the widespread last names in the country. 


Reyes is one of the most well-known surnames in the country. The surname Reyes came from the Spanish word “Reyes,” which means “kings” or “royals.” One of the most well-known people in the country with the same surname is Efren Bata Reyes.


Santos is a surname derived from the Spanish word “Santos,” which means a saint. There are many Tv personnel who have these surnames including Vilma Santos, Judy Ann Santos, and Charo Santos.


The surname Salvador is used in the country and Spanish and Portuguese regions. This surname is a popular Christian name that means savior.


The surname Sumulong came from the Tagalog origins that mean advancing or progressing.


The surname Tolentino is derived from a town in Italy. It is one of the most used Filipino surnames in the country. One of the most famous female actresses with this surname is Lorna Tolentino. 


The surname Trinidad means trinity. Trinidad refers to the Holy Trinity in Spanish. 


Velasco is derived from a medieval name Belasco. It is also a habitual name used by Velasco in Logrono, Soira, and Seville. One of the famous Filipino Boxers has the surname, Onyok Velasco.


There are many traditional Filipino surnames in the Philippines. Most of these surnames are of Filipino origin, and some are derived from Spanish surnames and Spanish names. The Filipino traditional surnames have native roots and meanings.

Regina and Joe

Hello! It's Regina and Joe here. Like many other couples, we met online and after a long-distance relationship, Joe decided to move to the Philippines, where we married and live together since 2017. In this blog, we will teach you how to enjoy the Philippines to the fullest and what to expect from Filipino culture. Who more than us can understand both the West and the East?

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