If you think Kanye West and Kim Kardashian were weird to call their new daughter North (full name: North West), then you don’t live in the Philippines.
We Pinoys love the unique name.
And nothing can be as unique as the 15-year-old from Baguio whose parents gave him 40 first names—Ratziel Timshel Ismail Zerubbabel Zabud Zimry Pike Blavatsky Philo Judaeus Polidorus Isurenus Morya Nylghara Rakoczy Kuthumi Krishnamurti Ashram Jerram Akasha Aum Ultimus Rufinorum Jancsi Janko Diamond Hu Ziv Zane Zeke Wakeman Wye Muo Teletai Chohkmah Nesethrah Mercavah Nigel Seven Morningstar—not including his surname San Juan.
While Ratziel is on the extreme end of the name game, non-Pinoys have found some of our typical names just as amusing.
From Bongbong to Dingdong
They point to grown men and women in the Philippines being called Boy or Girlie, Honey or Babe.
And laugh when kids are named Van Go or James Bondoc. (Well, we did, too.)
They note our propensity for repetition: Junjun, Tonton and, yup, Noynoy.
Then, they cite what they call the “doorbell names” such as Bing, Bong, Bongbong, Ting and Ping.
And not to forget the one that rings the loudest: Dingdong.
The grand name
While parents will come up with all sorts of cutesy nicknames for their kids, most of them will choose a given name that’s formal or grand.
For Manny and Jinkee Pacquiao, nothing, it seemed, was grander than naming their daughter Queen Elizabeth.
And that may be the same reason Alma Moreno and the late Rudy Fernandez called their son Mark Anthony.
If grandness isn’t a parent’s thing, then cleverness may come into play. Businessman Atom Henares called his filmmaker son Quark, the name of the particle that’s a component of an atom.
The mashed-up name
Mash-ups are even more irresistible.
Vandolph was named after the first name of his parents Alma Moreno (real name: Vanessa) and Dolphy.
The given name of Jejomar Binay, our veep, is composed of the first syllables of Jesus, Joseph and Mary.
And if you run into a Hermer or a Jerecy, you can probably bet there’s a syllable there or two that stands for the name of a parent, a lola or a lolo.
The pop culture name
When it comes to naming kids, pop culture has proven to be a goldmine.
Two of our esteemed senators are called Bam and Chiz.
On Facebook alone, we counted more than 20 Benjovis.
And over at the Don Mariano Marcos Elementary School, a student answers to the name Lord Voldemort Estioco.
The unique name
Obviously, his parents have never read Harry Potter but they may have been enamored by the noble-sounding “Lord.” And “Voldemort” does have a mythic ring to it.
Take the case of child actor Zaijan Jaranilla. Why would his would parents name him after a Chinese term meaning “see you again”? Still, there’s no denying Zaijan sounds one of a kind.
His siblings’ names are just as unusual: Zymec (which turned up zilch for symbolism or meaning when we searched online) and Zildjan (which could’ve been the name of the cymbal manufacturer Zildjian, except for the missing letter “i”).
The normal name
Interestingly, the top baby names culled by the National Statistics Office from 2002 to 2006 were pretty run of the mill.
For female babies, the most popular names were Angel, Justine, Mary, Mary Joy and Nicole.
For baby boys, the top names were Angelo, Christian, John Paul and Joshua. Also popular were Luke, Matthew and Miguel.
What’s as intriguing is that the NSO included the alternate spellings for these names. For Miguel, Michele and Mikiel (aside from the regular Michael). For Matthew: Matthias and Matteo. For Nicole: Nicola, Nikita and Nicolette.
Indeed, parents do want their kids to stand out—if only in name.
Not so ordinary names
In fact, the NSO recorded some pretty unique monikers among the 10 most popular baby names for the years 2007 and 2008.
For baby girls, they included Martina, Maya/Maia and Kaya.
Some of the popular boys’ names were even more unusual like Aiden, Keiran/Kearon, Isaac, Kayden/Kai and Jayden.
But now that the Kayas and Kaydens are of school age, how many other classmates do you think they’ll find sharing their “unique” first names?
What about you? Do you have an unusual first name? Or know someone who does? Tell us about it in the Comments section below.