An Englishman In Isabela Blog #109 – What’s In A Name?

Friday, February 05, 2010

Here in the Philippines the name you are known by is often not your real name. Children may be given shortened versions of their names or even completely different names. Hence as a child my wife, Gina, was known as Ging Ging. Now it has become Ging. When like me your just starting to get your head around the extended family with so many cousins and grandparents, the addition of nicknames makes it an even greater challenge.
Gina’s father’s first name was Romulo, however, all his family and friends called him Cartey, a name he apparently acquired when visiting a fortune teller as she said it would bring better luck than his baptized name. This of course illustrates the influence of superstition in Filipino culture not to mention its role alongside the Catholic faith.
Yesterday we had the pleasure of spending part of the day with Ging’s cousin, Susan, and her fiance, Alistair. Well actually it’s not Susan, but Kimy. So I am having to to build a mental nickname database alongside the family tree so that I don’t put my proverbial foot in it when I address someone. Welcome to the Philippines, he he.
Which reminds me, the use of the title grandparent applies here to the brothers and sisters of grandparents. So although Justin has lost my wife’s father, technically, here in the Philippines, he still has several male and female grandparents, or lolo and lola to use the tagalog words.