Andrea & Pascual

This year, my family’s Christmas Eve celebration was a little different.  It is because my pretty pregnant niece decided to hold the Gender Reveal Party also on the day before Christmas.  Everyone was so excited my mom’s house was colorfully decorated with pink and blue balloons and buntings for the event.

khris mae… my preggy niece

Games were played prior to the exciting gender revelation.  My family is so big that my nephew Den Den, the program host, decided to divide us into 4 groups.  In one of the games, called “Nominate A Name Game”, Den Den directed each group to think of a girl’s and a boy’s name whom we suggest be best given to our would-be newest member of the family.  The best recommended names will win the game.  Khris Mae, my would-soon-be-a-mom niece was, of course, the judge.

i was rooting for a baby boy while my elder sister wants a girl

There were so many suggestions, my group decided that I should be the one to think and provide our group’s nominated names.  I actually got an advantage because I have personally talked to Khris Mae during my birthday dinner buffet at Sofitel on what names does she plan to give her child. 

I however could not recall a single name that Khris Mae showed me as listed on her mobile phone during that Sofitel dinner.  During the game, I instead limit the names to names that starts with the letter A.  Besides, all of my grandniece and grandnephews names starts with the letter A – Arziolo, Alvia and Alexander II so I guess it would be perfect to name this baby with a name that starts with this letter.

When it was my turn to nominate a name, some gentle spirit seems to have whispered to me and made me utter the name Andrea.  A Greek-originated name that means “strong, brave and powerful”.  The very characteristics that I would want my brother’s would-be grandchild to possess.  A very appropriate name for a baby in this age and era of our planet.

For the boy’s name, the first name that entered by mind was Andrew, the male variant of the name Andrea.  But when I was asked what boy’s name I nominate, I suddenly uttered Pascual. That’s when I remembered suggesting to Khris Mae during my birthday dinner in Sofitel that I like the name Pascual.  I told her that it is to pay tribute and homage to my loving grandfather (Nengkoy’s dad) whose name was Pascual.

it’s pink confetti!

it’s a girl!

Later in the party, Khris Mae finally revealed that she will have a baby girl.  And guess what? My group won the “Nominate A Name Game”.

Pinoy Nicknaming

If the Filipino advertising agency is to adopt the successful “Share a Coke” campaign done in Australia in 2011, one thing is certain, my name won’t be included.  The campaign removed the iconic Coca-cola logo from the bottles’ label and instead replaced it with about 100 different common first names in their country.  It was reported that there was about 32% increase in the sales of Coke in the first two weeks when the campaign was launched.

My name Neil won’t be included because here in the Philippines, its inhabitants has the habit of giving nicknames that simply duplicates the same syllable like Nene, Toto, Makmak, Leklek, Tintin, Jojo, Junjun, Lotlot, Maymay, Katkat, Bangbang, Kangkang, Tonton, Em-em, Jay-jay, Bibi, Gigi, Ar-ar, Tata.  Believe me.  I can go on and on and on.

Not only in terms of nicknaming people but there are other instances that we do it.  Here’s a few:

  •  “tiktik” – a name of a sleazy tabloid or it means to investigate
  • kiskis” – meaning to polish
  • siksik” – which means compacted
  • sapsap” – a  name of a slipmouth fish
  •  “paspas” – meaning to speed-up
  • bolabola” – the name we call a hawker’s fishballs
  • labolabo” – meaning chaos or confusion
  • “major major” – part of the controversial answer of Ms. Philippines in 2010 Ms. Universe pageant which the rest of the world poked fun of

I am not a linguistic anthropologist who could explain this factual phenomenon.  But there must be something in the water that makes us do this agglutinative style.  We even name the vagina and penis in this manner…

Major major eng-eng!