BrainTeaser | Sherma E Benosa

Life is a puzzle; we are the clues, and God is the answer.

Name Game: Filipino Style

Creativity and originality are among the traits parents must have when naming their kids. Especially so if you live here in the Philippines. [I gathered that these two traits are not required in other countries, so that explains why they have common, “boring” names!  (Peace, peace! Just jesting. This is not supposed to be a racist post. Please just read on and enjoy it for what it really is.)]


Just now, I finished re-reading an article by a British guy named Matthew Sutherland, A Rhose by Any Other Name, a piece about names in our country. I think it is very funny and so true. (I suggest you read his article first before reading the rest of this post. I’ll wait.)


Oh, so you’re done. Funny, huh? But the rest of my post is funnier, I assure you. (Well, I hope, so. 🙂 ) So read on!


What I’m going to discuss is what Mr. Sutherland calls composite names. He gave examples of composite names taken from names of places, but he failed to mention composite names from the child’s parents, which is a very common practice in the Philippines. In fact, my name, which I’ve been told sounds like an Indian, has come from my parents’ names: Sher is from mom’s (Sherly) and Ma is from dad’s (Manuel).


Good thing Sherma turned out sounding fine! In fact, I think it’s beautiful. (Love your creativity, Mom and Dad!) However, it sometimes annoys me that I need to spell it out so other people could understand it. S-H-E-R-M-A. .


Yes, it’s Sherma. Not Sharmaine nor Sherna nor Cherma as people often mistake it to be. Neither is it Shermalyn (as my ex-officemates at PPHI insist on calling me just to annoy me) or Shermalou as my other ex-officemates (over at FAME) love to call me. Just Sherma, thank you very much! Argh!


But here’s a freaky thought. Imagine if my parents decided to use their nicknames instead [Yes, they have nicknames! Leth (mom’s) and Manny (dad’s)], as they initially planned. I could have been named Manileth!  Yikes! Good thing someone put some sense into them (thanks, Grandma!). Good thing, too, that I don’t have a sister; I’m sure she would have gotten it. Harhar!


But I do have three brothers, and one of them is not so lucky, while another is extremely lucky. The lucky one is lucky, because, well, his name is Lucky Ryan. 🙂 But no, my not-so-lucky brother’s name is not Unlucky Ryan. Neither is it Manileto (eeeeewwwww!). His name, for 21 years, had been Sherman! No, it’s not a typo. It’s really as i wrote it. Mom and Dad (unimaginative folks that they are) had been inspired by a couple in our neighborhood who named their twins Norma and Norman!  Duh!


I think Mom and Dad regretted not being very creative when naming this brother of mine. Sherman and I used to fight over small things, and all because of our names. Sherman enjoyed annoying me by putting an n to my things on which I’d written my name, (Sherma becomes Sherman) so they became his! That easy! Good thing he eventually found out, when he was about to take his board exam, that there had been a mistake with his name. The civil registrar put Sherwin instead of Sherman. Because there was no more time to file all the documents necessary to correct the error before the exam, my brother adopted Sherwin as his official name (so he’s actually a living mistake, hehehe), and so now we fight no more. Ahahaha!


People who know me well can tell you I am not a vengeful person. But you know what? I’m thinking of using my creativity and originality when naming my would-be kids, too. You see, my boyfriend’s surname is Pascua (meaning Christmas), so I have this EXTREMELY GREAT idea of having christmasey names for my kids. I’m thinking of naming my girl Poinsettia (yes, the December flower) and my boy, Rudolph. Or how about Claus?


Please let me know what you think. You might just help me and my boyfriend settle our “argument” over baby names. He doesn’t think my idea is great 😦 , but I don’t believe him 🙂 . I’m sure he’s just jealous, because he had not thought of it first (considering it’s his surname!). Besides, what does he know about creativity? He has lived in Europe for 20++ years and counting! He must have lost his Filipino creativity! (Hey Buddy! Peace 🙂 )


Let me know what you think, ok? Or how about if we’ll have a little game. Simply answer any or all of the following questions: (1) What do you think of my BRILLIANT idea about my kids’ names? (2) Could you suggest another Christmasey name for me to consider? (3) What do you think your name would be had your parents decided to use a composite name based from their names?


(Yeah, yeah, yeah, this is my “shameless” way of pimping my blog stat. Hehehehe. Or how about my way of adding some humor into my blog? I realized I’ve been a bit too serious, so maybe I decided to loosen up a bit. Hm, you decide.)



38 comments on “Name Game: Filipino Style

  1. brainteaser
    May 1, 2008

    Here’s another bonus info. I also have a nickname. It’s Jing Jing. But I shortened it to Jing. I used to spell it J-h-i-n-g, but my boyfriend laughed out loud when he saw it, saying it sounded and looked like a gay’s name, so I removed the h.

    My younger brother, Manuel Jr., was called Jun-Jun. (Boring, if you ask me. Hehehehe.) Other folks also thought it was very boring, so they started calling him Siding (Mole) because he has a big mole on his head. We still did not like it though, so we changed it into Iding. I shortened it further into Eds (sounds better, no?) But his classmates in college called him Mans (short for Manuel). 🙂 Now, he goes by whatever we call him, including Bongs. (Sorry, won’t tell you where this Bongs came from. 🙂

    My third brother, Sherman (now Sherwin) is called Ogie at home. Now, you may wonder where this Ogie thing is from. 🙂 My parents couldn’t think of a nickname that repeats itself, like mine and “Jun Jun,” so an uncle, in his wittiness, bless him, suggested that they name him Ugoy-ugoy, a kind of bread. But of course, my parents prettified it and made it Ogie. 😉

    Our youngest, Lucky Ryan, has the most boring name, if you ask me. But people think it’s cool, because it’s the combined names of a famous Filipino star’s sons, Lucky and Ryan. Indeed, Mom is a Vilma Santos fan, and she actually got my brother’s Lucky from Vilma’s Lucky, but my brother was born before Vilma’s second child, Ryan, was born, so perhaps Vilma is mom’s silent fan, too! 😉 Hehehehe

  2. Salve
    May 1, 2008

    suggestions for question #2 (truly Pinoy):
    1. Parol (star-shaped lantern)
    2. Belen (Nativity scene)
    3. Aginaldo (Christmas gift)
    4.Monito or Monita (Kris Kringle)

    Try mo kung bagay sa Pascua mga yan! 😀

    I know someone who was born Christmas day. And she was named “Mary Chrisma”! How creative is that?! HAHAHAHAHA 😀

  3. Salve
    May 1, 2008

    Additional name, girl:

    Jamon (short for ‘Jamon de Bola’ or Christmas ham)

    I also have suggestions for nicknames: bong-bong & bing-bing.

    Yan eh, kung kaya mong pangalanan ang mga anak mo ng “(Puto) Bumbong” at “Bibingka.” 😀 You decide, ate jing-jing.

  4. Misnomer
    May 1, 2008

    Jeeezzzzz! You guys are so darn funny! LOL! This post made my day! Love itttt! More of this from you, Miss Philippines!

  5. brainteaser
    May 1, 2008

    Wahahahahahahhaha! Salve! You’re so crazy, super! That’s one of the reasons I so love you! Funny, funny girl!

    Pag ako, hinimatay sa katatawa, it’s gonna be you’re fault, I swear! Wait natin masasabi ni “tatang.” I can already hear him laughing out loud! He loves you! But you already know that, don’t you? He’s your number one fan, clever girl!

    Hey, Misnomer! Thankie, friend! Oh, your name sounds… creative! Care to tell us the etymology? Nyehehehhehe 🙂

    Sowi we’re crazy today. You know, it’s May 1 so it’s expected (go figure the connection! I sure said it, but I can see no connection at all. Maybe you can find one for me so I’d make sense! 🙂 )

  6. brainteaser
    May 1, 2008

    Hmmm, I’ve thought of another name (still for question number 2)

    MISADEL (which can be prettified into MISADELLE), short for Misa de Gallo (Evening Mass)


  7. emperorbananaketchup
    May 1, 2008

    How about Nicholas/Nicole?

    After all, Santa Claus was originally St. Nicholas.

  8. foobarph
    May 2, 2008

    err… sherma, is that you?


    errr…… sherma, isdatyu?

    (pusa, wlang kwentang komment)

  9. brainteaser
    May 2, 2008

    FOOBARPH! Kaloka, wala kang maisip na comment? Nyehehehe… Or, you’re still not sure if it’s really me, considering the sudden shift in my post? Hehehe…

    Yeah, yeah, I know this post is kinda misplaced, because this blog (a spin-off from my main blog) is supposed to contain only my serious reflections about this thing we call life. This post should have been in my main blog, but yeah, I decided to put it here, so my new friends here would also have a glimpse of the other side of me. 🙂 Yaaaak, serious talk ito! Kaloka… [And I’m even assuming you know of my other blogs and you’ve read all my other posts. How presumptous of me. 🙂 )

    EMPERORBANANAKETCHUP! Hmmm, good ones, friendster. Ok, maybe I’d give my children two names each. One weird and one “normal.” Nicole and Nicholas are normal names. So is Noel (which is Christmas in French.)

    So how about something like POINSETTIA NICOLE? Or NOEL CLAUS? Hmmmm…. Hmmmm…

  10. penstalker
    May 2, 2008

    hahaha. so funny. and this blog is supposed to be serious? heheh. nice one manang. 😀 kitakits sa GMM meeting.

  11. VF
    May 2, 2008


    Dedma ako ngayon kay Salve! I think I need a lawyer hehehehe!

    Ei, Buddy, how about taking off the “J” instead of the H = HingHing, parang kambing!

    Hing hing hing!

  12. VF
    May 2, 2008

    Now, now Salve, I’m taking back my initial impression sa yo. Akala ko pa naman mabait ka hehehe!

    I ‘m sure, your father’s name is SALMON and your mom’s is VELVET. So Salve is just like Velvet Salmon!


  13. Salve
    May 2, 2008

    Sorry, VF pero di type ng paprents ko ang nagko-combine ng pangalan. 😀 Mabait sila sa mga anak nila. Pang-royalty ang pangalan ko. Ultra-polite! I’ll explain that in one of my posts. 😀

  14. VF
    May 2, 2008

    Okay Salve, I think I got your tactical maneuver… meaning, Manuel and Sherly intended Sherma to become a not-so-normal child; to borrow the words of one of her friends…. SHERMAPHRODITE!


    Let’s just tease the author then….

  15. Jing
    May 2, 2008

    Hi sherms,

    How about Mary Pascua? then she could be Merry Mary Christmas :D:D:D:D:D:D hahaha that’s not my idea but mike’s :D:D:D:D:D:D:D :P:P:P:P:P

  16. VF
    May 3, 2008

    Oist Jing, isa ka ren, gaya ni Salve! hehehehe!

    Let me edit your name too. How about Jing + le?

    hehehehe! How’s Mike?

  17. VF
    May 3, 2008

    Hey Jing (Jennifer)! Let me help you and Michael think of a name for your future babies. How about this for a baby girl: JENNEL? You can make it into JENNELLE to make it more girly. Hehehe!

    Here’s a squared one for a boy, A Filipinized Ausi name: MikMik. Just be careful when you go to Ilocos…. HAK HAK HAK!

  18. Florentino Lorenzana
    May 5, 2008

    Apay a saan nga ilokano? ken agyamanka ta saan nga “A” ti rugi ti apeliedom…

    girl (Naragsak A Pascua)
    boy (Narungbo A Pascua)

    He he he he hik. tosss…

  19. brainteaser
    May 5, 2008

    Wahahahahahha! Wohohohohoho! You made me LOL, friendsters!

    Jing (my nick-namesake), how are you, Sweetie? How’s Canada? Hahahaha! Merry, Mary Christmas! Dear me! 🙂

    Hello penstalker! How’s your stalking pen? Hmmm, still creative, I’m sure! See you soon, friendster. Finally. 🙂 Isaganaam diay “disnog”ko. Hehehehe.

    Hahahahaha! Ka Loren! My goodness. Yeah, yeah. Now I’m so thankful. Ayna, mabagtitak metten iti kae-ellek, yor! 🙂

    Buddy! Stop it. They might have ideas… you know, think of composite names for our babies. 🙂


  20. RainforestRobin
    May 6, 2008

    Hey girl, how are you?? I loved this warm funny post. Laughed. Another Christmas name is NOEL or HOLLY for a girl. I liked the girl’s Christmas name Poinsettia BEST but not the boy’s names. I will have to think more on the boys Christmas names. Good story about where you got your name from. I’m named after a bird. Robin Latin: Turdus Migratorius. 🙂 🙂

  21. brainteaser
    May 7, 2008

    Robin! I am so glad you’re here! And that you had a laugh. Was wondering if I could make my readers smile. Hahaha! I love POINSETTIA very much. Extremely. The boys’ name, not so much (Hmm, we’ve got the same taste again! Amazing!).

    Yes, please help me think of a good one. I’ve just thought of one right now, a composite one, but you might miss the joke because the result is in Tagalog, one of the many languages here in the Philippines. 🙂 Will post it in the next comment.

    Love yeah, Robin! (So I’m right, your name’s from bird’s! I thought so, because you have a free spirit, much like a bird!)

  22. brainteaser
    May 7, 2008

    Here’s the name I’ve come up:



    Now, I can’t think of the right English word for MATON! Help me, people. Basically, it’s a man who is very strong and manly and the kind you’d hire as a bouncer in bars.

    HELP! I’m losing it…

  23. brainteaser
    May 7, 2008

    Here are some more names:

    Carol Pascua (Christmas Carol)
    Eva Pascua (Christmas Eve)
    Aldao Pascua (Christmas Day)


  24. VF
    May 7, 2008

    Oist, I see you have a second vote for the Poinee thing hehehehehe! How about Fleur de Nöel, sounds like European royalty?

    I like Maton best.


  25. Bren
    May 22, 2008

    Hi Sherma! FYI, I actually have an officemate named Merry Chrismas. No kidding! But we call her Chris. 🙂
    I do have some suggestions, how about Natividad or Noche Buena? 😉

  26. brainteaser
    May 22, 2008

    Ate Bren! First, let me welcome you to my abode! Thanksfor finding me here! Kaloka. 🙂

    But more kaloka is the name of your officemate. I’m guessing she’s born on December 25th? Hehehehe

    Hmmm… Noche Buena. That sounds great! Hahahahahahaha! Natividad too, hehehehe. 🙂

  27. Bren
    May 22, 2008

    Note: There’s really no “T” on Merry Chrismas’ (my officemate’s) name. The civil registrar missed the “T”.

  28. VF
    May 22, 2008

    Let’s kill the civil registrar. He’s murdering my name hehehehe!

  29. brainteaser
    May 22, 2008

    Oh! Your officemate might want a lawyer! Why don’t we sue the civil registrar and get off him/her some bucks! Hehehe! 🙂

  30. brainteaser
    May 22, 2008

    Oh, Mr. Christmas himself is here. Hehehehehe! So, what’s in a name, Buddy?

    Hey, meet Ms. Bren. We’ve known each other since our elementary grades. Went to the same schools: BNCS, NVSPC, then UP. Hmmm!

    Ate Bren, meet Mr. Pascua aka VF. 🙂

  31. VF
    May 22, 2008

    Hi Ate Bren. I’m VF, the Virtual (not anymore) Friend.

  32. Bren
    June 5, 2008

    Hi VF! Pleased to meet you. 🙂 Sorry it took me two weeks to holler back.

  33. brainteaser
    June 8, 2008

    Ate Bren! Wazzup?
    Itsokey. Glad you’re back! 🙂
    TC always. 🙂

  34. virtualfriend
    June 12, 2008

    Okay Buddy, here we go with the best compo-name I’ve come up with:



  35. virtualfriend
    June 12, 2008

    Oh, hi Bren. Didn’t mean to ignore you. Itong friend mo kasi, masyadong sutil hehehe!

    Oist Buddy, wa-du-yu-tink?

  36. brainteaser
    July 22, 2008


    Good grief!


  37. sonnetshaven
    July 22, 2008

    1. First of all, I think your idea is very brilliant:) Personally, I like composite names but I want it to mean something. Our baby Sonnet’s name actually came from her parent’s names (JohnSON and AntoNETte). Besides that, I’ve always been in love with the word “Sonnet” because of Shakespeare:)

    2. You want your future baby to have a name that is associated with Christmas? I suggest Sky+e so that’s “Skye”:) Ewan ko, I just like the name hehehe:) Pwede rin Chester (from Chestnuts?) or Chrissy (from Christmas?) Corny! I know, hehehe:) Though I like Skye talaga hahaha:)

    3. Had my parents thought of a composite name for me, they could have named me Lourdey. Or Marje. Baka Ley. Yikes! Buti na lang hindi uso sa kanila ang composite names hahaha!

  38. virtualfriend
    July 22, 2008

    Awrs, here we go again with this “grrrr”…

    How about KristaSher, meaning bridge to Sherma? hehehe!

    Hi Tonette. Our friend went out to buy me Bannawag, the ilokano weekly mag.

    “Sonnete”, in French, means little bell.

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