Who is Mr. Bagongahasa?

(In the Name of Names)
Howie Severino’s I-Witness Documentary on GMA7
Airing Monday night in the Philippines: October 23,
2006 (Delayed on PinoyTv overseas)

Who is Mr. Bagongahasa? In Paete, Laguna, he is a
retired navy man who is proud of his name and has
it emblazoned all over his house. His cousin,
however, is a barangay captain who desperately wants
to change his name. The women of the family feel
particularly aggrieved … the younger ones are eager to
marry in order to shed the Bagongahasa surname.

The Bagongahasas are but a few of the many Filipinos
burdened by their names. The Pecpecs of Ilocos Norte
were never bothered until younger family members tried
to go to school in Manila and couldn’t get classmates
and teachers to stop laughing.

In a journey of names, Howie (short for Horacio)
Severino travels from Laguna to Ilocos to learn about
the wide variety of ways people react to ridiculous,
uncommon or controversial names. He accompanies one
suffering man who tries to change his name through the

It’s not just personal names people struggle with.
Town officials in Sexmoan, Pampanga decided to change
their town’s name, while residents of Barangay Baliw
in Ilocos Sur refuse to do so.

In Ilocos, the many namesakes of Ferdinand Marcos must
cope with unwanted expectations and ribbing. The
former president’s true namesake, and junior, talks to
Howie about the mixed blessings of being called
Bongbong, especially as a teenager studying in
England. And he reveals the funny-sounding name
his clan used before the Spaniards changed it to

What’s in a name? Find out this Monday late night on
GMA-7, after Saksi.

Executive producer: Ella Evangelista
Cinematographer: Egay Navarro


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