What’s in a Name or Nickname?

The blog of Eden A. Avila https://cbanga360.net/category/blogs/eden-a-avila/

A year after my husband’s death, my children convinced me to open a facebook account. Hoping that I would stop myself from sulking in a corner. Hoping that after a year of mourning, I would be back to my normal self flashing a smile to everyone.

My daughter Thin asked what the facebook account name would be. Without much thought I said “Dengay”. Yes. It was Dengay. I could still see the question in her eyes upon hearing the name for the first time as nobody among us, not even when their father was still around, ever call me that name.

A fresh excursion from the usual Cbanga360.net post, less serious but more of a regular take and glimpse of regular Bicol life as written by Dengay Avila.


The giving of nickname is popular among Bicolano families. Or I would rather say a part of our culture. I grew up in a family where calling someone the real name is a “crime” for a seemingly unsound connotation.

“Did you break a glass or two when you washed the dishes earlier?” or “Who tended the afternoon cooking so that pot bottom turned so black?” Such condition calls for someone to be called in his real name in a tone much higher with an urgency more intense. And one knows what the consequence would be.

When we were little, I remember my mother would always disturb my friends in mid-games on a lazy afternoon while basking under the hot summer sun. During such moments most of the other children are sleeping for an afternoon siesta. “Eden, Eden!” her voice would grow louder and bigger and nearer. At a single turn, I would dash for a home run with a cold feet and my body shaking at the thought of the stick in her hands.

More often, I hear my father reprimand our house helps for yelling at us in our given names. In return, it is also wrong for them to shout somebody else’s name within the hearing distance of my father.

We were seven in the family. Each one has a special name. Tony junior is called “Ony”. Nancy is “Aba”. “Miss Coypot” is Ludy, “Wewet” for Phoebe. “Bentot” is Ruben, “Wow” for Helen, and for the sweetest name of all – Dengay!

Dengay. What’s in the name? Dengay is a music to my ears- reminiscent of a long, distant childhood years full of fun, laughter, gaiety, unmindful of the future. It promises an endearment and appreciation from our doting parents and loving kins for a job done well or simply because of a high mark on the report card.

For our cousins Beth, Manay Aning, ate Celay and kuya Aul, I will always be their Dengay- blissful, light-hearted and humorous.

For obvious reason I changed my facebook account now with the combination of my real maiden + nickname + married last name, as only some of my closest kins are turning up as friends and my classmates of the distant past do not even know who Dengay is supposed to be.

With this update in my information profile, my circle of friends has become bigger and is still growing in number. Well, in this social networking business, the first thing that one looks into is the name. You better check out if you have got the right one. A name would be fine in one occasion but might not be in another.(https://cbanga360.net)

Eden A. Avila


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