Many people say that my name is quite unique but my research says otherwise. Let us delve into the origins of my name.
Names: Parents’ Choice
My name was chosen by my parents at the time of my birth and patterned to the name of a prominent personality at that time who was Atty. Noide Villareal. He was always live at radio broadcasts of a local radio station that is why my parents patterned my name after his.
Our surname, Balasa, according to my father’s anecdote was not our original surname. It was chosen by my great grandfather to be his surname because his real surname has a stigma around it. According to his story, my great grandfather’s real surname, Bagnate, was said to be possessed by those who are lazy that is why he opted to use the surname of his mother, Balasa, in order to avoid being discriminated by his peers.
Noedy: To Comfort
My first name, Noedy pronounced |noy-dee| or |no-we-di|, comes from two root words: Noé and Dy.
Noé is the French, Spanish and Portuguese form of Noah. The origin of the name Noah is not certain. Some say the name is derived from the Hebrew “noach” meaning “rest” or “comfort.” This is supported in the Bible (Genesis 5:29) when the builder of the ark is called Noah by his father saying “this one shall bring us relief from our work and from the painful toil of our hands.”
Noe is also of Korean origins. In Korean it is used as a surname, Noe (Korean: 뇌) which can be written with either of two hanja characters with one meaning “thunder” (雷; Korean: 우레 뇌).
Dy is the second root word of my first name. It is of English origins where it is used as a surname. Interestingly, the name derives from “Dye”, itself a pet form of the Medieval English female given name Dionisia, from the Greek Dionysia (feminine) or Dionysios (masculine) meaning “the Divine One of Nysa”, (a holy mountain in modern Afghanistan). Dye (without surname) is first recorded in the 1301 “Subsidy Rolls of Yorkshire”. The surname from this source also appears in the early half of the 14th Century. Variant forms Dy and Dei are recorded in the 1379 “Poll Tax Returns of Yorkshire”.
Balasa: One in Despair
My surname, Balasa, is pronounced as it is spelled. It comes from the Filipino word “balasa” which is a verb that means shuffling of playing cards. The word is also used similarly in the Tagalog and Hiligaynon dialects of the Philippines. This word may be an alteration of the Spanish baraja, imperative affirmative form of barajar. Balasa may be written with Chinese letters: 巴拉萨 (pinyin: bā lā sà).
This etymology hints the fact that the first user of the Balasa surname may be a card gambling addict who used the word as his surname. This is consistent with one of the established convention that Filipinos chose surnames that derive from words in autochthonous languages like Tagalog, Cebuano, Hiligaynon, Ilocano, Kapampangan and Pangasinense.
On 21 November 1849, Governor General Narciso Clavería y Zaldúa issued a decree stating that Filipinos should adopt Spanish surnames to make census counting easier. Some Filipinos retained their native pre-colonial names, especially those who were exempted from the Clavería decree such as the descendants of rulers of the Maharlika or noble class. It must be noted that Filipinos must adopt Spanish surnames except those with maharlika blood. Balasa is not listed among this Maharlika surnames but it exists to date so it is possible that my ancestors may have been able to avoid the decree due to their maharlika ancestry, their distance from the authorities’ power to force Spanish surnames upon them or, their adoption of this surname many years after the the Clavería decree.
Alternatively, when I was searching for the origin of my name online. I found the suceeding quote.
“Iblīs (alternatively Eblis or Ibris) is a figure frequently occurring in the Quran, commonly in relation to the creation of Adam and the command to prostrate himself before him. After he refused, he was cast out of heaven. For many classical scholars, he was an angel, but regarded as a jinn in most contemporary scholarship. Due to his fall from God’s grace, he is often compared to Satan in Christian traditions. In Islamic tradition, Iblis is often identified with Al-Shaitan (“the Devil”). However, while Shaitan is used exclusively for an evil force, Iblis himself holds a more ambivalent role in Islamic traditions. The term Iblis (Arabic: إِبْلِيس) may have been derived from the Arabic verbal root bls ب-ل-س (with the broad meaning of “remain in grief”) or بَلَسَ (balasa, “he despaired”).”
In the text above, we can note that the word balasa means “he despaired” in Arabic refers to the Quranic character Ibris.
We have names. We receive names. We cannot do otherwise but to accept and adapt them. We have to grow with them and improve the names that we have been given.
In my case, I cannot do away with the name I have been given. I have grown into it. I have shaped my personality around it. Given the chance, I will not change it because the name is me.
My name, Noedy Balasa, echoes a motif in life that I have also adapted which means “a thundering divine comfort for he who despaired.”
(NOTE: This text was originally researched on the eve of my birthday, the 6th of January 2020, but attained its full development this 22nd of March 2020.)