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Re: GOCHIO"CO" surname: reply from a family member

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Posted by Lawrence M. Gochioco on March 09, 2001 at 12:18:58:

In Reply to: Re: The CO name posted by David Poon on April 22, 19100 at 23:38:18:

: : Hi, I'm a Filipino who's wondering if Co is truly a Chinese name. If it is, what does it mean and what is its place of origin? I know of more than a few Filipinos with this name, one of them being Atoy Co, that PBA basketball player. Thanks.

: Please refer to query dated Nov 28 99, re "Gochioco origin of
: Chinese - filipino surname. "

Dear Friends,

Thank you for your interests in inquiring about my family's last name. You are correct that it is a Chinese-Filipino surname. It was a common practice in the Philippines that when Chinese residents decide to become Filipino citizens, they normally adopt and use their whole Chinese given name.
As such, Gochioco is a derivative of my grandfather's given Chinese name of GO-DUI-CHOK. This practice started during the late Spanish colonial times. Before the Chinese can become Filipino citizens, they needed to be baptized. As a result, they had to change their surname by combining their given Chinese name together.
After baptism, the Spanish authorities gave my grandfather a "hispanicized" surname of GO-CHOK-CO (Gochioco). The word "CO" is also a Chinese last surname, but in this case, the "CO" (in typical 3-syllable family names) corresponds to a title or distinction given to affluent citizens, similar to the "DON/DONA" titles used by
Spanish aristocratic mestizos. For example, some prominent Chinese-Filipinos families are the Co-juan-co (PLDT) and Yu-cheng-co. Do you see the correlation now? Typically, the Chinese surname is the first syllable. Therefore, the Gochiocos belong to the "GO family clan" and the Cojuancos originated from the "CO family clan."
We may then hypothesize that "Fortunato Co" could be a distant relative of the Cojuancos. If you need more information, a local prominent newspaper editor, Wilson Lee-Flores, published an article profiling my grandfather in 1987 (1988?) about the early Chinese tobacco magnates.

I hope I answered your questions. If you do have others, please don't hesitate to contact me.


Larry Gochioco
Ateneo de Manila Univ.
HS '74, BS Physics '78

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