by Msgr. Ildebrando Jesus Aliño Leyson
This coming 21 October 2012, Pope Benedict XVI will enlist the name of another Filipino in the roster or Canon of the Saints of the Church. The baptismal name of this second Filipino to become a saint is “Pedro”. He may have taken his name from the saint of the day when he was born, like for example, from Saint Peter the Apostle on June 29.
His surname is variedly spelled in the manuscripts of his Spanish companions and contemporaries as “Calonsor”, “Calongsor”, “Calansor” and “Calangsor”. The present version of the surname is “Calungsod”, with the accent falling on the “u” – “Calúngsod”.
The surname is of Visayan origin. It comes from the Visayan word “lúngsod” which means “town” or “citizenry”. The affix “Ca-” forms a noun which means “one’s co-[noun]”. Therefore, “Calungsod” means “one’s townmate” or “one’s fellow town citizen”. While today the Visayans normally use the word “katagilúngsod” (the “Ca-” is substituted with “ka-” plus the affix “tagi-” functioning as an indicative of a place of origin) to refer to one’s townmate, the surname remains to be “Calungsod”. The Spaniards may have written the surname according to how they could pronounce it, that is, perhaps with some difficulty in enunciating the “ng” and the terminal “d” – Calonsor – or it may have been actually the old version of the surname. Even today, when “lungsod” is inflected, the terminal “d” is alternated with an “r”; for example, “kalungsóran” (towns); “lungsoránon” (town citizen[s]). The same is true with other Visayan words that end in “d”, like for instance: “búkid” (mountain) > “kabukíran” (mountains); “tubúd” (spring) > “tuburán” (source, springs, having source or spring); “tíkad” (cultivate) > “tikáron” (will cultivate; will be cultivated).
Ignacio Francisco Alcina, S.J., a Spanish missionary who lived and wrote in the Visayas from 1632-1670, that is, during the time of Pedro Calungsod, spelled the word “lungsod” as “longsor” to refer to a “populated place” or “población”. Alcina was very familiar with the Visayan language because he lived in the Visayas for thirty-six years and did learn and speak the Visayan language, the words of which, he said, were easy to pronounce. He was well aware of the common occurrence of the union of the consonants “n” and “g” in many Visayan words. However, he complained that the Visayan natives somehow confused in their writing and pronunciation the letters “o” and “u” as well as the letters “l”, “r” and “d”.
Hence, “Calungsod” became “Calongsor”. And as it was further heard and pronounced by different persons of different tongues, ears and years, it became “Calonsor” and even “Calangsor” or “Calansor”. The confusion between the “o” and the “u” in the Visayan pronunciation is true even today. One can hear the surname “Calungsod” pronounced also as “Calungsud” or “Calongsod” or something halfway between these two ways of pronouncing it.
“Pedro” is a rather common Christian name. It is no wonder then that there had been, and still there are, other Visayans named “Pedro Calungsod”. There was a Pedro Calungsod who was baptized in the town of Ginatilan in Cebu on 23 May 1909. Much earlier, there was a Pedro Calungsod who was baptized in the town of Hinunangan in Leyte in 1854. There was also a Pedro Calungsod, Sr., who was born in the same town of Hinunangan in 1909. His son is Pedro Calungsod, Jr. In Molo, Iloilo City in Panay, there was only a Petrona Calonsod [sic] who was baptized on 30 June 1894, but one of her nephews was named Pedro Calunsod [sic] Cadunay. Andres Calungsod, who was baptized in Ginatilan on 17 October 1894 begot a son named Peter Calungsod who in turn begot Peter Calungsod II.
“Pedro Calungsod” may be a rather common name. But what makes this name very special today is how that boy from the Visayas of the 1600s gave it great honor. It has become like a royal robe too splendid to wear!