Bagasao…Bautista…Bagasao…Bautista…which is it?
Our family name is Bagasao…
Yes indeed, both names are part of our family heritage, but a short history lesson is in order to truly understand our family’s tale of two names.
The name-sake side of our family is from the Philippines. Up until the end of the 19th century, the Philippines had been ruled by Spain for a few hundred years. As a result of centuries of Spanish influence, many Filipinos had taken Spanish surnames such as Santos, Cruz, Rosario, and Bautista. In fact, by 1849 too many families had claimed these popular surnames (our family included) and the Spanish government was having trouble keeping track of people for census and tax collection purposes. As a result, on November 21, 1849 the Spanish governor decreed that most families who were using one of these popular surnames had to change it to one that was lesser known and little used. Thus, to comply with the Spanish decree, Steve’s great, great grandfather changed the family name from Bautista to Bagasao.
So, why does Steve Bagasao perform as Stephen Bautista?
Since Bautista is part of our heritage, and since the Philippines is no longer controlled by Spain we are certainly free to re-acquire the Bautista name if we so desire (take that Spain!).
But the real reason for using the Bautista name for our music mission is…
Say this out loud:
WRONG! It’s not Baaaagasao, not Bagazio, not Bagsoa, not BagaRosa (where did the “R” come from?), not Buh, Buh, Buh…I give up, what is it?
Or…say this out loud:
It’s a simple matter of pronunciation. Most people cannot pronounce Bagasao. In fact, it is rumored that Steve married Christy simply because she is the first person he met who was not related to him, yet pronounced his name properly.
So the musician goes by the name Stephen Bautista, but we are technically the Bagasaos…and on the road we are The Travel Bags. You, however, may call us whatever you wish.
By the way, if your last name is Bagasao, we’re related, since all the Bagasaos on the planet can be traced back to Steve’s great, great grandfather, the first Bagasao. Neat, isn’t it? So go ahead and put us on your Christmas list.