The Name

Bagasao…Bautista…Bagasao…Bautista…which is it?

Our family name is Bagasao

…and Bautista.

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?

It’s Bah-guh-sow. (Bah as in father.)

Or…say this out loud:


Close enough.

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.



  1. Just wonder if you Travel through Minnesota…precisely the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul…I am in Minneapolis, but St. Paul is just across the bridge.
    Your family is breathtakingly beautiful. Do you have a family album, yet?
    Bet it would be good.
    I have recently met your Uncle, I believe…Brad.
    I will enjoy reading through your site and hearing from you now and then through e-mail.
    Continued success in your mission.

    1. Patty,

      I’m sorry we did not respond sooner.

      Yes, we travel through Minnesota every year. We have been in your area, but I don’t know exactly which part of Minnesota we’ll be visiting this year. We always come during the warmer weather, for obvious reasons. Ha ha. Please visit this link from time to time to see what our schedule is and when we will be in the area:

      Also, if you sign up for updates there, you will receive the occasional heads-up about what part of the country we’ll be heading into.

      Brad Bagasao–yes, he is Steve’s dad’s cousin, definitely the Bagasao family historian. I don’t know how he keeps it all straight.

      We do not have a family album, although three of the kids are involved in the concerts–one sings with Steve, one signs a song, and the little one does a solo of Jesus Loves Me.

      Thank you very much for your comments. Please introduce yourself if you come to an event.

      God’s richest blessings.

      The Travel Bags

      1. paula bagasao

        Travelbags. Patty Sachs is the sister of Steve Bautista-Bagasao’s father Ronny, and uncle Dan Bagasao, brother of Ron. There are three siblings, and though we came to know Patty recently, she is your aunt Patty, Steve. She is my first cousin and our family loves her much. I did not see a recognition of Patty as your aunt in your 2014 posting. Personally I do not get the change of name from Bagasao to Bautista, perhaps it is a way to sell more albums.

        1. Hello Cousin Paula,

          Yes, we know Aunt Patty. We’ve gotten together a couple of times as our travels brought us near her home. She has been to two of our events. We also met some of her family–lovely people. We’ll be through their area briefly next fall and hope to meet up again.

          You are fortunate that people have not had trouble pronouncing your last name. In the circles we travel, we have not been as fortunate, which is why we chose to revert to the old family name for the music mission. Rest assured, it is not in an effort to sell more albums nor out of any shame for our family name. On the contrary, we enjoy the history behind both family names.

          I hope you and your family are well. It would be lovely to see some Bagasaos at our events and get reacquainted.

  2. Debe Macdonald

    Dear friends and family in Christ Jesus our Lord~
    I wish that your appearance at St, Paul’s on April 9th
    would be at our Tacoma Washington church and not at the
    Ft. Atkinson church in Wisconsin. Although I would not
    deprive them of God’s blessings through your music.
    I will be ordering your Psalms CD, but I cannot at this
    time afford to do so. I shall be able to after April 12th..
    Too late for free shipping?
    May His goodness and care accompany you everywhere
    you are, as you live your lives for Him!
    In Christian love~
    Debe Macdonald

    1. Hi Debe,

      Thank you for dropping by and leaving a comment.

      I’m afraid you have us confused with somebody else. We are singing in Texas and New Mexico in April. I did a little research and the group you are thinking of is Branches Band. They are in Ft. Atkinson on that date and they have a new Psalms CD.

      Just to refresh your memory, our music mission information is right here: Stephen is a singer/songwriter/guitarist who performs his original music (and hymns when requested) throughout the country at WELS and ELS churches, sometimes singing with our daughter Marissa and a couple of our other eight children.

      No worries about the mix-up. Thank you for the comment, though! 🙂 God keep you.

      Christy (Stephen’s wife)

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