My whole name is Kyong-Mi Roxanne Arcala. My father wanted me to have a very feminine name if I was a girl and that would be Roxanne. It was fitting, because I was born at 6:08am, right at the crack of dawn, and Roxanne translates to the brightest part of the morning in Persian. My mom's name is Kyong-Ja, and for years, my father believed that Kyong-Mi meant "Daughter of Kyong." I actually had an argument with my father, telling him, "No, my mom said it means 'You grow more beautiful, each time I see you.'" She said it was because my dad made a comment about me not looking as cute as his other three kids, so she did not want to name me "Roxanne" to spite him and instead gave me a Korean name.
Kyong-Mi is pronounced like Kee-Young-Me. I've been using the name, "Mimi" since I was born. My French grandmother, Lenore, told my dad that Kyong-Mi would be butchered and sounded weird, and to give me a simple French name. My dad asked for a suggestion and grandma said, "How about Mimi? It's easy to remember and feminine." My dad asked my mom what she thought of Mimi and my mom loved it. The phonetic sound "me" means "Beautiful" in Korean, and to my mother's ears, "Me Me" rings as "Twice as Beautiful." Mom won either way.
My surname "Arcala" is a Spanish surname, mostly found in Ilocano areas of the Philippine Islands, however has been found in other places such as the Dominican Republic and non-Ilocano areas of the Philippines and other continents. It is possibly derived from the Spanish surname Alcalá. My paternal grandfather, Mamerto Arcala, was from Vigan, Salindeg, Ilocos Sur, Philippine Islands.
The history of naming in Philippines
The Edict of Governor General Narciso Claveria in 1847 required all inhabitants of the Philippines to adopt surnames to facilitate the collection of taxes. Being the capital town, the “naturales” or natives in Vigan were required to adopt surnames beginning with the letter “A” while the mestizos with the letter “F”.