(From Time Magazine, 19 June 1989 (therefore presumably true):) No international laws govern the christening of countries; the label that sticks is determined by the tastes or even the sanity of its rulers. Anti-colonialism, however, is the most common rationale for national renaming. Filipinos have long bristled at the colonialistic implications of calling their country the Philippines, in honor of Philip II of Spain. During the regime of Ferdinand Marcos, there was a campaign to rename the country "Maharlika", a native word meaning noble and aristocratic. Plans for the rechristening proceeded apace until an academic pointed out that the word was probably derived from Sanskrit. Fine, its proponents said, Sanskrit is a non-imperialist language. Yes, replied the scholar, but "Maharlika" was most likely derived from the words "maha lingam," meaning "great phallus." That was the end of the campaign.
(From the "Rest" of RHF)