BAYAMBANG AT 400 YEARS REVISITED
What Bayambang is at the present will be highly appreciated if one knows the origin of its name, its Christianization, its early beginnings, its major roles in the struggles for Philippine Independence, and its glorious past, serving as a valuable legacy to the Bayambangueños. Therefore, a glimpse of the history of Bayambang is hereby captured in texts with the corresponding illustrations/pictures.
A. How Bayambang Got its Name
Legend tells that once a Spaniard, with his hands on his waist asked a native about the name of the village and the native answered balanbang referring to the waist. Since both did not understand each other, the Spaniard construed the word as the name of the place and produce the word as Bayambang since it is easier to pronounce it than balangbang.
Another tale is about the abundance of colibangbang trees, hence the Spaniards call the place pueblo de Colibangbang. Still another story was about a Spaniard asking for the name of the place. The native thought the Spaniard was referring to the baiang baiang, a scarecrow used by farmers to drive away the anuyais and other birds feasting on the ripening grain of the palay, and so the native’s answer was baiang baiang.
B. Early Beginnings
Before the coming of the Spaniards. Bayambang was then called Malunguey which was sparsely populated and the natives lived in scattered cluster of huts. Just like other places in Pangasinan, three classes of people existed: 1) the anacbanuas, the rich ruling class; 2) the timaoas, the lower born class but free; and 3) the aripuens (aripẻns), the servile class of the slaves. The social class of the anacbanuas was not affected even after the reorganization of the native society during the Spanish occupation. They persuaded the followers to settle in new villages and provided the necessary services for building churches, convents, casa real, tribunal, school houses, and other public works.