Bayambang, Pangasinan is 400 years old

On April 5, 2014, the town of Bayambang in Pangasinan will officially turn 400 years old.

At the kickoff for the year-long preparation, the official Quadricentennial logo was unveiled, fireworks lit up the night sky and 400 sky lanterns were released along with a candle-lighting ceremony and the ringing of the church bell 400 times.

The Quadricentennial Committee officially launched the start of the preparations for the 400th year celebration led by the Executive Committee Chair, Dr. Henry J. Fernandez with the presentation of some of the flagship projects that will be undertaken during the lead-up to the 400thyear in 2014.

At the Bayambang Town Fiesta Inter-Institutional Alumni Homecoming last April 5, the projects, which include the installation of a Quadricentennial Arch, the publication of a coffeetable book on the History of Bayambang, a grand medical mission, the building of the Bayambang Museum and an official search for the Four Distinguished Bayambanguenos who have contributed significantly to its progress, were launched.

Bayambang will also attempt to set a world record for the "Longest Grill" during the annual Malangsi Fish-tival, when grills are set out along the street. Malangsi, which means "fishy," depicts Bayambang as a producer of fresh water fish products such as mudfish (dalag), catfish (pantat), and gurami.

Present during the April 5 launch were the town's citizens and local officials, including businessman and Kabaleyan, Cezar T. Quiambao, who has made Bayambang his base of operations. Quiambao pledged P5 million as seed fund for the Quadricentennial celebration.

Quiambao urged the Bayambanguenos to make sure that 2014 will be an unforgettable celebration, because it only comes once.

"We didn't witness the 300 years, and definitely we will not be here when it reaches 500 years, so let's put everything now; let's make our 400-year celebration successful. We need to put Bayambang on the map of the Philippines," said Quiambao.

Bayambang Municipal Mayor Ricardo M. Camacho also urged all of the town's citizens, especially those living in Metro Manila or abroad, to come home and take part in the celebration of Bayambang's centennial "to make it successful."

Almost four centuries ago, on April 5, 1614, Bayambang was constituted as a town with its own civil government, according to the findings of a Research and Study Committee created by Mayor Ricardo M. Camacho and subsequently approved and recognized by both the National Historical Commission of the Philippines and the President of the Philippines.

Bayambang has played a significant role in Philippine history. When General Emilio Aguinaldo was being pursued by American forces led by Gen. Arthur MacArthur, one of the places in which he sought refuge to evade capture on November 12, 1899 was the town of Bayambang. Additionally, Gen. Aguinaldo made Bayambang the temporary capital of the Philippine Republic. It was also in Bayambang, on the same date, that the regular army of the Philippine Republic was disbanded and resorted to guerilla warfare against the Americans. The following evening, Aguinaldo and some members of his government and military officers left Bayambang for Calasiao.

General Antonio Luna also came to Bayambang to prepare the defenses for General Aguinaldo's escape.

The lyrics of the Phlippine National Anthem was written by an poet-soldier, Jose Palma in a train coach stationed in Bautista, Pangasinan, which then was part of Bayambang.

The town of Bayambang lies in the central part of southern Pangasinan on the banks of the Agno River. It is bounded on the north by the town of Malasiqui, on the south by Camiling in the province of Tarlac, on the east by Bautista and the west, by Urbiztondo. It is composed of 77 barangays, including the poblacion. It comprises a land area of 16,800 hectares, and based on the 2012 census, has a total population of 116,426. Bayambang is a first class municipality in the province of Pangasinan.

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