Manaoag, Dagupan, Alaminos, Lingayen, these are probably the first four towns that come to mind when you mention the province of Pangasinan.
Manaoag for its famous church and the miraculous blessed Virgin Mary "Our Lady of Manaoag," Hundred Islands in Alaminos, the Bangus of Dagupan and of course the rich history of Lingayen.
But what about Bayambang?
Bayambang might just be the next big tourist destination in Pangasinan especially for Catholic devotees this Lenten Season.
The quiet town of Bayambang first made noise after setting a new Guinness Book of World Record for the longest grill measuring 8.16 kilometers beating Turkey' old record of 6.1 kilometers and now the leaders of the municipality is out to make history once again for creating the tallest bamboo (supported) statue in the world.
In honor of its patron saint St Vincent Ferrer, the Bayambanguenos created a 51-meter monument right in the heart of Bayambang as tribute to his 600th death anniversary and in celebration of the 400th anniversary of Bayambang parish church.
Last week, we drove all the way to Bayambang to meet with government officials as they talked about how the construction of the statue, and the devotion of the Bambanguenos to St. Vincent Ferrer, and how they are also preparing for the town fiesta this April.
The municipal government of Bayambang, Pangasinan, led by Mayor Cezar T. Quiambao, invites local and foreign tourists to come and join in the celebration of its 405th town fiesta starting from April 1 to April 8.
The name of the town, according to the legend, came from the name of a plant called balangbang. As years passed by, the plant became extinct but the name “Bayambang” was retained and was given to designate the town. Historically, Bayambang was made as the last capital of the Republic by General Emilio Aguinaldo when he fled north to escape from the pursuing Americans during the Filipino and American War.
Originally called Balunguey or Malunguey, the town was established in 1614, the same year that the local parish named after Bayambang’s revered patron St. Vincent Ferrer was founded. What was initially a visita of Binalatongan (the current San Carlos City) only became an independent vicariate in 1619.
|St. Vincent Ferrer Statue will be completed on March 24|
The grand and colorful event highlights the Parish Jubilee which will happen on April. Bayambangueños’ celebration is made even extra special with the 400th year of the St. Vincent Ferrer Parish and, worldwide, the commemoration of the 600th year of the death of St. Vincent Ferrer. For four centuries, the parish church which enshrines St. Vincent Ferrer has been a solemn sanctuary for prayer and devotion for the people of Bayambang, its surrounding towns, and even beyond Pangasinan. Its current parish priest is Fr. Allen Romero.
The eight-day affair is filled with various activities in line with this year’s theme “Bayang Pinagtibay ng Pagkakaisa at Pananampalataya Laban sa Kahirapan: 400 Taon ng Pagpapala ng Parokya ni San Vicente Ferrer.” The occasion highlights Bayambang’s latest attempt to enter in the Guinness Book of World Records the Tallest Bamboo Sculpture (Supported) of the town patron St. Vincent Ferrer. Currently, Bayambang holds the world record for the longest barbecue grill.
The creation of the tallest bamboo sculpture (supported) of St. Vincent Ferrer was the brainchild of Mayor Cezar’s wife, Ms. Niña Jose-Quiambao, who is a devotee like her husband. The 51-meter tall statue is made of steel frame and engineered bamboo panels as cladding material.
Niña assured that this year’s celebration is extraordinary as it coincides with the 400th anniversary of St. Vincent Ferrer Parish, not to mention Bayambang’s latest effort to enter their patron saint’s tallest bamboo sculpture (supported) creation in the Guinness Book of World Records.
“When we plan for our town fiesta, we always have the best interest of the Bayambangueños in mind. We really went all out for this year’s celebration because we want to spread joy and love to Bayambangueños and to our guests from other towns,” said Niña who personally oversees the construction of the statue and devotes time to attending meetings regarding fiesta activities and preparations for the unveiling of the statue on April 5.
On April 1, a grand revelry kicks off the celebration at dawn around the main street of Poblacion followed by a Thanksgiving Mass, Grand Parade, and Opening Program. At 4 p.m. of the same day, the Streetdance Competition will be held at the Bayambang National High School. The day ends with an Inter-faith Thanksgiving for members of the community belonging to other religious groups.
From April 2 to 6, the hardworking people of the community will be honored through the Barangay Night, Farmers’ Day, Educators’ Night, Senior Citizens’ Day, TODA Day, Cultural/LGU Night, Matalunggaring Awards, and Fiesta Negosyante. The youth will have the chance to show their talent through Bayambang Got Talent, Inter-Barangay Sportsfest, and Zumbayambang. There will also be a cook-off called Malangsi Cooking Contest to discover budding culinary talents.
On April 5, the feast day of St. Vincent Ferrer, a Thanksgiving Mass will be held at the parish church followed by a traditional grand procession with statues of the esteemed patron paraded around town. The formal opening of the St. Vincent Ferrer Prayer Park will be held at Barangay Bani at 6 p.m. The highlight of the event is the unveiling of the tallest bamboo sculpture (supported) of St. Vincent Ferrer which is the main attraction in the spacious Prayer Park that will also soon feature a chapel near the base of the statue, fountains in front, candle shed, business stalls, landscaped gardens, and wide open spaces helpful to a person’s meditation and recreation.
Other major events include the Kalutan Year 5: Labi’y Liket tan Gayaga where Vice Ganda, Kamikazee and December Avenue are guest performers; and the Binibining Bayambang 2019, Niña’s personal project, is set on April 6. Bianca Gonzalez and Derek Ramsay are hosts while Dominic Roque is one of the judges. Paulo Avelino will serenade the lovely contestants.
Expect the town’s alumni from different educational institutions to come together to reminisce happy memories on April 7 and participate in the Alumni Motorcade and Alumni Night.
The event will conclude on April 8 with a mini-concert, Balikbayan Night and People’s Grand Ball.
Niña shared, “Since Mayor Cezar took office in 2016, we have been very hands-on when it comes to the fiesta preparations because we believe that it can be one of the biggest income generators for Bayambang. So, it’s not just about celebrating but also providing a better life to all Bayambangueños.”
Indeed, Bayambangueños know how to celebrate the gift of life and what makes them stand out is their immense faith in God. As the colossal St. Vincent Ferrer reaches the heaven, their deep devotion to their patron saint will be rewarded with more blessings as St. Vincent Ferrer intercedes for them.