The municipality of Banayoyo was originally called “Bacsayan”. How it got its present name could be recounted by the following story: in the eastern part of Poblacion, there was a big tree, which was called “Banayoyo”. The people built a “Dap-ay” under the shady branches of the big tree, where the old folks held their meetings and settled any disputes or criminal acts committed by the barangay folks. After every bountiful harvest, the people gathered around the “Banayoyo” tree and offered their thanksgiving in a festivity called “Kaniaw”, the rituals lasting for three days.
Due to old age, the big “Banayoyo” tree died. The death of the big tree brought famine and drought. The calamity prompted the older folks to gather in the “Dap-ay” and decided to change the name of the community. The people thought of a name so that the big “Banayoyo” tree will always be remembered, and called the place “Banayoyo” instead of “Bacsayan”.Creation of the Municipality
In its earliest stage, Banayoyo was a “rancheria” (or a pasture land under the Spanish regime). But as more people from the highlands of Abra called “Tinguians” came to settle, it developed into a small community.
Before Banayoyo became a township, during the 18th century, it was part of the now municicpalities of Candon and Santiago. Reliable sources indicate that lands existing in the southern part of the town, particularly from Barangay Cadanglaan in the southwest to the Barangay Lopez in the Southeast, were registered in the local civil registrar at Candon, while lands in the northern part were also registered in the local civil registrar at Santiago before they were given new declarations by the local civil registrar of Banayoyo. It was only in the year 1907 when Banayoyo gained its township, separating itself from Candon and Santiago. In 1912, it became a Municipality under Ilocos Sur Province.Historical Roles and Events
During World War II, Banayoyo was once the seat of ongoing local Philippine Commonwealth Military and Ilocano Guerilla Resistance Outfit, under the command of Army Major Walter M. Cushing, a fearless American fighter. The closeness of the residents to the Guerilla Outfit by way of provisions and financial assistance irked the Japanese Imperial Army, who were then garrisoned at an old Sugar Central in nearby Bucong, a barrio of Candon. Angry patrols of the Japanese Imperial Army burned down some barrios of Banayoyo. Barangay Elefante, which was the bivouac area of the elements of the “M” Company, 121st Infantry Regiment, Philippine Commonwealth Army, USAFIP NL, suffered the worst atrocities. On October 16, 1944, one half of the barrio was burned down and on November 14, 1944 the other half met the same fate. During the same dates, not only Elefante was set on fire but the whole town. The Banayoyo Catholic Church was not spared nor the Municipal Hall.
Tinguians were the foremost inhabitants of the place, who came down from the highlands of Abra. With the coming of the Spaniards, Americans, Japanese, Chinese and other foreigners and people from nearby provinces of Ilocos Norte, La Union and Mountain Province, the original settlers intermingled with and intermarried with them. At present, however, remnants of the Tinguian tribe still reside in the town.
Like before, farming is the major source of livelihood of the people. During the early period, they used crude methods of farming like plowing by the use of cows and carabaos, and tilling the soil by the hands or sticks. But with the coming of the Westerners who brought with them modern technologies, the farmers of Banayoyo have already adopted semi-mechanized methods of farming like the use of tractors, threshers, commercial fertilizers, etc.
The original settlers of Banayoyo brought with them their own culture and customs. These further enriched by the coming of the foreign rulers who introduced the following: democratic form of government, Christian religion, centralized form of government, education, religious toleration, progress, friendly and close relationship and cooperation. As a result of these new developments, many religions have been established in the municipality like Protestantism, Catholicism, “Iglesia ni Cristo”, “Aglipayan”, “Jehova’s Witnesses”. Many residents have been given elementary and secondary education with the establishment of several elementary schools; roads and other infrastructure projects were constructed which increased mobility and others.
Settlements in the municipality are mostly established along the roads and in the areas near the people’s sources of livelihood. With limited economic opportunities in the municipality, some residents of the town have also left their town to seek higher education, better employment opportunities, better opportunities for trade and commerce not only to other more developed areas in the country but even abroad.
The municipality of Banayoyo is one of the 36 municipalities of Ilocos Sur in Region I. It lies within the latitude 17 11 to 17 15 and longitude 120 26 to 120 34. It is bounded on the south by the Bucong River, also called “Carayan a Bassit”; on the west by a small canal called “Calip”; on the east by the Cabeaburao Hills, and on the north by Bay-asan Hills. Municipalities abutting the town area are: on the east by Lidlidda; on the south by Candon; on the west by Santiago; and on the north by Burgos.
Banayoyo, which is one of the interior towns of Ilocos Sur, is approximately 3.5 km east of the Manila North Road. It is 57 km north of Vigan, the provincial capital city; 8.5 km northeast of Candon; 85.5 kilometers from San Fernando, La Union, the regional capital; 145.5 km from Baguio City; and 352 km from Manila.
The municipality can be reached by jeepneys going to Lidlidda and San Emilio or tricycles from Candon.
Banayoyo is politically subdivided into 14 barangays.
- Casilagan Norte
- Casilagan Sur