Progress in Bayambang is truly well underway as a record-breaking 50.23-meter high statue of the town’s patron, Saint Vincent Ferrer, was unveiled on April 5, 2019 just in time for the 405th founding anniversary of the town, 400th year of the Saint Vincent Ferrer Parish in Bayambang, and the 600th year of martyrdom of the Dominican preacher. The colossal structure made of engineered bamboo with steel frame is the centerpiece of the Saint Vincent Ferrer Prayer Park, a haven currently being completed as part of the first phase of the proposed 67-hectare new town center based on the Comprehensive Land Use Plan for Bayambang which was earlier updated in collaboration with renowned architectural and urban planning firm Palafox Associates.
Bayambang was first recognized globally after being hailed as the Guinness World Record holder for the longest barbecue on April 4, 2014 but the feat did not leave a lasting evidence, and now, five years later, it has taken the world stage once again to give thanksgiving to Saint Vincent Ferrer and to create something lasting, a landmark for everyone to visit.
Overwhelming emotions filled the venue when Guinness adjudicator Swapnil Dangarikar formally announced that the Saint Vincent Ferrer statue is officially the Guinness World Record holder for the category of Tallest Bamboo Sculpture (Supported). Thousands of Bayambangueños and visitors from all over the globe rejoiced with the thought that the town now has a symbol of devotion, unity and collaboration that will stand firmly to guide the people of the municipality in the years to come. The unveiling rites began with a holy mass followed by a grand procession, with parishioners, streetdancers, motorcycle riders, Local Government Unit officials and employees, students, different organizations, Bayambangueño devotees and visitors, from the Saint Vincent Ferrer Parish church to Barangay Bani where the Prayer Park is located. This incredible act of unity will be marked in the history of Bayambang as one of the greatest feats that Bayambangueños have ever accomplished through the bold leadership of Mayor Cezar T. Quiambao, with the help of his wife Niña Jose-Quiambao, Vice Mayor Raul R. Sabangan, members of the Sangguniang Bayan, and Hermano and Hermana Mayor Dr. Henry and Mrs. Julie Fernandez, and the collaborative efforts of the Saint Vincent Ferrer Parish, led by Rev. Fr. Allen O. Romero, and the Kasama Kita sa Barangay Foundation, Inc.
This global recognition comes with great opportunities for Bayambangueños. Soon, establishments will rise and hundreds, or even thousands, of jobs will be created to accommodate the needs of tourists and spark a massive economic boost to the town. The construction itself required the employment of more than 600 workers, and the houses nearby have already started their small businesses in anticipation of the need of the workers and the tourists who are sure to crowd the Prayer Park.
Architect Jerry Suratos, one of the project managers from JQS Builders, said that once finished, the SVFPP will be able to accommodate 15,000 people at a time. It will include a chapel and a pathway for the Stations of the Cross, an ideal destination for devotees especially during Holy Week. It is expected to be one of the top pilgrimage spots in Pangasinan along with the Minor Basilica of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary of Manaoag.
The incredible superstructure of Saint Vincent Ferrer can withstand even a magnitude 8 earthquake and was intricately designed using engineered bamboo panels that can last up to 25 to 30 years. It faces the east, symbolizing the promise of a brighter future that awaits every Bayambangueño, and it can be seen even in the neighboring towns of Basista, Bautista, and Alcala, its height a perfect representation of the love that Bayambangueños have for the patron saint of builders.
Saint Vincent Ferrer has guided and will continue to guide Bayambangueños in their endeavor to overcome even the biggest challenges that may come their way, even in their current endeavor to fight poverty. Bayambang’s Revolution against Poverty, initiated by Mayor Quiambao, is expected to be another success through the continuous collaboration of the townspeople and the unending guidance of the venerable Saint Vincent Ferrer.