While no authoritative researcher could ascertain the facts as to how the municipality got its name, the old folks of the town vividly recall the story, as transmitted through generations, of a fierce Aeta woman chieftain who ruled a wilderness along a stream east of the present site of the town proper of Asingan. Her kingdom was in a place called MASICAMPO. Her bravery was renowned to the extent that the trival chiefs of the neighboring villages feared her, never daring to invade her territory.
However, when the Malays immigrated to the Philippines, some of whom reached Pangasinan, the well-entrenched kingdom was razed to the ground. The period is estimated to be in the later part of the 7th century. Based on the manuscripts written in Malayu language with dates corresponding to 684 to 688 AD, it will be recalled that the kingdom of Sri Vijaya believed to be located on the northern side of the streets of Malacca expanded to include Malayu, an older samatran kingdom. The capital Vijaya, also known as Visaya, was then set-up in the eastern part of Samatra. Sri Vijaya colonies were established in Borneo and in the Philippines.
The Malays who were better and well-versed in warfare tactics were successful in their campaign, forcing the Aeta Warriors led by their Woman Chieftain to abandon their stronghold and to retreat to the hills on the east of the sitio now called BINMATAY. Determined to regain their lost territory, the Aetas occasionally attached and harassed the Malay settlers but were always repulsed. To put an end to the hostilities, the Malays effected a counter-offensive. In this encounter, the Aetas were badly routed. When they saw the woman leader slained, the Aetas fled to the eastern part of the mountains of Sierra Madre where their descendants still live today.
The Malay settlers found the place to be very fertile and full of promise and built up their defenses. When the Spaniards came to the village, they found the inhabitants to be very “hostile”, or “naasing” in the Ilocano dialect. With this antagonistic attitude, the Spaniards named the locality “Villa de Asingan”, meaning, the town of the hostile. Later, it was shortened to “Asingan”. As years passed, the hostile characteristics of the people waned, allowing other migrants from adjacent towns and provinces to settle therein and reside permanently.
2. CREATION OF THE MUNICIPALITY
During the Spanish Regime from 1521 to 1899, towns or “pueblos” were created by virtue of Spanish Royal Decree. Although no official records are available to determine the date of creation of the Municipality of Asingan, it could have been prior to year 1782 when Bartolome Cabacungan was appointed as the first “gobernadorcillo” of the town.
3. POLITICAL DEVELOPMENT
Even before Magellan was supposed to have “discovered” the Philippines for the Occidentals in 1521, the Filipinos were in fact already organized into political and social groups called the “barangays”. The barangay was headed by a datu or chieftain, or by a council of elders.
There was even a code of Kalantiyao containing 18 laws pertaining to the proper conduct of the people. The Code was named after Datu Kalantiyao, said to be a descendant of the great Datu Sumakwel, one of the earliest datus in the Philippines (In the Beginning, A Nation: A President, By Mita Q. Sison Duque). These Filipino datus were of Malay origins.
When the Spaniards came to the Philippines in 1521, a native ruler named Kasikis, controlled a territory called – “Luyag Na Cabaloan” which included all of Pangasinan and a large part of Zambales, La Union, and Tarlac. His palace was located somewhere within the present Municipality of San Carlos (now San Carlos City). Through the intercession of Rajah Lacandula of Tondo, letting Kasikis to honor and receive the Spanish missionaries kindly, he, all the members of his family and his soldiers were baptized.
The Spanish conquistadores introduced in the Philippines an administrative system, the “Installation of Municipal Presidents” in lieu of “Capitanes”.
During the Civil Government under the American Regime which was established on February 18, 1901, the boundary of the province was changed with the acquisition of the northern portion of Zambales comprising the towns of Alaminos, Bolinao, Burgos, Mabini, Anda, Bani, Agno and Infanta in 1903.
4. PAST LOCAL EXECUTIVES
For 378 years from 1521 to 1899, local chief executives of the “ pueblos” or towns were appointed by Spanish authorities. In the Municipality of Asingan, “Gobernadorcillos” were named from 1782 to 1842, and replaced with “Capitanes” from 1843 to 1899, viz:
LIST OF LOCAL CHIEF EXECUTIVES : 1782 – Present
|Manuel de Guzman||1794|
|Pascual de los Santos||1795|
|Pedro del Rosario||1799|
|Pedro del Rosario||1804|
|Sebastian de Salinas||1816|
|Sebastian de Salinas||1822|
|Cristobal de la Cruz||1848|
|Flaviano de Vera||1857|
|Roman de Guzman||1885-1886|
|Simeon Z. Cardinez||1948-1955|
|Jose R. Ramos||1956-1959|
|Dario R. Navarro||1972 to March 2, 1980 (Extended by Martial Law)|
|Felixberto R. Ramos||March 3, 1980 to May 1986|
|Joselino A. Viray||May 1986 to December 1987 (OIC)|
|Christopher C. Quintin||January 1988 to February 1, 1988 (OIC)|
|Francisco A. Sapigao||February 2, 1988 to April 30, 1993|
|Carlos P. Lopez, Sr.||May 1993 to the Present|
5. OTHER INFLUENTIAL LEADERS
The Municipality of Asingan, one of the towns in the sixth (6th) District of the Province of Pangasinan, has produced national figures notably six (6) Congressman namely, Hon. Juan Millan, Hon. Narciso R. Ramos, Hon. Justino Benito, Hon. Luciano Millan, and the President Fidel V. Ramos. Sen. Leticia amos-Shahani.
Narciso Rusca Ramos, formerly a member of the National Assembly of the Philippine Commonwealth was elected as representative of the Sixth (6th) District of Pangasinan to the tenth (10th) Philippine Legislature. As Congressman, he was re-elected four times (1935-1946). In 1946, when the Philippines regained its independence from the United States, President Manuel Roxas called upon Assemblyman Narciso R. Ramos to establish the country’s Foreign Service Department together with Joaquin Elizarde. It was during his incumbency as Secretary of Foreign Affairs when the first Philippine Embassy in Washington D.C. was organized.
His marriage to Angela Valdez from Laoag City was blessed with three (3) children, namely Gloria Ramos de Rodda, Sen. Leticia Ramos Shahani, and President Fidel V. Ramos.
Leticia Ramos Shahani, before she was elected senator, occupied the position in the United Nations as Assistant Secretary-General for Social Development and Humanitarian Affairs with the rank of an Ambassador.
FIDEL V. RAMOS, born in a house in Old Legionario St. along Maramba Blvd., Lingayen, Pangasinan on March 18, 1928 with his umbilical cord wound several times around his neck, the only son of Hon. Narciso R. Ramos, was destined to become the eight (8th) President of the third (3rd) Philippine Republic.
As military man, the initial encounter of President Ramos was in the Battle of Marawi in Mindanao. He also joined the Philippine Expeditionary Force to Korea (PEFTOK) to fight communism. At that time, he was merely a Second (2nd) Lieutenant. Thereafter, from 1966 to 1968, as builder, he was chief of staff of the Philippine Civic Action Group to Vietnam (PHILCAG-V). He was also trained at the John Kennedy Center for Special Warfare in Fort Briggy, North Carolina, the home of the Green Berrets.
Of his forty years in military service, he became a General after the first half. He rose from the ranks; appointed as Chief of the Philippine Constabulary and Director – General of the Integrated National Police and was Presidential Assistant on Military Affairs. Together with Senator Juan Ponce Enrile and Gregorio Honasan, he was a contemporary hero of the EDSA Revolution. When Madam Corazon “Cory” Aquino occupied the Presidency as an offshoot of the EDSA Revolution in 1986, President Ramos held the position of Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and later, that of Secretary of National Defense. As Cabinet Secretary, until December 1989, he stood in defense of the new reborn Philippine Democracy in six (6) more rightist coup attempts to overthrow the Aquino government. He was popularly elected as President of the Philippines in 1992 bringing honors and considered world-class developments in the Philippines, until he was succeeded by President Joseph Estrada in 1998.
6. FUNCTIONAL ROLE OF THE MUNICIPALITY
Asingan maintains its prestige as one of the leading agricultural towns in terms of production. Since 1976, it is one of the top ten leading towns in rice production. It is also known as the “vegetable bowl” of Pangasinan. However, due to its geographical proximity and location to Urdaneta, Rosales and Dagupan City, it did not become popular in terms of commerce and industry. It is retained as satellite town to Urdaneta. Its major role is supplier of rice and vegetables to major areas like Urdaneta and Dagupan cities to as far as Manila.
7. GLIMPSE OF THE FUTURE
Asingan, as spelled out in the Provincial Physical Framework Plan for 1998-2004 shall primarily function as agricultural town and a satellite town to Urdaneta. However, its proximity to Urdaneta City could spark its role as agri-industrial center and provider of tourism and other related urban services by year 2010.