By Danilo V. Rogayan Jr.
Barangay Balaybay is one of the leading and fast-progressive villages in the municipality of Castillejos in the province of Zambales in almost all fields – education, agriculture, industry, economy, livelihood and social services.
Balaybay is dubbed as the “Little Baguio of Castillejos,” “Sanctuary of Castillejos,” and “The Hidden Paradise.” Its patron saint, San Isidro de Labrador, the patron of farmers and laborers is celebrated annually every May 15 as thanksgiving of the people who are mostly farmers and laborers.
According to the legend, the name Balaybay came from the word “Pamalaybayen,” a genus of a tree which is ubiquitous in the community. Some folklore tells that the name Balaybay was derived from the term “balaybay” means “hanging clothes” because in the old days, there were lots of clothes hanging in several household in the barrio. While some believed that the present name of the barangay came from the Ilocano word “balay” which means house.
It can be recalled that Balaybay served as the resettlement area of the victims of the historic eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in the year 1991.In June 1991, Mt Pinatubo, located on the island of Luzon in the Philippines, violently awoke after five centuries of quiescence in what is considered to be the second most powerful volcanic eruption of the 20th century. Since then, destructive lahars triggered by typhoon-associated downpours, tropical monsoon rains and lake break outs, have flowed down the flanks and foothills of the volcano.
An intergovernmental structure, the Task Force Mount Pinatubo, which became, in 1992, the Mount Pinatubo Commission (MPC), was created to develop and implement the government policy of resettlement and oversee other rehabilitation works. Eruption and lahar lowland victims were relocated in 13 sites which were chosen by the government for being safe from lahars, for their well-drained soils and for being easily connectible to water networks. One of the said resettlement sites is located in Barangay Balaybay which is now known as Balaybay Resettlement Area which bears 14 puroks while the Balaybay Proper was subdivided into three puroks which was previously 7 puroks.
Brgy. Balaybay was led by various chief executives from Regino Saldivar, Jose Neneng, Segundo Cortez, Macario Neneng, Antonio Agabao, Feliciano Reyes, Arturo Pamintuan, Reveck Labrador, Angel de Perio, Arthur Manzano and its present barangay captain, Hon. Ferdinand S. Pona.
At present, the most-populated barangay in the municipality is the home of the Gin Queen Corporation, Green Garden Inc., and the thoroughfare to the largest shipbuilding enterprise in the country the HHIC Philippines commonly known as Hanjin Shipbuilding Company making Brgy. Balaybay not only the center of agriculture but also the center of economic industry.