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Gaining Ground



We reached Bayambang, Pangasinan at daybreak and saw a figure towering over what otherwise were the unadorned horizons of the town, sparking curiosity and awe. Its height was difficult to miss. As we moved closer, we learned that the figure was the statue of St. Vincent Ferrer, the patron saint of builders, which, at 50.23 meters, is as tall as a 15-story building, taller than the Statue of Liberty in New York or the Crist the Redeemer Statue in Brazil. It only seemed fitting that the statue was completed this year in time for the 405th founding anniversary of Bayambang and the quadricentennial (400th anniversary) of the town's St. Vincent Parish

by Javier Flores
Photos by Manuel Generoso

There was however another reason for the town to celebrate. The statue had vied for the Guinness Record for the World’s Tallest Supported Bamboo Sculpture, an all-new category. On April 5, 2019, Guinness Official Adjudicator Swapnil Dangarikar declared that the statue had complied with all the requirements to be declared the holder of the Guinness Record, ensuring that it is not only a relevant religious attraction but also a significant tourism destination. The declaration was just in time for the 600th death anniversary of St. Vincent de Ferrer who died on the same day in the year 1419.


Not too long ago, nothing stood on the site of the St. Vincent Ferrer statue. It took the term of incumbent Mayor Cezar T. Quiambao to conceptualize and execute the feat in a short span of time without spending any funds of the local government.


Local Boy Who Did Good


Mayor Quiambao is a true son of Bayambang, having been born there in 1948 to small-scale business folk Simplicio Quiambao of Pampanga and Veronica Terrado of Bayambang. Upon finishing high school at Bayambang National High School (BNHS), he went to Manila to take up Business Administration at the University of the East (UE), supporting himself by working as a messenger and a jeepney driver.


He tried his fortune in Indonesia as an overseas Filipino worker and worked hard until he slowly ascended the corporate ladder to become the executive vice president of PT Green Timber Jaya, a leading timber company. Every year, he would come home to reunions with his classmates, who never failed to remind him of the sad state of Bayambang, how the town he left was still virtually the same, as if time had passed it by.