I. HISTORICAL BACKGROUNDS                                                                        

 1.  Etymology

The present Municipality of Villasis was a barrio of Malasiqui in the early part of the 17th century and was known by its former name, "Pandoyocan". The place had no fixed boundaries. It was simply a frontier settlement, a thickly forested region covering most of the southeastern parts of the present Pangasinan province. Few people lived in this place due to the unavailability of open space for farming. In this thick forest however, was a nesting ground of bees called "oyocan". The abundance of honey attracted Spaniards and inhabitants of neighboring places to settle in this village. Because of the presence of an apiary, the place was then called "Pandoyocan", meaning "colony of bees".

The village’s jurisdiction embraced in full or in parts the towns of Asingan, Sta. Maria, Urdaneta, Sto. Tomas and Alcala. Its features varied with the number of families temporar­ily or permanently settled within its environs. Its thick forest was a nesting ground of great hordes of bees they called oyocan which produces honey called allid. The honey provided good income for the residents and the bee wax, another bee product, were then traditionally used for cloth weaving. The thick forest was also the principal source of timber for domestic and commercial purposes. During the middle of the 19th century, its nearby forest still yielded wood used in constructions for civil as well as naval uses. One vessel of the Spanish navy was even constructed at Lingayen with timber coming from this area. Moreo­ver, the banks of the great Agno River were another source of livelihood for the village residents with the abundance of gold dust called mocmoc.

 2. Historical Development

Villasis was founded in the first decade of the 19th century however but it was not a new municipality in the strictest sense. It was rebuilt out of the remnants of ancient Pandoyocan, one of the frontier settlements of the eighteenth century in the then thickly forested area of southeastern Pangasinan. The friars in Malasiqui undertook the task of converting the settlers in and around Pandoyocan persuading them to settle in a proposed pueblo. It was upon the petition of Fr. Fernando Sta. Maria, then assigned to Malasiqui, together with the principales of the town to elevate the settlement into a pueblo. The authority to establish the town of Pandoyocan was granted on October 18, 1759 by Bishop Miguel Espelita of Cebu, then the interim Governor General. Bishop Espelita was the first Filipino Archbishop and Governor General.


The pueblo had its first election of town officials in 1760. In May 13, 1760, the election of Gobernadorcillo and other munic­ipal officials was conducted by the Alcalde Mayor of Pangasinan. A Dominican priest was assigned as curate to the new town the same year, but it was not until 1763 that the convent at Pandoyo­can (now, the Roman Catholic Church/Rectory of Villasis) was accepted by the religious order. But during the Palaris Revolt of 1762-1764 its inhabitants dwindled to compose of only 150 tributes and its administration was ordered abolished. Despite this, the old residents stayed on, persevered and eventually their population increased. In 1769, it was placed under the care of the vicar of Sinapog known today as the town of Asingan. After 1773, no more mention of Pandoyocan is found in the Actas Capitulares.

Migrants from the Ilocos region settled in Villasis between the 18th and 19th centuries.

Sometime in 1782, there was an uprising against the Spaniards led by Pantaleon Perez, known in the national history as ‘Juan de la Cruz Palaris’. Forced labor without pay was the chief cause of this uprising. Many people were forced to move to other towns so that the place became almost deserted and ungoverned. It was again turned into a barrio under the town of Malasiqui. Over the years, many attempts were made to restore it into an independent town under the leaderships of Don Remegio Macaraeg, Don Aurelio Figueroa and Don Gabriel de la Cruz, among others. It was one of the darkest period of Pandoyocan. After many long years and hardships it was again restored into a separate municipality.

 2.1 The Creation and Founding of the Town of Villasis

Migrants from the Ilocos region towards the end of the 18th and the beginnings of the 19th century further increased its population and the inhabitants petitioned for the restoration of their municipality. On June 22, 1804 a royal decree was published mandating the reconstitution of Pandoyocan. There was some delay in the execution of the decree and the residents made another petition to re-establish their town government and at the same time to change the name of their town to Villasis in honor of the former Governor Rafael Maria de Aguilar, one of whose family names was Villasis, who had issued the decree of 1804. Governor Felgueras granted the petition and the decree of 1804 was amended on March 2, 1807 to name the town Villasis.  But another version from the old Town Plan, 1984-1993 and traditional knowledge on how the town derived its name is it was in honor of Spanish colonizer, Don Antonio Urbiztondo y Villasis. This traditional belief however cannot be independently verified as to its source and origin.


The traditionally accepted belief is that Villasis was named after the great Spanish colonizer, Don Antonio Urbiztondo y Villasis.

Soon, the Dominican Provincial complained that the number of tributes in Pandoyocan had dwindled to only 92 from an original 300, because many who had been registered were not around when the period for the collection of tributes came.  The Dominican Father also wanted the town center to be sited in Macayo where a chapel had already been built. Thus, aside from changing the town's name to Villasis, the site of the poblacion was also changed and Pandoyocan became a mere barrio of Villasis. In 1841, Villasis finally became a town-parish and it included the visita of Panaglagbang, which is now the town of Rosales.

The town now consists of the Poblacion, the urban center and 16 barangays, each with history and etymology of its own. It is strategically locat­ed along the National Highway, a major transportation route to and from Region I and the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) as well as to and from southern Luzon particularly Metro Manila. The town’s geographical location has made it easier for the munici­pality to develop into its present functional role and economic status. The town now continues on its way to a robust growth. It is now considered one of the most progressive towns in the province of Panga­sinan as evidenced by the large flow of people and businesses from all parts of the country doing business in the municipality. The municipality currently flourishes on its rice, corn and tobacco plantations. Its hilly barangays situated along the Malasiqui boundary is an ideal place for resort developers and agri-business. The municipality also holds an annual fiesta in honor of its patron saint, Saint Anthony the Abbot.

Today, the Municipality of Villasis is a picture ofa bustling community primed for further development and progress.