Malabáñas (or Malabánias), formerly part of Mabalacat town, has at least two possible name provenances. One is from the prefix mala- (a word base for “resembling”) and bañás, a kind of timber-tree (Dacrycarpuscumingii [Parl.] de Laubenf.) as Henson noted. But the root word was recorded to have come from the Mangyans of Mindoro. In fact it is not entered in any Kapampangan, Tagalog (including Mindoro’s Southern Tagalog), Ilocano, Pangasinense vocabularies. Another possible etymology is the word bañás or banias (water lizard species, Hydrosauruspustulosus). According to Fray Diego Bergaño’s 1860 dictionary, bañás is an old Kapampangan term for a barag (monitor lizard, Varanussalvator), which is also a close relative of dapu (of crocodile family). Since Malabanias is situated near the Abacan River, passing boats probably looked to people on the riverbanks as having the appearance of floating bañás, (Old Kapampangan folks still say “Balamugalakgakka!” to a person who is skinny and gawky enough to look like an iguana.
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