There are two stories on how Pongayan got its name however, the two versions have similarity.
There was a German scientist who traveled all his way to a native populace. On his way he saw an Igorot woman who was busy gathering “Lubas”, a kind of clay used as shampoo. The clay was already so deep because other women got their shampoo there too, so the woman’s body was half hidden. Attracted by the woman’s position, he got in contact with her.
The woman gave birth to a baby girl. When she grew into a lady, she was big, tall and beautiful with big breasts. She could even feed her baby while carrying her at her back because the breasts were also long. When she walked, her breasts would swing so that neighbors called her “Palaypay” meaning swinging. The place was better known as “Palaypay” due to the presence of the German Mestiza. As of how it was named Pongayan, no records were found not even the old folks of the place.
A shorter version goes this way… Originally, the place was called “Palaypay”. There lived a lady with kaingin when a British hunter arrived and later married her. They had a child who soon grew up and married a hunter just the same. Suddenly, the family was struck by a disease so they decided to leave the place and went down. They then called the place a resting place or “Pongayan” in the Ibaloi dialect.