The municipality's name came from the fact that its patrons, Our Lady of Charity and Saint Augustine of Hippo, protect the town. The miraculous image was found onboard a ship standed somewhere along the Ilocos Coast during the Spanish Era. They enshrined and venerated the image in a chapel made from cogon grass and bamboo. Many other people from other towns came to claim the miraculous statue, but failed to even move it.
As a result those who attempted to claim the miraculous statue went home, believing that the Miraculous Image of Our Lady of Charity would remain forever to guard the place.
Another origin is that the municipality is bordered by the Carballo mountains, which forms a natural boundary between the town and neighboring Abra. "Bantay" is an Ilocano (and Tagalog) term meaning "mountain," and "guard."
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