The name Pinamalayan, as the story goes, came from the words “IPINAMALAY NA” (“It has been made known to us”), as exclaimed by its first settlers who lost their bearing amidst a turbulent sea,  when a rainbow appeared in the horizon and guided them towards safety and to a place where they discovered abundant resources for livelihood. Other sources  attribute the name Pinamalayan simply to the fact that the area was once a vast area planted to rice, hence the name “PINAGPALAYAN”.

The Town of Pinamalayan is one of the oldest in the Province of Oriental Mindoro.  Its territory once went as far as the old settlements of Sumagui and Anilao which are now part of the towns of Bansud and Bongabong respectively.  The Town of Pola was also a former part of Pinamalayan until it got its permanent township status in the early years of American Colonization while Gloria was separated from Pinamalayan in 1964.

These territorial reorganizations signify the role of Pinamalayan as a major political and economic center in the southern part of Oriental Mindoro way back the latter years of Spanish regime.  Administrative orders regulating secular activities in these settlements were once sent from Pinamalayan thereby giving the town derivative advantages in trade, infrastructure development, social facilities and even political accommodations at the onset of the century.

Pinamalayan was organized as a permanent settlement in 1800’s under the leadership of a Gobernadorcillo. In 1914, the Municipal Council acted on the selection of a new town site through viva-voce voting. It was in 1916 that the seat of the Municipal Government was transferred from Lumambayan to its present site. During the American Occupation American planners made sure that the town is properly laid out according to a planning system that included wide, symmetrical roads with appropriate drainage facilities. It was also during this time that a big plaza was constructed adjacent to the municipal building. To date, Pinamalayan remains a model in town planning.

Presently, Pinamalayan is identified as one of the three major growth centers of the province together with Calapan City and Roxas. It is classified as a First Class Municipality by virtue of DOF Department Order No. 20-05 as implemented by BLGF Memorandum Circular No. 01-M (43) – 05 issued on January 31, 2006. The municipality’s strategic location (being at the center of the province), its well-planned Urban Core, the presence of the Intra-Regional Transport, its high agricultural potentials and the high percentage of available labor force spell the advantage necessary for sustainable development strategies. Its physical environment and socio-economic accomplishments are efficient starting points from which development efforts may be linked with. Having the best planned Poblacion in Oriental Mindoro, Pinamalayan with its grid-pattern of roads at 20-meter wide right-of-way in major segments can still absorb further urban growth and remains a model in town planning.

With its current state of economy and development, Pinamalayan is vying to become the second city in the Province of Oriental Mindoro.