SAN FERNANDO CITY is the capital city of La Union and the regional center of Region I in the Philippines. San Fernando belongs to District I in La Union province and is the main hub of financial, industrial and political events in La Union.
According to city archives, San Fernando already has settlements even before the Ming Dynasty. Proof of the said settlements were artifacts found in the place such as porcelain, beads, spearheads and other objects that was owned by the settlers then to trade with neighboring countries. This ancient village was then called “Pindangan” and in 1850 the village was renamed to San Fernando and became the provincial capital of La Union.
During the Spanish, American and Japanese occupation from 1896 to 1945, numerous uprisings and battles were fought here for independence. Airports were bombed and other ruins were left during the World War II. It was only in 1998 when San Fernando became a component city and eventually reconstructed and developed the city.
Soon a new modern airport will be developed in San Fernando, making it the second largest international airport of the Philippines after NAIA.
San Fernando is now an urban land; however 3,251 hectares or 48 percent of its land area is still agricultural. Some agricultural lands can not be further utilized for crop production due to frequent flooding. While other declared agricultural areas increased in market value due to closeness to the commercial center, thus, some farmers sold their lands and shifted to another occupation. Sugarcane and rice utilizes utilizing 44.17 percent and 25.83 percent of the total farm area. Others crops are cassava and vegetables. Other areas in San Fernando were converted to fishpond producing ‘tilapia’. Other farmland is used for livestock and poultry raising.
The city has a current population of 115,650 in 22,688 households. San Fernando has a population growth rate of 2.27%. Predominant language used is Ilocano and Tagalog.
COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY
The city of San Fernando is situated at the heart of Central Luzon, thus it emerged as the trade and commerce in La Union. San Fernando also boasts of various business establishments that have since relocated in the city. Currently, an approximately 5,822 new business establishments including two big shopping malls, more than 50 banks, major bottling companies, industrial estate, several manufacturing companies and local food processing companies are present in the city.
San Fernando also has small and medium enterprises such as garment factories, ceramics, and the most famous giant lantern making industry. Despite the city’s urban classification, agricultural production also adds in the revenue of the city; as well as Tilapia or fish production, livestock, and poultry raising. Another new business flourishing is car dealership. These are the reason the city remains to be one of the most competitive cities in the Philippines.
San Fernando City has a long dry season starting from the months of April to October.
ARTS & CULTURE
The city actively participates for major tourism events highlighting the rich art and culture of San Fernando through various fiestas and festivals celebrated annually:
City of San Fernando Fiesta – This fiesta is celebrated on February 6 to 12 yearly in honor of St. William.
Feast of Our Lady of Casaysay – This is celebrated during September by the Filipino-Chinese community in City of San Fernando by bringing the original statue from Taal, Batangas to the temple.
Giant Lantern Festival – The city is known worldwide for its giant lanterns approximately 20-feet with intricate designs, dynamic interplay of 3,500 to 5,000 lights and color and this is celebrated every third week of December, thus the city is also called as the Christmas Capital of the Philippines.
Holy Week in the City –The "Via Cruzis" is a 50 year old street play portraying thepassion and death of Jesus Christ in an elaborate 2-hour drama during Good Friday of the Holy Week. It includes the actual crucifixion on wooden cross of penitents at noon time. This event attracts local and foreign tourists yearly.
San Fernando boasts of its famous products such as the Pampanga tocino and longganisa, as well as the making of unique giant lanterns. Other local products are based on agricultural crops and marine products, and bamboo craftsmanship.
The Kapampangans are known for their superb culinary expertise ranging from ordinary to the exotic foods such as adobong kamaru (mole crickets) and betuteng tugak (stuffed frog) of Everybody's Café, famous pancit luglug or palabok, tocino, longanisa, tapang damulag, murcon, embutido, kare-kare, sisig baboy, the lechon and its sarsa, bulang-Iang (pork cooked in guava juice) and lechon kawali.
Most of the residents in the city are predominantly Roman Catholic. On February 9, 1970 the Diocese of San Fernando was created. Currently, the diocese has 20 parishes in the 20 municipalities of the province. The diocese is the suffragan of the Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan and the patron saint is St. William the Hermit which is celebrated yearly on February 10.
LIST OF “BARANGAYS” (or communities)
The city is subdivided into 59 barangays or communities:
Barangay I (Pob.)
Barangay II (Pob.)
Barangay III (Pob.)
Barangay IV (Pob.)
BARORO BRIDGE MARKERS
The marker stands at the southern part of the Baroro Bridge, 14 kilometers away from San Fernando City. This marker serves as the victory of Luzon Guerillas over the Japanese Imperial Unit who colonized the city during the Japanese Occupation.
The beach is just 6 kilometers south of San Fernando, providing accommodation and various beach amenities.
This beach is fast becoming a favorite site of visitors because the sands are nearly black in color; this is due to the metallic deposit of iron..
LA UNION BOTANICAL AND ZOOLOGICAL GARDEN
This garden is situated in Cadaclan community which has a natural Japanese garden setting, among many other garden themes. It is also a home for various indigenous plants. This place is truly ideal for relaxation and for appreciation of nature at its best.
MUSEO DE LA UNION
This is located in the Provincial Capitol Ground of the city which showcases various archeological finds.
The remains of the first Catholic Church ever built in the City of San Fernando
This is located in Taboc, San Juan just a few kilometers away from the city proper. Various clay products are displayed.
SAN FRANCISCO-CANAOAY-PAGUDPUD BEACH
The stretch of San Fernando City boasts of its beautiful beaches, ideal for swimming, picnics and relaxation.
SAN JUAN BEACH
This beach is approximately 8 kilometers away from the city proper and is ideal for surfing especially during the months of November to February.
WHITE SAND BEACH
This beach is situated in Poro Point, ideal for scuba diving.
Major bus companies ply the route from Manila to San Fernando La Union via North Luzon Expressway (NLEX).