Place:San Fernando, La Union, Ilocos, Philippines


NameSan Fernando
Alt namesSan Fernandosource: Getty Vocabulary Program
Coordinates16.65°N 120.317°E
Located inLa Union, Ilocos, Philippines     (1600 - )
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

San Fernando, officially known as the City of San Fernando, is a 3rd class component city and capital of the province of La Union, Philippines. According to the 2020 census, it has a population of 125,640 people.

City of San Fernando, La Union serves as a gateway to trade, commerce, culture and heritage of Ilocandia. It is the financial, industrial, and political center of the province, as well as the regional capital of Region 1 (Ilocos Region), hosting regional offices of national government agencies as well as being home to some of the region's educational and medical institutions and facilities. The city is located in the geographical center of the Province of La Union.



the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Colonial History

San Fernando, along with all the southern coastal towns of La Union were once called Agoo in pre-colonial times. Agoo was the northern part of Caboloan (Pangasinan), covering a large area that encompassed the towns of “Atuley” (San Juan), San Fernando, Bauang, Caba, “Alingay or Alinguey” (Aringay), Santo Tomas and Rosario.

When Juan de Salcedo a Spanish, explored the area in June 1572, he and his men were involved in a skirmish with 3 Japanese ships. He discovered that there was a settlement in the area, occupied by Japanese and Chinese merchants. The incident earned Agoo the name “El Puerto de Japon,” the Japanese Port. Agoo was heavily involved in trade with other neighboring Southeast Asian countries. Agoo's role as an ancient port eventually deteriorated when the Spanish closed the Philippines to foreign trade.

The origins of the capital city of the province of La Union date back to the formal creation of the municipality or Ministerio de San Fernando which coincided with the founding of the Parish of San Fernando, Augustinian friar Jose Torres on May 6, 1786, in honor of King Ferdinand of Spain. San Fernando was formerly called “Pindangan” from the word “pindang” which was a traditional method of drying fish. Pindangan was formed in 1759 from the union of two sitios - “San Vicente de Balanac” and “San Guilermo de Dalangdang” - for mutual protection against marauding pirates from the sea and headhunters from the mountains. Augustinian friar Jose Torres also had the Pindangan church built but a massive earthquake in the 1760s left the church in total ruin - except for the massive buttresses that still stand today, known as the Pindangan Ruins.

Named after Saint Ferdinand III of Castile, San Fernando was founded in 1786. That same year, instead of rebuilding the Pindangan church, the Franciscans decided to build a new one in honor of San Guillermo. This is now the Cathedral of St. William the Hermit situated at the center of San Fernando City.

On October 29, 1849, Governor General Narciso Zaldua Claveria issued a “promovido” combining the eight northern towns of Pangasinan, three southern towns of Ilocos Sur due south of the Amburayan River, and 8 western settlements of Benguet or Eastern Pais del Igorotes in the Cordilleras into the province La Union. On March 2, 1850, Governor General Antonio Maria Blanco signed the “Superior Decreto” of La Union, with San Fernando as the “cabecera,” the capital, and with Captain Toribio Ruiz de la Escalera as the first Gobernador Militar y Politico. Its creation as a province was formally approved by a Royal Decree issued by Queen Isabela II of Spain on April 18, 1854. 

From 1896 until 1898, during the Philippine Revolution, the Spanish garrison of San Fernando was attacked by Filipino revolutionaries under Manuel Tinio y Bundoc and Mauro Ortiz. Spanish administration ceased; a short while later, The Spanish ceded the country to the Americans in the 1890s. The United States acquired control over the country by the Treaty of Paris following the events of the Spanish–American War.

From its inception as the capital of La Union up to the Second World War, San Fernando experienced monumental transformations in the socio-cultural and politico-economic aspects. After World War II, rehabilitation and reconstruction were done, eventually propelling the city as the center of commerce and trade and the administrative center of Region I.

World War II

In the Second World War, the last battle of San Fernando was fought during the Japanese occupation at Barangay Bacsil. The Bacsil Ridge Monument was built on the site in the city, the north-eastern portion of the town plaza. The victory enabled the establishment of the United States Army Base, Base M at Poro Point (a buildup area for the Japan invasion). The town was liberated in 1945.

The Battle of Bacsil Ridge

The Battle of Bacsil Ridge was fought in March 1945 was one of the continued main battles of the Philippines Campaign of the Second World War are between the Filipino soldiers under the 121st Infantry Regiment, Philippine Commonwealth Army, USAFIP-NL, under the command of Russell W. Volckmann, and the Japanese Imperial forces under by General Tomoyuki Yamashita.

The Battle of Bacsil Ridge ended the month-long battle for control of San Fernando. The Japanese defenders called the Hayashi Detachment, composed of 3,000 armed troops and 2,000 unarmed support forces, took hold of San Fernando and its surrounding areas which denied entry to the port of the city and a road leading to Baguio City. As part of the San Fernando-Bacsil Operations, the 1st Battalion of 121st Infantry were sent to loosen the enemy positions starting late February with the assistance of the Allied Air Force.

The 1st Battalion made a general attack to the ridge on March 16, 1945, and fought the Japanese defenders until the capture of Bacsil on March 19. On the same day, the 3rd battalion captured Reservoir Hill. The Battle of Bacsil Ridge between the Filipino guerrillas and the Japanese Forces resulted in the recapture of the city of San Fernando, La Union. which resulted in the capture of San Fernando, La Union on March 23, 1945, and Bacnotan, La Union and the military offensive throughout the province ended on March 24 after two months of fighting.

Martial law era

Although Ilocanos are perceived to have been largely silent about the authoritarian practices, there were still San Fernando residents willing to express their objections to the Marcos administration.[1] This included San-Fernando-raised student activists Romulo and Armando Palabay, UP Students and La Union National High School alumni who were imprisoned for their protest activities in San Fernando, tortured at Camp Olivas in Pampanga, and later separately killed before the end of Martial Law. The respective martyrdoms of Romulo (age 22) and Armando (age 21) were later honored when their names were etched on the Wall of Remembrance at the Philippines’ Bantayog ng mga Bayani, which honors the heroes and martyrs who fought the authoritarian regime.


San Fernando became a city by virtue of Republic Act No. 8509 signed into law on February 13, 1998, and ratified on March 20, 1998, by a plebiscite.

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