La Union

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For places in Latin America and Spain, see La Unión (disambiguation).
La Union
Welcome Arch of La Union at the La Union-Ilocos Sur border
Welcome Arch of La Union at the La Union-Ilocos Sur border
Flag of La Union
Official seal of La Union
Map of the Philippines with La Union highlighted
Map of the Philippines with La Union highlighted
Coordinates: 16°30′N 120°25′E / 16.500°N 120.417°E / 16.500; 120.417Coordinates: 16°30′N 120°25′E / 16.500°N 120.417°E / 16.500; 120.417
Country  Philippines
Region Region I
Founded March 2, 1850
Capital San Fernando City
 • Governor Manuel "Manoling" C. Ortega (NPC)
 • Vice Governor Aureo Nisce (NPC)
 • Total 1,497.70 km2 (578.27 sq mi)
Area rank 68th out of 80
Population (2010)[2]
 • Total 741,906
 • Rank 37th out of 80
 • Density 500/km2 (1,300/sq mi)
 • Density rank 10th out of 80
 • Independent cities 0
 • Component cities 1
 • Municipalities 19
 • Barangays 576
 • Districts 1st and 2nd districts of La Union
Time zone PHT (UTC+8)
ZIP code 2500 – 2520
Dialing code 72
Languages Ilokano , Tagalog, English

La Union (Ilokano: Probincia iti La Union; Tagalog: Probinsya ng La Union; Pangasinan: Luyag na La Union), is a province of the Philippines located in the Ilocos Region (Region I) on Luzon Island. The province is bordered by Ilocos Sur to the north, Benguet to the east, Pangasinan to the south, and to the west by the shores of the South China Sea. The provincial capital is San Fernando City.


La Unión, "The Union" in Spanish, was formed in 1850 when the Spanish colonial government of Governor-General Antonio Maria Blanco merged the three southern towns of Ilocos Sur province, the nine northern towns of Pangasinan, and the western towns of Benguet to the east (Eastern Pais del Igorotes in the Cordilleras). Pangasinenses were the majority in the new province because most towns had been in the Province of Pangasinan.

On October 29, 1849, Governor General Claveria issued a "promovido" to fuse the Pangasinan-Ilokos-Cordillera areas into "La Union". On March 2, 1850, Governor General Antonio Maria Blanco signed the Superior Decreto of La Union (34th province from Cebu-1565), with Captain Toribio Ruiz de la Escalera as the first Gobernador Military y Politico. Isabella II of Spain decreed the province's creation on April 18, 1854. In 1661, Andres Malong (Pangasinan) failed to recover La Union from the Spaniards after the Battle of Agoo.[3] In 1896, the people of La Union began a revolt against the Spanish, who had called La Union “Una Provincia Modelo", ed by Manuel Tinio Y Bondoc under Emilio Aguinaldo. The Americans collaborated with the Filipinos to end the Spanish.

Dr. Lucino Almeida became the Presidente Provincial of the American regime, followed by the election of La Union’s first Civil Governor in 1901, Don Joaquin Joaquino Ortega, Grandfather of Governor Manuel C. Ortega. 9 Governors succeeded Don Joaquin before World War II: Joaquin Luna, 1904-1907, Sixto Zandueta, 1908-1919, Pio Ancheta 1919-1922, 1931, Thomas De Guzman, 1922-1923, 1928-1931, Juan Lucero, 1923-1929, Mauro Ortiz, 1931-1934, Juan Rivera, 1934-1937, Francisco Nisce, 1937-1940 and Bernardo Gapuz, 1940. Gov. Bernardo Gapuz (1940), Gov. Jorge Camacho (1941-1942) and Gov. Bonifacio Tadiar (1942-1944) thereafter succeeded these 9.[4]

On January 4, 1945, La Union was liberated by the Battle of San Fernando and Bacsil Ridge. Agaton Yaranon, 1946-1947 was succeeded by Governors: Doroteo Aguila, 1948-1951, Juan Carbonell, 1952-1955, Bernardo Gapuz, 1956-1959, Eulogio De Guzman, 1960-1967, Juvenal Guerrero, 1968-1977, Tomas Asprer, 1977-1986, Robert V. Dulay, 1986-1987, Joaquin Ortega, 1988-1992, Justo O. Orros, 1992-2001, Victor F. Ortega, 2001-2007 and Manuel C. Ortega, 2007–present.[3]


La Union is 273 kilometres (170 mi) north of Metro Manila and 57 kilometres (35 mi) northwest of Baguio City. The land area of the province is 149,770 hectares (370,100 acres).[1]

Like most of the region, the province is squeezed in by the Cordillera mountain range to the east and the South China Sea to the west. Yet, unlike other portions of Luzon and the Philippines' two other island groupings, the Visayas and Mindanao, La Union experiences a rather arid and prolonged dry season with little precipitation to be expected between the months of November and May.


Population census of La Union
Year Pop. ±% p.a.
1990 548,742 —    
1995 597,442 +1.61%
2000 657,945 +2.09%
2007 720,972 +1.27%
2010 741,906 +1.05%
Source: National Statistics Office[2]

A large number of Pangasinense were Ilocanized during the Marcos Administration so Sixty percent of the population is Ilocano and overwhelmingly Roman Catholic. There are also large communities of Pangasinense in the province, Igorots in the Cordillera foothills, and Tagalog people in urban areas.

La Union is highly literate,[citation needed] with San Fernando City as the administrative, educational, and financial center of the region.


La Union is known for its softbroom industry. The economy is diversified with service, manufacturing, and agricultural industries spread throughout the province. The Port of San Fernando operates as an increasingly active shipping point, and the former American airbase Wallace Air Station, having been converted into a business and industrial area, helps to facilitate such commercial activity.

The main livelihood of the people are: hand-woven blankets (Inabel), softbrooms, baskets, pottery, rice wine (tapuey), sugarcane wine (basi), sugarcane vinegar, wood craft, bamboo craft, native rice cakes, antique-finish furniture, dried fish, honey, and mushroom.


La Union has 333 public elementary schools, 56 private elementary schools, 79 public high schools, 51 private secondary schools, 20 Colleges and 5 State Universities.[5][6]


La Union is the surfing capital of Northern Luzon. Tourism to the province is driven by airlines and passenger coach bus lines like regionally owned Farinas Transit Company, Viron Transit, Dominion Bus Lines and Partas.

Tourists often flock to the beaches of Bauang, or to the more secluded ones further north for snorkeling, surfing or other water sports; the more northerly beaches near San Juan specifically cater to both local surfers as well as portions of the world surfing circuit.

Tourist destinations include: La Union Provincial Capitol, Baluarte Watch Tower, Pindangan Ruins, Centennial Tunnel, World War II Vintage Canon, Ma Cho Temple, Basilica of Our Lady of Charity, Our Lady of Namacpacan, Cathedral of St. William the Hermit, St. Christopher Parish, St. John the Baptist Parish, Sts. Peter & Paul Parish and St. Michael, the Archangel Parish, inter alia. Museo de Iloko, Museo de San Juan, La Union Botanical Garden, La Union Centennial Tree, Beaches, Falls & Spring, Bolikewkew Rice Terraces, Amburayan River, Bambana Natural Cove Formation, Tapuacan River, Thunderbird Resort and Arosip Ecotrail, Freedom Park / Heroes Hill, Poro Point Boardwalk, La Union Medical Center, Eagle of the North Park, Imelda Garden, Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers, Hanging Bridge and Bacsil Ridge.[7]

Provincial Government and politics[edit]

Just as the national government, La Union provincial government is divided into three branches: executive, legislative and judiciary. The judicial branch is administered solely by the Supreme Court of the Philippines. The LGUs have control of the executive and legislative branch.

The executive branch is composed of the governor for the provinces, mayor for the cities and municipalities, and the barangay captain for the barangays.Local Government Code of the Philippines, Book III, Department of Interior and Local Government official website.

The legislative branch is composed of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (provincial assembly) for the provinces, Sangguniang Panlungsod (city assembly) for the cities, Sangguniang Bayan (town assembly) for the municipalities, Sangguniang Barangay (barangay council), and the Sangguniang Kabataan for the youth sector.

The seat of Government is vested upon the Mayor and other elected officers who hold office at the City Hall of San Fernando. The Sanguniang Bayan is the center of legislation, stationed in the Speaker Pro-Tempore Francisco I. Ortega Building, the Legislative Building at the back of the Capitol.


La Union is subdivided into 19 municipalities and 1 city.




La Union has a total of 576 barangays comprising its 19 municipalities and 1 city.[8]

The most populous barangay in the province is Sevilla in the City of San Fernando with a population of 10,612 in the 2010 census. If cities are excluded, Central East (Poblacion) in the municipality of Bauang has the highest number of inhabitants, at 4,249. Caggao in Bangar has the lowest with only 170.[8]

Further information: List of barangays in La Union

Elected Officials[edit]

La Union is governed by Manuel C. Ortega, the Chief Executive, his Vice-Governor, Aureo Augusto Nisce and 13 Board Members.[9]

Court system[edit]

The Supreme Court of the Philippines recognizes La Union (inter alia) regional trial courts and metropolitan or municipal trial courts within the province and towns, that have an over-all jurisdiction in the populace of the province and towns, respectively.[10]

Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, "The Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980", as amended, created Regional, Metropolitan, Municipal Trial and Circuit Courts. The Third Judicial Region includes RTCs in La Union xxx Sec. 14. Regional Trial Courts. (a) Fifty-seven Regional Trial Judges shall be commissioned for the First Judicial Region. Nine branches (Branches XXVI to XXXIV) for the province of La Union, Branches XXVI to XXX with seats at San Fernando, Branches XXXI and XXXII at Agoo, Branch XXXIII at Bauang, and Branch XXXIV at Balaoan;

The law also created Metropolitan Trial Courts in each metropolitan area established by law, a Municipal Trial Court in each of the other cities or municipalities, and a Municipal Circuit Trial Court in each circuit comprising such cities and/or municipalities as are grouped together pursuant to law: three branches for Cabanatuan City; in every city which does not form part of a metropolitan area, there is also a Municipal Trial Court with one branch, except as provided: Two branches for San Fernando, La Union;[11]

The courts of law are stationed in Halls of Justices of the Province and towns. In La Union, the Regional Trial Court is stationed at the Bulwagan ng Katarungan or Halls of Justice in San Fernando, La Union and other Regional Trial Courts in Bauang and Agoo, La Union.

Notable people[edit]

Image gallery[edit]


External links[edit]