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
Location in the Philippines
Location in the Philippines
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, Pangasinan, Kankanaey, Ibaloi, Tagalog, English

La Union (Ilocano: Probinsya ti La Union; Tagalog: Probinsya ng La Union; Pangasinan: Luyag na La Union), is a province in the Philippines located in the Ilocos Region in the island of Luzon. Its capital is the city of San Fernando.

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.


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.

Administrative divisions[edit]

La Union is politically subdivided into 19 municipalities and 1 component city,[5] all of which are organized into two legislative districts.[6]

City or
District[6] Area
(per km²)
No. of

Agoo 2nd 52.84 60,596 1146.8 49 2504 1st 16°19′20″N 120°21′58″E / 16.3223°N 120.3660°E / 16.3223; 120.3660 (Agoo)
Aringay 2nd 84.54 44,949 531.7 24 2503 2nd 16°23′45″N 120°21′19″E / 16.3957°N 120.3553°E / 16.3957; 120.3553 (Aringay)
Bacnotan 1st 76.6 40,307 526.2 47 2515 1st 16°43′18″N 120°20′59″E / 16.7218°N 120.3497°E / 16.7218; 120.3497 (Bacnotan)
Bagulin 2nd 107.33 12,590 117.3 10 2512 5th 16°36′27″N 120°26′15″E / 16.6076°N 120.4374°E / 16.6076; 120.4374 (Bagulin)
Balaoan 1st 68.7 37,910 551.8 36 2517 1st 16°49′15″N 120°24′09″E / 16.8208°N 120.4025°E / 16.8208; 120.4025 (Balaoan)
Bangar 1st 37.36 34,522 924 33 2519 3rd 16°53′37″N 120°25′22″E / 16.8937°N 120.4229°E / 16.8937; 120.4229 (Bangar)
Bauang 2nd 73.15 70,735 967 39 2501 1st 16°31′35″N 120°19′45″E / 16.5265°N 120.3292°E / 16.5265; 120.3292 (Bauang)
Burgos 2nd 70.8 7,850 110.9 12 2510 5th 16°31′11″N 120°26′36″E / 16.5196°N 120.4433°E / 16.5196; 120.4433 (Burgos)
Caba 2nd 46.31 21,244 458.7 17 2502 4th 16°25′52″N 120°20′38″E / 16.4311°N 120.3439°E / 16.4311; 120.3439 (Caba)
Luna 1st 42.9 35,380 824.7 40 2518 3rd 16°51′10″N 120°22′35″E / 16.8528°N 120.3765°E / 16.8528; 120.3765 (Luna)
Naguilian 2nd 104.6 48,407 462.8 37 2511 1st 16°31′56″N 120°23′45″E / 16.5321°N 120.3958°E / 16.5321; 120.3958 (Naguilian)
Pugo 2nd 62.84 16,518 262.9 14 2508 5th 16°19′13″N 120°28′02″E / 16.3202°N 120.4673°E / 16.3202; 120.4673 (Pugo)
Rosario 2nd 73.98 52,679 712.1 33 2506 1st 16°13′46″N 120°29′16″E / 16.2295°N 120.4878°E / 16.2295; 120.4878 (Rosario)
San Fernando 1st 102.72 114,963 1119.2 59 2500 3rd 16°36′52″N 120°18′57″E / 16.6145°N 120.3158°E / 16.6145; 120.3158 (San Fernando)
San Gabriel 1st 129.87 16,628 128 15 2513 4th 16°40′27″N 120°24′04″E / 16.6742°N 120.4010°E / 16.6742; 120.4010 (San Gabriel)
San Juan 1st 57.12 35,098 614.5 41 2514 2nd 16°40′12″N 120°20′14″E / 16.6701°N 120.3373°E / 16.6701; 120.3373 (San Juan)
Santo Tomas 2nd 64 35,999 562.5 24 2505 4th 16°17′04″N 120°23′19″E / 16.2845°N 120.3885°E / 16.2845; 120.3885 (Santo Tomas)
Santol 1st 93.7 12,007 128.1 11 2516 4th 16°46′22″N 120°27′35″E / 16.7729°N 120.4596°E / 16.7729; 120.4596 (Santol)
Sudipen 1st 97.59 16,531 169.4 17 2520 4th 16°54′27″N 120°27′52″E / 16.9074°N 120.4645°E / 16.9074; 120.4645 (Sudipen)
Tubao 2nd 50.75 26,993 531.9 18 2509 4th 16°20′49″N 120°24′45″E / 16.3470°N 120.4126°E / 16.3470; 120.4126 (Tubao)
 †  Provincial capital and component city      Municipality
  • Coordinates mark the vicinity of the city/town center, and are sorted according to latitude.
  • Income classifications for cities are italicized.
La Union Labelled Map.png


La Union has a total of 576 barangays comprising its 19 municipalities and 1 city.[5]

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.[5]

Further information: List of barangays in La Union


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]

The province is predominantly Ilokano (over 90% based on recent census data) and Roman Catholic. Minority communities of Pangasinense live in the south of the province, Igorots in the Cordillera foothills, and Tagalog people in urban areas. In September 2012, the province of La Union passed an ordinance recognizing Ilocano (Iloko) as an official provincial language, the other is Pangasinan, the second official provincial language alongside Filipino and English, as national and official languages of the Philippines, respectively. It is the first province in the Philippines to pass an ordinance protecting and revitalizing a native language. San Fernando City serves as the administrative, educational, and financial center of the region.


View of San Fernando, the provincial capital

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.[7][8]

Provincial government and politics[edit]

Provincial Capitol
Legislative Building

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.[9]

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.

Elected officials[edit]

La Union is governed by Manuel C. Ortega, the Chief Executive, his Vice-Governor, Aureo Augusto Nisce and 13 Board Members.[10]

Court system[edit]

Bulwagan ng Katarungan (Regional Trial Courts, in San Fernando

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.[11]

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;[12]

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]


External links[edit]