La Union

La Union Founding Anniversary

La Union Founding Anniversary is held in the province of La Union, Philippines every March 2. This annual event marks the establishment of La Union as an independent province in 1850. Its date may be declared a holiday by virtue of proclamations from the Office of the President of the Philippines (such as Proclamation No. 1297 in 2022).

History of La Union

The name of the province of La Union (in English, The Union) provides a clue of its origin. It was created from the union of territories belonging to two provinces, Ilocos Sur and Pangasinan. Its towns, thus, consisted of previously southernmost portions of Ilocos Sur and northermost lands of Pangasinan.

Early settlers were people who made their dwellings in Bangar, Bacnotan, Luna, Tagudan, and the banks of Amburayan River. Its northern coastal lands made a good harbor. They became favorable ports for trading between Japanese, China, and other foreign merchants. The Japanese would remain and created an enclave of their own, while the highlands were populated by ethnic groups.

Balaoan along with Bauang and Agoo were one of the oldest towns established in those times. Spanish colonizer Juan de Salcedo did an exploration in the settlements that are part of present-day La Union as early as June 1572. He and his companions faced indigenous resistance against their presence, particularly among the people living in the town of Purao (present-day Balaoan).

In 17th century, it saw the uprising led by Malong. Malong rose up against the colonial government and attempted to seize control of Ilocos in 1661. They were defeated by the Spaniards, starting from the town of Agoo, La Union, and Vigan.

In 1818, Ilocos was divided into Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur. By 1846, Abra was established. By October 29, 1849, Governor General Narciso Zaldua Claveria oversaw a recommendation to create the province of La Union from the towns of Ilocos Sur and Pangasinan.

On March 2, 1850, Governor General Claveria issued a Superior Decreto that organized La Union as a gobierno politico-militar. This is the date that the founding anniversary is based on. Two days later, Governor General Claveria appointed Captain Toribio Ruiz de la Escalera as the first head of La Union. By April 18, 1854, Queen Isabella II signed a royal decree that affirmed the status of La Union.

In 1876, its population was estimated to be 8,500 and it dramatically increased to 116,000 in 1898 due to migration of people from the north.

La Union Founding Anniversary Activities

La Union Founding Anniversary activities were put on hold between 2020 and 2022 due to the coronavirus pandemic. In 2023, in-person gathering and activities were slated for the first time in three years.

Its calendar includes events such as beauty pageant (Mutia ti La Union), trade fair, grand parade, shows, sports, various competitions, tournaments, sports events, food fest, etc.

How to reach La Union

Buses ply from Manila to northern Luzon that would take about four hours. Alternatively, take a flight to San Fernando Airport, which is about 30 kilometers away or an hour trip to the town of Agoo.


La Union Founding Anniversary Summary

NameLa Union Founding Anniversary
CelebrationFounding Anniversary
Contact63 (072) 242-5550
DateMarch 2
LocationLa Union
OrganizerProvincial Government of La Union