La Union

San Fernando Cityhood Anniversary

San Fernando Cityhood Anniversary celebrates the conversion of then municipality of San Fernando, La Union, Philippines to a city in 1996 every March 20. The twentieth of March is declared a holiday through Republic Act No. 8945 that became a law on Auguust 24, 2000 and may be declared special nonworking holiday through executive issuances such as Proclamation No. 171 in 2023.

History of San Fernando City

San Fernando City is the capital of Region I, also known as Ilocos Region, which is comprised of La Union, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, and Pangasinan. It is transport hub and the gateway to Ilocandia.

Located in the upland area, it was established in the 18th century and became the capital of La Union when the latter was created by Governor General Narciso Claveria out of several territories from Ilocos Sur, Pangasinan, and Benguet were consolidated to create the province in 1850. It was previously called Pindangan and renamed San Fernando after St. Ferdinand III of Castille.

The proposal of making San Fernando a city was first made by the municipal legislative council in 1996 and it was supported by the Provincial Board through Resolution No. 425-96. Legislative bills were filed in Congress through the efforts of Representative Victor Ortega and in the Senate through Vicente Sotto III and Juan Flavier.

Finally, Republic Act No. 8509, otherwise known as An Act Converting the Municipality of San Fernando, La Union into a Component City to be Known as the City of San Fernando, was approved by President Fidel V. Ramos on February 13, 1998. The law was ratified through a plebiscite on March 20, 1998, and this is teh date that the cityhood anniversary commemorates yearly.

San Fernando Cityhood Anniversary Activities

The calendar of San Fernando Cityhood Anniversary is filled with many cultural and civic activities.

Pindangan Festival. Foremost of the festival mainstays is the Pindangan Festival, the street dance competition that expresses into performances three distinct socio-historical aspects of the city’s identity: the Pindangan Ruins, the merging of two historical settlements into one that became the origin of the town, and the traditional fish preservation technique called pindang. The competition is grouped into pupils from primary schools, students from secondary and tertiary schools, and contingents representing barangay units and districts.

Commemoration of Bacsil Ridge. It is a day of remembering the heroic feats to recapture Bacsil during World War II. On March 19, 1945, the liberation forces led by 121st Infantry USAFIP defeated the Japanese army and took possession of Bacsil Ridge. After three days, the town of San Fernando was liberated.

Sundown Festival. It is a night of music, live band, concerts, and other activities such as face painting, henna tattoo, etc. In 2023, it was held along F. Ortega Highway that is near the city hall.

Rabii ti Pammadyaw. It is an awards and recognition of outstanding individuals who brought honor to the city for showing excellence in their respective fields.

Grand People’s Parade. It is also called Parade of Lights that takes place in the major thoroughfares of the city. It is participated by drum and lyre, contestants of beauty pageants, etc. Awards are given away for the best float, best costume, and best choreography.

Fiesta ti Baybay is a seacrafft competition and traditional games such as palosebo, Laro ng Lahi, etc. In 2023, it was held at Barangay Ilocanos Sur.

Agri-Tourism and Community Trade Fair where crafts, agricultural produce, and other products are on sale.

Other activities include Miss Gay City of San Fernando, Miss City of San Fernando, pet shows, sports, senior citizen’s night, mass wedding, wellness and fitness, cook fest, Grand Education Day.

How to reach San Fernando City, La Union

San Fernando City can be reached via land-based trips from major airports (Clark Airport, Ninoy Aquino International Airport) and sea port (Subic Bay Port). Busses are available from Subic, Metro Manila, and Baguio City.


San Fernando Cityhood Anniversary Summary

NameSan Fernando Cityhood Anniversary
DateMarch 20
Historical eventCityhood of San Fernando, La Union in 1998
LocationCity of San Fernando, La Union
OrganizerCity Government of San Fernando