* Pransis starting out early for a visit to the city proper
* DZNL Aksyon Radyo office in San Fernando; saw this on my way to the city
It was only during the third of my stay in San Fernando, La Union that I got the chance to go out. But it was still a time-limited tour since we still have to wrap up the conference with several activities. So the best thing to do at that time was to wake up very early and plunge into the yet sleeping city with only a list to guide me.
It felt good again, riding in a tricycle and jeepney early in the morning with the cold air still seeping through the body. As with any other city visit, the first stop is necessarily the towering structure of all – the city or town church.
* the San Fernando Cathedral façade
* view of the church interior
* a curious-looking angel holding the agua bendita; looks like a popular Filipina superhero
* church fixtures
St. William Cathedral
Decked with a very elegant façade reminiscent of the ones found in Latin America, the St. William Cathedral started out as a small chapel in 1764. This construction was overseen by Fr. Francisco Romero and Santiago Holarte at Barrio San Vicente known earlier as Pindangan. Later relocations included Tanque, Kabaroan, and its present location. The first sturdy form of the church was overseen by Fr. Juan Sorolla, Simon Guillermo, and Pedro Fernando from 1773 to 1786. An 1892 earthquake destroyed it. It figured in the Philippine Revolution when a certain Colonel Blas Villamor subdued the Spanish forces which took refuge in the place in 1898. The liberation from the Japanese force in February 26, 1945 left it destroyed. Reconstruction was made from 1947 up to 1949 and was first dedicated on February 10, 1949.
* at the foot of the national hero; taken solo
* city seal with the slogan: “In Union There is Strength”
* San Fernando City Hall
* Christ the King College in San Fernando
* Rimat Ti Amianan Expo 2012
Several years later, on February 11, 1970, it officially became St. William Cathedral at the same time that the Diocese of San Fernando was established and the first bishop was installed in the person of Most Rev. Victorino C. Ligot. The interior was as elegant as its façade. The lighting in the early morning was simply dazzling. I noticed too that early morning joggers or runners took their time to have their own prayers said inside the cathedral. But there was a later addition to the cathedral and that was the canopy on the façade. This was sponsored by the Knights of Columbus and was made between 1984 and 1985.
* an abandoned building right in the heart of the city
* Battle of San Fernando marker
* plaza gazebo
* Francisco Ortega monument
* open court at the city plaza
* part of the playground at the city proper
The City Plaza
The city plaza and its surrounding area are also full of interesting pieces of information and literal structures. One of them is the marker commemorating the Battle of San Fernando. The marker says:
“The Battle of San Fernando: The Battle of San Fernando began with assault on the Japanese position along the south bank of the Baroro River, Bacnotan, La Union by the 121st Infantry USAFIP NL[?] on 4 January 1945. [It was then] followed by the seizure of enemy strongholds south of Baroro and the concerted attack on enemy strong points situated along Oaig Creek where it crossed the San Fernando-Camansi Road, on Reservoir Hill, and Insurrecto Hill, and on the Bacsil-Apaleng range on the second week of February. By 24 March 1945 the entire San Fernando araw was secured and enabled the establishment at Poro Peninsula the Headquarters of U.S. Army Base M. Build-up Area for the projected invasion of Japan.”
* Plaza Hotel (of course I did not stay here; no budget)
* UCCP Capitol Church of La Union, Inc.
* G.E. Antonino Memorial (Hall or Building; can’t read the words anymore)
* Mabanag Justice Hall
* San Fernando Supermarket
* Ma-Cho Temple
The plaza has its own open courts and stage for different activities and performance and an adjacent playground for the children. Across the street are the city hall and a monument for Francisco I. Ortega (1904-1967), statesman, legislator, patriot, and a distinguished son of La Union.
There was a fair of some sort on the streets surrounding the plaza and it gave me a chance to buy some of the pasalubong I brought home and have a taste of some of the local products of San Fernando and La Union in general.