La Union, Region I, Luzon Islands, Philippines



  • Capital : San Fernando
  • Area : 1,493 sq. km


La Union is in the southeastern Ilocos region in northern Luzon. It is bounded by Ilocos Sur on the north and northeast, Benguet on the east, Pangasinan on the south, and the China Sea on the west.


La Union has predominantly hilly terrain which gradually rises eastward from the shore. The western border is a coastal plain of raised coral and alluvia (sand or clay deposited by flowing water) overlaying older sediments. East of this plain are rolling hills parallel to the coast covering a wide portion of the central area. The province has two pronounced seasons - dry from November to April and wet from May to October.


The natives of what is now La Union were already trading with the Japanese Spaniards came to the Philippines; the area of Agoo was then known as "Puerto de japon." Captain Juan de Salcedo explored the region in 1572, followed by Augustinian missionaries who founded the towns of Balaoan, Bauang, and Agoo in the late decades of the 16th century.

The province was created on March 2, 1850 out of towns then belonging to Ilocos Sur and Pangasinan. Luciano Almeda headed the provincial government for a time during the Philippine Revolution while General Manuel Tinio occupied San Fernando in May 1898.

After the battle in Aringay River on November 19, 1899, the American troops took control of the province. A civil government was established in La Union in 1901. A year later, La Union ceded narrow strip of land to Amburayan which later became a sub-province of the old Mountain Province.


The majority of the population are Ilocanos. Some Pangasinenses are found in the southern part of the province, while a substantial group of Chinese Filipinos are in San Fernando, the commercial center. Ilocano is the predominant language of the people.


The main sources of livelihood are farming and fishing. The principal products are rice, corn, tobacco, garlic, sugarcane, and cassava. Grapes are extensively grown in Bauang. The rich Lingayen Gulf is the main fishing ground. Cottage industries include blanket-weaving, basketry, shellcraft, pottery and furniture-making. La Union is also well-known for its basi-making industry, the Ilocano native wine made from fermented sugarcane juice.


Information gathered from:
League of Provinces
by:Roberto C. Arellano
This page last revised:November 20, 2003.