La Union is the union of three provinces. It was formed with 9 towns from Pangasinan, 3 towns from Ilocos and some villages from the Cordilleras some 150 years ago.
It was once known, just, as a gateway to Ilocos. Now, it is rightfully a destination in itself.
Surfing put La Union in the tourist map of the Philippines. Next to Siargao Island in Mindanao, La Union is the next most popular surf spot not only to locals but to foreign wave riders as well.
It is a quick 5-hour drive from Manila to San Fernando – La Union’s capital- roughly 280 kilometers in distance.
If you’re thinking of visiting this province soon, check out our list of top ten places to visit in La Union.
1. San Juan Beach – San Fernando was once a sleepy town in La Union where travelers headed to tourist destination Ilocos passed by. San Juan is now, in its full glory, the central of surfing action in Luzon. It made a big splash and smoothly gaining popularity to locals and surfers around the globe. The first Asian Surfing Championship was held last February. There are two surfing seasons July-October and November-March.
2. Thunderbird Resort Poro Point – This Mediterranean inspired architectural marvel quickly hailed as one of the more beautiful resorts in the whole country. The white structures much resembles to Greece’s.
Photo Credits (Wikimedia Commons): Thunderbird by RamonFVelasquez
3. Santa Catalina de Alejandria Church – This graeco-roman style church can be found in the town of Luna. The miraculous Our Lady of Namacpacan, aka Apo Baket, is enshrined in this parish.
Photo Credits (Wikimedia Commons): Santa Catalina de Alejandria Church by Mannie78
4. Luna Watch Tower – This 400-year-old baluarte once stood mightily as a bastion to guard the town from pirates. Now, it is leaning and almost falling to pieces- literally and figuratively.
Photo Credits (Wikimedia Commons): Thunderbird by DaniloO.VictorianoJr.
5. Ma Cho Temple – It is one of the few Taoist temples in northern Luzon. The temple is situated on a hill in San Fernando City. Ma Cho is a Chinese deity and is said to be the Taoist counterpart of the enigmatic Virgin Mary statue enshrined in Casaysay in Taal, Batangas.
Photo Credits (Wikimedia Commons): Ma Cho Temple by RamonFVelasquez
6. Basilica de Nuestra Senora De La Caridad or Agoo Basilica – It enshrines the miraculous image of Our Lady of Charity that is made of wood. Located in Agoo, it is 180 kilometers away from the provincial capital.
Photo Credits (Flickr CC): Ma Cho Temple by agoolapulapu
7. Pindanga Ruins – This used to be church is located in Barangay Parian in San Fernando City. It is a reminder of what was once a glorious Spanish regime in this region.
8. Pugo Adventure – If the waves of South China Sea turn out to be on a short hand to satiate your adrenaline fix, maybe the extreme activities in Pugo will. This adventure park has zip lines, rappelling- both traditional and Australian, 6×6 all-terrain vehicle ride and a lot more. The facility is located in Pugo town, 51 kilomters outside of San Fernando.
9. Fagg Reef – this is for the underwater addicts- scuba divers. It is also known as The Tanks. During World War II, three destroyed M10 tanks were dropped off a barge to the bottom of the sea. Now, it has become a home to a diverse marine life- whitetip sharks, leopard rays, spanish mackerels, king barracudas, dorados and a lot more. The reef is a 40-minute boat ride away from La Union.
Photo Credits (Wikimedia Commons): White Tip Shark by Johnmartindavies
10. Botanical Gardens – Located in San Fernando City, It is a ten-hectare showcase of local flora and fauna. It is divided into several areas- Fernery, Sunken Garden, Evergreen Garden, Palmery, Arid Paradise and Shade Garden. A visit to this lush garden can be a good alternative when the tropical sun gets too hot for watersports.
Photo Credits (Wikimedia Commons): Hibiscus by Wilfredor
Have you been to La Union? Feel free to share your tips and recommendations.