La Union, the Pilgrimage Center of North Luzon

Tapuacan River La Union

Situated on the northwestern coast of Luzon, La Union is the gateway to the Ilocos Region. With its strategic location, the province has become the business, education, and government center of the Ilocos. Not only is La Union the region’s center for trade but also of religious devotees who flock to one of the country’s popular pilgrimage destinations, especially during Lent.

Agoo, the oldest town of La Union, was once the site of the much publicized divine visitations of the Virgin Mary. The Agoo Apparition Site in San Antonio has established the town as a destination of choice for Marian devotees. Agoo comes alive most on Semana Santa, or the Holy Week, which is the week before Easter. Yearly, the townspeople bear witness to ardent devotees relentlessly pulling life-size statues depicting the 14 Stations of the Cross along the processional roads in Agoo during the Good Friday procession on Semana Santa.

But the province is not wanting of natural attractions, thanks to seascapes that make it a watersports paradise. The surf fronting Monaliza in Urbiztondo, San Juan is the best site for board surfing from November to February; other good sites are in Carlatan and Wallace in San Fernando. Scuba diving is ideal in Fagg Reef, which is adorned by sharks, barracuda, sea snakes, Moray eels, and other friendly sea creatures, and Research Reef, which is endowed with several tunnels, caverns, and crevices.



La Union is located in the southwestern part of Region I and stretches over a length of 102 kilometers from North to South between 120o16′ and 120o35′ longtitude and 160o15′ latitude. It is bounded on the north by Ilocos Sur, on the south by Pangasinan, on the east by Benguet, and on the west by the China Sea.

It has a land area of 149,309 hectares with a predominantly hilly terrain that gradually rises eastward from the shore. Its irregular coastal plain is narrowest in Damortis, Sto. Tomas and widest in Balaoan. Its highest peak is in Bagulin with an elevation of 1,200 feet above sea level. The province has several rivers which are short and rapid.



The climate condition prevailing in La Union is dry from November to April and wet from May to October. The southwest monsoon brings about the abundant rainfall experienced during the wet season. The relatively dry season is caused by the northeast monsoon passing over the Cordillera Mountains. The average temperature is 27.21°C.


Language / Dialect

Ilocano is the common dialect. The residents of the coastal barangay of Sto. Tomas and Rosario also speak Pangasinense while the cultural communities in the towns bordering the Cordillera speak Ibaloi or Kankanaey. English and Filipino remain as basic tools of instruction in schools.


Major Industries

Agriculture remains to be the primary industry. Cottage industries are blanketweaving, basketry, bamboocraft, pottery, and broommaking. Commercial activity consists mostly of wholesale and retail business.



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