Wednesday, February 7, 2018

SAN FERNANDO CITY, La Union... a Fiesta thought


"Happy Fiesta San Fernando City!"

-my pagnapagna-
(February 2018)

February 5, 2018 a Monday
It's a cold day today (February 5, 2018 a Monday), the wind is blowing and a little bit gloomy.
This reminded me of the old days when we go out at night wearing jackets and it was a Town FIESTA.
There were morning parades back then. Not one but two parades. The first one was a "civic parade" participated by various students of the different schools of San Fernando and the second one was the "military parade" that followed the next day. I remember that the U.S. Military had a contingent in the parade for they had a military base located at the Poro Point back then.
A week long celebration wherein almost every night there was a program at the town plaza.
After all the parades and programs at the plaza, the crowd makes it way to the "Baratillo" or the annual "market place of the fiesta" which usually sells from kitchen wares to tee-shirts. The crowd then flowed to the "carnival" where there were various fun rides such as "catterpilar", "octopus", ferris wheel, "train-train" and others that look so fancy fun.

This must have been taken in the 1960's at a carnival

The Carnival Entrance year 2013

On the side were the "ABC" where you try your luck to multiply your money, the crazy-scary-fun "horror house" and the other freak shows to feed our curiosities such as "Babaeng gagamba", "babaeng sirena", "dwende" to name a few. Street foods were of the "balut", "penoy", "pop corn", "pan cake" and others like "siopao" where there was the rumor of it having cat meat. The "singkamas" (turnip) and "sandia" (watermelon) were the usual crop that were plenty during fiestas.

One of the ride that goes up, down and around. Was that Bugs Bunny?
Photograph taken February 2013

Well, I was not aware why we were celebrating the town fiesta. It was not the founding anniversary of the town or the day that it was named "San Fernando". I just knew that it's an annual celebration for the town to gather in the plaza and politicians to entertain their guests as well as the town people with beauty contests and celebrities from Manila. The days of buying the cheapest one at the "baratillo".

Back in the  70's where there was still the Miss YMCA. My sister was also one of the contestant hmmm!
Still in the late 1970's, Miss YMCA (Young Men Christians Association)

But through the years we learn. I realized was it all about. Even though I might have the knowledge of it, I did not really gave that much attention or weight. Being not that religious that I did not gave much importance. It really sunk in to me when the celebration shifted from the Town Fiesta to City hood Anniversary Celebration. Although there was still celebration done, the latter was much anticipated. It must have been the separation of Government and the Church.

Below is last year's (March 2017) early morning marching band around the city.
This is in celebration of the City of  San Fernando's anniversary.
Taken along Nisce Street with the Catbangen Central School Drum and Lyre Corps

Our town Fiesta which was celebrated usually during the days of 8, 6, 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14 of every February was due to the town's Patron Saint St. William the Hermit.  In other words it was an inherited tradition from the Spaniards who once colonized our country for at least 300 years.
I began to wonder who St. William the Hermit was. I went to the Parish office of our Church and inquired about our patron saint and as well as history/background of the St. William the Hermit Cathedral. They told me that the entries on the historical background of the church in their computer where wrong and it still needs correction. They were also busy on that day that father (priest) was using the computer.

I got these from them (It is actually a part of a letter to patrons of the church):

These are the activities slated on February 10, 2018, the day of our Fiesta:
- 6:00 am - First Mass
- 7:00am Procession of the Image of St. William around the Business District
- 8:30 am - Solemn Concelebrated Mass to be presided by Bishop William Antonio
with other priests as concelebrants
- 5:00 pm - Mass to be sponsored by our Hermana Mayor
In order that we may have a fruitful and more meaningful celebration of our Fiesta we will have 9-days novena which will start on Fe\bruary 1, 2018. The novenas will be integrated in both the 6:30 am and the 5:15 pm daily masses.
I would like to inform you also of the other activities we have slated as part of our fiesta celebration:
- February 3- Confirmation of Children- those who are qualified to be confirmed 
are children who have received their First Communion
- February 7- Mass Baptism
- February 11- Medical and Dental Mission

As who was St. William the Hermit, I relied on google and got these:

St. William the Hermit
Statue at the Cathedral in San Fernando City, La Union
St. William the Hermit

-Born in France
-Lived a life of sin when he was young
-became a hermit after conversion to Christ
-made pilgrimage to Holy Land and became a Hermit in Tuscany, Italy
-moved to a hermitage at Malavalle, Grossetto, Italy
-Died February 10, 1157
-a,ka, William of Malavalle and William the Great
-Pope Innocent lll canonized him in 1202

I also went to our City hall Information and Tourism office earlier and inquired about the history of San Fernando City particularly why and who is San Fernando.

Pindangan was the first known name of the place where they built a church with San Guillermo the Hermit as patron saint. In 1765 Pindangan was renamed San Fernando that was suggested by the parish priest (Father Fernando Rey) after the Catholic King of Spain.
*For more details please feel free to visit the website of La Union under LU-San Fernando-History

We now have two celebrations for the City. The Patronal Fiesta and the City Anniversary wherein the former is more celebrated by the Church while the latter is by the City government.

These celebrations also juxtaposed with the Provincial Fiesta, the Foundation Anniversary of La Union that is celebrated every 2nd day of March.

As for the City Anniversary, it is celebrated every March 20 with the Pindangan Festival being part of the festivities.

Below is the Grand People's Parade that took place last year March 2017 during
the City's Anniversary Celebration

Some points of Interests in the City of San Fernando:
Note: The waterfalls are Best only during Rainy Season

Poro Point Baywalk

Freedom Park

Kasay Sanktwaryo

Lingsat Marine Protected Area & Carlatan Area

Duplas and Disso-or Falls

Sibuan-otong Falls (Sangbay)

San Fernando City Night Market

La Union National High School

Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers Monument

San Fernando Public Cemetery

Thunderbird Resort Hotel

Halo-Halo de Iloko


Sunset Bay Resort

Well that's all for now.
Happy Fiesta and happy Festival to everyone!

February 10, 2018 a Saturday
I woke up early and I heard distant drums.
I hurriedly changed clothes and went towards where the sound was coming from, I had a feeling that it was the band that goes around the city.
Yes it was and they were at the road fronting the City Hall (5 o'clock am).
There were many people around and I found out that there was this "UNITY WALK". 
After a brief exhibition of the marching band in front of the city hall, they marched on passing by the St. William the Hermit cathedral and then perhaps towards the city business district area since I did not followed them anymore.
I went back in front of the city hall and seen the Unity Walk contingent having their "zumba".
Afterwards at around seven in the morning, they started walking towards DMMMSU-MLUC (Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University- Mid-La Union Campus).

"Unity Walk"

Although it was not really a part of the Fiesta, here is the "UNITY WALK's" early morning ZUMBA

I stayed behind and went to the Cathedral and attended the first morning mass.
Just after the mass, the church bell rung as the procession started.

Preparation of the "carriage" for the procession after the first morning mass.

It was a short procession wherein they prayed the rosary as they walked.
Few minutes later they were back in the church and that was the time I left the area.
I heard that the church will be having a program at the city plaza that night and it was sponsored by the City government.
As for me, I craved for coffee so I went back to Home Sweet Home.

-end of pagnapagna-

2018 Marching Band and the Procession


Subject: City of San Fernando
Location: City of San Fernando
Province of La Union

How to get there:


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