San Fernando Festival Celebrated in Grand Style in February

San Fernando festival celebrated throughout February

San Fernando City, the prime capital city of Ilocandia celebrates with pomp and pageantry its annual grand fiesta in honor of its patron saint San Guillermo the Hermit with month-long festivities.

History has it that the existing church was built in 1759 in honor of San Guillermo the Hermit thru the efforts of an Augustinian priest, Father Jose Torres who then had convinced two small communities, which have always been plagued by calamities, to settle in the area not so near the sea and the mountains.

This area was called ‘Pindangan’, meaning, a place where they dry fish. In 1765, the newly assigned priest, Father Fernando Rey (meaning ‘king’ in Spanish), however, suggested to the inhabitants that they change the name of ‘Pindangan’ to ‘San Fernando’, after the Catholic King of Spain, but retaining San Guillermo as their patron saint.

When an earthquake destroyed the church at Pindangan (renamed San Fernando), the parish priest decided not to rebuild the church in the same place. Instead, it was transferred to its present location, and is now called the Cathedral of St. William the Hermit, of the Diocese of San Fernando, La Union.

Over the years, thousands of people, both local and foreign, flock to the city to witness the joyful celebration the city fiesta, commemorating the feast of its patron saint.

Today, the celebration is a mixture of religious, social, agri-business, sports and entertainment activities which the children, the youth, the adults and the senior citizens alike enjoy and participate.

An Agri-Trade Fair with this year’s theme, “Home Grown / Bahay-Kubo” kicked-off the fiesta celebration. An array of local products consisting mostly of food and some locally-produced stuff from the 59 barangays of the city are being showcased and sold.

The carnival fair which is full of color and fun and open since the third week of January, have been enjoyed by children with its exciting rides especially at night.

There's also an open market or the “Baratillo”, a yearly attraction for consumers from the city and the nearby towns availing themselves of cheap commodities and goods where businessmen from Manila and other nearby towns and cities showcase their prime products.

For entertainment, there's an acrobatic show, dog show, SMB band show and bingo socials sponsored by Coca-Cola. Sports competitions include kiddie chess, 4th Mayor Pablo C. Ortega Karatedo Championship 2011, ‘boxing sa plaza’, mountain bike/BMX race and national motorcross 2011 with local, regional and national participants and contestants are also set.

Evening social events with educators, the religious, local officials (sangguniang kabataan, barangay and city officials) and private partners’ sponsored events are also featured as part of the month-long celebration. Various beauty pageants to include the Search for Miss San Fernando 2011, Ms. Gay Universe 2011 and the Search for Mr. & Ms. SBO add attractions to the celebration.

On top of these activities, a thanksgiving mass for the blessings the city has been given by its patron saint San Guillermo the Hermit. (PIA1/La Union/Jennilyne C. Role)

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