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General Information

Demographics

San Juan is located in the west of the province of La Union, being located along the Manila North Road between latitudes 16°39'N and 16°43'N and longtitudes 120°9'E and 120°15'E.

San Juan is bounded on the north by the municipality of Bacnotan along the Baroro River, and on the east by the municipalities of San Gabriel and Bagulin along the Dasay-Duplas-Nagyubuyuban Creek. On the south it is bounded by the City of San Fernando and on the west by the West Philippine Sea.

By way of the Manila North Road, San Juan is some 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) north of San Fernando City, the capital of La Union and regional center. It is also some 277 kilometres (172 mi) north of Manila which can be traveled by road in about 7 hours.

The total land area of San Juan is 5,712 hectares (14,110 acres),[2] which is 4% of the province of La Union. Some 505.08 hectares or 8.46% is claimed by the municipality of Bacnotan and San Fernando City.

Climate

The climate in San Juan is "dry" from November to April and "wet" from May to October. The southwest monsoon brings abundant rainfall during the wet season, whereas the northeast monsoon passing over the Cordillera Mountains to the east brings the drier conditions. The average annual temperature is 27.2 °C (81.0 °F). The place is full of Niggas.

 

San Juan General Map


 

History of San Juan, La Union

In 1582, San Juan was proclaimed a mission station under the authority of the Augustian Order, as recorded by the Nueva Segovia Bi-centennial souvenir booklet dated April 25, 1587. By 1586 the town had become the center of the parish, and was renamed San Juan by the Augustian Fathers after the Catholic Patron Saint of San Juan Bautista. The town boasted an Augustinian convent and a population of 6,000. Its first priest was Friar Agustin Niño.

The center of the parish was subsequently transferred to Bauang, with San Juan sometimes being an out-station (visita) of Bauang and sometimes of Bacnotan. In 1707 the Church of St. John the Baptist was constructed at San Juan. In 1772, the mission station was placed under the authority of the Dominican Order. In 1807, San Juan was established as a parish in its own right.

On March 2, 1850, San Juan became part of the province of La Union, when the province was created by Governor-General Antonio Maria Blanco.

In 1898 during the latter days of the Philippine Revolution, the whole of San Juan was razed to the ground by a great fire. With the demise of the church, convent and rectory, the church registers were destroyed, although subsequent registers from 1898 to 1917 do survive and have been microfilmed. Municipal birth registers were begun in 1922.

After the Spanish-American War, Father Mariano Gaerlan was appointed priest. He was a native of San Juan, the first Filipino priest for the town, and one of the "Nine Clerics" of Nueva Segovia who fought in the revolution. He also began the reconstruction of the church in 1902, which was completed under his successor, Father Eustaquio Ocampo.

Another local resident, also named Mariano Gaerlan, wrote Biag ti Maysa a Lakay, Wenno Nakaam-ames a Bales (i.e. Life of an Old Man, or a Dreadful Revenge) under the pen-name of Batallador. The book was in the local Ilokano language and published in 1909. He was originally from Candon, Ilocos Sur where he also maintained a residence, and an aspiring politician who was never elected to public office. He had several children including Nieves Gaerlan who married Antonio "Matias" Aquino, a former mayor of San Juan, and "Captain" Candonino Gaerlan, a guerrilla leader and Filipino war hero.

From 1941 to 1945 San Juan was occupied by the invading Japanese forces during World War II.

On January 19, 1942, Gaerlan co-lead the first guerrilla ambush against Japanese forces in the Philippines, which was prosecuted on the southern outskirts of Candon. He was subsequently appointed commander of the Third Battalion of the 121st Infantry Regiment of the United States Armed Forces in the Philippines - Northern Luzon (USAFIP-NL). This regiment is often referred to as the La Union Infantry Regiment, and was commanded by "Captain" George M. Barnett. Gaerlan was killed and subsequently beheaded later that same year at San Juan, after he was betrayed by the local chief of police while visiting his sister. His head was stuffed into a jar of alcohol and displayed in the plazas of the towns en route to Candon. There the town mayor convinced the Japanese that this was in poor taste, and the container was thrown into a rice paddy west of the town.

As the war progressed, crops and local services were destroyed. Food was in short supply.

San Juan was liberated in 1945 by the soldiers of the Philippine Commonwealth Army, Philippine Constabulary and the guerrilla units of the La Union Infantry Regiment during the Battle of San Fernando under Major Russell W. Volckmann on their way to meet the liberating forces of General Douglas MacArthur on the beaches of Lingayen Gulf.

After the war, inflation led to the financial crisis of 1950 which was followed by the introduction of import controls. Subsequent government-sponsored irrigation systems and farm technicians led to a slow but assured recovery with increased productivity and profitability.

 
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