San Juan, La Union

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San Juan
Municipality of San Juan
San Juan town center
San Juan town center
Flag of San Juan
Official seal of San Juan
Surfing Capital of Northern Philippines
Map of La Union with San Juan highlighted
Map of La Union with San Juan highlighted
San Juan is located in Philippines
San Juan
San Juan
Location within the Philippines
Coordinates: 16°40′N 120°20′E / 16.67°N 120.33°E / 16.67; 120.33Coordinates: 16°40′N 120°20′E / 16.67°N 120.33°E / 16.67; 120.33
Country Philippines
RegionIlocos Region (Region I)
ProvinceLa Union
District1st district of La Union
Barangays41 (see Barangays)
 • TypeSangguniang Bayan
 • MayorArturo P. Valdriz
 • Vice MayorManuel Victor R. Ortega Jr.
 • CongressmanPablo C. Ortega
 • Electorate18,038 voters (2019)
 • Total57.12 km2 (22.05 sq mi)
25 m (82 ft)
 (2015 census) [3]
 • Total37,188
 • Density650/km2 (1,700/sq mi)
 • Households
 • Income class2nd municipal income class
 • Poverty incidence5.51% (2015)[4]
 • RevenueIncrease PHP 294,549,769.64 million (127.3%)
 • AssetsIncrease PHP 756,586,554.54 million (91%)
 • ExpenditureIncrease PHP 140,971,661.15 million (27.1%)
Time zoneUTC+8 (PST)
ZIP code
IDD:area code+63 (0)72
Climate typetropical monsoon climate
Native languagesIlocano

San Juan, officially the Municipality of San Juan (Ilocano: Ili ti San Juan; Filipino: Bayan ng San Juan), is a 2nd class municipality in the province of La Union, Philippines. According to the 2015 census, it has a population of 37,188 people. [3]


San Juan is located in the west of the province of La Union, along the Manila North Road, between latitudes 16°39'N and 16°43'N and longitudes 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 South China Sea.

San Juan is 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) north of San Fernando City, the provincial capital and regional center. It is also 277 kilometres (172 mi) north of Manila.

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.


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

Climate data for San Juan, La Union
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 31
Average low °C (°F) 21
Average precipitation mm (inches) 42
Average rainy days 11.2 12.0 17.1 21.2 27.1 26.8 28.1 27.0 26.0 24.5 17.7 12.4 251.1
Source: Meteoblue [5]


San Juan is politically subdivided into 41 barangays.[2]

  • Allangigan
  • Aludaid
  • Bacsayan
  • Balballosa
  • Bambanay
  • Bugbugcao
  • Caarusipan
  • Cabaroan
  • Cabugnayan
  • Cacapian
  • Caculangan
  • Calincamasan
  • Casilagan
  • Catdongan
  • Dangdangla
  • Dasay
  • Dinanum
  • Duplas
  • Guinguinabang
  • Ili Norte (Poblacion)
  • Ili Sur (Poblacion)
  • Legleg
  • Lubing
  • Nadsaag
  • Nagsabaran
  • Naguirangan
  • Naguituban
  • Nagyubuyuban
  • Oaquing
  • Pacpacac
  • Pagdildilan
  • Panicsican
  • Quidem
  • San Felipe
  • Santa Rosa
  • Santo Rosario
  • Saracat
  • Sinapangan
  • Taboc
  • Talogtog
  • Urbiztondo


Prior to the arrival of the Spanish, San Juan was an Ilocano settlement called Dalandan, which is the name of the fruit Citrus aurantium Linn. that grew abundantly in the area.

In 1582, San Juan was proclaimed a mission station under the authority of the Augustinian 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 Augustinian 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 then 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-led 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.[6]

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.


Population census of San Juan
YearPop.±% p.a.
1903 11,223—    
1918 11,912+0.40%
1939 10,941−0.40%
1948 12,521+1.51%
1960 14,516+1.24%
1970 17,700+2.00%
1975 18,339+0.71%
1980 20,362+2.11%
1990 25,046+2.09%
1995 27,795+1.97%
2000 30,393+1.93%
2007 32,952+1.12%
2010 35,098+2.32%
2015 37,188+1.11%
Source: Philippine Statistics Authority[3][7][8][9]

In the 2015 census, the population of San Juan, La Union, was 37,188 people, [3] with a density of 650 inhabitants per square kilometre or 1,700 inhabitants per square mile.

According to a local 1896 census, the population of San Juan was 10,510. At that time, there were twenty-eight barrios inhabited by 9,989 residents, and four rancherias inhabited by 521 "infieles" or non-Christians (Igorots). These barrios were Ili, Barraca, Panicsican, Talogtog, Sabangan, Taboc, Lubing, Sinapangan, Cacapian, Caculangan, Santa Rosa, Caaniyan, Oaquing, Catdongan, Caarusipan, Guinguinabang, Bugbugcao, Pacpacac, Legleg, Nadsaag, Capacuan, Bacnotan, Dasay, Al-langigan, Bombuneg, Balballosa, Duplas and San Felipe. The rancherias were Rancho de Locutan, Indang, Amontoc and Losoya. Yli, also known as Poblacion, had a population of 1,134 residents described as 2 "Españoles peninsulares", 2 "Mestizos de español", 1,122 "naturales" and 8 "Chinos".[10]

In the early 1900s cholera was a scourge that took the lives of many people.[11]

As of the census of 2000, San Juan was home to 30,393 indigenous Ilocano people, concentrated in six barangays along the national highway. This is equivalent to 33.86% of the total population and is growing at the rate of 1.8% per annum. The average population density was 2,964 persons per square kilometer. In the two urban barangays where some 15% of the population reside, the population density rose to 3,073 persons per square kilometer, while in the remaining rural barangays the population density was 2,886 persons per square kilometer.



San Juan is considered to be the Surfing Capital of the Northern Philippines and is known for its consistent intermediate quality surf and two surfing seasons from July to October and November to March.

There is also a local museum, Museo de San Juan.

Cottage Industries[edit]

Pottery, blanket-weaving, basketry, bamboo-craft, and broom-making are produced as a folk-industry. Hollow concrete blocks are manufactured in rural villages for local building projects.


Yellow corn is one of the most important crops in San Juan, and is used as a raw material for food and industrial products such as starch, corn oil, beverages, gluten, snacks etc. It constitutes about 50% of the feed for local livestock and poultry enterprises. It was nominated as the product for the One Town One Product (OTOP) Philippines program of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to promote entrepreneurship and create jobs.



  1. ^ Municipality of San Juan | (DILG)
  2. ^ a b c "Province: La Union". PSGC Interactive. Quezon City, Philippines: Philippine Statistics Authority. Retrieved 12 November 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d Census of Population (2015). "Region I (Ilocos Region)". Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay. PSA. Retrieved 20 June 2016.
  4. ^ "PSA releases the 2015 Municipal and City Level Poverty Estimates". Quezon City, Philippines. Retrieved 1 January 2020.
  5. ^ "San Juan: Average Temperatures and Rainfall". Meteoblue. Retrieved 26 April 2020.
  6. ^ "Philippine Resistance in Candon, 1942" by Donald Chaput, Philippine Studies vol. 47, no. 1 (1999): 100–113.
  7. ^ Census of Population and Housing (2010). "Region I (Ilocos Region)". Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay. NSO. Retrieved 29 June 2016.
  8. ^ Censuses of Population (1903–2007). "Region I (Ilocos Region)". Table 1. Population Enumerated in Various Censuses by Province/Highly Urbanized City: 1903 to 2007. NSO.
  9. ^ "Province of La Union". Municipality Population Data. Local Water Utilities Administration Research Division. Retrieved 17 December 2016.
  10. ^ Estado del numero de habitantes existenses de este pueblo durante el expresion lo año con expresion de razas, año de 1896. This was an 1896 census conducted under the administration of Capitan Municipal Ygnacio Abad.
  11. ^ San Juan Registros Paroquiales, Defunciones (1898-1908).

External links[edit]