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San Fernando
City of San Fernando
From top, left to right: Santo Rosario (poblacion); Pampanga Provincial Capitol; San Fernando City Hall; San Fernando Metropolitan Cathedral; Public market; MacArthur Highway
Flag of San Fernando
Official seal of San Fernando
Christmas Capital of the Philippines
Heart of Pampanga
Fernandino Ka, Kayabe Ka!
Anthem: Himno Fernandino (Fernandino Hymn)
Map of Pampanga with San Fernando highlighted
Map of Pampanga with San Fernando highlighted
San Fernando is located in Philippines
San Fernando
San Fernando
Location within the Philippines
Coordinates: 15°02′N 120°41′E / 15.03°N 120.68°E / 15.03; 120.68
RegionCentral Luzon
District 3rd district
FoundedAugust 16, 1754
CityhoodFebruary 4, 2001
Named forFerdinand III of Castile
Barangays35 (see Barangays)
 • TypeSangguniang Panlungsod
 • MayorVilma B. Caluag
 • Vice MayorBenedict Jasper Simon R. Lagman
 • RepresentativeAurelio D. Gonzales Jr.
 • Councilors
 • Electorate190,977 voters (2022)
 • Total67.74 km2 (26.15 sq mi)
33 m (108 ft)
Highest elevation
1,022 m (3,353 ft)
Lowest elevation
−2 m (−7 ft)
 (2020 census)[3]
 • Total354,666
 • Density5,200/km2 (14,000/sq mi)
 • Households
Demonym(s)Fernandino (male)
Fernandina (female)
 • Income class1st city income class
 • Poverty incidence
% (2018)[4]
 • Revenue₱ 2,139 million (2020)
 • Assets₱ 4,841 million (2020)
 • Expenditure₱ 1,637 million (2020)
 • Liabilities₱ 1,391 million (2020)
Service provider
 • ElectricitySan Fernando Electric Light and Power Company (SFELAPCO)
Time zoneUTC+8 (PST)
ZIP code
IDD:area code+63 (0)45
Native languagesKapampangan
Catholic dioceseArchdiocese of San Fernando
Patron saintSaint Ferdinand III of Castile and León

San Fernando, officially the City of San Fernando (Kapampangan: Ciudad/Lakanbalen ning San Fernandu; Filipino: Lungsod ng San Fernando), is a 1st class component city and capital of the province of Pampanga, Philippines. According to the 2020 census, it has a population of 354,666 people.[3]

It is the regional center of Central Luzon and located 66 kilometres (41 mi) north of Manila, 72 kilometres (45 mi) east of Subic in Zambales, 58 kilometres (36 mi) south of Tarlac City in Tarlac, and 17 kilometres (11 mi) south of Clark Air Base in Angeles City.[5] The city is in the urban core of Metro Clark,[6] also known as Metro Angeles, an urban area in Pampanga. This area is considered the industrial and residential heartland of Central Luzon.[6][7]

The city is named after King Ferdinand VI of Spain and placed under the patronage of Saint Ferdinand III of Castile and León, whose feast is celebrated every May 30. Popularly known as the "Christmas Capital of the Philippines", the city holds the annual Giant Lantern Festival every December where large parol are displayed in competition. CNN has hailed the city as 'Asia's Christmas capital.'[8]


Houses along a road in San Fernando, circa pre-1900

The town of San Fernando was founded in 1754 from the towns of Bacolor and Mexico. The first church was built in 1755 with wooden walls and nipa roofing. The municipal tribunal was erected later in the year in front of the town plaza using durable materials and thatched nipa roofing. Don Vidal de Arrozal served as its first gobernadorcillo that year.[9]

In 1796, after serving as gobernadorcillo the previous year, Don Ángel Pantaleon de Miranda retired to Barrio Saguin, from where he started setting up his hacienda in Barrio Culiat. The barrio was separated from San Fernando on the December 8, 1829 as the new town of Angeles, with the Los Santos Ángeles Custodios as titular patrons.

An expediente requesting the transfer of the provincial capital of Pampanga to San Fernando was signed on the August 6, 1852. Real Cedula 745, approving the transfer of the provincial capital of Pampanga from Bacolor to San Fernando, was signed on September 11, 1881. This transfer did not, in the event, materialize.

In 1878, actions were made to create the town of Calulut. This new town would be composed of Calulut and the neighboring barrios of Bulaun, Malpitic, Sindalan, La Paz, Lara, Saguin, Telabastagan, Balete, Malinao, Pulung Bulu, Panipuan, Macabacle and the caserio of Pau in San Fernando, and Panipuan, Acle, Suclaban and the sitio of Gandus in Mexico. This plan did not materialize, owing to strong opposition from the parish priest of San Fernando.

Governor-General Eulogio Despujol and Manila Archbishop Bernardino Nozaleda inaugurated the San Fernando railroad station, together with the Bagbag-Mabalacat stretch of the Manila-Dagupan Railroad, on February 2, 1892. The station was second only to Manila in revenues that year, and was thus the most important provincial station of the Manila-Dagupan Railroad. On June 27 of the same year, José P. Rizal made a stopover in the town as part of his mission to recruit members to the La Liga Filipina.

On September 1, 1896, the town was declared to be in a state of war despite its peaceful situation. Brigadier General Diego de los Rios arrived on December 2 to calm the revolution that started in Manila on August 30. General Ruiz Serralde took over Rios's post on June 26, 1897, to maintain the peace in San Fernando. The revolution was not yet at its height with occasional exchanges of fire in some places in Pampanga.

On June 26, 1898, representatives from all Pampanga towns, except Macabebe, gathered in San Fernando to swear allegiance to Gen. Maximino Hizon, who was the provincial military governor and representative of the revolutionary president, Emilio Aguinaldo. On October 9, Aguinaldo and his cabinet visited the town, and were welcomed with so much applause and enthusiastic cheering from the public. He proceeded to the convento which was served as the military headquarters at that time.

On May 4, 1899, Philippine revolutionary troops led by General Antonio Luna burned the casa municipal, the town church and several houses to render them useless to the approaching American forces. On June 16, due to the strategic location of the town, Aguinaldo himself led Filipino forces in the Battle for San Fernando. The plan to retake the town proved unsuccessful. Calulut fell to the Americans on August 9.

On August 15, 1904, the Pampanga provincial government was finally transferred to San Fernando from Bacolor, by virtue of Act No. 1204 signed on July 22, 1904. This was during the term of Governor Macario Arnedo and Municipal President Juan Sengson. The town of Minalin became part of San Fernando that same year. It would regain its political independence in 1909.

On January 2, 1905, the town of Santo Tomas was consolidated with San Fernando by virtue of Act 1208.

On August 12, 1904, U.S. Secretary of War William H. Taft visited the town to get first-hand information and gather ideas for the governance of Pampanga. Owing to the short notice, a bamboo pavilion was hastily constructed for his visit, where he was welcomed with a banquet for 200 people. Taft would later be elected President of the United States.

In 1921, the Pampanga Sugar Development Company (PASUDECO) sugar central began its operations. The company was formed in 1918 by large-scale planters such as José de León, Augusto Gonzales, Francisco Tongio Liongson, Tomás Lazatin, Tomás Consunji, Francisco Hizon, José Henson, and Manuel Urquico in the San Fernando residence of Governor Honorio Ventura as part of a plan to construct a locally financed central.

In 1932, the Socialist Party of the Philippines was founded by Pedro Abad Santos. Two years later, he created and headed the Aguman ding Maldang Talapagobra (AMT). The Abad Santos compound in Barangay San Jose became the focal point of the peasant movement.

On February 14, 1939, Philippine president Manuel L. Quezon proclaimed his social justice program before a gathering of farmers in front of the Municipal Government building.

Aerial view of San Fernando, circa 1940s

In 1941, forces of the Imperial Japanese Army occupied the town and placed the municipal government under its supervision. The following year, thousands of Filipino and American prisoners of war walked from Bataan to the San Fernando Train Station in what will be known as the Bataan Death March.

In 1952, the town of Santo Tomas was separated from San Fernando.

In 1986, Paterno Guevarra was sworn in as officer-in-charge of the town after the successful People Power Revolution that toppled the Marcos dictatorship that same year. He was later elected municipal mayor. On December 31, 1987, former mayor Armando Biliwang was campaigning in Barangay San Jose to be elected mayor again when communist insurgents from the New People's Army fired gunshots in his direction, narrowly avoiding getting killed while his nephew was fatally wounded.[10]

In 1990, Philippine president Corazon Aquino inaugurated the Paskuhan Village, the first Christmas village in Asia and the third of its kind in the world. The following year, Mount Pinatubo erupted after over 600 years of dormancy hurling a layer of ash and volcanic debris on the town.

On October 1, 1995, Typhoon Sibyl (Mameng) struck the town. It unleashed floodwaters and mudflows from Mount Pinatubo into the town. The Barangays of Santo Nino, San Juan, San Pedro Cutud and Magliman were severely damaged by lahar. The citizens of San Fernando rallied to save the town by raising funds to build the St. Ferdinand People's Dike. The Pampanga Megadike was constructed the following year, thus preventing further damage to the town.[5][11]


Main article: Cities of the Philippines

Jose Abad Santos Avenue

On January 6, 1997, Mayor Rey Aquino and Senator Gloria Macapagal Arroyo launched the campaign for cityhood. On April 27 of that same year, Rep. Oscar Rodriguez filed House Bill No. 9267 creating the City of San Fernando.

In 2000, House Speaker Arnulfo Fuentebella and Senate President Aquilino Pimentel Jr. signed the approved city charter of San Fernando on December 4 and 13 respectively.

The town officially became a component city on February 4, 2001, following the ratification of Republic Act 8990 in a plebiscite from the previous day, making it the 99th city in the Philippines. Rey Aquino was the city's first mayor.


Aerial view of San Fernando, Pampanga in 2023


San Fernando is politically subdivided into 35 barangays. Each barangay consists of puroks and some have sitios.


Climate data for City of San Fernando, Pampanga
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Mean daily maximum °C (°F) 30
Mean daily minimum °C (°F) 19
Average precipitation mm (inches) 8
Average rainy days 3.7 4.1 6.5 11.2 21.2 24.9 27.7 26.5 25.5 21.8 12.6 5.6 191.3
Source: Meteoblue[12]


Population census of San Fernando
YearPop.±% p.a.
1903 13,556—    
1918 20,622+2.84%
1939 35,662+2.64%
1948 39,549+1.16%
1960 56,861+3.07%
YearPop.±% p.a.
1970 84,362+4.02%
1975 98,382+3.13%
1980 110,891+2.42%
1990 157,851+3.59%
1995 193,025+3.84%
YearPop.±% p.a.
2000 221,857+3.03%
2007 269,365+2.71%
2010 285,912+2.19%
2015 306,659+1.34%
2020 354,666+2.90%
Source: Philippine Statistics Authority[13][14][15][16]


Nuestro Señor de la Pacencia Chapel, part of the local barangay hall

The Roman Catholicism is the majority religion in the city; 80% of the population profess it. The city is under the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Fernando headed by Florentino Lavarias. Other religion includes Protestantism and Independent Christianity.The Iglesia Ni Cristo is the largest minority with 3% adherence. Islam is also evident in the city. The seat of the Archdiocese of San Fernando is located in the city, the Metropolitan Cathedral of San Fernando.


Robinsons Starmills Pampanga in San Fernando City

Being at the heart of the province, the city of San Fernando is home to 2 public markets, 39 banks, 48 lending institutions (investors), 38 pawnshops, 17 gasoline stations, 3 cinemas, 39 public and private schools, 7 hospitals, 13 dental offices, 9 hotels, 28 drug stores, 7 discos, 6 foreign exchange firms, 15 garment factories, 24 groceries, 7 supermarkets, 42 insurance companies, 16 security agencies and 70 restaurants. As the provincial capital of Pampanga, San Fernando also hosts regional offices of major Philippine government offices.[24] SM City Pampanga, the first SM mall in Central Luzon, is a large shopping mall owned by SM Supermalls. SM also has two other malls: SM City San Fernando Downtown, along Consunji Street in the downtown; and SM City Telabastagan, along MacArthur Highway in barangay Telabastagan.[25] Robinsons Starmills Pampanga or Robinsons Starmills, is a shopping mall owned and operated by Robinsons Malls, the second-largest mall operator in the Philippines. This is the first Robinsons mall in Central Luzon and in Pampanga, and it rivals SM City Pampanga. The mall is along Jose Abad Santos Avenue, at the boundary of San Fernando with the municipality of Mexico, and has a total floor area of 62,000 square meters (670,000 sq ft).


PASUDECO Sugar Central

San Fernando serves as one of the agricultural processing centers of Central Luzon. It is a major rice-producing region and an important sugar-producing area. The Pampanga Sugar Development Company (PASUDECO) was once the largest private employer in Pampanga. It is a major sugar-processing plant in the region. Other manufacturing companies with offices in the city include Universal Robina, Zuellig Pharma, Nestlé Philippines, Petrophil, Mondragon Industries, JBTEC Flavors and Blends Inc. Asia Brewery, and Del Monte Corporation. Major food and beverage companies such as San Miguel Corporation, Coca-Cola, Pepsi Cola, and Pampanga's Best, have factories in the city.

Every year during Christmas season, the city becomes the center of production of hand-made parols, which is different from the usual ones for its intricate designs and the illusion of dancing lights, emphasizing the lanterns' vibrant colors. Also, every year around Christmas time is the Giant Parol Festival, where barangays of San Fernando come together for a friendly competition to see which lanterns are the best. The festival itself is held in the middle of December, and is originally held in the town of Bacolor until it was transferred to the city in August 1904, in an event called the Ligligan Parol in the Kapampangan language, which many believe to have never happened in that year. Following the formal transfer of the festival to the city in 1908, the Giant Parol Festival went on to be a tradition that has evolved with lanterns becoming larger and larger and the designs more intricate. Since then, it became a symbol of the city's unity and the resident's labor.[26]


Festivals and local events

Date Name
January 31 Pedro Abad Santos Day
February 4 Cityhood Anniversary
Good Friday San Pedro Cutud Lenten Rites
May 7 José Abad Santos Day
First Saturday of May El Circulo Fernandino
May 30 San Fernando City Fiesta
September 10 San Fernando Women's Day
Around October to November San Fernando Frog Festival (Kapampangan: Piestang Tugac)
Around November to December Sinukwan Festival
December 11 Pampanga Day (Kapampangan: Aldo ning Kapampangan)
December to First Week of January Giant Lantern Festival (Kapampangan: Liligan Parul)

Places of interest

Monumento Fernandino
Monumento Fernandino
The monument tells the fourfold aspect of the Fernandino story: a) the penitent girl with lantern, b) the lady with torch, c) the lady making the offering and d) the boatman. The February 4, 2004 (dedicated by Mayor Rey B. Aquino) Monumento Fernandino is a sculpture that pays tribute to the city's colorful history and cultural heritage. Its artistic composition when seen from a distance would seem like a sprouting plant amidst a barren landscape.[27]
WOW Philippines Hilaga
Formerly known as Paskuhan Village, located near the San Fernando exit of North Luzon Expressway (NLEX), WOW Philippines Hilaga was transformed into a cultural, historical, tourism, trade, and entertainment village by former Secretary Richard J. Gordon in 2003. Its design and concept make it a virtual window to the cultural and historical heritage of the four regions of the North Philippines as well as a showcase for their indigenous products, and arts and crafts. The star-shaped pavilions at the center pays tribute to the skilled lantern makers of San Fernando, Pampanga which produces the biggest lanterns in the world. The complex features a 1,000-seat capacity air-conditioned pavilion for conventions and special events, an open-air amphitheater for outdoor activities, air-conditioned exhibit halls, trade booths, garden restos and a 60-seat capacity conference hall.
Pampanga Eye
Located in Sky Ranch Pampanga beside SM City Pampanga, this Ferris wheel is the tallest in the country with a height of 65 meters (213 ft) height and a diameter of 50 meters (160 ft).
Bren Z. Guiao Sports Complex and Convention Center
Bren Z. Guiao Sports Complex and Convention Center
It is a multi-purpose complex with imposing venues for concerts, convention, basketball games, beauty pageants and other sport activities. The 3,000-seat, air-conditioned convention center inside the complex is one of Pampanga's pride.
Archdiocesan Museum and Archives
It is housed at the University of the Assumption, and includes antiques and exquisite works of art depicting Pampanga's rich cultural heritage. It contains numerous ecclesiastical artifacts ranging from a huge churchbell to paintings; ivory and wooden statues of all shapes and sizes, vestments worn by priests during Mass and chalices, monstrances, reliquaries and ciboriums made of gold, silver and precious gems, some dating back to the 17th century.
Everybody's Cafe
As the province of Pampanga is regarded as the "Culinary Capital of the Philippines", the capital city of San Fernando is home to one of the oldest restaurants in the province - Everybody's Cafe. Located along McArthur Highway in Barangay Del Pilar, this iconic restaurant was built in 1946 by the Jorolan Family and is famous for exotic Kapampangan dishes such as betute (stuffed frogs), kamaru (crickets) and Pindang Damulag (carabao meat). Everybody's Cafe has been featured in international TV shows such as Discovery Travel and Living's Bizarre Foods by Andrew Zimmern and Bobby Chin's World Cafe Asia.[28]

San Fernando Heritage District

The San Fernando Heritage District covers the historic core of San Fernando, including barangay Santo Rosario and parts of barangays San Jose (Panlumacan), Santa Teresita (Baritan), Lourdes (Teopaco), Del Pilar, Santa Lucia and Santo Niño. These important sites are broken down under Heritage Houses, Historic Government Buildings, Schools, and Hospitals, and Historic Industrial Structures and Sites[29]

Churches and other religious structures:

Heritage houses:

Hizon-Singian House
Lazatin House

Historic government buildings, schools, and hospitals:

Industrial heritage:


Main article: Sangguniang Bayan

Elected officials

Main article: Mayor of San Fernando, Pampanga

Members of the San Fernando, Pampanga Council
Position Name
District Representative
(3rd Legislative District of the Province of Pampanga)
Aurelio Gonzales Jr.
Chief Executive of the City of San Fernando, Pampanga Vilma B. Caluag
Presiding Officer of the City Council of San Fernando, Pampanga Benedict Jasper Simon R. Lagman
Members of the City Council Aurelio Brenz P. Gonzales
Rosalie Mendoza
Enrico Maria O. Hizon
Reginaldo B. David
Cristina D. Lagman
Ato Agustin
Angel M. Wijangco
Ayzel Mari Grace N. Macalino
Redentor R. Halili
Rosemary G. Calimlim


Colleges and universities

Vocational / Technical Schools

Secondary schools


The City of San Fernando has four TV stations - UBC Channel 12, Infomax Channel 44, Central Luzon Television Channel 36 (CLTV36) and ABS-CBN TV-46 Pampanga. There are three radio stations, the 5 Kilowatt RW 95.1 FM of the RadioWorld Broadcasting Corporation of the Philippines, 91.9 Bright FM, owned and Operated by Archdiocese of San Fernando and the 2.5 kilowatt 92.7 Brigada News FM Central Luzon of the Brigada Mass Media Corporation.


Several local newspapers are published in the city which includes SunStar Pampanga, The Probe, Coffee Punch, Pampanga Times and the Observer.[30]

Notable personalities

Sister cities


  1. ^ City of San Fernando | (DILG)
  2. ^ "2015 Census of Population, Report No. 3 – Population, Land Area, and Population Density" (PDF). Philippine Statistics Authority. Quezon City, Philippines. August 2016. ISSN 0117-1453. Archived (PDF) from the original on May 25, 2021. Retrieved July 16, 2021.
  3. ^ a b Census of Population (2020). "Region III (Central Luzon)". Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay. Philippine Statistics Authority. Retrieved July 8, 2021.
  4. ^ "PSA Releases the 2018 Municipal and City Level Poverty Estimates". Philippine Statistics Authority. December 15, 2021. Retrieved January 22, 2022.
  5. ^ a b Henares, Ivan Anthony S. "A Brief History of San Fernando, Pampanga 1754–2004"
  6. ^ a b "Philippine Development Plan 2015-2022" (PDF). National Economic Development Authority. Retrieved November 21, 2023.
  7. ^ Retrieved November 21, 2023. ((cite web)): Missing or empty |title= (help)
  8. ^ Al Gerard de la Cruz (December 24, 2013). "The giant lanterns of San Fernando, Asia's Christmas capital". CNN Travel.
  9. ^ "Henares, Ivan Anthony. Timeline of San Fernando History. Singsing, Vol. 4 No. 1" (PDF). Center for Kapampangan Studies.
  10. ^ Roxas, Alfredo M. (January 6, 1988). "NPA extorting from candidates". Manila Standard. Standard Publications, Inc. p. 8. Retrieved February 2, 2023.
  11. ^ "Henares, Ivan Anthony. Timeline of San Fernando History. Singsing, Vol. 4 No. 1" (PDF). Center for Kapampangan Studies.
  12. ^ "San Fernando: Average Temperatures and Rainfall". Meteoblue. Retrieved May 5, 2020.
  13. ^ Census of Population (2015). "Region III (Central Luzon)". Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay. Philippine Statistics Authority. Retrieved June 20, 2016.
  14. ^ Census of Population and Housing (2010). "Region III (Central Luzon)" (PDF). Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay. National Statistics Office. Retrieved June 29, 2016.
  15. ^ Censuses of Population (1903–2007). "Region III (Central Luzon)". Table 1. Population Enumerated in Various Censuses by Province/Highly Urbanized City: 1903 to 2007. National Statistics Office.((cite encyclopedia)): CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  16. ^ "Province of Pampanga". Municipality Population Data. Local Water Utilities Administration Research Division. Retrieved December 17, 2016.
  17. ^ "Poverty incidence (PI):". Philippine Statistics Authority. Retrieved December 28, 2020.
  18. ^ "Estimation of Local Poverty in the Philippines" (PDF). Philippine Statistics Authority. November 29, 2005.
  19. ^ "2003 City and Municipal Level Poverty Estimates" (PDF). Philippine Statistics Authority. March 23, 2009.
  20. ^ "City and Municipal Level Poverty Estimates; 2006 and 2009" (PDF). Philippine Statistics Authority. August 3, 2012.
  21. ^ "2012 Municipal and City Level Poverty Estimates" (PDF). Philippine Statistics Authority. May 31, 2016.
  22. ^ "Municipal and City Level Small Area Poverty Estimates; 2009, 2012 and 2015". Philippine Statistics Authority. July 10, 2019.
  23. ^ "PSA Releases the 2018 Municipal and City Level Poverty Estimates". Philippine Statistics Authority. December 15, 2021. Retrieved January 22, 2022.
  24. ^ "Camiling, Alejandro S. Fernando, Pampanga The Nerve Center of Central Luzon". Archived from the original on August 23, 2001.
  25. ^ "SM to open new mall in Pampanga". July 19, 2012.
  26. ^ City Information and Communications Technology Office. "History of The City of San Fernando". City of San Fernando - Christmas Capital of the Philippines.
  27. ^ "Department of Tourism - The Philippines Ultimate Travel Guide for Tourist".
  28. ^ "Department of Tourism - The Philippines Ultimate Travel Guide for Tourist". Retrieved October 24, 2019.
  29. ^ "Indung Kapampangan".
  30. ^ Province of Pampanga, A Profile of Region III Archived August 21, 2006, at the Wayback Machine September 2001.
  31. ^ "DOST - National Academy of Science and Technology". Archived from the original on November 2, 2004. Retrieved January 17, 2022.
  32. ^ "Senators Profile - Sotero Baluyot".