"Old and New Dichotomy" San Fernando by battlesmith

San Fernando Travel Guide: 0 reviews and 2 photos

Named yet after another Iberian king, San Fernando is a rapidly modernizing Central Luzon city that's not too keen on dropping off its age old traditions. The two biggest (Catholic) holidays of the Philippines - the Holy Week and Christmas draw enormous crowds of locals and tourists alike to this city. And it's all because of its rather peculiar traditions.

Thoughout the entire Holy Week, pilgrims can roam the whole province for great and so-so churches. But while the San Fernando Cathedral is not universally refered to as the province's best (it's actually a tough thing to decide), crowds gather to the capital because of its old traditions of long processions of masochists, believers and showmen who hurt themselves through flagellation and even voluntary crucifixion to emulate Christ's example. Also, there are a lot of vocal music around town because it's been a tradition too to do a hymn to the readings about Christ's passion.

Now there are other Kapampangan towns out there that do the same things, but none of their little shows can come close to the San Fernando version. It's not named as the capital for nothing.

When Christmas time comes, the mood turns from penitent to joyous. Perhaps, the gastronomic supremacy of the Kapampangan cuisine help a lot in making the population very happy, but as if that's not enough, the city holds an annual showcase of the biggest, most colorful, most artistic and most original lanterns. Talk about visual overload! And yea, it's a very good photo opportunity. (oh never been here during christmas time though. only see the countless features)

The information above might suggest a visualization of a small backward town. But no, San Fernando is one of the fastest growing cities in the Philippines.

Benefits from the airport nearby rival city Angeles is actually felt by San Fernando too. Its proximity to Manila, is quite a blessing in a way too, regardless of the possiblity that it may be engulfed into the Mega Manila in the near future.

The city is already home to several branches of the top banks, companies and shopping malls. In this mall culture, a big Shoemart and an equally huge Robinsons side by side is pretty much a good indicator of a place's significance and wealth.

  • Last visit to San Fernando: Apr 2007
  • Intro Updated Jun 21, 2007
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