WEIGHT: 48 kg
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Dubbed as the Garden Coast because of its botanical gardens, the regional center of Ilocos region, La Union also boasts of excellent world-class surf breaks and thus, appropriately nicknamed the Surfing Capital of Northern Philippines. L a Union, with its fine coastline that faces the South China Sea and its beautiful gardens, fell way behind in tourism after more popular tourist destinations like the Hundred Islands in Pangasinan, Palawan, Batangas , and Boracay gained more prominence in the past 10 years.
Long before that, local tourists and American military servicemen from the nearby Wallace Air Station which has now been converted into a business and industrial area to facilitate the economic activity in the region — with service, manufacturing, shipping, and agricultural areas spread all over La Union trooped to the seedy beaches of Bauang for some good old rest and recreation which is of course a euphemism for the prostitution boom until And like the surrounding areas of the former US military bases in the Philippines like Subic and Clark — an unmistakable awkward vibe is felt in the air when discussions turn to anything that remotely mention the former American military presence in the area.
The province was created from 9 towns of Pangasinan, 3 towns of Ilocos Sur and the villages of Eastern Pais del Igorotes that straddles the western foothills of the Cordilleras. The name of the province was, thus, derived from the union of these towns from the different provinces. Before the Spaniards came in , La Union was already a bustling and important trading port, especially for gold, with Chinese and Japanese merchants present in the area.
The province made a big comeback though and literally made a big splash in the local and international surfing community as it is now one of the favored surfing sites in the Philippines after Siargao in Mindanao. There are two major surfing competitions — the Rimat Ti Amianan Treasure of the North in December, which is one of the important legs of the Philippine Surfing Federation Surf Circuit and draws top Filipino surfing talents, and the Mabuhay Longboarding Cup, an international surf event which is incidentally the longest running longboard competition in the Philippines.
The Billabong Cup also has an annual surf competition here — where Luke Landrigan, the most famous amongst the bunch rules the roost and one is of the co-founders of the United Pinoy Surfers.