San Fernando City Pampanga is popularly known as the Christmas Capital of the Philippines because of the handcrafted and colorful giant lanterns that are gloriously displayed during the holidays. But aside from this, San Fernando City is also a cultural heritage city where preserved old houses and the San Fernando Railway station can be found.
San Fernando Railway Station
This train station is a part of Ferrocaril de Manila-Dagupan, the first railway system in the country built in 1892, spanning 195 kilometers from Tutuban to Dagupan in Pangasinan. The station was inaugurated by Governor-General Eulogio Despujol and Bernardino Nozaleda, the Archbishop of Manila, on February 23, 1892.
On June 27, 1892, Dr. Jose Rizal landed from this station to meet some recruits for La Liga Filipina and again the next day en route to Bacolor. The station also served as the ending point for the 102-kilometer Bataan Death March, from which Filipino and American prisoners-of-war were carted to Capas in Tarlac en route to their final destination, Camp O’Donnell. A marker of death march is located in front of the train station.
Luckily, the government preserved the station which is the only one standing from the other station of Ferrocaril de Manila-Dagupan. The station now houses the tourism office of the city of San Fernando and a museum where remnants, artifacts, and memorabilia from Spanish to Japanese, even up to the American war is exhibited.
Also located at the heritage district of San Fernando City is the Lazatin House which is built by a sugar farmer and former president of SFELAPCO, Don Serafin Lazatin y Ocampo. During the Second World War, it served as residence of the 14th Army Commander of the Japanese Imperial Army, General Masaharu Homma. Next to the Lazatin House is the residence of Don Antonio Consunji, Gobernadorcillo of San Fernando in 1892, who was removed from office by Spanish authorities because of his presence during the visit to San Fernando of Dr. Jose Rizal. Don Antonio became presidente municipal of San Fernando during the Philippine Revolution from 1898 to 1899. Like in Vigan, you can also ride a calesa during your visit in San Fernando City.
San Fernando City has its share in Philippine history. Remnants of a long and colorful past are still intact and well-preserved. Truly, San Fernando is vibrantly colorful both in Christmas adornments and history.