Named after a Spanish king, San Fernando is a laid-back city known for its colourful Christmas celebrations. Whether you spend your days wandering around the historic district, escaping to the countryside or eating your way through traditional Filipino restaurants, San Fernando is a great addition to any itinerary.
Things to do
Downtown you’ll find the City of San Fernando Heritage District, dotted with beautiful buildings. A walking tour is the best way to immerse yourself in the area while visiting sites like the historic Pampanga Hotel, Vivencio Cuyugan Monument and Augusto Hizon Heritage House.
San Fernando takes its Christmas celebrations seriously, culminating with the mesmerising Giant Lantern Festival. Held every December, it sees the city draped with traditional star-shaped parol lanterns crafted from bamboo and paper.
For a glimpse at San Fernando’s military past, head to the old railway station, which served as the endpoint of the WWII Bataan Death March. The Archdiocesan Museum and Archives is another highlight, with a fascinating collection of religious and cultural artefacts on display.
To the north-east of the city is the Candaba Wetlands, which attract a host of rare birds like the black faced spoonbill. Whether you’re an avid bird watcher or simply want to enjoy a walk in the wetlands, Candaba is a great way to break up your time in San Fernando.
Aside from buses and jeepneys, taxis are the primary means of getting around the city. Tricycles are an eco-friendly way to get from A to B, especially if you’re covering short distances. From Manila, the drive to San Fernando takes just over one hour.