Nueva Ecija: Cities in the midst of Rice Fields

Whenever I think of Nueva Ecija, two things come to my mind: rice and milk. Rice because the province yields the most as their produce is brought to different parts of our country and milk due to cows that nurture the fields as well as dairy products. I got curious of what the province has to offer to tourists aside from heritage churches tucked in city centers, so I embarked on a day trip from the northermost city down to nearest city adjacent to Bulacan province.

Central Luzon (Kapampangan: Kalibudtarang Luzon, Pangasinan: Pegley na Luzon, Tagalog: Gitnang Luzon, Ilocano: Tengnga ti Luzon), designated as Region III, is an administrative region in the Philippines, primarily serving to organize the 7 provinces of the vast central plains of the island of Luzon (the largest island), for administrative convenience. The region contains the largest plain in the country and produces most of the country’s rice supply, earning itself the nickname “Rice Granary of the Philippines”. Its provinces are: AuroraBataanBulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Tarlac and Zambales.
Nueva Ecija, officially the Province of Nueva Ecija (Tagalog: Lalawigan ng Nueva Ecija; Ilocano: Probinsia ti Nueva Ecija), is a landlocked province in the Philippines located in the Central Luzon region. Its capital is the city of Palayan, while Cabanatuan, its former capital, is the largest local government unit (LGU). Nueva Ecija borders, from the south clockwise, Bulacan, Pampanga, Tarlac, Pangasinan, Nueva Vizcaya and Aurora. The province is nationally known as the Rice Granary of the Philippines, producing the largest rice yield in the country.
My 23rd Province!
Nueva Ecija was named by the Spanish colonisers after the small town of Écija, Spain. Its indigenous names, such as Pinagpanaan, meaning the place where the arrow hit – defining the precolonial artistry in archery in the area, were abolished and changed by the government during the post-colonial period after World War II, sparking outrage from scholars and indigenous communities. Nevertheless, the name-change of some municipalities into colonial names during the post-colonial period was continued by the national government.

In this post, I’ll show some tourist destinations I visited in Nueva Ecija within that day. I’ll post here in my #project81 the articles related to each province. Presenting my sightseeing itinerary below with City of San Jose as my start and City of Gapan as end point:

My Nueva Ecija Travel Map from north to south. From Manila, I took a Baliwag Transit Bus bound to San Jose City. From there, I took city-hopping up to Gapan City.


San Jose City
📍San Jose City Hall
📍Saint Joseph Cathedral
📍San Jose City Social Circle (Keg-Keg)

Science City of Muñoz
📍Science City of Muñoz Local Government Center
📍San Sebastian Parish Church
📍Central Luzon State University (CLSU)
📍Philippine Carabao Center
📍Rice Science Museum

📍Talavera Municipal Hall
📍San Isidro Labrador Parish Church
📍Rizal Park

Palayan City
📍Nueva Ecija Provincial Capitol
📍Palayan City Hall
📍Santa Cecilia Parish Church
📍Palayan City Park

Cabanatuan City
📍Cabanatuan City Hall
📍Saint Nicholas of Tolentino Parish Cathedral
📍Antonio Luna Death Place Marker in Plaza Lucero
📍Old Capitol Building facing Freedom Park
📍Cabanatuan City Public Market for their local sausage called ‘batutay

Gapan City
📍New Gapan City Hall
📍National Shrine of La Virgen Divina Pastora and Three Kings Parish
📍Lumang Gapan (Little Vigan) the section of Delos Reyes Street with ancestral houses
📍Gapan Old Casa Municipal
📍Inang Bayan Monument
📍Gapan City Plaza

Nueva Ecija comprises 27 municipalities and 5 cities. The province has the most cities in the Central Luzon region.
Baliwag Transit is the one of the major bus company in the Philippines with offices and terminals in various parts of Luzon that mainly services routes to and from Metro Manila and Central Luzon. It is named after the town of Baliuag, Bulacan (Filipino: Baliwag, Bulakan) where it originated.
San Jose, officially known as the City of San Jose (Tagalog: Lungsod ng San Jose; Ilocano: Siudad ti San Jose), is a 3rd class component city in the province of Nueva Ecija, Philippines.
Before the city was founded by the Spanish colonizers, it is known as Kabaritan, named for the plant commonly seen in the area. With its wide plains, agriculture is the main source of livelihood in the city. It is part of the rice granary of the Philippines. Besides rice, the city also produces vegetables, fruits, and onions. It is now a leading producer of onions in the country. Every year the Tanduyong Festival is held in April coinciding with the annual fiesta to celebrate this. Tanduyong is a variety of onion grown in the area.
Muñoz, officially known as the Science City of Muñoz (Tagalog: Lungsod Agham ng Muñoz), is a 4th class component city in the province of Nueva Ecija, Philippines.
It is situated 30 kilometres (19 mi) from Cabanatuan, 44 kilometres (27 mi) from Palayan, and 146 kilometres (91 mi) north of the capital Manila. Due to its rich topography and tropical climate, it is now home to agricultural research and technology centers, committed to the production of information and technological breakthroughs to promote rural development, productivity and food security.
From its lowly origins as “Sitio Papaya”, it was renamed as Muñoz in 1886 in honor of Spanish Governor Don Francisco Muñoz. It was in 1913, under Executive Order No. 72, when Muñoz was declared as a new and independent municipality. By the virtue of Republic Act 8977 signed on November 7, 2000, Muñoz formally elevated to a city and country’s only city with “Science” in its formal name.
Silvanas, alternatively spelled as sylvanas or sylvannas, is a Filipino frozen cookie consisting of a layer of buttercream sandwiched between two cashew-meringue wafers coated with cookie crumbs. Silvanas are the cookie versions of the Sans rival, a Filipino cake made from similar ingredients
Central Luzon State University (CLSU; Filipino: Pamantasang Pampamahalaan ng Gitnang Luzon) is a state university on a 658-hectare campus in Muñoz, Nueva Ecija, Philippines. It is the lead agency of the Muñoz Science Community and the seat of the Regional Research and Development Center in Central Luzon. To date, CLSU is one of the premiere institutions for agriculture in the Philippines and in Southeast Asia known for its research in aquaculture, ruminants, crops, orchard, and water management. CLSU is the first comprehensive state university to undergo institutional accreditation. It is a declared Cultural Property of the Philippines due to its high historical, cultural, academical, and agricultural importance to the nation.
Talavera, officially the Municipality of Talavera (Ilocano: Ili ti Talavera; Tagalog: Bayan ng Talavera), is a 1st class municipality in the province of Nueva Ecija, Philippines. Talavera is part of Cabanatuan conurbation as adjacent urban center in the heart of Nueva Ecija. It is dubbed as the “Milk Capital” and “Food basket in Inland Luzon”. Present-day Talavera was formerly a barrio of Cabanatuan. It was called “Katugian” which means a place abundant in “Tugue,” an edible root crop. Based on the petition presented to the Alcalde Mayor (governor) of Nueva Ecija, forwarded to the governor general in Manila, the “Talavera of the Crown of the Princess” was approved on February 17, 1853, by the Governor General. Hence, the short name nowadays, Talavera.
Ice cream is a sweetened frozen food typically eaten as a snack or dessert. It may be made from milk or cream and is flavoured with a sweetener, either sugar or an alternative, and a spice, such as cocoa or vanilla, or with fruit such as strawberries or peaches.
Palayan, officially the City of Palayan (Tagalog: Lungsod ng Palayan), is a 5th class component city and capital of the province of Nueva Ecija, Philippines. It the most sparsely populated city in the Philippines.
Palayan was created on June 19, 1965, by the Congress of the Philippines and is one of seven planned cities in the Philippines (the other six being Manila, Baguio, Quezon City, Trece Martires, Koronadal and the Island Garden City of Samal).
The new provincial capitol, convention center, and sports center of Nueva Ecija are located in the city.
Cabanatuan, officially known as the City of Cabanatuan (Tagalog: Lungsod ng Cabanatuan; Ilocano: Siudad ti Cabanatuan), is a 1st class component city in the province of Nueva Ecija, Philippines. It the most populous city in Nueva Ecija and the fifth-most populous in Central Luzon.
Its strategic location along the Cagayan Valley Road has made the city a major economic, educational, medical, entertainment shopping and transportation center in Nueva Ecija and nearby provinces in the region such as Tarlac, Aurora, and Bulacan. It has also earned the moniker “Gateway to the North”.
Several versions account for the origin of the name Cabanatuan, however, three are popularly accepted. One is from the Tagalog word KABATUHAN, which means a place where there is an abundance of stones. The other is KABAN NG TUWA meaning a chest of happiness. And the latest origin to crop up is that the name KABANATUAN was derived from BANATU, a sturdy vine that before amply grew along the swampy banks of Pampanga River.
Cabanatuan was founded as a Barrio of Gapan in 1750 and became a Municipality and capital of La Provincia de Nueva Ecija in 1780. Cabanatuan is the site of the historical “Plaza Lucero” and the Cabanatuan Cathedral, where General Antonio Luna was assassinated in 1899 by Captain Pedro Janolino and members of the Kawit battalion.
Cabanatuan longganisa, also known as batutay, is a Filipino beef sausage originating from Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija. It can be served sweet (hamonado), garlicky (de recado), or “skinless” (without the casing). It is celebrated in the annual “Longganisa Festival” of Cabanatuan City.
Gapan, officially known as the City of Gapan (Tagalog: Lungsod ng Gapan), is a 4th class component city in the province of Nueva Ecija, Philippines. Gapan is nicknamed the “Footwear Capital of the North” due to the thriving footwear making industry in the city. Old records called the town Ibon. Gapan was founded by the Spanish curates and officials who, in their early occupation, exercised great influence over the people and the things they were doing. History places Gapan as one of the first towns of Pampanga founded sometime in the middle part of the sixteenth century. Its foundation in 1595 makes Gapan the oldest town in Nueva Ecija and one of the oldest in the Philippines. 
The National Shrine of La Virgen Divina Pastora (English: National Shrine of the Divine Shepherdess; Filipino: Pambansang Dambana ng Mahal na Birheng Divina Pastora), known canonically as the Three Kings Parish (Spanish: Parróquia de los Tres Reyes Magos; Filipino: Parokya ng Tatlong Hari), is a shrine in Gapan City in the Philippines that was founded in 1589. It is one of the oldest Roman Catholic churches in the country, and the oldest and the biggest colonial church in Nueva Ecija. The church has been a pilgrimage site for two patron saints of Gapan and also of Nueva Ecija; the Three Kings, and the Divina Pastora (Divine Shepherdess). On April 26, 1986, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines declared the church as a National Shrine.

For Nueva Ecija’s heritage churches, click below:

Visita Iglesia in Nueva Ecija

#NuevaEcijaNeverEnding 😁🏖️ (n_n)



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