Monday, July 15, 2013

A walking tour on Historic Cabanatuan

(This is part of my Nueva Ecija townhopping last June 12, 2013)

I have been fascinated by historic places since I was in high school, and it is actually evident in most of my posts. Well, that was one reason why I decided to do a walking tour around Cabanatuan, even though most travel blogs and website dedicated to tourism doesn't have Cabanatuan at the top of their list of Philippine tourist spots. 

But, the very reason for this post is to expose the simple beauty of the city to many people. For me, the main source of Cabanatuan's beauty is its historicity and its silent way of preserving that history, many of which are starting to fade away from the new generation's memory.

I arrived at Cabanatuan City at around 8am that day. I first visited the city hall, which is just a walking distance from Jolibee Circumferential (along Maharlika Highway). There was a simple program that day to commemorate the Independence day so the place was teeming with people, city hall employees and students alike. 

Cabanatuan City Hall facade. 
I was not too impressed by the city hall's design because one cannot see a distinctive facade of the hall, and it seems the building needs some maintenance work. Nevertheless, I still took a photo of the city hall's front side for souvenir. Just in front of the city hall is a Rizal monument, full of wreath that day as well as people taking pictures with the monument. It's as if that was the first time people took notice of the monument. I have to wait for a chance to take a picture of the monument without anyone obstructing it... :)

Rizal Monument, Cabanatuan City Hall
From the city hall, I got into a tricycle to bring me to Cabanatuan Cathedral, the seat of the Diocese of Cabanatuan which oversees the Catholic population of the southern part of Nueva Ecija. The Cathedral is huge and the facade is simple though upon entering, a well-designed interior will welcome the visitors and parishioners. 

The simple yet unconventional facade of the Cabanatuan Cathedral.
It's just sad that the beauty of the unconventional Cathedral is being marred by the building beside it which make the church looks like too squeezed. It would have been better if the Cathedral had its own yard and a more spacious frontage. 

Cabanatuan Cathedral interior

Altar of the Cabanatuan Cathedral
Just in front of the Cathedral is a park where you will find the monument of Antonio Luna riding a horse. The spot where the monument stands is also the very spot where the hero was assassinated. It can be recalled that Antonio Luna didn't die because of the foreign invaders but because of people in the same side as his. His death clearly is because of politics though some says his being irritable and too proud led some people to despise him, and in the end, kill him.

General Antonio Luna Monument, Cabanatuan City
It seems that the park is under renovation the time I came so there is not much to see there then. From the Antonio Luna Monument, I came back to the Cathedral side of the road and walked from there to the Nueva Ecija Old Provincial Capitol for about 8 minutes

Upon seeing the Old Capitol, I was entranced by its beauty and the elegance it exudes. The Old Capitol is a picture that tells of the Old Nueva Ecija's glorious past.

Nueva Ecija's reminiscent of the past. The Old Provincial Capitol.

Detail of the facade. Nueva Ecija Old Provincial Capitol
Just across the Old Capitol is Cabanatuan's largest park, the Freedom Park, which is also teeming with people that day. An Independence Day program was also ongoing then and it piqued my curiosity upon discovering that it was the Provincial Capitol's employees who were having the program, knowing that the actual capital is now in Palayan and not there in Cabanatuan.

Freedom Park, Cabanatuan City
Freedom Park also has its own version of Antonio Luna's monument, a bigger and more beautiful one  than that in front of Cabantuan Cathedral. In this monument, Luna is standing as opposed to the other one where he is riding a horse. Statues with elegant garbs serves as sentinels of the monument (or are they just having a rest? Just kidding!)

Just some steps away from Antonio Luna's monument can be seen the century-old Nueva Ecija High School, which has been a home to many Novo Ecijano's during their secondary years. It actually started at San Isidro, Nueva Ecija then later moved to Cabanatuan in 1927. 

Nueva Ecija High School facade

Nueva Ecija High School Marker
Outside the school yard is a marker which tells of the school's history. An excerpt from the marker reads : "The Nueva Ecija High School, one of the earliest high schools established by the American Insular Government in the Philippine Islands, started as the Wright Institute in the former capital town of San Isidro, Nueva Ecija. The school was inaugurated on October 7, 1905 by Nueva Ecija Governor Epifanio delos Santos and San Isidro Municipal President Florencio Miranda... in 1927, the Nueva Ecija High School was transferred from San Isidro to Cabanatuan, the new capital..."

This school has witnessed many Novo Ecijanos strive for excellence. Nueva Ecija High School.
It is evident from the school building's design that it was made before the advent of WWII and that's what make it interesting. Actually, no visitor passing through Burgos Avenue would fail to notice the school because of its architecture.

Upon visiting and seeing all of the places above, I can say that my decision to have a walking tour around Cabanatuan is a good decision. At least, I've got a feel of the city's past through its monuments and historic buildings and was able to appreciate a bit of the city's part in the national history.   

After the walking tour that last for almost an hour, I got into a tricycle which brought me to the place where I would be able to ride a jeep to Palayan City.


To know more about my Nueva Ecija Tour, you may visit the following (some to be posted later):

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About the Author

I am ROMEL RAFOR JAIME, the man behind San Josenyong Gala. My travel blogger name came about because I am a proud resident of the City of San Jose del Monte, Bulacan. In real life, I am a licensed librarian who works in a college in Gapan, Nueva Ecija as a librarian and teaches general education subjects from time to time. My goal is to visit all the 81 provinces of the Philippines before visiting other countries. As of 2017, I have already visited 73... :)


  1. Ganda nung capitolyo... sana lng wala yung dalawang tent sa harap...

    1. Oo nga po sir eh... Nagkataon po kasing Independence Day Celebration nung mismong araw na nagpunta ako, me program... :)

      Salamat po sa pagbisita!