Friday, July 12, 2013

My one day affair with Nueva Ecija

I live in Nueva Ecija, specifically Gapan, during the weekdays but I’ll have to admit that I have already toured other provinces before I’ve got the chance to know Nueva Ecija more. It happened one Philippine Independence Day (June 12, 2013), when I have decided to have a historical tour around one of the provinces represented by the 8 rays of the sun in the Philippine flag.

Because 2013 Independence Day happened to be Wednesday, the middle of the week, I decided not to go home in San Jose del Monte and just spend my holiday in Nueva Ecija. I woke up very early that day so that my Nueva Ecija town hopping may cover as many towns as possible.

My original Nueva Ecija itinerary (from GoogleMaps)
My initial itinerary for the day is (as shown above, from Gapan City) : Cabanatuan City, Palayan City, San Jose City, Science City of Munoz, Talavera and San Isidro. I did not include Gapan because I have already toured it and will be posting a separate post for it.

I first visited Cabanatuan City. By making a walking tour around the old capital of Nueva Ecija, I was able to visit its City Hall, the Cabanatuan Cathedral, the Antonio Luna monument (built at the exact place where he was assassinated), the Old Nueva Ecija Capitol, the Freedom Park, and the century-old Nueva Ecija High Scool.

From Cabanatuan City, I went to Palayan City next, Nueva Ecija’s Capital since 1965. I was able to see there the newly completed Nueva Ecija Provincial Hall as well as the Palayan City Hall. Palayan City by the way is true to its name: “Palayan (farmlands)” and “bukid” and wide expanse of both tilled and untilled land can be found in both sides of the road.

Wide expanse of land in Palayan City

Flat lands seen on the way to Bongabon from Palayan City
After Palayan comes the departure from my prepared itinerary. Instead of going back to Cabanatuan so that I may already go to San Jose, I go straight to Bongabon because I found out that vehicles from Cabanatuan passing in Palayan City go straight to Bongabon. I felt excited then because it’s another of those unexpected twists in my townhopping adventures.

In Bongabon, a short walking tour brought me to the century-old but renovated Bongabon Church, the town plaza, the old Bongabon Municipal Hall as well as the new one. From Bongabon, I chartered a tricycle to bring me to Rizal. In Rizal, I was able to visit the Rizal Church, its market and Municipal Hall.

Rizal Town Church
From Rizal, I then go to Pantabangan. I was actually hoping to visit the Pantabangan old church but I was not successful in finding it. I also would want to visit the Pantabangan dam but the time and the lack of knowledge how to reach it didn’t permit me. Instead, I visited the new Pantabangan Town church (though it has the old bell dating back to 1843). I also got to see the newly built Pantabangan Town Hall.

Pantabangan town proper
From Pantabangan, I got back to Rizal and from there I rented a tricycle which brought me to San Jose City proper. In San Jose City, I’ve got the chance to visit the huge San Jose Cathedral, the seat of the diocese of San Jose which oversees the northern part of Nueva Ecija. I also did a short walking tour which brought me to the city's small commercial district as well as the San Jose city hall.

San Jose Cathedral
From San Jose, I then went to the Science City of Munoz, famous for housing many different government agencies dedicated to scientific studies. I also visited Munoz’ city hall and church and had a running tour on the stretch of Maharlika High-way passing through the city. After Munoz comes the last town that I had visited that day, Talavera.

Talavera Town Church
Talavera has many things to offer. For one, the design of the town proper including its municipal hall, the town church, the town gym and the small aviary and mini zoo makes it a beautiful place to visit. I spent the rest of the afternoon in this place.

At the end of the day, it was evident that my itinerary was changed... for the better. I might not be able to visit the town of San Isidro but in exchange, I was able to visit three more: Bongabon, Rizal and Pantabangan. I thought, I will be able to visit San Isidro next time because it was just adjacent to Gapan, and very easy for me to reach. The map below shows my final itinerary:

All in all, my Independence day has been a fun day. This is one affair I will never forget... :)

To know more about my One day affair with Nueva Ecija Tour, you may visit the following (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. Thank you for featuring our beloved hometown! I love Nueva Ecija.... It is where I was born and raised. I may not be presently living there but I am constantly homesick about Nueva Ecija. There are numerous things and places to enjoy in Nueva Ecija.

    1. Tama po kayo sir... Napakarami pang mapupuntahan sa Nueva Ecija at di ko malaman kung ano ang uunahin... Pero gusto ko pong sunod na i-feature yung Minalungao National Park... :)

  2. Seeing the corn field makes me miss home!

  3. Oh my, Nueva Ecija has a lot of great structures. I never heard much of this place. I hope that you could also feature resorts in Nueva Ecija next time. =)

  4. oh, i love your itinerary, very logical, it covers more without having to back and forth.our churches there are really so beautiful, and love the farm fields, I miss that.

  5. Wow! It's good to see Nueva Ecija in photos through your shots. Thanks for sharing, sir!

  6. Nadadaan ko lang ang Nueva Ejica on my way to Pangasinan. Been to Laor a couple of times. Mainit ang Nueva Ecija.

  7. I haven't explored much of the Philippines yet. I hope I'll have the time to do that in our next vacation. Thanks for sharing those beautiful photos of Nueva Ecija.

  8. lovely photos you have here! I've been to nueva ecija before but that's a long time ago already when I was visiting my relatives from my father's side.

  9. Yupe, that's the typical backpacker. Places, not your own, are more interesting. :-)

  10. beautiful place means beautiful photos dear... it reflects! I've never been to Nueva Ecija but I'm sure this is a great place.

  11. That's so wonderful, i've never been into that place yet i've only speak and heard about it, that place indeed is very interesting, normal lifestyle and good source of fresh produce the best place to live in.

  12. "One day affair," I just love the sound of that...makes me remember lovely photowalks with dear friends...I have been to Nueva Ecija...but that was when digicams were not yet "in" and I was not yet a photo enthusiast...great shots here...I love your church snaps most :)

  13. Haven't been to this wonderful place yet. Great photos you have here! I love the one with the greens.

  14. That is the home town of my Grandmother. Unfortunately, I never been there. Nice of you to give us a tour.

  15. wow, looks like its a great place to visit someday! the churches are lovely, i love to see them. :) you're lucky and blessed to see these places. have a great week.

  16. that's why it's called Palayan City! :) greener pastures...
    - Juven Jimenez