Wednesday, June 25, 2014

General Tinio (Papaya) : From Sitio to Barrio to a Beautiful Town

In the south-easternmost part of the province of Nueva Ecija lies a rustic albeit peaceful and beautiful town of General Tinio, or Papaya for most of the people who live or has lived there. It is home to the famous Minalungao National Park, one of the gems the province of Nueva Ecija is very proud of.

Papaya Arch
General Tinio (Papaya) Welcome Arch

Papaya was once a part of Gapan during the Spanish period when it was just a sitio of the then Barrio Mapisong. When Barrio Mapisong was separated from Gapan in 1851 to create a new Municipality of Penaranda, it became a barrio under its jurisdiction. Finally, in 1921 Papaya became a separate town with the same name.

General Tinio ( Papaya) Municipal Hall
General Tinio (Papaya) Municipal Hall 

After 36 years, in 1957, a law was passed changing the name of Papaya to General Tinio in honor of General Manuel Tinio, a prominent Novo Ecijano revolutionary during the Filipino-Spanish War. Though the name was changed more than half a century ago already, the town is still known as Papaya at the present and many documents still bears the name in this manner: General Tinio (Papaya), Nueva Ecija. 

Papaya Sports Complex
General Tinio (Papaya) Sports Center 

Papaya has a beautiful municipal compound where the sports center and the municipal hall are located. It also has kiosks and benches where people can spend their time loitering around. One of the most noticeable feature in the compound is a memorial dedicated to the late President Corazon Aquino where a picture of her is placed in top of a very large marble stone.

Cory Aquino Memorial Stone

Just some steps away from the municipal compound is the old parish church of Papaya. Though the locals refer to it as old, the concrete church is not exactly old because of its modern appearance. It is called as such because there is a newer and larger church built at another place which now function as the town church, and is fondly called "simbahang bago" by the locals.

Papaya New Church
Holy Cross Parish Church (New Papaya Church) Facade. Called as "simbahang bago" by the locals.

The old church found at the town proper has functioned as the town church prior to the "simbahang bago" and the old bells displayed outside the church indicate that the very same place where said church is standing now may be the place where the old sitio, then barrio church of Papaya was located.

Old Papaya Church
Sto. Cristo Parish Church (Old Papaya Church)

Papaya Church Bells    Papaya Church Bells (1874)
Old church bells of Papaya

The inscription on the old church bells says "Barrio de Papaya Ano D. 1874" making them as much as 14o years old this year (2014)! Too bad, they are now non-functional and are just presently displayed in front of the old church for posterity. 

Papaya New Church
The larger and more beautiful New Papaya Church.

From the town proper, visitors can ride a tricycle to the "simbahang bago". The church is definitely worth a visit because it is really a beautiful modern church. It is many times larger than the old town church and the interior is even more captivating. Visitors may ask permission from the church caretaker to climb the bell tower to have a 360 degree view of the surrounding fields and houses and farms, or to just have a very peaceful commune with nature.

A tour around the town of General Tinio is an option during a visit to Minalungao National Park. It won't take more than an hour to visit the places mentioned above so visitors may do the tour before or after visiting Minalungao.

How to get to General Tinio (Papaya)?

From Cubao, take a bus (preferrably Baliwag Transit) to Papaya (around Php 160-175). 

If there is no scheduled trip to Papaya, you may take Cabanatuan instead and alight at Bucana, Gapan (Php 150.00). From Bucana, you may ride a jeep (Php 27.00) though their trips are scheduled so that you cannot expect them all the time of the day. You may just hire a tricycle to bring you to Papaya for Php 120.

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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. may alam po kaung st. anthony school dyan?

    1. Paumanhin po sa sobrang huling pagsagot. Wala po akong alam na St. Anthony School dito bilang ako'y dumalaw po lamang sa lugar at hindi taal na taga-dine...

  2. pano pumunta if galing cabanatuan and ilang oras?? :)

    1. Meron daw pong punuang jeep sa Pacific patungong Papaya... :)

  3. alam neo po ba kung anong oras ang 1st trip sa madaling araw nang baliwag galing papaya papuntang cubao..pag sabado??

    1. Pasensiya na po sa sobrang late na reply. Wala po akong idea eh.