Nueva Ecija

Nueva Ecija
Province of Nueva Ecija


Nickname(s): Rice Bowl of the Philippines

Location in the Philippines
Coordinates: 15°35′N 121°00′E / 15.58°N 121°E / 15.58; 121Coordinates: 15°35′N 121°00′E / 15.58°N 121°E / 15.58; 121
Country Philippines
Region Central Luzon (Region III)
Founded April 25, 1801[1] (1848 on old sources)
Capital Palayan
  Type Sangguniang Panlalawigan

Czarina Umali

  Vice Governor

Gp Padiernos

  Total 5,751.33 km2 (2,220.60 sq mi)
Area rank 12th out of 81
Population (2015 census)[3]
  Total 2,151,461
  Rank 10th out of 81
  Density 370/km2 (970/sq mi)
  Density rank 16th out of 81
  • Novo Ecijano
  • Neoecijano
  Independent cities 0
  Component cities
  Barangays 849
  Districts 1st to 4th districts of Nueva Ecija
  Ethnic groups
Time zone PHT (UTC+8)
ZIP code 3100–3133
IDD:area code +63(0)44
ISO 3166 code PH-NUE

Nueva Ecija (Tagalog pronunciation: [nuˈwɛbɐ ɛsiˈha]) (PSGC: 034900000;[5] ISO: PH-NUE) is a landlocked province in the Philippines located in the Central Luzon region. Its capital is the city of Palayan. Nueva Ecija borders, from the south clockwise, Bulacan, Pampanga, Tarlac, Pangasinan, Nueva Vizcaya and Aurora.


The sprawling and varied geological features of the land now known as Nueva Ecija, includes plains, mountains and rivers, all the requisites for the birthing and sustenance of life itself. The land's very first settlers came upon three mountain ranges to the East, North and West and vast southern plains. All these were sustained by a great flowing river, one whose earliest name was spoken in a now lost tongue, and which was called the Rio Grande de Pampanga by the Spanish people later on. The Great Pampanga River nourished wild, fruit-bearing trees, served as home to an abundance of fish and made possible lush, teeming woodlands that sheltered animals.[6] All these combined must have been paradise in whatever language for the land's earliest settlers, who were able to not only survive but thrive in the surrounding abundance, all within easy reach.

These first settlers included tribes of Ilongots or Italons, Abaca and Buquids. Settlements were built along the banks following the river's undulations. The Ilongots, meaning people of the forest, were the fierce headhunters and animist tribes who occupied Carranglan and the mountainous terrain of Sierra Madre and Caraballo.[7] The head hunting communities were nestled along the riverbanks of Rio Grande's tributaries in the north. Abaca and Italon were subgroups of Ilongots meaning river settlers. Ilongots survived mainly by fishing and hunting. Food production was a secondary occupation. The agriculture-based community of Caraclans and Buquids[8] were settled in Bongabon and Pantabangan along the riverbanks of Rio Grande's tributaries in the northeast.[9]

When the waves of Malay migrations took place between 300-200 B.C., intrepid travelers and traders set up settlements along Luzon's western coast. These early settlements formed the nucleus of the Pampango Empire that was consolidated by Balagtas. The flatlands of the southern portion of Upper Pampanga was a hospitable place for these new Malay settlers. The indigenous tribes were forced to take to the hills in the face of the Malays' superior technology.[10]

Barter trade flourished among communities that settled along the great river. The constant riverside trading resulted in both a commercial and cultural exchange between the settlements in vast plains upstream of the Rio Grande de Pampanga. Settlements in Carranglan, Pantabangan, Bongabon and Puncan prospered and grew into more stable communities.

When the Pampango Empire fell into the hands of Spanish forces under the command of Martin de Goiti in 1572, the conquistadores began their long upward trek towards Cagayan Valley and Mountain Province. Their forces passed through the settlement areas of the Upper Pampanga River.

Because of growing territorial domain and evangelical missions, a command outpost or Commandancia in the Upper Pampanga River area was established. Then Governor-General[11] Fausto Cruzat y Góngora (July 25, 1690 to December 8, 1701) had most likely spent much of his time in the northern outpost in Carranglan and Pantabangan and, baking in the fiercely hot climate, probably waxed nostalgic about his hometown in Ecija, Andalusia in Spain. Ecija, Andalusia was also known as eel sarten or the frying pan because of its intensely hot summers. Thus the Governor-General hit upon the notion to name the outpost Nueva (meaning new Ecija).Both the New and Old Ecija were washed by navigable rivers- the former, by Rio Grande de Pampanga and the latter, by the river Genil.

Conversion to Christianity

Consistent with the history of civilization in the rest of Philippine archipelago, Nueva Ecija was established by Augustinian missionaries. The first mission was established in Gapan in 1595. The Augustinians abandoned their missionary work in 1636, maintaining only the mission in Bongabon.[12]

At the turn of the 18th century, the missionaries resumed their evangelical work and redirected their efforts to the northeast, towards rough, mountainous terrain inhabited by Ilongots. .

In September 1, 1759, King Carlos III of Spain issued a Royal Decree that ended the founding missions of Augustinians and transferred all Augustinian responsibilities in the settlements of Nueva Ecija to Franciscan friars. Through tribute collections and polo y servicio or rendering of force labor, the Franciscans constructed churches, convents, parochial schools and tribunals. They also constructed roads and bridges to connect other settlements. In 1781, a simple irrigation system was constructed in Pantabangan. This new farming technology contributed to the promotion of agriculture in the province.

New province

To make possible the establishment of settlements, military force became necessary to protect the friars and whatever basic settlement structures were beginning to emerge. Thus military outposts were of utmost importance, especially with the friars trying to convert fierce head-hunting tribes with spears and bladed weapons. It was around this time, during the term of Governor General Fausto Cruzat y Gongora (July 25, 1690 to December 8, 1702), that he established the military outpost he named Nueva Ecija. At this time, however, Nueva Ecija was still part of upper Pampanga.

In 2016, researchers of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) and the provincial government found documents showing that in 1799, Carlos IV ordered the separation of towns and parishes of Upper Pampanga, near the Sierra Madre range, as well as coastal towns of Tayabas, along the Pacific Ocean and their organization into a corregimiento (political-military administrative unit). Royal directives were implemented on April 25, 1801, and the corregimiento was named Nueva Ecija after the Spanish hometown of that period’s Governor General Rafael Maria de Aguilar, with Baler as its capital.[13]

Since then, the province had undergone numerous changes in territorial composition. The progressive towns of Gapan, San Isidro, Cabiao and Aliaga were all annexed to Nueva Ecija, resulting in an economic as well as population boom for inhabitants. While Nueva Ecija only had a population of 9,165 in 1845,[14] the annexation of new territories three years later pegged the population at 69,135.

Other changes occurred in the following years until, in 1901, Nueva Ecija's northern municipalities of Balungao, Rosales, San Quintin and Umingan were annexed to Pangasinan. Nueva Ecija's shifting political boundaries in fact necessitated transferring its provincial capital four times. Still, these changes proved ultimately beneficial to Nueva Ecija, as they resulted in a territory with rich land resources nourished by an excellent river system composed of the Rio Grande de Pampanga, Talavera and Penaranda rivers. This would help lay the foundation for Nueva Ecija's abundant agricultural economy starting with the American Occupation in the early 20th century.

Cry of Nueva Ecija

Main article: Cry of Nueva Ecija
General Manuel Tinio, former governor of Nueva Ecija

The "Cry of Nueva Ecija" is the 1896 revolutionary battle led by General Mariano Llanera, manned and assisted by General Manuel Tinio and Pantaleon Valmonte of Gapan City, Nueva Ecija and Colonel Alipio Tecson of Cabiao, Nueva Ecija who later on became Brigadaire General. The battle was fought in Cabiao, Nueva Ecija. Alipio Tecson would eventually become Governadorcillo of Cabiao, Nueva Ecija.[15]

Tobacco monopoly

Maintaining the Philippines as a colony became a challenge for the Spanish Empire. Expenses incurred in running the colony were usually paid for by a yearly subsidy (called real situado) sent from the Philippines' sister colony in Mexico. This financial support from the Spanish royal court was often insufficient, especially with expenditures in the Philippine colony growing each year.

This prompted the royal fiscal assigned in Manila to devise a plan to allow the colony itself to raise revenues on its own and thus be able to supplement the Spanish subsidy. This royal fiscal was Francisco Leandro de Vianna, who first proposed creating a tobacco monopoly. De Vianna reasoned, tobacco was a product widely consumed throughout the islands, with a market of roughly one million. He projected earnings of as much as P400,000 from the venture. The first time the proposal was made, however, both King Carlos III of Spain and colonial officials didn't give the idea much importance.

All that would change during the term of Governor-General Jose Basco y Vargas. Basco had plans to develop and promote Philippine agriculture, and de Vianna's proposal seemed attractive to him. After studying the proposal, Basco sent his plan to establish a large-scale tobacco production in the colony under complete ownership and management by the colonial government of Spain. What probably perked up the ears of the Spanish king about Basco's plan to make the Philippine colony financially self-sufficient, thus removing a huge financial burden from the Spanish crown. The King of Spain issued a royal decree on February 9, 1780 setting in motion Basco's plan.[16]

Almost two years to the date of that royal decree, Basco ordered local officials and military commanders to prevent unnecessary losses of tobacco revenues. By March 2, 1782 tobacco production was established in Luzon, with La Union, Ilocos, Abra, Cagayan Valley and Nueva Ecija (still part of Pampanga at the time) as the centers for planting, growing, harvesting and processing tobacco.

This made a drastic and extreme change in the lives of all Novo Ecijanos. Where farmland used to bear rice, tobacco was now the only crop allowed to grow. These included the towns of Gapan, San Isidro, Jaen, Cabiao, Cabanatuan, Talavera, Santor and Bongabon. Each farming family was given a quota of tobacco plant to grow.

By 1850 the tobacco monopoly was producing immense financial gain for the colonial government. Some reports at the time pegged the earnings by as much as $500,000. One account in 1866 reported a much higher amount, as earnings rose to $38,418,939 that year.

Novo Ecijanos suffered a lot from the system. Nueva Ecija was more often able to meet production quotas compared to the other districts. Despite this, tobacco policy imposed a lower price on tobacco from areas closer to Manila. That meant that first-class tobacco leaf grown and harvested from Nueva Ecija was priced lower by one dollar, compared to those from Ilocos, La Union and Cagayan Valley.

The tobacco monopoly did not spur Novo Ecijanos to revolt, unlike the Ilocanos who staged an uprising over injustices in the system. Some tobacco growers in Nueva Ecija resorted to smuggling their own harvests in order to get some profit. But getting caught entailed harsher fines and penalties. Even sympathetic local officials had no choice but to enforce the unjust policies under pain of arrest and hard labor, once laxity on their part resulted in low production.

The flourishing tobacco industry coupled with the rich agricultural lands in central and northeastern Nueva Ecija also attracted migrants from neighboring Pampanga, Pangasinan, Ilocos and Tagalog areas. This made Nueva Ecija a melting pot of cultures and influences, the results of which are still evident in present-day Novo Ecijano culture.

As the tobacco monopoly fuelled further unrest, Spain finally abolished the monopoly on December 3, 1882. It was only then that they could all once again grow rice for food.[17]

Freedom fighters

First prisoners of the Philippine Revolution in 1896

One distinct feature of the 1896 revolution against Spain in Nueva Ecija was that it was led by the elite, ruling class instead of the masses. Leaders of the revolt in Nueva Ecija were municipal officials and prominent citizens, who refused to collaborate with the Spanish authorities when armed struggle broke out. Despite being in the ruling class and enjoying positions in the colonial government, these prominent Novo Ecijanos proved their patriotism and love for fellow Filipinos.[18] In fact, one of the founding members of the reform movement La Liga Filipina[19] was lawyer and Novo Ecijano Mamerto Natividad. By the time the Katipunan, the revolutionary movement against Spain, was formed, Novo Ecijanos were actively yet secretly joining it. Even local officials in Nueva Ecija secretly allied with the illustrados and farmers in forming the underground revolutionary society.[20]

Once the Spanish authorities learned of the Katipunan's existence, those perceived as sympathizers of the movement, and even those who were falsely accused of being members of it, were arrested. Mamerto Natividad was among those arrested for sedition, tortured and killed by guardia civil. He was one of the first Novo Ecijano martyrs[21] for freedom. His death however, would result in bigger problems for the Spanish authorities.

Mamerto Natividad's two sons, Mamerto Jr. and Benito Natividad, later joined the Katipunan. The Spaniards burned their house and sugar mills in Jaen. Mamerto Jr. was later jailed for shooting a Spanish judge who had slapped his younger brother. As the Revolution gained ground, Mamerto Jr. was released and he was able to join the revolutionary army of General Emilio Aguinaldo in Cavite. By August 30, 1896 a state of war was declared by the Spanish colonial government in several Luzon provinces including Nueva Ecija, Bulacan, Pampanga, Tarlac, Batangas, Laguna, Cavite and Manila.[22]

Novo Ecijanos immediately proved themselves worthy of the fight for freedom. On September 2, 1896, Novo Ecijanos led by Gen. Mariano Llanera, capital municipal of Cabiao and Gen. Pantaleon Valmonte, capitan municipal of Gapan attacked San Isidro, the provincial capital. Their 3,000-strong army attacked San Isidro in distinct Novo Ecijano fashion: accompanied by music played by the Banda de Cabiao or Cabiao band. It seems that in love or war, music is integral to Novo Ecijanos.

Wounded American on stretcher in the Philippines, 1899

Novo Ecijanos like Llanera, Valmonte, Mamerto Natividad, Jr. and Manuel Tinio conducted themselves heroically during the revolution. They were allied with Aguinaldo's Magdalo[23] group. Aguinaldo was in fact so impressed, he appointed Natividad and Llanera to the two highest-ranking posts in the revolutionary army. Natividad became General Mamerto Natividad, commanding general of the revolutionary army, while General Llanera was vice-commander with the rank of Lieutenant-General. General Natividad proved himself worthy of the position by scoring victories against the Spanish in Tayug, Pangasinan and San Rafael, Bulacan.

Pact of Biak-na-Bato Filipino negotiators

On November 11, 1897, Natividad's life would end after he was killed in action in Cabiao, Nueva Ecija. His death precipitated the Pact of Biak-na-Bato,[24] a peace treaty that sought to end hostilities between Spanish authorities and the Filipino rebels. The treaty provided for a payment of P800,000 to the rebels who would then be exiled to Hong Kong. Five Novo Ecijanos would accompany Aguinaldo's exile.[25] They were General Mariano Llanera, Benito Natividad, General Manuel Tinio,[26] and Joaquin Natividad.

Later on, Novo Ecijanos would continue to participate in the drama of war, revolution and the fight for freedom. They would fight when the revolt against Spain continued after the peace treaty broke down and the United States, after declaring war on Spain, promised to help Filipinos fight for freedom. Then, Novo Ecijanos again joined General Emilio Aguinaldo in the Philippine–American War (after it became evident the United States wanted to make the Philippines their own colony).[27]

Then when the Japanese tried to make the Philippines their own colony[28] at the outbreak of the Second World War in the Pacific, Novo Ecijanos would also make history by participating in guerilla activities. The exploits of the Novo Ecijano guerillas have in fact been made into literature, through the World War II novel Ghost Soldiers by Hampton Sides[29] and in Hollywood cinema, in the war film The Great Raid[30] based on the book.

Begins the Liberation of Nueva Ecija on 1945, Combined military forces of all stronghold Filipino troops under the Philippine Commonwealth Army and Philippine Constabulary units and the American troops under the United States Armed Forces liberated the province of Nueva Ecija and help them from the Novo Ecijano and Hukbalahap resistance against the Japanese Imperial forces and aftermath in World War II.

American period

History records how the Philippine–American War began after American troops killed a Filipino soldier who was crossing the San Juan bridge on February 4, 1899.[31] One could also say however that hostilities and mistrust really began as early as August 13 the previous year. On that day, the Spanish colonial government in Intramuros surrendered to American forces instead of the Filipino soldiers that surrounded the Walled City. Thus began the United States own effort to have her own colonies, with the Philippines served, as it were, on a silver platter by the dying Spanish Empire thanks to the Treaty of Paris.[32][33]

When the war between Filipinos and Americans finally began, the fate of the infant Republic of the Philippines again lay in the hands of General Aguinaldo and his most trusted men who included Novo Ecijanos like General Llanera and General Tinio. And, as guerilla warfare became an effective tactic for the Filipinos, Novo Ecijanos were among the most feared guerillas around. Both the Novo Ecijanos and Americans were willing to resort to brutal tactics, torture and even atrocious killings in the course of the war. Two nove ecijanos were deported and exiled in Guam for not taking allegiance to the American government, they were General Mariano Llanera and Col. Alipio Tecson.

By the time the war ended on April 1, 1901 with Aguinaldo's surrender to the Americans,[34] Novo Ecijano guerillas who had fought so fiercely and bravely against two sets of foreign invaders reluctantly gave up. Still that was not the end of the association between them and the Americans. The end of the Philippine–American War also signaled a new beginning for Nueva Ecija and its people.

The railway

Before the American occupation, Nueva Ecija was alread a hub of trade and commerce. Since Nueva Ecija in the 19th century had neither excellent roads nor the ideal land transport system, trading activities were done mainly through the waterways.

While we moderns consider rivers as obstacles that need to be crossed, people in the 19th century valued rivers not just as sources of food and water but as passages for trading barges and boats. Thus, Nueva Ecijas early trading settlements sprouted along riverbanks.

Commercial, interprovincial trade was carried out using the Rio Grande de Pampanga as main waterway, with trade outposts in San Isidro and Talipapa. Traders from Bulacan, Tondo and Manila regularly came to Nueva Ecija to carry back rice, palay, tobacco, sugar, corn and livestock.

The Americans, however, wanted to shift from water-borne trade to a land-based trade system. Their idea for establishing this depended on something they were masters at: building railways. The American colonial government thought a railway could help boost Nueva Ecija's economic growth, in the same way that the US railway system helped unite and develop the economy of the North American continent.

What made the railway project attractive was that it was less expensive than building roads. At first run by a private company, the US colonial government[35] took over the ownership and management of the railway system by 1917.

The Americans were soon proven right: trade conducted through the railways boosted Nueva Ecija's income by 25% while transport costs went down by 25% to as much as 75%. With the train able to transport more goods and more people at a cheaper rate, the railway helped spark a rice boom in Gapan, San Isidro, Cabanatuan, Santa Rosa and Penaranda. Farmers could devote more land to growing rice and even secondary crops like onions and watermelons.

More rice mills, farmers and farmer settlers came to Nueva Ecija. By 1936, there were 42 rice mills in Nueva Ecija, owned mostly by Chinese.[36]

The agriculture-based economic boom brought about by the train's huge load capacity and greater speed (compared to boats) encouraged waves of migrations to Nueva Ecija from places like Ilocos, Pampanga, Pangasinan, Tarlac and Bulacan.

The railway brought other changes to Nueva Ecija. While trade was still being done by waterways, settlements by necessity had to be established close to the rivers, where people's basic necessities came from. When the trains became the main mode of transporting goods and people, and with the influx of migrants, it became not only possible but crucial to build more communities further inland. This meant roads and irrigation systems were needed.[37]

Roads and irrigation

As communities expanded inward, first along the rivers and then along the railways, the need for roads and irrigation systems leading to communities in the plains became more urgent. These made it possible for the more remote towns—those farther away from both rivers and railroads—to grow crops and participate in trade, ending what was until then a very slow pace of economic development. By 1912 Governor Benito Natividad had appropriated funds to fast-track the building of roads and bridges linking these remote towns and municipalities to then provincial capital Cabanatuan.

The American government also constructed three major irrigation facilities: 1) The Talavera Irrigation System in 1924; 2) Penaranda River Irrigation System in 1930 and 3) Pampanga River Irrigation System in 1939.

By the time these irrigation systems went in full swing, combined with the railway system and the many rice mills, Nueva Ecija had been established as the "Rice Granary of the Philippines." From 1930 to 1939, rice production in Nueva Ecija was averaging more than 9 million cavans of rice.[38]

Homesteading and US-style tenancy

Unlike the American pioneers of the Old West, Filipinos were not so willing to occupy remote, unsettled and undeveloped areas. So when the American colonial government introduced homesteading, there were few takers among Filipinos. Essentially, homesteading happens when someone lays claim on, harnesses the resources and develops a parcel of land, even if it's still wilderness and far from population centers, for economic use. Homesteading could be done through a legal process of acquiring a land title, or even without a title at all. In the latter case however, the lack of a title makes the informal homesteader vulnerable to any legal action attempting to take the land away from him.[39]

When the Philippine Bill of 1902 was passed by the US Congress, the US colonial government was formally established in the Philippine islands. This meant the colonial government now had the authority to dispose of public lands on its own, without having to seek the approval of the President of the United States. Based on an earlier survey of public lands by the Philippine Commission, the new American colonial government offered public lands to settlers through homesteading, sale, purchase or lease.[40]

Under the American regime's homesteading system, an individual could get up to 16 hectares of land, while a corporation could get as much as 1,024 hectares. This did not result in a wide settlement of lands throughout the country, however. Nueva Ecija was one exception, as more settlers opted to homestead its lands. A 1928 Statistical Bulletin records nearly 70,000 hectares were given to more than five thousand homestead applicants.[41]

Among the immigrant-settlers of Nueva Ecija, the Ilocanos were mainly responsible for opening up through their homesteads, the once sparsely populated, remote areas of the province. Much like the early American pioneers, the Ilocanos tamed the land and turned what was once hostile wilderness into habitable and productive land.

However, the homesteading effort under the American regime resulted in a drop in tenancy in 1918, it ultimately failed in succeeding decades. This was due to two major factors. First, the new farmer-settlers did not have enough capital to sustain farming costs. Without any financial assistance available from the government that granted them the land, farmer-settlers accumulated huge debts at very high interest rates from usurious moneylenders. Most of these homesteaders were later forced to sell their land and become tenant farmers instead.

Civil government in the American period

The civil governments established in various provinces in the Philippines under the American Occupation were supposed to teach Filipinos the basic principles of democracy, following US military rule. In general, each provincial government presided over local governments in each town or municipality. In turn, each municipality would have a president, vice-president and municipal councillors. These were elected by a select group of qualified electors for two-year terms.[42]

The second Philippine Commission went to what was then Nueva's provincial capital, San Isidro, on June 8, 1901 to begin proceedings for establishing the local and provincial governments. 16 out of Nueva Ecija's 19 towns were represented in the meeting. Elections of various representatives from the different towns were carried out successfully.

However, there was still the thorny problem of deciding whether or not to move the provincial capital. The dilemma was caused by events related to the Philippine–American War. First, Nueva Ecija had been a hotbed of resistance against the American Occupation, and was therefore in a state of siege. Four of its towns, Balungao, Rosales, San Quentin and Umingan, which were further away from the capital and already considered pacified by US forces, had been annexed to the province of Pangasinan.

The newly elected Nueva Ecija representatives were of the view that since a civil government under the Americans was already being established, it was time to return the four towns to Nueva Ecija. This would benefit the province as the four town were rich in natural resources. The fact that the towns were quite far from the capital, one of the representatives suggested, was no obstacle: the provincial capital could simply be moved to Cabanatuan. Other representatives objected to this proposal, pointing out that Cabanatuan had no infrastructures wherein to house the provincial government.

The matter was not resolved until two years later, when the US governor-general signed Act No. 1748,[43] ordering the transfer of the capital to Cabanatuan by 1912.

The civil provincial government of Nueva Ecija was formally established by the Taft Commission[44] on June 11, 1901. The very first governor under this new system was Epifanio de los Santos. Interestingly, the main artery connecting most of Metro Manila has been named after Governor de los Santos, which is Epifanio de los Santos Avenue or simply, EDSA.

Education during the American period

It was the Americans who succeeded in making education widely available to Filipinos. While the Spanish government did, rather belatedly in their rule (in the middle of the 19th century), decide to establish public schools, it was the Americans who were able to improve it.[45]

A report of the United States' Philippine Commission in 1900 showed, only 10 out of 23 municipalities in Nueva Ecija had a public school established during the Spanish times and according to the Philippine Commission figures by 1902, 37 public primary schools were established, and 63 Novo Ecijano teachers supported by 16 American "Thomasites", part of the larger group of some 500 pioneer American teachers who arrived aboard the USAT Thomas in September 1901, to help establish an American public school system in the Philippines.

The Education Act No. 74 approved by the Philippine Commission in 1901[46] proved to be the catalyst that made Novo Ecijanos rally behind the local and American teachers to make sure as many children as possible benefitted from the public school system.

People contributed in the form of cash, construction materials or labor, and even vacant lots for the building of schools. Community support for the building of schools was such that by 1906, there were already 99 schools in Nueva Ecija. The Novo Ecijanos' high regard for the value of an education is a trait that persists until today.

The public schools system was still hampered by a lot of problems, however. Relying only on local support, Nueva Ecija (and other places in the Philippines as well) could simply not meet the increasing needs of a growing number of schools, teachers and students. Given the high premium placed by Novo Ecijanos on education, a legislator from Nueva Ecija took the crucial step to compel the American colonial government to allot funding for public education via a legislative act.

Assemblyman Isauro Gabaldon of Nueva Ecija filed an education bill before the 1907 Philippine Assembly, which would later be approved and known as the Gabaldon Education Act. The bill required government to earmark P1,000,000 for public schools throughout the Philippine islands.[47]

Nueva Ecija benefitted tremendously from the new education law. By 1908 Nueva Ecija had 144 primary schools, 11 non-sectarian private schools, 18 sectarian private schools, nine intermediate schools, one vocational school and one agricultural school, the Central Luzon Agricultural School, which is currently now operating as Central Luzon State University.

World War II

Alamo Scouts in the Raid at Cabanatuan
Giving a sick man a drink as US POWs of Japanese, Philippine Islands, Cabanatuan prison camp

During World War II the Imperial Japanese Army entered the province and Nueva Ecija was taken in 1942. On March 29, 1942, under the leadership of Luis Taruc the Hukbalahap (Hukbo ng Bayan Laban sa Hapon-People's Army Against the Japanese) was organized in Sitio Bawit, Barrio San Julian in the town of Cabiao. It was perceived to be the military arm of the Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas (Communist Party of the Philippines), that brought about the beginning of the early organized resistance of the Filipino people.[48]

During World War II under the Japanese Occupation, The Philippine Commonwealth Army has the re-establishment of the Military General Headquarters, Military Bases and Camps here in the province of Nueva Ecija on January 03, 1942 to June 30, 1946 before the engagements of the Anti-Japanese Imperial Military Operations in Central Luzon include Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Tarlac, Zambales, Bulacan and Northern Tayabas (now. Aurora) from 1942 to 1945 and aided the local recognized guerrillas and the Hukbalahap Communist guerrillas against the Japanese Imperial forces since the Japanese Counter-Insurgencies (1942-1944) and the Allied Liberation (1944-1945).

In January to August 1945, combined American and Filipino soldiers liberated Nueva Ecija with the recognized guerrillas continuing to harass the Japanese at every opportunity. When Filipino soldiers of the 2nd, 21st, 22nd, 23rd, 25th and 26th Infantry Division of the Philippine Commonwealth Army and the 2nd Infantry Regiment of the Philippine Constabulary was re-invading launches to entering liberated the province of Nueva Ecija and helping recognized guerrilla resistance fighter units, the Hukbalahap Communist guerrillas and the American troops against the Japanese Imperial forces during the Invasion of Nueva Ecija. On January 30, 1945 American Army Rangers, Alamo scouts and Filipino guerrillas conducted a raid to liberate Allied civilians and prisoners of war in Cabanatuan, this was successful with over 516 rescued.[49] By January 31, 1945, the liberated civilians and POWs reached Talavera, the rescue is commemorated in Talavera.

Further information: Raid at Cabanatuan


The province is the largest in Central Luzon, covering a total area of 5,751.33 square kilometres (2,220.60 sq mi)[5]. Its terrain begins with the southwestern marshes near the Pampanga border. It levels off and then gradually increases in elevation to rolling hills as it approaches the mountains of Sierra Madre in the east, and the Caraballo and Cordillera ranges in the north.

Nueva Ecija is bordered on the northeast by Nueva Vizcaya, east by Aurora, south by Bulacan, southwest by Pampanga, west by Tarlac, and northwest by Pangasinan.

Administrative divisions

The province is divided into four congressional districts comprising 27 municipalities and 5 cities. The province has the most number of cities in the Central Luzon region.

  •    Provincial capital and component city
  •    Component city
  •      Municipality

City or municipality[A] District[5] Population ±% p.a. Area[5] Density Brgy. Coordinates[B]
(2015)[3] (2010)[50] km2 sq mi /km2 /sq mi
Aliaga 1st 3.0% 63,543 57,805 1.82% 90.04 34.76 710 1,800 26 15°30′12″N 120°50′44″E / 15.5032°N 120.8455°E / 15.5032; 120.8455 (Aliaga)
Bongabon 3rd 3.0% 64,173 59,343 1.50% 286.95 110.79 220 570 28 15°37′56″N 121°08′45″E / 15.6321°N 121.1459°E / 15.6321; 121.1459 (Bongabon)
Cabanatuan 3rd 14.0% 302,231 272,676 1.98% 192.29 74.24 1,600 4,100 89 15°29′25″N 120°57′59″E / 15.4902°N 120.9665°E / 15.4902; 120.9665 (Cabanatuan)
Cabiao 4th 3.7% 79,007 72,081 1.76% 111.83 43.18 710 1,800 23 15°15′03″N 120°51′27″E / 15.2508°N 120.8575°E / 15.2508; 120.8575 (Cabiao)
Carranglan 2nd 1.9% 41,131 37,124 1.97% 705.31 272.32 58 150 17 15°57′37″N 121°03′50″E / 15.9603°N 121.0638°E / 15.9603; 121.0638 (Carranglan)
Cuyapo 1st 3.0% 65,039 59,396 1.74% 215.73 83.29 300 780 51 15°46′39″N 120°39′44″E / 15.7774°N 120.6622°E / 15.7774; 120.6622 (Cuyapo)
Gabaldon (Bitulok & Sabani) 3rd 1.6% 35,383 32,246 1.78% 242.88 93.78 150 390 16 15°27′14″N 121°20′14″E / 15.4540°N 121.3371°E / 15.4540; 121.3371 (Gabaldon)
Gapan 4th 5.1% 110,303 101,488 1.60% 164.44 63.49 670 1,700 23 15°18′45″N 120°56′58″E / 15.3126°N 120.9495°E / 15.3126; 120.9495 (Gapan)
General Mamerto Natividad 3rd 1.9% 41,656 36,720 2.43% 118.00 45.56 350 910 20 15°36′09″N 121°03′02″E / 15.6025°N 121.0506°E / 15.6025; 121.0506 (General Mamerto Natividad)
General Tinio (Papaya) 4th 2.2% 47,865 42,634 2.23% 533.08 205.82 90 230 13 15°21′00″N 121°02′59″E / 15.3501°N 121.0498°E / 15.3501; 121.0498 (General Tinio)
Guimba 1st 5.5% 118,655 104,894 2.37% 245.29 94.71 480 1,200 64 15°40′00″N 120°46′00″E / 15.6666°N 120.7666°E / 15.6666; 120.7666 (Guimba)
Jaen 4th 3.4% 73,184 67,057 1.68% 85.46 33.00 860 2,200 27 15°20′14″N 120°54′21″E / 15.3371°N 120.9059°E / 15.3371; 120.9059 (Jaen)
Laur 3rd 1.7% 35,656 32,205 1.96% 295.88 114.24 120 310 17 15°35′07″N 121°11′00″E / 15.5854°N 121.1832°E / 15.5854; 121.1832 (Laur)
Licab 1st 1.3% 28,254 26,187 1.46% 67.37 26.01 420 1,100 11 15°32′27″N 120°45′46″E / 15.5408°N 120.7629°E / 15.5408; 120.7629 (Licab)
Llanera 2nd 1.8% 39,701 36,200 1.77% 114.44 44.19 350 910 22 15°39′45″N 121°01′19″E / 15.6624°N 121.0220°E / 15.6624; 121.0220 (Llanera)
Lupao 2nd 2.0% 43,788 40,931 1.29% 121.33 46.85 360 930 24 15°52′26″N 120°53′59″E / 15.8740°N 120.8996°E / 15.8740; 120.8996 (Lupao)
Muñoz 2nd 3.8% 81,483 75,462 1.47% 163.05 62.95 500 1,300 37 15°42′52″N 120°54′15″E / 15.7144°N 120.9041°E / 15.7144; 120.9041 (Muñoz)
Nampicuan 1st 0.7% 14,954 13,303 2.25% 52.60 20.31 280 730 21 15°43′56″N 120°38′19″E / 15.7321°N 120.6386°E / 15.7321; 120.6386 (Nampicuan)
Palayan 3rd 1.9% 41,041 37,219 1.88% 101.40 39.15 400 1,000 19 15°32′27″N 121°05′03″E / 15.5408°N 121.0842°E / 15.5408; 121.0842 (Palayan)
Pantabangan 2nd 1.4% 29,925 27,353 1.73% 392.56 151.57 76 200 14 15°48′26″N 121°08′39″E / 15.8073°N 121.1442°E / 15.8073; 121.1442 (Pantabangan)
Peñaranda 4th 1.4% 29,882 27,410 1.66% 95.00 36.68 310 800 10 15°21′11″N 121°00′09″E / 15.3530°N 121.0025°E / 15.3530; 121.0025 (Peñaranda)
Quezon 1st 1.9% 40,592 36,660 1.96% 68.53 26.46 590 1,500 16 15°33′13″N 120°48′36″E / 15.5536°N 120.8101°E / 15.5536; 120.8101 (Quezon)
Rizal 2nd 3.0% 64,087 57,145 2.21% 120.55 46.54 530 1,400 26 15°42′31″N 121°06′18″E / 15.7087°N 121.1050°E / 15.7087; 121.1050 (Rizal)
San Antonio 4th 3.6% 77,836 73,074 1.21% 153.56 59.29 510 1,300 16 15°18′24″N 120°51′00″E / 15.3067°N 120.8500°E / 15.3067; 120.8500 (San Antonio)
San Isidro 4th 2.4% 51,612 47,800 1.47% 56.49 21.81 910 2,400 9 15°18′35″N 120°54′23″E / 15.3096°N 120.9063°E / 15.3096; 120.9063 (San Isidro)
San Jose 2nd 6.5% 139,738 129,424 1.47% 185.99 71.81 750 1,900 38 15°47′24″N 120°59′24″E / 15.7899°N 120.9900°E / 15.7899; 120.9900 (San Jose)
San Leonardo 4th 3.0% 65,299 58,120 2.24% 151.90 58.65 430 1,100 15 15°21′39″N 120°57′33″E / 15.3607°N 120.9593°E / 15.3607; 120.9593 (San Leonardo)
Santa Rosa 3rd 3.2% 69,467 64,503 1.42% 147.15 56.81 470 1,200 33 15°25′29″N 120°56′17″E / 15.4247°N 120.9380°E / 15.4247; 120.9380 (Santa Rosa)
Santo Domingo 1st 2.7% 57,943 50,983 2.47% 74.88 28.91 770 2,000 24 15°35′11″N 120°52′40″E / 15.5863°N 120.8778°E / 15.5863; 120.8778 (Santo Domingo)
Talavera 1st 5.8% 124,829 112,515 2.00% 140.92 54.41 890 2,300 53 15°34′48″N 120°55′12″E / 15.5800°N 120.9199°E / 15.5800; 120.9199 (Talavera)
Talugtug 2nd 1.1% 23,817 21,291 2.16% 93.95 36.27 250 650 28 15°46′42″N 120°48′28″E / 15.7782°N 120.8078°E / 15.7782; 120.8078 (Talugtug)
Zaragoza 1st 2.3% 49,387 44,124 2.17% 72.02 27.81 690 1,800 19 15°26′54″N 120°47′41″E / 15.4482°N 120.7948°E / 15.4482; 120.7948 (Zaragoza)
Total 2,151,461 1,955,373 1.84% 5,751.33 2,220.60 370 960 849 (see GeoGroup box)
  1. ^ Former names are italicized.
  2. ^ Coordinates mark the town center, and are sortable by latitude.


Climate data for Nueva Ecija
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 32.1
Average low °C (°F) 21.1
Average rainy days 1 2 2 3 13 16 22 21 20 10 8 4 122
Source: Storm247 [51]


Nueva Ecija is the biggest rice producer in Central Luzon and in the Philippines, thus, often referred to as the Rice Bowl of the Philippines.
Rice fields in Guimba

Nueva Ecija is considered the main rice growing province of the Philippines and the leading producer of onions in the Municipality of Bongabon in South East Asia. It is currently the 9th richest province in the country.

Major industries

Nueva Ecija is one of the top producers of agricultural products in the country. Its principal crops is mainly rice but corn and onion are produced in quantity. The province is often referred to as the "Rice Granary of the Philippines."[52][53] Other major crops are mango, calamansi (calamondin orange), banana, garlic, and vegetables. The municipality of Bongabon at the eastern part of the province at the foot of the Sierra Madre mountains and its neighbouring Laur and Rizal are the major producers of onion and garlic. Bongabon is called the "onion capital of the country". A sunflower farm is housed inside the Central Luzon State University campus in Science City of Muñoz.

Education is very well established as a major industry in the province. The leading educational institutions are the Central Luzon State University in Science City of Munoz and Nueva Ecija University of Science and Technology, Wesleyan University-Philippines, the only internationally accredited school in Central Luzon; College of the Immaculate Conception; La Fortuna College and Araullo University in Cabanatuan City. There are 18 tertiary level institutions in Cabanatuan City alone.

Health services is a notable industry. Hospitals cater to patients from Nueva Ecija and some from neighbouring provinces. There are schools of nursing and midwifery, mostly in Cabanatuan City.

There are poultry farms in a number of towns, most notably, the Lorenzo poultry farms in San Isidro which is one of the largest in the country. Duck raising and egg production is an important livelihood. Fishponds are unevenly distributed throughout the province but the largest concentrations are in San Antonio, Santa Rosa, and Cuyapo.

Fabrication of tricycle "sidecars" is widespread in the province, notably in Santa Rosa, where prices are as low as PhP 7,000 which is practically the cheapest in the country.

Several areas have mineral deposits. Copper and manganese have been found in General Tinio, Carranglan, and Pantabangan. The upper reaches of Carranglan and Palayan City are said to contain gold.[54]

In June 2008, it received the title "Milk Capital of the Philippines" because Nueva Ecija gathers more milk from cows and carabaos (water buffaloes) than any other place in the Philippines.[55] The Philippine Carabao Center is in the CLSU compound in Science City of Munoz.


The province is divided into four congressional districts, which consists of 27 municipalities and five cities, namely: Cabanatuan, San Jose, Palayan, Gapan and Science City of Muñoz. The provincial capital is Palayan City.

The current governor of the province is Czarina Umali Serving as Vice governor is Jose Gay G. Padiernos.

Capitols of Nueva Ecija
New Provincial Capitol at Palayan City
New Provincial Capitol (seat of Government) of Nueva Ecija is at Palayan City.
Old Provincial Capitol at Cabanatuan City
The Governor and Provincial Officers still hold office at the Old Provincial Capitol at Cabanatuan City


Population of
Nueva Ecija
YearPop.±% p.a.
1990 1,312,680    
1995 1,505,827+2.61%
2000 1,659,883+2.11%
2007 1,853,853+1.54%
2010 1,955,373+1.96%
2015 2,151,461+1.84%
Source: Philippine Statistics Authority[3][50][50]

The population of Nueva Ecija in the 2015 census was 2,151,461 people,[3] with a density of 370 inhabitants per square kilometre or 960 inhabitants per square mile.


The province is predominantly Roman Catholic (about 80%) while Aglipayan is a significant minority. Other Christian groups are represented by Born-again Christians, Iglesia Ni Cristo, Methodists, Church of Christ of Latter Day Saints, Jehovah's Witnesses and Seventh-day Adventist. Muslims are also represented in the province.

Tourist attractions


Gapan City

The first Augustinian mission in lowland Nueva Ecija was founded in Gapan City in 1595. It is home to a Roman Catholic church of Byzantine architecture built from 1856 to 1872.

Historic Barrio Labi (Bongabon)

The resthouse of the Quezon family is located in this barrio, along the National Highway going to Baler, Aurora. It is also the place of death of Mrs. Aurora Quezon, wife of former Philippine President Manuel Luis Quezon.

Tabacalera of San Isidro

Centuries-old brick walls of the Tabacalera in San Isidro remain as witness to the Novo Ecijanos' 100-year oppression, from 1782 to 1882, when the province became the center of the tobacco monopoly in Central Luzon and was thus restricted from raising other crops.

Gen. Luna Statue and Marker (Cabanatuan City)

A statue of Philippine hero General Antonio Luna astride a horse stands at the plaza in front of the cathedral on the exact spot where the brave general was assassinated in 1899 in the city that adopted him subsequently.

Apolinario Mabini Marker (Cuyapo)

Site of the arrest of Philippine hero Apolinario Mabini, known as "the sublime paralytic," by the Americans on December 10, 1899.

Triala House

Owned by revolutionary leader and Novo Ecijano General Manuel Tinio. Built during the early Commonwealth period, it features ornately designed turn-of-the-century furniture and a life-size figure of esteemed Nove Ecijano Don Kapitan Berong in stained glass.

Sedeco of San Isidro

The Grand Sedeco house in San Isidro, which General Emilio Aguinaldo frequented, marks this gallant town that has proven time and again to be cradle of Filipino heroes. It was here that General Frederick Funston planned the capture of Aguinaldo, first President of the Philippine republic, during the Philippine–American War.

Wright Institute of San Isidro

One of the first high schools established outside Metro Manila during the American period.

Dalton Pass

Located in Capintalan, Carranglan, the five-hectare area blessed with a cool climate houses the monument of General Dalton and a tower that borders the provinces of Nueva Ecija and Nueva Vizcaya. Uphill is a World War II memorial in black marble where a historical account of the war had been etched in English and Japanese.

Camp Pangatian (Cabanatuan City)

Began as a military training camp for twenty years until converted into a concentration camp for allied prisoners of war during the Japanese occupation. A popular tourist destination among war veterans by way of the WWII Veteran's Homecoming Program.


Churches of Nampicuan, Carranglan, and Pantabangan

Church ruins of identical Augustinian architecture can still be found in the three upland missions.


Minalungao Park

Declared as a national park, it features a breathtaking view of the narrow but deep Penaranda River. On both sides of the river bank are 16-metre (52 ft) high limestone walls. The ridge formation of white sculptured limestone walls shows the might of the great river.

General Luna Fall (Rizal)

The easternmost barrio of Rizal nestled uphill on the foot of the Sierra Madre mountain range boasts of one of Central Luzon's hidden treasures: a towering waterfall of more than a hundred feet descending widely across a rocky mountain wall into over twenty pools of varying levels and depths.

Mt. Olivete (Bongabon)

A hundred-step stair leads to the church built by the Adarnista spiritual community on the mountaintop. Frequented by pilgrims who bathe in and drink the water of its springs believing it to be medicinal.

Landscape at Carranglan
Capintalan (Carranglan)

Maintained by the Kalanguya tribal community from Ifugao, its rivers and low-lying hill are ideal for hiking and communing with nature. A gateway to the Cagayan Valley, it was a strategic location during WWII's liberation period. Tunnels, war artifacts, and stories of gold digging abound in the area.

Palaspas Falls

Located in San Jose City, it is ideal for picnics and bathing especially during summer.

Gabaldon Falls

The lure of Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija. The 10-foot (3.0 m) falls are surrounded by huge rock formations and rippling ice-cold water. Located within the 200-hectare Sabani Estate Agricultural College.


Church of Peñaranda

– The church of Peñaranda was erected in 1869 by Fr. Florentino Samonte. Construction was continued by Fr. Candicho San Miguel from 1879 to 1881 and by Fr. Santos Vega from 1887 to 1889. From 1889 to 1891, the parochial house of bricks and wood was built by Fr. Valentin Gatode la Fuente. Fr. Alvaro Callega built the original church with thatch-roof and stone walls


Diamond Park (San Jose City)

Strategically located at the gateway to the Cagayan Valley, it is a haven for picnics and sightseeing. Its hundred-step stair leads to lamp-lit pagodas nestled on hilltops and offering a panoramic view of northern Nueva Ecija.

Pantabangan Dam
Pantabangan Dam

Built in 1974 along the Pampanga River to serve as reinforcement against flood, and provide irrigation, additional electricity in the entire Luzon island, the dam was built by Filipino engineers under the supervision of the National Irrigation Administration. Pantabangan Dam is now one of the most visited tourist spots in the province. The place offers a scenic view of the surrounding area. Tourists will also appreciate the dam's engineering wonders.

Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice)

The Philippine Rice Research Institute, located at Maligaya, Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija, is the central station of agricultural experimentation, it is the only one of its kind throughout the country. It was created to develop and implement a natural rice research and development program, sustain the grains made in rice production and solve location-specific problems of the rice industry. A variety of rice wine is produced at the center.

Central Luzon State University (CLSU)

Located in the outskirts of the Science City of Muñoz, the 658-hectare (1,630-acre) main campus of CLSU is famous for its old shady trees, model farm, vegetable and ornamental plant gardens. Nueva Ecija has been referred to as the "Agricultural Central of Luzon." The university is also known as the sixth most academically-excellent in the entire Philippines and the most excellent in all of Central Luzon (Region III).

Agricultural Museum (CLSU)

A socio-cultural arm for information in Central Luzon, it is the first and the only one of its kind in the country. The materials on display are preserved and maintained to promote the cultural heritage of Filipinos in Central Luzon. The museum has six sections: rice and vegetable planting implements; household ingredients utensils; personal apparel; hunting and fishing implements.

Living Fish Museum (CLSU)

Showcases indigenous and tropical freshwater fishes collected form different provinces in Luzon.[56]

Rubber Dam

Llanera, Nueva Ecija - Asia's first and only rubber dam[57]

Special Interest

Farm Tours

Tour of agri-based institutions of Science City of Muñoz in Nueva Ecija, including a farming technology tour at the Central Luzon State University and plant tour of the Philippine Rice Research Institute (Philrice) and Philippine Carabao Center.

Gross Ostrich Farm

Located in Brgy. Tagumpay, San Leonardo, Gross Ostrich Farm grows, breeds and propagates imported ostriches both for human consumption and for tourism such as sale of decorative eggs, leather wallets, colorful feathers and other by-products. Ostriches reach a height of about 7 – 8 feet, weighs 110 – 130 kg, runs at a speed of 60 km/h, has a lifespan of 50 – 80 years and a breeding life of 20 – 25 years. Tha farm produces fillet meat at P600/kl, steak at P500/kl and stir fry at P400/kl. On-site farm visits to view the "big birds" in their natural habitat are organized for students and professionals alike.[58]

CLSU Concrete Tank Culture for Tilapia

Science City of Muñoz - This one-of-a-kind breeding farm showcases intensive culture of tilapia in concrete circular tanks, with provisions for continuous water exchange and aeration. Each tank is stocked with 6,000 tilapia fingerlings. Estimated output is 1,000 kg. of table-size fish after four months of culture.

Philippine Carabao Center

Philippine Carabao Center - The Philippine Carabao Center was created in 1993 as an offshoot of the Carabao Development Program, through Republic Act 7307. It is an attached agency of the Department of Agriculture, mandated to "conserve, propagate and promote the carabao as a source of draft animal power, meat, milk and hide, to benefit the rural farmers." Services at the center include: artificial insemination, bull loan, production of quality breeding animals and germplasm, technical assistance and training and carabao-based enterprise development. The center breeds and cross-breeds, through artificial insemination, animals called Murrah buffalo breed were imported from the Central Institute for Research on Buffaloes, Hisar, India, a species of the dairy type from India, Bulgaria and some countries like North and Latin America. This type can produce an average of eight liters of milk daily in 300 days. Top-performing ones can produce 12 - 15 liters per day.[59]


At the crack of dawn, scores of mud-covered, barely dressed devotees make their appearance, asking for alms and candles form the wide awake town folks. This practice mimics a biblical myth about St. John the Baptist, who was said to have done the same thing in his lifetime. A special mass culminates the occasion, reinforcing its spiritual nature to the people of Aliaga.

Guimba's official festival which begins at February and ends at March. Preparations for the festival normally starts at January. The two-month long festival commemorates the farming intangible traditions of the town along with its official naming as the Mushroom Capital of Nueva Ecija and as the Organic Capital of Nueva Ecija.

The unique Holy Week rites of (Puncan)Carranglan one of the oldest towns in Nueva Ecija, are woven in folklore. Aside from the differing dialect, Pangasinense, widely used in Puncan, its distinct Lenten rituals include a hide-and-seek routine between the "Flagellante" and "Hudyo," a children's parade, and a choreographed version of Christian penitential rites in which participants with charcoal-smeared faces beat bamboos.

Kariton,which means rig-cart drawn by carabao, is celebrated during the annual celebration of the founding anniversary of Licab town on March 28. Kariton plays a significant part in the history of Licab. Don Dalmacio Esguerra, the town's founding father, used kariton when he left San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte until he finally settled and found this town in Licab. In fitting recognition of the significance of this very important farm equipment, the LGU of Licab adopted "Kariton Festival" as the town's official festival. The event features a parade of colorfully dressed kariton floats, Search of Outstanding Licabenos, Agri-aqua trade fair and beauty pageant.[60]

Baybayanting is a one-of-a-kind cultural tradition of Lupao, Nueva Ecija. It is a unique cultural presentation of the people of Lupao every 25 July to honor their patron – Señor Santiago. or Saint James. It's a cultural presentation that features the war between Muslims and Christians. This peculiar cultural tradition is presented every year by selected and well-trained members of Iglesia Filipina Independiente, a Christian sect founded by a Filipino priest. Baybayanting is a choreograph fighting which is usually performed by 9 pairs of fighting Filipino warriors and Spanish conquistadores. Performers use real bladed weapons unlike the 'Zarzuelas' that uses wooden swords.[61]

Araquio Festival is a unique and one of its kinds in the Philippines. This festival is Nueva Ecija's very own theatrical-cum-religious presentation similar to "zarzuelas" during the Spanish regime in the country. The Araquio Festival is traditionally held in the month of May in the town of Peñaranda. The festival dramatized the spread of Christianity in the country and the war between Christians and Muslims. Festival performers, 16 performers in each Araquio group, sing, act and dance while a brass band plays. The choice of songs and choreography varies, but the script has remained the same since the tradition started. This festival is listed as a Philippine Intangible Cultural Heritage by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (Philippines).

Prides itself as the "Onion Capital of the Philippines" and is a leading producer of onion, garlic, rice and vegetables. Every year, on the fourth Sunday of April, the people of San Jose dance through the main street in a colorful, enchanting celebration of the blessing of the harvest. On festival day, the streets are filled with contingents of dancers outfitted in striking, multi-hued native costumes. Exotic rhythms of improvised musical instruments fill the air as the dancers gyrate and sway to the beat of life. Special activities included are: beauty contest, tourism and trade fair, awarding ceremony and cultural shows.

Fiestas are time to celebrate. A time to take a break. It is a time to give thanks for bounties received for the whole year. A time to get together. A time to play and re-energized. They offer a respite for people who work the entire year . And restore inspiration for another year ahead.

Hundreds of years ago, here in Central Luzon, landlords in the haciendas made the farmers build the "damara", just before planting time of palay. A "damara" is a makeshift shelter made from kawayan (bamboo) and nipa, built at the center of ricefields as a protection from the sun's heat or from rain. Over the years, it has been tradition that after all the harvests were safely brought home, the "damaras" are demolished ("ginigiba"). People then start celebrating together for the bountiful harvest.

In 2008, with rice as its primary produce, San Jose City conducted its First Rice Festival, adopting the centuries–old festive tradition. However, unlike in older days, wherein people celebrate separately in their barangays, San Jose City now celebrates as one big family. The after-harvest celebration has become a multi-sectoral effort, collectively prepared, funded out of contributions (from the public and private sector), and participated in by all sections of the city.

Slippers or Tsinelas made in the city of Gapan, Nueva Ecija find their way all over the country, lending credence to the city's claim to be the Tsinelas Capital of the Philippines. Gapan commemorates their major industry with the Tsinelas Festival on the anniversary of their cityhood. Beautifully crafted slippers await festivals-goers in a slippers bazaar along the highway. The major attraction of this festival, however, are the pairs of gigantic slippers displayed in a parade of Floats.

Every year, They celebrate with white sticky rice mix, clear sweetened sauce and brown toppings.

Notable people

  • General Mariano Llanera † (1855–1942) — fought in the provinces of Bulacan, Tarlac, Pampanga, and Nueva Ecija.
  • Engr. Ponciano A. Bernardo † (December 2, 1905 — April 28, 1949) was the 2nd Mayor of Quezon City. Ponciano Bernardo was born in Sta. Rosa, Nueva Ecija, whose father immigrated from Pandi, Bulacan to PAPAYA now called General Tinio, Nueva Ecija. Ponciano Bernardo School and Ponciano Bernardo Park in Cubao, Quezon City is a memorial for him. Ponciano was killed in an ambush by Hukbalahap with the Philippine First Lady Aurora Quezon on their route to Aurora. Ponciano was appointed by the 2nd Philippine President Manuel Quezon, prior to being Mayor he was Secretary of Department of Public Works and Highways (Philippines). Ponciano was a Filipino engineer and politician who served as mayor of Quezon City, holding the position from 1947 until his death in 1949. It was during his tenure that Quezon City was designated as the capital city of the Philippines.
  • Juan Pajota (c.1914 – 1976) was involved in the Raid at Cabanatuan, an action which took place in the Philippines on 30 January 1945 by US Army Rangers and Filipino guerrillas and resulted in the liberation of more than 500 American prisoners of war (POWs) from a Japanese POW camp near Cabanatuan
  • Epifanio de los Santos † (April 7, 1871 — April 18, 1928) — Epifanio de los Santos y Cristóbal, sometimes known as Don Pañong or Don Panyong he was born in 1871 in Malabon, province of Rizal, (now an independent city) to Escolastico de los Santos of Nueva Ecija and musician Antonina Cristóbal of Malabon. He was a noted Filipino historian, literary critic, art critic, jurist, prosecutor, antiquarian, archivist, scholar, painter, poet, musician, musicologist, philosopher, philologist, bibliographer, translator, journalist, editor, publisher, paleographer, ethnographer, biographer, researcher, civil servant, patriot and hero. He was appointed Director of the Philippine Library and Museum by Governor General Leonard Wood in 1925.He was appointed district attorney of San Isidro, Nueva Ecija. He was later elected as governor of Nueva Ecija in 1902 and 1904. His election victory made him the first democratically elected provincial governor and head of the Federal Party in Nueva Ecija.
  • Heber Gonzalez Bartolome (born November 4, 1948) — a Filipino folk and folk rock singer, songwriter, composer, poet, guitarist, bandurria player, bluesman, and painter. His music was influenced by the "stylistic tradition" of Philippine folk and religious melodies.
  • Dorothy Acueza Jones, also known as Nida Blanca † (January 6, 1936 – November 7, 2001) — Nida Blanca as popularly known by her stage name, was a Filipina actress. She starred in over 163 movies and 14 television shows and received over 16 awards for movies and six awards for television during her 50-year film career. She was named one of 15 Best Actress of all Time by YES magazine.
  • Rhiza Ann Cenon Simbulan, better known by her screen name Ryza Cenon(born on December 21, 1987 in Gapan City, Nueva Ecija) — a Filipina actress.
  • Jaime de los Santos (born April 1946, Nueva Écija, Philippines) — is a retired military general in the Philippines. He joined the Philippine Army in 1969 after graduating from the Philippine Military Academy with a degree Bachelor of Science in Military Engineering. De los Santos later on served as a Brigade Commander, Chief of Staff and Commanding General of an Infantry Division and Superintendent of the Philippine Military Academy.
  • Frankie Evangelista † (July 24, 1934 — February 18, 2004) — A former radio and television broadcaster of ABS-CBN since 1953.
  • Josepina "Josie" Padiermos Fitial (born November 25, 1962) — The current First Lady of the Northern Mariana Islands and the wife of Governor Benigno Fitial. She became First Lady upon the inauguration of her husband as the 6th Governor of the Northern Mariana Islands on January 9, 2006.[1]
  • Fred Panopio † (February 2, 1939 — April 22, 2010) — A Filipino singer and actor who rose to fame in the 1970s.
  • Rogelio R. Sikat (Also known as Rogelio Sícat) (1940–1997) — A Filipino fictionist, playwright, translator and educator. He was born to Estanislao Sikat and Crisanta Rodriguez on June 26, 1940 in Alua, San Isidro, Nueva Ecija, Philippines. He is the sixth of eight children. Sicat graduated with a B.Litt. in Journalism from the University of Santo Tomas and an M.A. in Filipino from the University of the Philippines.
  • Néstor de Villa † (July 6, 1928 – February 21, 2004) — was a Filipino actor frequently cast in musical films. He was a gifted dancer often paired with frequent onscreen partner Nida Blanca in both movies and television. His dancing talent led some to call him the "Fred Astaire of the Philippines", though the same moniker had also been given to Bayani Casimiro.
  • Oscar A. Solis (October 13, 1953) — Oscar Azarcon Solis was born in San Jose City, Philippines. He studied at Christ the King Seminary of the Society of the Divine Word in Quezon City, Philippines, and at the Pontifical Royal Seminary, University of Santo Tomas, in Manila. After migrating to the United States in 1984, Father Solis served as associate pastor of St. Rocco's parish, New Jersey, 1984-1988. With permission from his Ordinary in the Philippines, he went to the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux in 1988 where he was appointed associate pastor of St. Joseph Co-Cathedral. He was incardinated into the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux in 1992, and was named pastor of St. Joseph Co-Cathedral in 1999. He has been a member of the Diocesan Priests' Council, the Personnel Committee and the College of Consultors. Solis is the first Filipino-American to be consecrated a bishop.[62]
  • Anthony Taberna (January 16, 1975) — Born in San Isidro, Nueva Ecija, Anthony "Tunying" Taberna is a Filipino American broadcast journalist and radio commentator. At ABS-CBN, Taberna has hosted television and radio programs covering news and public affairs. He is currently hosting Umagang Kay Ganda (where he gained popularity in the segment "Punto por Punto") and XXX: Exklusibong, Explosibong, Exposé. As a DZMM commentator, Taberna is one of the lead anchors for Dos Por Dos, a daily morning and late afternoon show, along with Gerry Baja. He is also the sole anchor of News+ in ABS-CBN Sports+Action.
  • Kathryn Bernardo (March 26, 1996) — Born in Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija, Kathryn Chandria Manuel Bernardo is her full name. She is a Filipina actress and her career started in 2003. She is best known for her role as Mara in the primetime Filipino drama, Mara Clara. Kathryn is currently a contract artist of Star Magic and ABS-CBN[3] and most recently starred as Ana Bartolome in the 2011 drama film, Way Back Home. She currently plays the main protagonist, Chichay, in the primetime series Got to Believe.
  • Willie Revillame (January 27, 1961) — A Neoecijano with roots from Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija but he was born in Manila, Philippines. He started his career in 1986. He is a television host, actor, comedian and a recording artist in the Philippines.
  • Elito Circa (January 28, 1970) — A Neoecijano from Pantabangan, Nueva Ecija better known as "Amangpintor", is a famous Filipino painter and internationally recognized folk artist, acclaimed for his indigenous human hair and blood medium for paintings with mythologism and mythicalism subject matters. He is noted as the "First Hair and Blood Painter" of his generation and known for his signature subject of Legend of Minggan. He also popularized Hand Painting performances done within five (5) to ten (10) minutes in a canvas of 432 square inches using the three (3) primary colors.
  • Jose "Kaka" Balagtas — A film director, writer, and actor. He is the Vice Mayor of San Antonio, Nueva Ecija.
  • Joanna Cindy Miranda — A Filipina model and host from Rizal, Nueva Ecija, who won the Binibining Pilipinas-Tourism 2013 crown and will represent the country in Miss Tourism Queen International in Lhasa, Tibet in the first week of September, 2013.
  • Paolo Ballesteros — (born November 29, 1982 in Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija, Philippines) is a Filipino actor, TV host and model. He has appeared in films and several TV shows.
  • John Paul Lizardo — Also known as Japoy Lizardo, is a Filipino Taekwondo Asian Games Bronze medalist, Actor and commercial model from Cabanatuan City
  • Yen Santos — A Filipina Actress and Dancer. Part of ABS CBN STAR MAGIC. Had appeared in Growing Up(2011 Philippine TV series) and teleserye Pure Love (Philippine TV series). From Cabanatuan City
  • Jason Abalos — An actor, dancer and commercial model. Part of ABS CBN STAR MAGIC from Pantabangan Nueva Ecija.

See also


  1. "N. Ecija founding date April 25, not Sept. 2". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved 17 June 2016.
  2. "List of Provinces". PSGC Interactive. Makati City, Philippines: National Statistical Coordination Board. Retrieved 17 October 2013.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 "Region III (CENTRAL LUZON)". Census of Population (2015): Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay (Report). PSA. Retrieved 20 June 2016.
  4. "Dependency Ratio Down by Three Persons in Nueva Ecija". Philippine Statistics Authority. September 2, 2002. Retrieved 15 December 2015.
  5. 1 2 3 4 "Province: Nueva Ecija". PSGC Interactive. Quezon City, Philippines: Philippine Statistics Authority. Retrieved 8 January 2016.
  6. "Pampanga River Basin".
  7. Barrows, Dr. David P. (1910). The Ilongot or Ibilao of Luzon. Popular Science Monthly.
  8. Mozo, Antonio (1763). En Que Se Da Cuenta. p. 247.
  9. "The Ilongot". Daniel Strouthes.
  10. "Pre Colonial Period".
  11. "The Governor-General of the Philippines Under Spain and the United States". 21. The American Historical Review: 288–311. JSTOR 1835051.
  12. "The Augustinian Friars (Order of Saint Augustine)".
  13. "N. Ecija founding date April 25, not Sept. 2".
  14. "About Cabanatuan City".
  15. "HISTORY OF "UNANG SIGAW NG NUEVA ECIJA"". Ginto ang Inaani.
  16. Edilberto C de Jesus. "Tobacco Monopoly in Philippines". The Reading Life.
  17. "History of the Province".
  18. "True Version of the Philippine Revolution".
  19. Agoncillo & Guerrero (1977). "The Constitution of the Old La Liga Filipina(1892)". History of the Filipino People (5th ed.). pp. 164–168.
  20. "La Solidaridad and La Liga Filipina".
  21. "About Gapan".
  22. "Philippine Revolution of 1896". About Philippines.
  23. "Magdiwang and Magdalo".
  24. "Pact of Biak na Bato".
  25. "Emilio Aguinaldo y Famy". Library of Congress.
  26. Arnaldo Dumindin. "Philippine–American War, 1899-1902".
  27. "The World of 1898:The Spanish-American War". Hispanic Division Library of Congress.
  28. "Japanese Occupation".
  29. "Ghost Soldiers". Hampton Sides.
  30. "Great Raid". Carole D. Bos.
  31. Arnaldo Dumindin. "Fil-Am War Breaks Out".
  32. "The Philippines under Spanish and American Rules". Forbes-Lindsay, C. H.
  33. "The Treaty of Paris" (PDF).
  34. "The Last Holdouts". Arnaldo Dumindin.
  35. American Colonial Period (Philippines)
  36. Edgar Wickberg. Early Chinese Economic Influence in the Philippines, 1850-1898 (PDF).
  37. "Railways in The Philippines". Trade Chakra.
  38. "The Rice Granary of the Philippines". kylian74.
  39. "Agrarian Reform History". Department of Agrarian Reform.
  41. "The United States and Its Territories (1870-1925:The Age of Imperialism)".
  42. Henry F. Funtecha (August 18, 2006). "The Government During the American Regime". The News Today.
  43. "Act No. 1748".
  44. "The Taft Commission".
  45. "American Government Gave Importance to Education".
  46. "Education Act of 1901". philippinelaw.
  47. 1st Philippine Legislature
  48. Kerkvliet, Benedict J. (1977). The Huk Rebellion: A Study of Peasant Revolt in the Philippines. google books. ISBN 9780742518681.
  49. "1945 Great Raid on Cabanatuan Prison". Olive-Drab.
  50. 1 2 3 "Region III (CENTRAL LUZON)". Census of Population and Housing (2010): Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay (Report). NSO. Retrieved 29 June 2016.
  51. "Weather forecast for Nueva Ecija, Philippines". StormGeo AS, Nordre Nøstekaien 1, N-5011 Bergen, Norway: StormGeo AS. Retrieved 23 April 2016.
  52. "RICE GRANARY OF THE PHILIPPINES". Ginto ang Inaani.
  53. "Nueva Ecija, Still the Country's Top Palay Producing Province". National Statistical Coordination Board. June 2008.
  54. Estimation of the Geologic Mineral Reserve of the small-scale Gold Mines in the Philippines. National Statistical Coordination Board.
  55. TV Patrol North Central Luzon
  56. Jose Vanzi, Sol (Nov 28, 1999). "'LIVING FISH' MUSEUM OPENS IN NUEVA ECIJA".
  57. "Local Wonders". Department of Tourism.
  58. "Ostrich Farming". Agriculture Business Week.
  59. "Philippine Carabao Center".
  60. RNG FM News (March 28, 2011). "70 kariton Pumarada sa Licab". Radyo Natin.
  61. "A One-Of-A-Kind Cultural Tradition Of Lupao".
  62. "Louisiana Pastor Named Auxiliary Bishop Of Los Angeles". United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
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