100+ Interesting Historical and Geographical Facts About Nueva Ecija

Nueva Ecija is one of the provinces of Region III, more popularly known as Central Luzon. Here are some interesting and historical facts about this province.

1.) Nueva Ecija is the largest province of Central Luzon in terms of land area.

2.) It was named after Ecija, an old city in Seville, Spain. Seville is part of Andalucia region.

3.) The name was given by Governor General Fausto Cruzat, former Spanish Governor General of the Philippines during the Spanish occupation.

4.) As described by Cruzat, Nueva Ecija (New Ecija) is comparable to a “sarten” or frying pan and resembles his hometown “Ecija”.

5.) Nueva Ecija was created as a military commandancia in 1777 by Governor General Narciso Claveria with its capital – Josean (now part of Baler, Aurora), and was part of Pampanga.


6.) Hukbalahap or Hukbong Bayan Laban sa Hapon was organized in Sitio Bawit, San Juan, Cabiao on March 29, 1942 through the leadership of Luis Taruc.

7.) Nueva Ecija is a landlocked province bounded by Nueva Vizcaya in the north, Pangasinan in the northwest, Aurora in the east, Tarlac and Pampanga in the west and Bulacan in the south.

8.) The province is composed of 27 municipalities and 5 cities with a total of 849 barangays.

9.) Nueva Ecija is the largest rice producer in the country and is known as the “Rice Bowl of the Philippines”.

10.) One popular national park in the province of Nueva Ecija that features a breathtaking view of high limestone walls and ridge formation of white sculptured limestone is Minalungao in the town of Peñaranda.

11.) The old name of Gapan City, located in the southern part of Nueva Ecija, is Ibon.

12.) The former name of Muñoz Science City, the only science city in the Philippines and the 2nd in Asia, is Sitio Papaya.

13.) The old name of Gabaldon is Bitulok then it was change to Sabani.

14.) San Jose City, known as the “onion capital of the Philippines”, is formerly known as Kabaritan.

15.) The province has four major rivers namely; Pampanga River, Chico River, Malimba River and Talavera River.

16.) Museo Novo Ecijano or Nueva Ecija Museum was established to feature the rich history and culture of the Novo Ecijano people. It is located in Palayan City, the capital of the province.

17.) Aliaga is known for its historic Taong-Putik Festival while Santo Domingo is famous for its Tupig Festival.

18.) Bongabon is known for Sibuyas Festival and claims that it is the “onion capital of Southeast Asia”.

19.) A similar festival, which is celebrated every 3rd week of April in San Jose City, is the Tanduyong Festival.

20.) The smallest city in Nueva Ecija and in the Philippines in terms of population is Palayan City.

21.) Palayan City is also one of the only 6 specifically planned cities in the country. The other cities are Manila, Baguio City, Quezon City, Trece Martirs and the Island Garden City of Samal.

22.) The province of Nueva Ecija is composed of 5 schools division -Nueva Ecija, Cabanatuan City, Gapan City, Science City of Muñoz and San Jose City Division

23.) Lakewood Golf and Country Club is a popular 18-hole golf course that can be found in the province of Nueva Ecija.

24.) The first governor of Nueva Ecija is Felino Cajucom.

25.) The governor who served the longest is Eduardo L. Joson, a World War II hero. He served for 28 long years.

26.) The town of Peñaranda is well-known for its Araquio Festival that features the search of the Cross and the war between the Moors and Christians.

27.) A similar cultural tradition that features war between the Moors and Christians is also celebrated in the town of Lupao every 25th of July. It is called Baybayanting.

28.) During the early days, the head-hunting tribe of the mountainous areas of northern Nueva Ecija known as Ilongots were much feared and dreaded in the entire Nueva Ecija and other neighboring provinces.

29.) The tribe does not practice headhunting anymore. Many of them are now Christianized and educated.

30.) The first civil governor of Nueva Ecija during the American occupation is Epifanio Delos Santos, a famous Novo Ecijano to whom EDSA was named.

31.) One of the most violent elections in the history of Nueva Ecija is the 1995 mid-elections. Honorato Perez, a gubernatorial candidate, was killed by another gubernatorial and a vice gubernatorial candidate in the town of Talavera.

32.) Of the 27 municipalities and 5 cities of Nueva Ecija, five towns and one city were named after saints – San Antonio, San Isidro, San Leonardo, Santa Rosa, Santo Domingo and San Jose City.

33.) Five towns and one city in the province were named after political figures and heroes -*Gen. LLanera, Gabaldon, Gen. Natividad, Gen. Tinio, Rizal and Muñoz City. However, Peñaranda is named after a Spanish engineer who help designed the town.

34.) Tsinelas Festival is celebrated annually in Gapan City which is tagged as the “Slipper Capital of the North. Tsinelas is a Filipino word for slipper.

35.) The population density of Nueva Ecija is 301/km².

36.) The old names of Aliaga are Pulong Bibit and Maynilang Munti.

37.) Bongabon is the first capital of Nueva Ecija as a province.

38.) The old name of the municipality of General Tinio is Papaya. The town is named after General Manuel Tinio.

39.) The old name of the town of General Natividad is Mataas na Kahoy. The town is named after General Mamerto Natividad.

40.) Fort Magsaysay, located in Laur, is where Senator Benigno Aquino Jr. was detained for few years during the Martial Law years.

41.) The town of Laur is formerly known as Pulong Samat.

42.) The name of the town Lupao was derived from an itchy plant known locally as “lupa” which was once abundant in the area. The first barangay of the municipality of Lupao is Salvacion. San Roque is formerly known as Odiao, San Isidro is Macanyawed and Tienzo is Arimal.

43.) San Jose City, which was formerly known as Kabaritan, was a former barrio of Lupao, Nueva Ecija.

44.) The old name of the town of Peñaranda is Mapisong. It was named after Jose Maria Peñaranda, a Spanish engineer.

45.) Epifanio Delos Santos hailed from Licab, Nueva Ecija. The site of the town’s public market was donated by his family.

Wright Institute in San Isidro
46.) General Manuel Tinio, leader of the Philippine Revolution in Nueva Ecija, was born in Licab.

47.) The municipality of Quezon is formerly known as Bertese and Ilog Baliwag.

48.) San Antonio is formerly known as the town of Delinquente due to the rebels plying in the area.

49.) San Isidro was the capital of Nueva Ecija for 67 years from 1850 to 1917.

50.) In 1899, San Isidro, Nueva Ecija was declared by Emilio Aguinaldo as the capital of the Philippines.

51.) Talavera is formerly known as Katugian, from tugue, a kind of edible root crop which was once abundant in the area.

52.) The “First Cry of Nueva Ecija” was on September 2, 1896 and were headed by General Manuel Tinio, General Mariano Llanera and General Mamerto Natividad.

53.) A town in the province was named for each of these generals of the Philippine Revolution.

54.) Santo Domingo is formerly known as Pulong Buli due to abundance of Buli, a kind of palm tree.

55.) The largest municipality of Nueva Ecija in terms of area is Carranglan and the smallest is Nampicuan.

56.) In June 2008, Nueva Ecija was declared as the “milk capital of the Philippines’ due to the large population of cattle and carabao and due to the existence of Philippine Carabao Center in Muñoz Science City.

57.) The major source of power and water supply for irrigation in the province is Pantabangan Dam, which is also one of its a popular attractions.

58.) Cabanatuan City, a first class urban city, is the “tricycle capital of the Philippines” with more than 38,000 registered tricycles.

59.) Cabanatuan is formerly a barrio of Gapan.

60.) Cabanatuan became the capital of Nueva Ecija in 1780.

61.) In 1850, San Isidro became the capital of Nueva Ecija.

62.) In 1917, Cabanatuan was again declared the capital of Nueva Ecija.

63.) After many years, the capital of Nueva Ecija was moved to Palayan City and has been the provincial capital since 1965.

64.) In terms of population, Palayan City is the smallest city in the Philippines.

65.) Muñoz is named for Spanish Governor (Alcalde Mayor) Don Francisco Muñoz in 1886.

66.) The town of Zaragoza got its name from the province of Zaragoza in Aragon, Spain.

67.) A resthouse of President Manuel Quezon is located in Barangay Labi, Bongabon. It is also the death place of Doña Aurora Quezon.

68.) One of the first high schools established out of Manila is the Wright Institute of San Isidro. It was established in 1903.

69.) The Wright Institute, which is of typical American colonial architecture, is still being actively used. It is part and located within the premise of San Isidro Central School in San Isidro, Nueva Ecija.

70.) One famous historical attraction in the province is Camp Pangatian which is a Prisoner of War Memorial Shrine located in Cabanatuan City.

71.) A statue of General Antonio Luna and a marker is located in Plaza Lucero, Cabanatuan City. The plaza is situated in front of Cabanatuan Cathedral and is the location where Gen. Luna was assassinated.

72.) The name of Gapan was derived from the word “gapang” which means crawl. In time the last letter was dropped.

73.) Gapan is one of the first towns of Pampanga and was founded in 1595 making it the oldest town of Nueva Ecija and one of the oldest in the Philippines.

74.) San Miguel in Bulacan and Candaba in Pampanga were formerly part of Gapan.

75.) Likewise, the towns of San Leonardo, Peñaranda, Cabanatuan and General Tinio were also part of Gapan.

76.) In August 25, 2001, Gapan was converted into a component city.

77.) The municipality of San Leonardo is formerly known as Manikling.

78.) San Jose City is originally a part of Puncan, Carranglan and become an independent town on March 19, 1894

79.) The Palayan City Sports complex is one of the most modern sports facilities in the country. Its track and field oval is rubberized and is one of the few of its kind in the country.

80.) One of the most beautiful waterfalls in the province is the Gabaldon Falls in the town of Gabaldon.

81.) There is also a beautiful waterfall in San JoseCity called Palasapas Falls.

82.) The attractive Pinsal Falls is located in Lupao Falls while the captivating General Luna Falls is located in Rizal.

83.) A unique festival called Mushroom Festival is celebrated every 20th of February in the town of Guimba.

84.) Licab has its own festival too; it is called Kariton Festival and is celebrated every 28th of March.

85.) Sibuyas Festival of Bongabon is celebrated every 9th and 10th of April every year.

86.) Pastores Festival is a popular festival held in Gapan City from April 26 to May 1.

87.) Pandawan Festival of Pantabangan is held every April 28 of the year.

88.) The Tanduyong Festival of San Jose City is celebrated every 3rd week of April.

89.) The famous Araquio Festival of Peñaranda is held every 1st and 2nd Sunday of May.

90.) The Kapagayan Festival of Llanera is celebrated from May 7 to 11 every year.

91.) The well-known Kabyawan Festival of Cabiao is celebrated every 15th and 16th of May.

92.) June 24, is the annual celebration of Taong Putik Festival in Bibiclat, Aliaga.

93.) Cabanatan City has its own festival also called Gatas ng Kalabaw Festival. It si celebrated from July 1 to 7 of each year.

94.) Another festival being celebrated in Gapan City is the Tsinelas Festival. It is held every 25th of August.

95.) Palayan Festival of Palayan City is celebrated from December 1 to 5 of the year.

96.) Tupig Festival of Santo Domingo is held every 29th of September.

97.) The Hugas Kalawang Festival of Talavera is held every last week of August.

98.) The northernmost town of Nueva Ecija is Carranglan.

99.) Some of the most popular tourist attractions of Nueva Ecija include Tayabo Natures Park in San Jose City, Hunter Valley in Cabanatuan City; Stone 8 in Gabaldon and Crystal Waves in Talavera.

100.) The infamous “Lupao Massacre” took place in the town of Lupao, Nueva Ecija on February 10, 1987. A young lieutenant and 17 civilians including an elderly and several children were killed in an encounter between government and rebel troops that day.

Araullo University
101.) The rich, famous and controversial Willie Revillame is from Nueva Ecija.

102.) The late actress Nida Blanca, actor Nestor de Villa, TV newscaster Frankie Evangelista, novelty singer/actor Fred Panopio and Heber Bartolome are from Nueva Ecija also.

103.) Joe Taruc of DZRH, actress Rhiza Cenon, actress Jennifer Sevilla and actor Rommel Padilla are from Nueva Ecija too.

104.) The sensational and award-winning film director Lino Brocka is from San Jose City, Nueva Ecija.

105.) The largest universities in the province include Central Luzon State University, Nueva Ecija University of Science and Technology, Araullo University, Wesleyan University.

106.) Other notable institutions for higher learning are La Fortuna College, Good Samaritan Colleges, MV Gallego Colleges Foundation, Nueva Ecija Colleges, CORE Gateway Colleges and others.

107.) The largest shopping malls in the province include NE Pacific Mall, Robinsons and Mega Center. These are all located in the City of Cabanatuan, the commercial, industrial and educational center of Nueva Ecija.

108.) Cuyapo was once a part of Rosales, Pangasinan while Talugtug was once a part of Cuyapo.

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