25 Things to Do in Nueva Ecija

Unwind with a weekend trip to this province north of Metro Manila!

By Rhea J. Bernardino
June 16, 2016


Nueva Ecija is a province in Central Luzon which is best known for being the "Rice Granary of the Philippines." About four hours from Metro Manila, this destination is landlocked and is usually overlooked by travelers for that fact. But while it does not have a coastline, only a few people are aware that this landlocked province is home to numerous natural wonders that will give the more popular beach destinations in the country a run for their money. From mountains and other impressive landscapes to rivers and waterfalls, there is so much to explore in Nueva Ecija that a single day in this province won’t be enough to cover them all.

Apart from its hidden nature attractions, Nueva Ecija also boasts numerous historical sites and landmarks due to its significance during the Spanish, American, and Japanese colonization periods. In fact, Nueva Ecija is represented as one of the eight rays of the sun in the Philippine flag for being one of the eight provinces that greatly contributed to the 1896 Philippine Revolution against Spain.

If that wasn’t enough to convince you to visit Nueva Ecija, here are some of the many things you can do in its cities and towns. Feel free to use it as a guide. Or even a bucket list!

Gapan City
1. Say a prayer at the Three Kings Parish. This Spanish-era church is also where the image of the Virgen La Divina Pastora is housed, which is why it is also known as the National Shrine of the Virgen La Divina Pastora.
2. See the several heritage houses near the vicinity of the church. Just a short walk outside of the church's gates will reward you with the sight of some preserved ancestral houses, some of which are still used up to this day.
3. If you're craving for a snack, try the orange egg barbecue at any of the ihaw-ihaw stalls near the city plaza. These hardboiled duck eggs are colored with orange food coloring. They are similar to tokneneng, but they are grilled instead of being dipped in batter and deep-fried.

San Isidro town
4. See the Bahay Sideco, which served as Emilio Aguinaldo's refuge when he was escaping from the Americans.
5. See the remnants of the brick walls of a Spanish-era tobacco factory in San Isidro.

San Leonardo town
6. See some ostriches at Gross Ostrich Farm.

General Tinio
7. Swim in clear waters, go cliff diving, and try the zip-line at Minalungao National Park.

8. Try Cabanatuan's famous batotay longganisa.
9. Sample Hapag Vicentico's mouthwatering Filipino dishes.
10. Savor the Cheese Cashew Macapuno ice cream of Puno's. There are other flavors to choose from: Cookies and Cream, Chocolate with Cashew, and Ube Macapuno to name a few. Puno's also sells sherbet.
11. Buy a box of Edna's Cakeland's yummy ensaymada.
12. Visit the Antonio Luna monument at the Plaza Lucero, the place where Heneral Luna was assassinated.
13. Pay Camp Pangatian a visit. It was a former concentration camp for prisoners of war during the Japanese occupation.

14. See several species of fish from all over the country at Central Luzon State University's (CLSU) Living Fish Museum.
15. While in CLSU, try out their tilapia ice cream.
16. Take a photo of the Philippine Rice Research Institute.
17. Swing by Milka Crem at the Philippine Carabao Center and buy pints of their yummy ice cream made from carabao milk. Make sure to buy some kesong puti as well.

18. Trek to the Gabaldon Falls and take a refreshing dip in its cool waters.
19. Bring home sacks of onions. Gabaldon is known as the “Onion Capital of the Philippines,” being the leading producer of onions in the whole country.
20. Climb the hundred-step stairs of Mt. Olivete to see the church of the Adarnista spiritual community.

21. Hike up Mt. Kemalugong at dawn. When you reach the peak, prepare to be amazed at the sea of clouds. Also known as Paasa Peak, it is the highest peak in the entire province.

22. See General Dalton's monument and the war memorial at Dalton's Pass. Dalton's Pass or Balete Pass is where an encounter between the joined forces of American and Filipino soldiers against Japanese forces occurred. The Pass was named after General James Dalton, the commanding general of the 25th Infantry Division of the US Army who was killed there.
23. Take a dip in the relaxing waters of Binbin Falls.

San Jose City
24. Surround yourself with nature at Diamond Park. After enjoying a picnic lunch, climb its hundred-step stairs to enjoy a marvelous view of the green surroundings.

25. Learn how to fish at the Pantabangan Lake. Wait for the magnificent sunset and enjoy the scenic view.