Nueva Ecija is a province in the Central Luzon region of the Philippines.
Cities and towns
- Bongabon - home of Mt. Olivette.
- 1 Cabanatuan City - the largest city of Nueva Ecija (with 302,231 people during the time of 2015 census) has worthwhile historical sites: the Camp Pangatian Shrine and the General Luna Statue and Marker.
- Carranglan - this 41,131-people town (as of 2015 population census) is home to Barrio Puncan, nicknamed the "Little Baguio" because of its cool mountain breezes.
- Gapan City
- General Mamerto Natividad
- General Tinio
- Muñoz, Science City of
- Palayan City - the capital city of Nueva Ecija province
- Peñaranda - features the Minalungao National Park.
- Rizal - Rizal Hot Springs.
- San Antonio
- San Isidro
- San Jose City - a city of 139,738 people (2015 census) offers the scenic Diamond Park to its visitors.
- San Leonardo
- Santa Rosa
- Santo Domingo
- 2 Zaragoza
- Minalungao National Park
Nueva Ecija, to many, houses many rice paddies, the source of most rice supplied in Metro Manila, and is well known by its nickname "Rice Granary of the Philippines".
The province gains its name from the town of Écija in Seville province, Spain, that reminded the Spanish colonial authorities of its hot climate. The province does have history of record-breaking temperatures, mostly recorded in its capital, Cabanatuan, so be prepared.
Nueva Ecija is quite overlooked as a rural backwater over nearby Pampanga, but the province has scenery of rice paddies and mountains, some historical sites, other hidden natural wonders. Agritourism is another good way of seeing Nueva Ecija.
The province's population of over 2,000,000 is mostly Tagalog (77%) and Ilocano (19%), with the former concentrated in the south and center, and the latter in the north. A tiny percentage of the population are Kapampangan, mostly living in the southwestern part of the province bordering present-day Pampanga. The remainder of the population are the Pangasinan, and indigenous peoples like the Abellan Agta, the Bugkalot, the Ibaloi, the Isinai, the Kankana-ey and the Mag-anchi Aeta.
Much of Nueva Ecija is reachable by buses coming from Manila, from the Cubao terminal.
- Baliwag Transit. Operates air-conditioned coaches from Cubao to Cabanatuan, Cabiao, Cuyapo, Jaen, Licab, Pantabangan, Rizal, San Jose and Santa Rosa via the Maharlika Highway. Sister company Golden Bee provide similar service to Cabanatuan, Cabiao, Lupao, San Jose and Zaragoza, also on regular AC buses. Baliwag buses are painted green, while Golden Bee buses are yellow.
From Manila, Nueva Ecija is a 2-3 hours drive via the Maharlika Highway (Rte 1). Alternatively, you can take the North Luzon Expressway (NLEx) and Subic–Clark–Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx), then exit at Tarlac City onto Santa Rosa–Tarlac Road (Rte 58).
From Pampanga, the main route is through the Jose Abad Santos Avenue (Rte 3), which ends at Maharlika Hwy in Gapan. From Tarlac, it is on Rte 58. From Pangasinan, it is either on Rte 56 or Rte 114.
Construction is continuing for the Central Luzon Link Expressway (CLLEx, also known as the Central Luzon Freeway). Part of the expressway has been opened to traffic in 2022, from SCTEx in Tarlac City to Aliaga, but onward to Cabanatuan will involve driving through narrow highways.
Except for Fort Ramon Magsaysay airfield, there are no airports in Nueva Ecija. Nearest airports are in Clark or Manila.
Buses reach most cities and towns in Nueva Ecija. From Cabanatuan's central bus station, you can catch a bus going anywhere in the province. Most bus service are part of services going to Manila or the other provinces.
Main highways are the Maharlika Hwy, which runs north to south, and Santa Rosa–Tarlac Road which goes west onward to Tarlac. Highways are mostly good, but expect slower speeds and a lot of tricycles. Also watch out for livestock, farm equipment, and rice drying along the road.
Within cities and towns, most travel is on jeepneys and tricycles.
Longganisa from Cabanatuan City, locally called "Batutay". Garlic or "Hamonado" flavor is sausage made from beef or pork.
Tilapia ice cream milked flavored ice cream with steamed tilapia flakes.
Gatas ng Kalabaw or Buffalo's Milk. Milk from carabao or water buffaloes are popular in Nueva Ecija.
Flavored Yogurt Drink also made from Buffalo's Milk.
Nueva Ecija is underserved by hotels, but there are out-of-the-way inland resorts and some countryside inns, the few places to sleep outside the city. Cabanatuan has the bulk of hotels in the province, while the other cities will have few to none. Many only accept cash and some do not have online booking.
The weather is far one of your safety concerns if you travel in the province, and Nueva Ecija is far one of the hottest locations in the Philippines to record. Daytime temperatures always stay in the 30s, and the heat index can soar up into the 50s during summer. Even just going for a short walk or shooting the picturesque rice fields and mountain ranges can give you immediate dehydration from the sweltering to extreme heat. Always follow hot weather advice if you plan to go out.