Baby, JetSet, Go Destination Guide: Nueva Ecija

Nueva Ecija is a huge province in Central Luzon sprawled with varied land features. Known as the “Rice Bowl of the Philippines,” it is the biggest rice producer in the country. The province is flanked by mountain ranges on three sides: Sierra Madre to the east, Cordillera to the north, and Caraballo to the west. Vast plains stretch to the south, nourished by the Great Pampanga River, which provides irrigation, hydroelectric power, and fish and agricultural produce to locals. Nueva Ecija is a major source of export-quality crops including corn, banana, eggplant, spices, and mango.

History

Nueva Ecija was shaped by a rich history of military expeditions and evangelical missions. During the Spanish occupation, Augustinian missionaries built churches, convents, and parochial schools in the province as they worked to lay the foundation of Catholic faith among the ferocious tribes along the river banks. It had been necessary to build military outposts during that time to protect the friars from tribes that were not too keen on taking up a new religion.

Key historical events took place in the province, reflecting the innate courage and heroism of the Novo Ecijanos. As one of the first eight provinces to rise up against Spanish rule, the first show of revolutionary force occurred in Nueva Ecija, led by Gen. Mariano Llanera and the elite class, who have had enough of the Tobacco Monopoly. The event, which took place on September 2, 1896, is still celebrated today as the First Cry in Nueva Ecija.

Places to See

Nueva Ecija is home to the Minalungao National Park, featuring caves, trekking tours, and a view of the narrow, deep river. Gabaldon Falls and Binbin Falls make great destinations for adventurers while Pantabangan Dam is a great spot for sight-seeing, dining, swimming, fishing, jet-skiing, and ultimate relaxation. Fort Magsaysay, one of the biggest military camps in Asia, is also found in Nueva Ecija.

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