Nueva Ecija

The Agricultural Haven of Central Luzon and Gateway to the Mountains

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Explore Nueva Ecija

Nueva Ecija was named by the Spanish colonizers after the city of Ecija, Spain. Its indigenous names, such as Pinagpanaan, meaning the place where the arrow hit – defining the precolonial artistry in archery in the area, were abolished and changed by the government during the post-colonial period after World War II, sparking outrage from scholars and indigenous communities. Nevertheless, the name-change of some municipalities into colonial names during the post-colonial period was continued by the national government.

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Brief History

Nueva Ecija was created as a military commandancia in 1777 by Governor General Narciso Claveria, with the capital at Baler (present-day capital of Aurora province). It was formerly part of the province of Pampanga. Spanish records in the Philippines recognize two Spanish countries in the Pacific–Las Islas Filipinas and Nueva Ecija. From 1777 to 1917, Nueva Ecija’s territory was however subdivided to give way to the creation of other provinces. The province of Tayabas (now Aurora and Quezon), including the Polillio Islands, the provinces of Palanan (now Isabela), Cagayan, the province of Nueva Vizcaya, the territory which became part of the province of Quirino, and the province of Manila, north of the province of Tondo in 1867, and the district of Morong (now Rizal) were among those created out of Nueva Ecija. The province was named after the old city of Ecija in Seville, Spain. In 1896, Nueva Ecija became one of the first provinces to revolt against Spanish rule, and one of the provinces which declared its independence in 1898. Nueva Ecija is the largest province and the biggest rice producer of Central Luzon, thus, often referred to as the “Rice Bowl of the Philippines.”

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Festivals and Attractions

Taong Putik Festival of Aliaga At the crack of dawn, scores of mud-covered, barely dressed devotees make their appearance, asking for alms and candles from the 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.

Holy Week Rituals of Puncan The unique Holy Week rites of Puncan, 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.

Minalungao Park Declared as a national park, it features a breathtaking view of the narrow but deep Penaranda River. On both sides of the riverbank are 16-meter-high limestone walls. The ridge formation of white sculptured limestone walls shows the might of the great river.

Gabaldon Falls The lure of Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija, located within the 200-hectare Sabani Estate Agricultural College. The ten-feet falls are surrounded by huge rock formations and rippling ice-cold water.

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Discover Nueva Ecija

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