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Component City
City of Cabanatuan
Entering downtown
Entering downtown
Official seal of Cabanatuan
Nickname(s): The Gateway to the North, Tricycle Capital of the Philippines
Motto: Pagbabago, Progreso, Disiplina
Location within Nueva Ecija
Location within Nueva Ecija
Cabanatuan is located in Philippines
Location within the Philippines
Coordinates: 15°29′N 120°58′E / 15.483°N 120.967°E / 15.483; 120.967Coordinates: 15°29′N 120°58′E / 15.483°N 120.967°E / 15.483; 120.967
Country Philippines
Region Central Luzon (Region III)
Province Nueva Ecija
Congressional District 3rd
Founded 1750
Cityhood June 15, 1950
Barangays 89
 • Mayor Julius Cesar V. Vergara (Liberal Party)
 • Vice Mayor Marius Adriane Garcia (Liberal Party)
 • Component City 192.3 km2 (74.2 sq mi)
 • Metro 789.83 km2 (304.96 sq mi)
Elevation 44 m (144 ft)
Population (2010)[3]
 • Component City 272,676
 • Density 1,400/km2 (3,700/sq mi)
 • Metro 581,438
 • Metro density 736/km2 (1,910/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Cabanatueno
Time zone PST (UTC+8)
Zip code 3100
Dialing code 44
Income Class 1st Class; urban

Cabanatuan, officially the City of Cabanatuan (Filipino: Lungsod ng Cabanatuan; Ilocano: Ciudad ti Cabanatuan; Kapampangan: Lakanbalen ning Cabanatuan; Cebuano: Dakbayan sa Cabanatuan), is a city in the province of Nueva Ecija, Philippines. It is the first class and largest city in Nueva Ecija, and 5th in Central Luzon with a population of 272,676 in 2010.[3]

The city is popular for being home to more than 30,000 tricycles. It prides itself as the "Tricycle Capital of the Philippines"[4] and its strategic location along the Cagayan Valley Road has made the city a major economic, educational, medical, entertainment shopping and transportation center in Nueva Ecija and nearby provinces in the region such as Aurora and Bulacan. It has earned the moniker "Gateway to the North".

Cabanatuan remained as Nueva Ecija's capital until 1965 when the government created Palayan City as the new provincial capital. Nueva Ecija's old capitol and other government offices are still used and maintained by the provincial administration.


General Luna death site

Cabanatuan was founded as Barrio of Gapan in 1750 and became a Municipality and capital of La Provincia de Nueva Ecija in 1780. Cabanatuan is the site of the historical "Plaza Lucero" and the Cabanatuan Cathedral, where General Antonio Luna was assassinated by Captain Pedro Janolino and members of the kawit battalion. Cabanatuan lost the title of provincial capital in 1850 when the capital of Nueva Ecija was moved to San Isidro, another historic town. It was only in 1917, when the Administrative code was enacted, that Cabanatuan was restored as capital of the Province. However, in 1965, Congress created Palayan City, which has been the capital ever since.

During World War II, the occupying Japanese built Cabanatuan Prison Camp, where many American soldiers were imprisoned, some of whom had been forced to endure the infamous Bataan Death March. In January 1945, elements of the U.S. Army 6th Ranger Battalion marched 30 miles (48 km) behind enemy lines to rescue the prisoners in what became known as the Raid at Cabanatuan. As a result of the raid on January 30, 1945, victorious Filipino guerrillas and American troops of the U.S. Army 6th Ranger Battalion celebrated having obtained the freedom of 500 American POWs. Soon thereafter, Philippine and American forces re-established the presence of military general headquarters and military camp bases of the Philippine Commonwealth Army, Philippine Constabulary 2nd Infantry Regiment, and the United States Army in Cabanatuan from February 1945 to June 1946 during the Allied Liberation. Before long, the combined Philippine Commonwealth and American armed forces, in cooperation with local guerrilla resistance fighters and Hukbalahap Communist guerrillas,[citation needed] had liberated Central Luzon from Japanese Imperial forces, a campaign that lasted from January until August 1945.

In 1957, the barrios of Mataas na Kahoy, Balangkare Norte, Balangkare Sur, Sapang Kawayan, Magasawang Sampaloc, Talabutab Norte, Talabutab Sur, Platero, Belen, Pecaleon, Piñahan, Kabulihan, Pasong-Hari, Balaring, Pulong Singkamas, Panaksak, Bravo, Sapang Bato, Burol, Miller, Tila Patio, Pula, Carinay, and Acacia were separated from Cabanatuan and constituted into a separate and independent municipality known as General Mamerto Natividad.[5]

Cabanatuan was the epicenter of a very large earthquake at roughly 3 p.m. on July 16, 1990. It leveled some buildings, including the Christian College of the Philippines (Liwag Colleges) in the midst of class time. At 7.8 on the surface wave magnitude scale, it killed 1,653 people.

Conversion from town, component city to highly urbanized city[edit]

Cabanatuan became a city by virtue of Republic Act No. 526, approved on June 16, 1950.[6] In 1998, Cabanatuan was declared by then-president Fidel V. Ramos as a highly urbanized city however it failed ratification after the majority of votes in the plebiscite was negative.

Cabanatuan was declared as highly urbanized city by President Benigno S. Aquino III under Presidential Proclamation No. 418 on July 14, 2012.[7] A plebiscite scheduled on December 2012 was moved by the Commission on Elections to January 25, 2014 so as not to burden the poll body during its preparation for the 2013 local elections in the province. Incumbent Governor Aurelio Matias Umali, who had a strong voter base in the city, opposed the conversion and submitted a petition to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court issued a temporary restraining order on January 24, 2014.[8] On April 23, 2014, voting 9-5-1, the Supreme Court granted a petition for certiorari filed by Nueva Ecija Gov. Aurelio Umali and declared as null and void Comelec Minute Resolution No. 12-0797 dated September 11, 2012 and Minute Resolution No. 12-0925 dated October 16, 2012 setting a date for the conduct of a plebiscite in which only registered voters of Cabanatuan would be allowed to vote.[9] The province-wide plebiscite was rescheduled for November 8, 2014, but cancelled again because the Cabanatuan City government couldn't provide the funds needed for the plebiscite. No new date has been set until city government certifies that P101 million is available for the holding of the plebiscite.[10]


Cabanatuan City is administratively subdivided into 89 barangays.[11]

  • Aduas Centro (Pob.)
  • Aduas Norte (Pob.)
  • Aduas Sur (Pob.)
  • Bagong Sikat
  • Bagong Buhay
  • Bakero
  • Bakod Bayan
  • Balite
  • Bangad
  • Bantug Bulalo
  • Bantug Norte
  • Barlis
  • Barrera District (Pob.)
  • Bernardo District (Pob.)
  • Binay (Pob.)
  • Bitas (Pob.)
  • Bonifacio District (Pob.)
  • Buliran
  • Cabu
  • Caudillo
  • Calawagan (Kalawagan)
  • Caalibangbangan
  • Camp Tinio
  • Caridad Village (Pob.)
  • Cinco-Cinco
  • City Supermarket/Bayan (Pob.)
  • Communal
  • Cruz Roja
  • Daan Sarile (Pob.)
  • Dalampang
  • Dicarma (Pob.)
  • Dimasalang (Pob.)
  • D.S. Garcia (Pob.)
  • Fatima (Pob.)
  • General Luna (Pob.)
  • Hermogenes C. Concepcion, Sr. (Pob.)
  • Ibabao Bana
  • Imelda District (Pob.)
  • Isla (Pob.)
  • Kalikid Norte
  • Kalikid Sur
  • Kapitan Pepe Subdivision (Pob.)
  • Lagare
  • M. S. Garcia (Pob.)
  • Mabini Extension (Pob.)
  • Mabini Homesite (Pob.)
  • Macatbong
  • Magsaysay Norte
  • Magsaysay Sur
  • Maria Theresa (Pob.)
  • Matadero (Pob.)
  • Lourdes
  • Mayapyap Norte
  • Mayapyap Sur
  • Melojavilla (Pob.)
  • Nabao (Pob.)
  • Obrero
  • Padre Crisostomo (Pob.)
  • Padre Burgos (Pob.)
  • Pagas (Pob.)
  • Palagay
  • Pamaldan
  • Pangatian
  • Patalac
  • Polilio
  • Pula
  • Quezon District (Pob.)
  • Rizdelis (Pob.)
  • Samon
  • San Isidro (Pob.)
  • San Josef Norte (Pob.)
  • San Josef Sur (Pob.)
  • San Juan Accfa (Pob.)
  • San Roque Norte (Pob.)
  • San Roque Sur (Pob.)
  • Sumacab Este (Pob.)
  • Sumacab Norte (Pob.)
  • Sumacab South (POb.)
  • Sanbermicristi (Pob.)
  • Sangitan West (Pob.)
  • Sangitan East (Pob.)
  • Santa Arcadia
  • Santo Niño
  • Sapang
  • Talipapa
  • Valdefuente (Pob.)
  • Valle Cruz
  • Vergara (Pob.)
  • Vijandre District (Pob.)
  • Villa Ofelia Subdivision (Pob.)
  • Zulueta District (Pob.)


Old Capitol Building
Population census of Cabanatuan City
Year Pop. ±% p.a.
1990 173,065 —    
1995 201,033 +2.85%
2000 222,859 +2.23%
2007 259,267 +2.11%
2010 272,676 +1.85%
Source: National Statistics Office[3][12]


St. Nicholas of Tolentine Cathedral

Roman Catholicism has been the predominant religion in the city, being host to a major cathedral - the St. Nicholas of Tolentine Cathedral which serves as the seat of the bishop of the Diocese of Cabanatuan. There are three major Catholic structures located within the city, these are the Mother of Perpetual Help Parish, the Carmelite Sisters Convent and the Maria Assumpta Seminary. Local chapels/parishes are also present in most barangays. Iglesia ni Cristo also maintains a remarkable presence in Cabanatuan with its large house of worship in Brgy. Zulueta with a 5,000 persons seating inside. Jesus Miracle Crusade and The United Methodist Church also have a large number of congregation within the city. Other Christian denominations also exist. The Islamic faith also has a remarkable presence in Cabanatuan, specifically within the districts of Imelda and Isla. Two large mosques exist in the city, with the largest located at Imelda District.


Cabanatuan City is located in the rolling central plains of Luzon drained by the Pampanga River. The city is seated about 13 km west-southwest of the provincial capital Palayan City and 117 km north of Manila. The geographic coordinates of Cabanatuan City are 15° 29' 22 N, 120° 58' 14 E.


Cabanatuan has a tropical wet and dry climate (Köppen climate classification: Aw), with year-round warm weather and distinct dry and wet seasons. It is touted as one of the hottest cities in the country; in the summer season of 2011 Cabanatuan reached its hottest temperature at 39.8 °C, also the hottest in the Philippines in that same year, and on June 4, 2015 PAGASA reported 53 °C RealFeel on the city which is the hottest yet recorded.

Climate data for Cabanatuan
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 30.5
Daily mean °C (°F) 25.3
Average low °C (°F) 20.1
Average precipitation mm (inches) 8


Cabanatuan City is the economic heart of Nueva Ecija and is the core of a metropolitan area of about 580,000 people. It is a vital financial center home to 59 banks, 135 non-bank financial institutions, headquarters of some of the largest rural banks in Central Luzon, and a branch of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP). Its banks reportedly hold more than 29 billion pesos, 16th among cities outside Metro Manila.[14] It also ranks as one of the most livable cities in the Philippines together with Makati City in terms of banking convenience.[15] The city is the distribution center of goods and commodities for Nueva Ecija. Distribution warehouses and sales offices are found throughout the city. Although Cabanatuan does not have significant manufacturing industries, its dynamic service sector together with the thriving agriculture drives the economy forward.

Indicators reflect Cabanatuan's economic achievements in the past few years.[16] The growth of new business registrations in the city reached 26% last year while locally sourced taxes grew 12.23% annually in the ten years to 2015.[17] Residential buildings and subdivisions, already exceeding 100, are taking up lands on the fringes of the downtown. The presence of big land developers such as Sta. Lucia Realty, Vista Land and Ayala Land ensures competition and quality in the new suburban homes. Commercial buildings are filling the CBD and Maharlika Highway on the average of 75 per year. Many car dealerships set up shop in the past five years, counting Cabanatuan among the cities with the most number of car dealerships in the country. Existing dealerships include Toyota (Toyota Cabanatuan Inc. being the 709th largest Philippine corporation[18]), Kia, Isuzu, Mazda, Ford, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Peugeot, Hyundai, Suzuki,and Mahindra.

Telecommunications infrastructure is highly developed thanks to major players Globe, Smart, Sun Cellular, PLDT and Digitel that maintain business offices in the city. A number of TV and radio stations are also present. The city's electricity is provided by Cabanatuan Electric Corporation (CELCOR), the 879th largest Philippine corporation.[18] CELCOR owns a 26.5-MW diesel power plant[19] that provides the city's needed load when the supply in Luzon grid is thin.

To further explore its vibrant economic potentials, Cabanatuan is seeking to have a share of the IT-BPO boom. The first call center in Nueva Ecija was successfully established in the city in 2008. The city government is equally keen on attracting big-ticket projects by providing prospective investors fast business applications processing, low business taxes, income tax holidays and other similar incentives.[17]

Cabanatuan nowadays is fast-becoming a major investment hub and is considered as one of the most competitive cities for doing business in the country. Investors in banking, real estate, retail and other business and industrial enterprises are similarly drawn to the city because of its adequate infrastructure and support services. Its continuing urbanization has been luring investors not only into the city but also to its suburban municipalities as well.

The city's total income reached PHP 1.063 billion in 2014,[20] and its total assets amounted to PHP 2.826 billion (2014).[20]

Real estate[edit]

Many Nueva Ecijanos choose to resettle in Cabanatuan for proximity to job and other necessities. With the influx of people, residential developments followed and now more than a hundred subdivisions for A to D markets decimate the city.

Large-scale residential developments are already present in the name of Lakewood City and Avida Sta. Arcadia Estates. Sta. Lucia Realty's Lakewood City is a medium to high-end project encompassing more than 400 hectares. Its centerpiece is a 64-hectare championship golf course, the largest in Central Luzon. Ayala Land's 87-hectare Avida Sta. Arcadia Estates is masterplanned to become a mixed-use development that will include the Avida Sta. Arcadia Residences, Avida Settings, and Avida Town Center. Also included in the roster of large residential districts are the Kapitan Pepe Subdivision, Grand Victoria Estates, and Acropolis North by Sta. Lucia Realty. Ayala Land currently has five residential subdivisions while Vista Land has two and Sta. Lucia Realty, three.

Prime lands in Cabanatuan are becoming pricier by the day with the entry of more Manila-based land developers. Established players are being challenged by new comers like Robinsons Land, SM Prime, and Filinvest. SM Prime's first foray into horizontal housing development will start construction this year on a 25-hectare lot in Brgy. Sta. Arcadia.[21]

Shopping centers[edit]

Robinsons Townville Cabanatuan
SM Megacenter Cabanatuan

Cabanatuan is currently home to six shopping malls: NE Mall, the city's pioneer mall; NE Pacific Mall, the first full-service mall in Central Luzon; Robinsons Townville Cabanatuan, a three-storey mall located beside NE Pacific; SM Megacenter Cabanatuan;[22] Waltermart Cabanatuan and SM City Cabanatuan, a regional SM mall.

SM City Cabanatuan is the city's second SM supermall and the largest shopping mall in North and Central Luzon with a gross floor area (GFA) measured at 154,020 sqm.[23] This destination mall is furnished with unique features like a garden park, a roof park, and the first ever SM Large Screen Cinema[24] in the country.

Other shopping centers include Savemore, Puregold, NE Crossing, NE Circumferential, Melanio's, Fiesta and 578 Emporium.

S&R Membership Shopping is an upcoming shopping destinantion which is currently under construction. It will be integrated with the nearby NE Pacific Mall and Robinsons Townville Cabanatuan to possibly constitute a sprawling shopping district.

Starmall plans to start building a mall in Cabanatuan in 2016.

Robinsons Land has lined up a future mall development in Cabanatuan. It will be the second Robinsons mall in the city.[25]


Buses in Cabanatuan Central Terminal

The city is a major hub of transportation services in Central Luzon. Cabanatuan City has a large number of bus companies operating provincial and regional routes, with the Cabanatuan Central Transport Terminal serving as the terminus. Jeepney operators serve routes within the province with some reaching as far to Dingalan, Baler and Dilasag in Aurora, Olongapo City, San Fernando and Dau in Pampanga, Mariveles and Balanga in Bataan, Baguio City in Benguet, Dagupan City and Tarlac City. Much of the city's population rely on public transportation such as tricycles and jeeps to get around the city.

Maharlika Highway (or Pan-Philippine Highway) is the main highway traversing the city where most vehicles going to Cagayan Valley pass through. Nueva Ecija - Aurora Road links Cabanatuan to Baler, Aurora, passing through rural towns in eastern Nueva Ecija. Burgos Avenue and Del Pilar Street serve as the city's main thoroughfare inside the downtown area. Other major roads include the General Tinio and Rizal Streets which run through the city proper in an east-west direction; Mabini Street, where two of the city's three universities are situated and the Circumferential Road that connects the downtown area to the Kapitan Pepe residential district.

Two bypass roads were constructed during the early 2000s to decongest the Maharlika Highway and to spur new developments outside the downtown area. The 10.3-kilometer Felipe Vergara Highway provides a direct route to Cagayan Valley, while Emilio Vergara Highway links Santa Rosa to Nueva Ecija - Aurora Road, avoiding traffic bottleneck along Maharlika Highway.

Cabanatuan was served by the Manila Railroad Company way back in the 1900s through the Balagtas - Cabanatuan line and was later abandoned after the war when scavengers have looted pieces of the rail tracks. Rail service was later resumed in 1969 after the rehabilitation of the rail tracks as mandated by a government order, the service was again abandoned in the 1980s when the route didn't fare much to the commuters. The old Cabanatuan Railway Station is located at Barangay General Luna and is converted to a day care center with the original structure remaining.

Infrastructure improvements are ongoing with projects done by administration. All key intersections in the city are already signalized. Bicycle and tricycle lanes are currently being built while road widening of the Maharlika Highway from the present four lanes to eight lanes is on the drawing board. Road widening of all city and arterial roads from one/two-lane highway to three-lane highway is also being considered.

Two proposed expressways will pass through Cabanatuan City if built. These are the North Luzon East Expressway (Quezon City to Cabanatuan) and the Central Luzon Link Expressway (SCTEx to San Jose City).


Plaza Lucero, where Gen. Antonio Luna was assassinated.

Historical sites found in the city include:

  • Camp Pangatian (Prisoner of War Memorial Shrine), began as a military training camp for twenty years until converted into a concentration camp for allied prisoners of war during the Japanese occupation. A popular tourist destination among war veterans by way of the WWII Veteran’s Homecoming Program. Camp Pangatian's liberation of World War II American prisoners of war held by the Japanese forces in January 1945 was the most successful rescue operation ever executed by the American military aided by the Filipino guerillas who were fighting the invaders. That tactical operation was immortalized in the movie The Great Raid.
The former internment camp at Pangatian, now an American-Filipino memorial.
  • Gen. Antonio Luna Statue and Marker in Plaza Lucero, a statue of Philippine hero General Antonio Luna astride a horse stands at the plaza in front of the cathedral on the exact spot where the brave general was assassinated in 1899 in the city that adopted him subsequently.
  • Old Provincial Capitol of Nueva Ecija located along Burgos Avenue, the old provincial capitol was designed by prominent American architect William E. Parsons who also designed government buildings in Manila, Cebu and Laguna during the American Colonial Period. The old edifice has since been renovated and expanded.
  • Cabanatuan Rail Station in Barangay General Luna, built in the early 1900s as the terminus of the now abandoned Balagtas-Cabanatuan line. The building has since been converted into a barangay civic center and day care center, with the original structure preserved.


Nueva Ecija High School.
Araullo University

Cabanatuan is the one of the region's educational center being home to 3 universities, more than 30 higher education institutions, 1 science high school, more than 50 public and private high schools, and more than 100 public and private primary schools. Most of the students of the province go to Cabanatuan to study and build their career in the city.

Notable universities and colleges[edit]

Primary and secondary schools[edit]

  • Cabanatuan Adventist Elementary School
  • Cabanatuan Christian Academy
  • Cabanatuan City Colleges
  • Cabanatuan City Science High School
  • Cabanatuan Confucius School, Inc.
  • Camp Tinio High School
  • Camp. Tinio National High School
  • Central Luzon Technical School
  • Christian Faith Montessori
  • Din-Ai Chinese School
  • Eastern Cabu NHS
  • Excel Montessori School
  • Flowerlane Montessori Children's House
  • Global Kids Montessori
  • Great Values Learning Center, Inc.
  • Homeschooled in Cabanatuan City
  • Honorato C. Perez, Sr. Mem. Sci. HS (Cabanatuan City Sci. HS)
  • Jesus Mighty Faith Academy (for. De Salera Christian Montessori)
  • Little Merry Hearts Montessori Center
  • Liwag High School
  • Marciano del Rosario National High School
  • Mayapyap National High School
  • Menreum School Inc.
  • NEC Kiddie House of Learning
  • NE Dominican Academy
  • Nueva Ecija High School
  • Wells of Wisdom F.L.C.
  • Nueva Ecija National High School
  • Philippine Statesman College
  • Sta. Romana Memorial Elementary School
  • San Josef National High School
  • St.Louis Anne Montessori School
  • Valdefuente Elementary School

Catholic seminary[edit]

  • Maria Assumpta Seminary

Health services[edit]

Nueva Ecija Doctors' Hospital

Many hospitals can be found in the city, most are private and with modern facilities which made Cabanatuan City the center for medical operations and research in the province. Most residents of the province go to Cabanatuan for their check ups and appointments in hospitals within the city.

Notable people from Cabanatuan[edit]


  1. ^ "Official City/Municipal 2013 Election Results". Intramuros, Manila, Philippines: Commission on Elections (COMELEC). 11 September 2013. Retrieved 21 October 2013. 
  2. ^ "Cabanatuan LGU City Official Website". 
  3. ^ a b c "Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay: as of May 1, 2010" (PDF). 2010 Census of Population and Housing. National Statistics Office. Retrieved 2012-10-22. 
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  5. ^ "An Act to Create the Municipality of General Mamerto Natividad in the Province of Nueva Ecija". Retrieved April 12, 2011. 
  6. ^ "An act creating the City of Cabanatuan". Retrieved April 9, 2011. 
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  10. ^ Elmo Roque (February 10, 2015). "‘Highly-urbanized’ Cabanatuan still unratified". Punto! Central Luzon. Retrieved 17 March 2015. 
  11. ^ "Province: Nueva Ecija". PSGC Interactive. Makati City, Philippines: National Statistical Coordination Board. Retrieved 21 October 2013. 
  12. ^ "Province of Nueva Ecija". Municipality Population Data. LWUA Research Division. Retrieved 21 October 2013. 
  13. ^ "Climate: Cabanatuan City - Climate graph, Temperature graph, Climate table". 2014.  Retrieved on May 25, 2014.
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