Pantabangan, Nueva Ecija

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Official seal of Pantabangan
Map of Nueva Ecija showing the location of Pantabangan
Map of Nueva Ecija showing the location of Pantabangan
Pantabangan is located in Philippines
Location within the Philippines
Coordinates: 15°49′N 121°09′E / 15.817°N 121.150°E / 15.817; 121.150Coordinates: 15°49′N 121°09′E / 15.817°N 121.150°E / 15.817; 121.150
Country Philippines
Region Central Luzon (Region III)
Province Nueva Ecija
District 2nd District
Founded 1701
Barangays 14
 • Mayor Roberto Agdipa
 • Total 392.56 km2 (151.57 sq mi)
Population (2010)[3]
 • Total 27,353
 • Density 70/km2 (180/sq mi)
Time zone PST (UTC+8)
ZIP code 3124
IDD:area code +63 (0)44
Income class 1st class

Pantabangan is a first class municipality in the province of Nueva Ecija, Philippines. According to the 2010 census, it has a population of 27,353 people.[3] This is the site of the Pantabangan Dam and Lake.

Located in the northern part of Nueva Ecija, Pantabangan is located at the foot of Mt. Mabilog below Mt. Dalimanok which are found between Sierra Madre and Caraballo Mountain ranges. It is home to the Pantabangan–Carranglan Watershed Forest Reserve.


Pantabangan is politically subdivided into 14 barangays.[2]

  • Cadaclan
  • Cambitala
  • Conversion
  • Ganduz
  • Liberty
  • Malbang
  • Marikit
  • Napon-Napon
  • Poblacion East
  • Poblacion West
  • Sampaloc
  • San Juan
  • Villarica
  • Fatima


The place was discovered on November 30, 1645, by Fr. Juan Alonzo de Abarca, an Augustinian priest who with the 29th Spanish mission in the Philippines.

The village grew into a settlement and was officially included in the map of the Philippines in 1747. In 1900, Pantabangan formally became a town.

In early 16th to 17th centuries, the “Id-dules” (Aetas or Baluga) and Egongots (Ilongots) tribe inhabited the southern Sierra Madre and Caraballo Mountains. Based on Mr. Elito V. Circa, a folk visual artist and a writer who wrote most of the Pantabangan-Egongot arts and culture and interviewed some of the Egongot chieftains from Aurora province. He discovered that Pantabangan (Pantabanganan in early 18th century) came from the root Ilongot word "Sabangan or Sabanganan" that means "junction of water streams". It was learned that most of the places in Central Luzon were derived from Ilongot word like Caanaoan, Puncan, Cadanglaan (now Carranglan), Kabaritan (Now San Jose City) and others. Bungamong (Bongabon) and Cadanglaan was formerly sitio of Pantabangan and Kabaritan also part of Pantabangan.

When the Second World War broke out, Japanese Imperial forces occupied the town municipality of Pantabangan in 1942 under the Japanese Occupation. During the Liberation, combined military forces of the Filipino troops under the Philippine Commonwealth Army and Philippine Constabulary units and the American troops of the United States Army and the U.S. Army Air Forces came, invaded and recaptured the town of Pantabangan and defeated Japanese soldiers in the Battle of Pantabangan and ended World War II.

In May 1966, the Old Philippine Congress passed the Upper Pampanga River Project Act (Republic Act 5499) authorizing the construction of the Pantabangan Dam and its appurtenant structures. The groundbreaking ceremony led by then President Ferdinand E. Marcos took place on June 11, 1971. The project was finally completed in August 1974.

The construction of the Dam had great economic and social impact on the lives of Pantabangeños. About 8,100 hectares (20,000 acres) of productive farmland and the town center (East and West Poblacion) along with seven outlying barangays (Villarica, Liberty, Cadaclan, San Juan, Napon-Napon, Marikit and Conversion) were submerged under the new lake. Residents were relocated to higher ground overlooking the vast reservoir, which became the new Pantabangan town center. Before the expansion of the dam through the Casecnan Project in the 1990s, the belfry of the 18th century church resurfaced from the dam's summer low water level. During drought in 1983, some areas of the old town emerged.

The Pantabangan Dam is claimed to be the second largest dam in Asia, and supplies the irrigation requirements for about 77,000 hectares (190,000 acres) of agricultural lands in Central Luzon. Its power station generates 112 megawatts of hydroelectric power.

In February 1996, then President Fidel V. Ramos led the ground-breaking ceremony of the Casecnan Transbasin Project, a 27 kilometres (17 mi) tunnel from the Casecnan River in Nueva Viscaya to a terminal point at the Pantabangan reservoir and was commissioned on December 11, 2001. The project aims to augment the capacity of the dam to irrigate an additional 50,000 hectares (120,000 acres) of agricultural land and generate an additional 140 megawatts of hydroelectric power for the Luzon grid.

The present Pantabangan town has 14 barangays and a total land area of about 41,735 hectares. The succeeding years since its relocation saw its progress from a fifth-class municipality in 1975, then to a fourth-class, then to a second class Municipality in 2006 and finally, in July 2008, pursuant to Section 2 of the Department of Finance Order No. 23-08, Pantabangan was reclassified as First-Class Municipality. It is the only town in the Philippines which boasts of three hydroelectric plants within its territorial jurisdiction.


Pantabangan Town Hall
Population census of Pantabangan
Year Pop. ±% p.a.
1990 18,341 —    
1995 22,183 +3.63%
2000 23,868 +1.58%
2007 25,520 +0.93%
2010 27,353 +2.56%
Source: National Statistics Office[3]

Arts and Culture[edit]

Pantabangan History (1970-1999) Phase II, Blood Mural Painting 4x4ft of Elito "Amangpintor" Circa

The Pandawan Festival made its debut in April 2008, showcasing many local talents as well as other entertainments including Indigenouism art activities like art workshop and rural development thru art awareness programs. Tourists like to visit especially the water sport enthusiasts for jetskiing, boat riding and even bass fishing.

The memories and legends of the old town are depicted by Pantabangan's child folk painter, Elito V. Circa on his Alamat ni Minggan (Legend of Minggan), using his blood and hair on his painting. The painter always depicting the life of Pantabangan from the 70s (time where the town of Pantabangan was submerged by the water) to the present with the style of creating image of Minggan on every painting that he made. Pantabangan has sacrificed its land as it was drowned and made into a dam for the benefit of other towns by providing ample water supply for their crops.

Jason Abalos is also known showbiz artist, a member of ABS-CBN's circle of homegrown talents named Star Magic. He was discovered after joining Star Circle Quest, a reality show in search of new actors also hails from Pantabangan.

Tagalog is predominantly spoken in Pantabangan followed by Ilocano dialect. People of Pantabangan "Pantabangenian" are also known for their very distinct strong Pantabangan accent, called "Adyu-ari".



  1. ^ "Official City/Municipal 2013 Election Results". Intramuros, Manila, Philippines: Commission on Elections (COMELEC). 11 September 2013. Retrieved 21 October 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "Province: Nueva Ecija". PSGC Interactive. Makati City, Philippines: National Statistical Coordination Board. Retrieved 21 October 2013. 
  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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