Cabanatuan City is found in the province of Nueva Ecija — the Rice Granary of the Philippines. It is a land-locked area in Central Luzon and has interesting places that families would want to explore and enjoy. It is easily accessible through a 3-hour bus ride from Metro Manila that passes through the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX). From sharing a family meal and some homemade dessert to some historical and outdoor sight-seeing, Cabanatuan City has a lot to pride itself with.
1. Go on a family adventure at the Minalungao National Park
Minalungao National Park is one of Nueva Ecija’s natural wonders found at General Tinio, Nueva Ecija. It features the 16-meter (52.5 ft) high limestone border that the narrow Peñaranda River. Aside from sight-seeing, river rafting is definitely a must-try and it only costs around 10 USD (500 PHP) for a whole day. Imagine that! Eat and listen to your favorite music while enjoying the calm and refreshing nipa hut and table on the raft. Jumping off a cliff is also one thing to do for the thrill seekers. The only thing to be careful of is to choose which cliff to dive off from. Ask a guide to give expert advise. Spelunking and hiking is also something to enjoy at Minalungao National Park. If those aren’t enough, then go zip lining. For only 3 USD (150 PHP), you can test your limits and face your fear of heights.
To get to Minalungao National Park, simply ride a bus from Cubao, Manila to Cabanatuan City and get-off at Gapan City. From there, ride a tricycle to the Park. The whole commute from Manila only takes around an hour and a half.
Minalungao National Park
Address: General Tinio, Luzon 3104, Philippines
2. Learn about history with a visit to Camp Pangatian War Memorial Shrine
Two decades before the Japanese war, Camp Pangatian Shrine was an American military camp. When the Japanese occupation occurred in the country, it became a concentration camp used for allied prisoners. It is known as the largest prisoner-of-war camp in the Philippines. Among the veterans, this is one go-to place as a patriot and as a Filipino. The Shrine is a memorial for Filipino heroes who stopped the Japanese troops from advancing to the Pangatian Concentration Camp which freed 516 WWII prisoners. Memorabilia, monuments and a mural of the Filipino-American soldiers carrying each other are displayed to further instill the appreciation of the Philippine heritage. Camp Pangatian is found in the Nueva Ecija-Aurora Road Cabanatuan City. No entrance fee is needed to visit the memorial shrine.
Camp Pangatian War Memorial Shrine
Address: Aurora Rd, Pangatian, Cabanatuan City, 3100 Nueva Ecija, Philippines
3. Enjoy an authentic Novo Ecijano family meal at Hapag Vicenticos
According to the Novo Ecijanos in Cabanatuan City, if you don’t enjoy a native meal in Hapag Vicenticos, you have not really visited Cabanatuan. The restaurant is famous and highly recommended for being the only restaurant that offers the all-inclusive Pinoy style dining experience otherwise known as “Hapag Kainan.” Up front, it looks like a classic old house making it feel like any Filipino home. Enjoying the hearty meals prepared by its seasoned cooks and chefs will definitely be comforting. Among its many specialties include crispy kare-kare, bulaklak kinilaw, crispy binagoongan and chicken binakol. Hapay Vicenticos always makes sure that every item in the menu suits every palate, dietary and budget requirement for all ages. The restaurant is located at 1077 Del Pilar Street, Cabanatuan City, 3100 Nueva Ecija
Address: 1077 Del Pilar Street
Price: from 0.80 USD / ~40 PHP
Website: Hapag Vicenticos
4. Like dairy? Satisfy your creamy cravings at Milka Krem and Puno's Ice Cream and Sherbet
These two sweet stops are for every sweet tooth seeking a new dessert experience. Milka Krem’s dairy products are made from fresh Carabao’s milk. They have a wide array of yummy and flavorful treats like blueberry yoghurt, strawberry yoghurt, chocolate milk and coffee milk. The shop opened to give avenues for dairy farmers to have access to the commercial market for more gains. Milka Krem’s tagline, “Fresh and Natural,” comes from the assurance that their products are developed through science-based practices. The facility is located at the Philippine Carabao Center, Science City of Munoz, Nueva Ecija.
Puno’s Ice Cream and Sherbet is Cabanatuan’s famed ice cream brand. The ice cream factory manufactures its delicious creamy desserts using imported Italian machines. Puno’s product line includes their frozen yoghurt, frozen custard, gelato, sorbet and the simple and beloved ice cream. They have interesting flavors, too, like sili (chili), malunggay, tinutong na rice, calamansi, sapin-sapin, champorado and dilis, and mangga and bagoong at Alamang. The brand has a total of seven branches in Cabanatuan City alone and one in Aurora, Baler. Visit Maharlika Highway, Bitas, 3100 Cabanatuan City to cool off and enjoy its delightful products.
Facebook: Milka Krem
Puno’s Ice Cream and Sherbet
Facebook: Puno’s Ice Cream and Sherbet
5. Get a Glimpse of Egypt at Khaliblu Palace
Although it seems bizarre to see Egypt in such a city, it actually is a great idea. It spices things up in any vacation, most especially for the adults in the family. The Persian and Egyptian inspired hotel offers a unique experience only they can share. Aside from being the perfect place to enjoy the night in Cabanatuan City, it is also known for serving Lakan — the all-Filipino lambanog (rice wine) brand. For a night cap, visit Kapitan Pepe Avenue, Cabanatuan City, 3100 Nueva Ecija.
Cabanatuan City is a great destination for families
With this variety of tastes, any family visit to Cabanatuan City will be an unforgettable one. If you want to go on a family excursion, the exciting Minalungao National Park is there to enjoy. If you want to travel back through memory lane, Camp Pangatian War Memorial Shrine is within reach. For those food cravings, don’t miss out on Hapag Vicenticos, Milka Krem and Puno’s Ice Cream. Finally, for some nightlife, visit Egypt at Khaliblu Palace. Nothing else keeps the family stronger than going on adventures together. It is the perfect way to celebrate the essence of home in a most tangible way.
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