I was hanging out at my friend's house in Baliuag, Bulacan just doing nothing, "Dulce Far Niente" as the Italians would put it. We have always wondered as the buses in front of their house passes by with signboards going to the City of Cabanatuan of what is to see there.
|public market along the road to Cabanatuan|
Cabanatuan is 111 kilometers north of Manila and is about 61 Kilometers from where we were at. By noon time we took a bus to the city to kill the curiosity. Travel time from Baliuag to Cabanatuan is about two hours so if you coming from Manila it would approximately be about three to four hours of travel time depending on where your bus will exit from the North Luzon Expressway.
We hopped into a bus and started our journey. The only thing that comes into my mind when someone mentions Cabanatuan is the building that collapsed during the great earth quake during the 90's. I asked some travel friends of mine of what is it there to do on our destination and the answers that I got were:
1. Mag-saka? (to farm)
2. Mag-gatas ng Kalabaw? (to milk a water buffalo)
3. Go to a Dam (but that requires a permit from the mayor's office that we can't get because it was a weekend)
|Kudos! to the local/provincial government |
for switching many of the street lights to solar powered ones! Yey!
We got off at Robinsons Cabanatuan as it was the only place that comes up when we search the internet of places to go at the city. We walked around the mall which was a bit small even for a city in a province (well at least to my standards). looked for a place where we could stay and found a coffee shop. While ordering coffee we talked to the staff of the store to ask on what is there to do in their city and what are the points of interest that we should go to.
The local's response was heart breaking, imagine a local can't say a good place to go in their city? We asked a couple more strangers and they said the same things, either they don't know or there is none. With the response that we got from the local we just decided to just spend the whole afternoon at the coffee shop surfing the net and talking about well, anything lol!
About to go back to Bulacan, we remembered that it was a Sunday so we thought of going to church first before traveling back as we won't be able to hear mass because there won't be enough time to catch the last mass.
Standing facing the Highway we were contemplating on what to do. Again we asked around for the nearest church and every body was pointing us to the town center which according to them was still far away. We decided to explore more and found a church looking structure. We went inside the compound and found that it is a seminary and the voice we were hearing was reciting the Angelus, we stopped for a while to reflect on the prayer.
|The structure that I thought to be a church|
Again we asked where would the nearest church be and we were directed still to the town center and was told that it is the diocese's Cathedral but this time the lady said that it's near enough for us to catch the last mass.
We took a tricycle (40 pesos) to the town center instead of the 7 peso jeepney ride to get to the town center faster. As I get off the vehicle there it was! what we were looking for a point of interest.
This is the San Nicolas de Tolentino Cathedral, the seat of the diocese of Cabanatuan. This is the temporary cathedral while the new and bigger cathedral is being built at the lakeshore village in the same city.
|Gen Antonio Luna Monument|
Unfortunately, as the marker on the building fronting the patio states the fall of this Philippine hero is of the dark side of Philippine History.
The marker states:
"On the plaza in front of this building formerly
the presidential headquarter of the first Philippine Republic, General Antonio Luna and his aide Colonel Francisco Roman were ASSASINATED in the after noon of 5 June 1899; By members of General Emilio Aguinaldo's Presidential Guard"
After catching what is left of the sunlight for my pictures, I went inside to hear mass. The church reminded me much of the chapel in my home town that was built in the 1970's.
and the vaulted ceiling reminds of the works of Leandro Locsin.
Right after the mass, there's this one thing that us Filipinos love doing, EATING! Just outside at the church's patio are stalls vending different Filipino food.
I ordered bibingka which for most part of the country can only be seen being sold during the Christmas season.
|Bibingka and Tea|
The bakery is very nice as it features an open kitchen. You can see the workers molding your favorite pandesal through a glass.
They also cook it right on the spot! They will literally give it to you straight right from the oven!
|our order being baked|
|Trays of dough being sit to emulsify|
As we reached the park we saw a structure with lights that it was so inviting we walked towards it. As we approached the building we learned that it is the old provincial capitol of Nueva Ecija. I am not an architecture expert but it reminds me of the old Gabaldon schools in the provinces.
Just when I thought that nothing would happen and nothing is there to see in Cabanatuan things started be not so bad at all. Thank God! because if we didn't go and hear mass we wouldn't know the hidden treasures of the city.
I hope that the local government would exert more effort in educating the locals and spread the work more online on what is there to is in Cabanatuan.