Sunday, July 19, 2015

CABANATUAN CITY: MORE THAN THE TRICYCLES AND RICEFIELDS


Cabanatuan City is dubbed as the tricycle capital of the Philippines, a land-locked area of agricultural landscape and home to rice fields and granaries.  But there is more to what it is perceived to be known and that is what we have discovered on one fine day.

The heavy downpour met us at the Five Star Cubao Bus Terminal.  It was nearly lunch.  After two (2) hours, we were finally at the Cabanatuan Bus Terminal for another long weekend of fun.




FORT MAGSAYSAY

Traveling to the outskirts of Cabanatuan City as first agenda of the day, we were lead to the largest military reservation in the Philippines and one of the key training areas of the Philippine Army situated at Laur, Nueva Ecija.

The vast property has a man-made lake known as Pahingahan complex, literally translated as a place of rest.  On this rest and recreation facility, we took the opportunity to marvel on the scenic landscape in the form of continuous photo shoots.


An important historical museum is likewise housed in Fort Santiago.  This is the Aquino-Diokno Shrine.  The site of Senators Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino (codename Alpha) and Jose W. Diokno (codename Delta) solitary confinement educates us of the life these political prisoners underwent during the Martial Law.  Our visit started with a documentary film showing how life was for the senators and reaction of their family and friends when the two were transferred from Fort Bonifacio to Fort Magsaysay.  It appears that this prison facility has been constructed solely for the two senators.  After the two were released, the compound was no longer used.



Senator Diokno’s life has little exposure on our history books.  But with the visit to this prison facility, my respect for such noble man was heightened.  I admire the intelligence, wisdom and patriotism of these two senators. It is also amazing how they monitored the passing of days while they were in prison considering the enclosed area they are into.







The life-sized wax statue of the two senators sits on separate rooms serving as prison cell.  These are their actual prison cells during the Martial Law regime.

Nothing but admiration is what I felt while wandering within the vicinity. 

After the visit, we passed-by a church inside the Fort Magsaysay compound and were ushered to the office of one top-ranking official of the Armed Forces of the Philippines for a courtesy call.






PANGATIAN WAR MEMORIAL SHRINE

Approximately 8 kilometers from the city center, a steel fence surrounding a vast property that looks like a cemetery for me was our next destination.  Amidst the rice field abundant in the area, another structure of historical significance lies in the city of Cabanatuan. 




Dating back in the World War II, the rescue of more than five hundred prisoners of war by American soldiers and Filipino guerillas from the Pangatian Concentration Camp has been described as the most daring and successful rescue mission of its type in the military history.  The said event is immortalized in a stone marker now the Pangatian War Memorial.

Then we moved to a higher elevation where a sundial stands.  If you are keen to knowing the exact details of how the prisoners of war were rescued, there is an hourly account of the events with the sundial as your guide.



I never knew Cabanatuan City can be a place of historical interest not until the visit to the said places.

PLACES TO EAT

A visitor can never run out of good and quality food choices for dining when in Cabanatuan City.  It was truly a gastronomic treat when we were in the city.  If only there’s no limit to food intake, I can withstand eating all day in this quaint town.

ROSENDA’S RESTAURANT
283 Maharlika Highway,
Cabanatuan City, 3100 Nueva Ecija
(044) 940 7326

Seafood Pancit Canton (PhP300.00)
Our last meal for dinner in Cabanatuan City was served at Rosenda’s Restaurant.  They provide catering services which explains my high expectation for the food to be served.  And it did not disappoint.  Most of the restaurants’ specialty is on Chinese cuisine.  Pancit canton was a standout for me. 





Situated at the national highway, the restaurant is easy to locate.  Wooden interiors and light furnishings emit a homey vibe. 

BISTRO 360
General Tinio Street,
Cabanatuan City
(044) 463-0049

It was an al-fresco dinner for the group in one of the popular restaurants of the city.  Bistro 360 serves Italian and other Western cuisine, from which they are known for.


Sinigang na Salmon Head (PhP250.00)

Spicy Mixed Seafood (PhP250.00)

But aside from the signature Joaquin panizza and Kesong Puti with Garlic Longganisa Panizza served with arugula and alfalfa sprouts, we further feasted on Filipino favorites.

Beef Back Ribs (PhP420.00)

U.S. Pot Roast Beef (PhP370.00)



Joaquin Panizza

HAPAG VICENTICOS
1077 Del Pilar Street,
Cabanatuan City
(044) 600-3237

The fa├žade is an old Philippine mansion.  Entering the compound, there are artifacts and old installations in display.  The interiors comprise of floorings from Vigan and windows of Capiz shells. 






The visit to Hapag Vicenticos was akin to visiting a house in a provincial setting during fiestas.  And indeed it was a feast complemented by the festive mood of each one in the table.  The restaurant specializes in Filipino cuisine.

chicharon bulaklak (PhP180.00)

Rellenong Alimasag (PhP190.00)

Kilawing Sugba (PhP275.00)

everyone's favorite - Karioka (PhP85.00)

Pinakbet (PhP140.00)

Pork Sisig (PhP215.00)
The set of dishes served were gone easily on our table.  Obviously, we love the food.  Everyone’s favorite though is the karioka, deep-fried sweet rice dough dipped in sweet coconut syrup before skewered with a bamboo stick.

RUSTICA’S RESTAURANT
Pan-Philippine Highway,
Cabanatuan City

Kare-kare and seafood sinigang (sour soup with fish, fish egg and shrimp) were the early favorites in Cabanatuan.  This was our first meal as we stepped in the city. 

feast for lunch
Noticeable is the mini-bar situated at one corner of the restaurant and the interiors provide a relaxing ambiance not to mention the place being spacious as customers can get a pinch of privacy as tables are not that close to one another.


Rustica's mini-bar

Sinigang na Ulo ng Salmon (PhP300.00)

Kare-kareng Seafood (PhP375.00)
Ensaladang hilaw na mangga, kamatis at bagoong (PhP150.00)



Indeed, more than the tricycles and the ricefields, Cabanatuan City is a promising city for tourism.  We inevitably learn history while feasting on the gastronomic cuisine it offers.  And what is even more remarkable is the giant logo of the Red Horse Beer – a mark that we are truly welcome in Cabanatuan City.


Food trip was made possible through the assistance of Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham Cabanatuan City.


1 comments :

  1. I love the last pic haha. Welcome to Cabanatuan - my home City. Glad you enjoyed your stay there. Next time sama nyo ko para ituro ko sa inyo mga homegrown delicacies namin :)

    ReplyDelete

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