One thing you need to know about Cabanatuan City, located in the province of Nueva Ecija, is that it has around 30,000 tricycles, instantly making it the “Tricycle Capital of the Philippines.”
This highly urbanized area is home to several historical sites and is close to natural landmarks as well.
How to Go
By land transportation
From Manila, get on a Baliwag, Five Star, Genesis, or Victory bus at Cubao Station headed to or making a stop at Cabanatuan – check the signboard if it says “Cabanatuan.”
It takes around two to three hours to get to Cabanatuan. If you’re coming from Baguio, take the Summer Bloom Transport as it is the only liner headed to the city. The ride is around four hours.
If you’re using a private vehicle, take the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX).
It is the Tricycle Capital of the Philippines, so getting on one is the best way to explore the city. There are taxis and jeepneys around though, if you prefer a more spacious mode of transportation.
There are several historical places of interest in Cabanatuan, but first-time travelers can start at the Camp Pangatian War Memorial Shrine, a venue dedicated to commemorating those who have valiantly fought and lost their lives during the Second World War. Another great landmark to visit is the Aquino-Diokno Memorial, paying tribute to the two heroic detainees during the Marcos Regime.
More interestingly, tourists usually flock to Khaliblu Palace, an Egyptian-inspired nightclub that sells premium lambanog (coconut arrack).
Top Things to Do
Cabanatuan City does not disappoint when it comes to food crawls. They have excellent underrated restaurants that serve authentic local food. Also, be sure to grab a drink at Khaliblu Palace – it’s a must-do when visiting the city.
After sobering up the next day, do visit various historical sites, Cabanatuan is known to the location of General Antonio Luna’s assassination in 1899.
Where to Eat
If you’ve met someone who has visited or lived in Cabanatuan, the first restaurant they’ll think of recommending is Hapag Vicenticos. Their crispy pata might be their bestseller, so hop in and pig out!
While not exactly a restaurant, Milka Krem is a dairy lover’s dream come true. Made from carabao milk, Milka Krem products are some of the best (yet perishable) souvenirs to bring home. Try their coffee milk paired with a pastillas – it’s so delicious!
For the perfect pancit canton, head on over to Deluxe Chinese Restaurant as this is their number one bestseller. Their dishes are filling, so you’ll definitely have a full tummy upon paying the bill.
Most people go to Khaliblu Palace for a good time. There are other smaller bars around, but this Egyptian-themed nightclub is the place to be when the sun sets.
Where to Stay
Budget hotels are on the rise in Cabanatuan, but most travelers opt to stay in Harvest Hotel
(between PhP1,500-3,000/night) for its 5-star guest treatment or La Parilla Hotel
, which costs less than PhP3,000/night. Most hotels play around less than PhP3,000/night, so choose which one will be best for you and your group.
• It can get quite hot in Cabanatuan, so bring thin clothing and tank tops.
• Bring cash, especially small coins, when you commute.
• While Cabanatuan is generally peaceful, there are some greedy eyes, so bring the bare minimum.