Cabanatuan, officially the City of Cabanatuan, is a bustling city located in the province of Nueva Ecija, Philippines. With a population of 327,325 people according to the 2020 census, it is the most populous city in Nueva Ecija and the fifth-most populous in Central Luzon. The city is known for being home to over 30,000 motorized tricycles, which has earned it the title of Tricycle Capital of the Philippines. Its strategic location along the Cagayan Valley Road has made the city a major economic, educational, medical, entertainment, shopping, and transportation center in Nueva Ecija and nearby provinces such as Tarlac, Aurora, and Bulacan. Cabanatuan has also earned the moniker Gateway to the North.
Cabanatuan has a rich history, having been founded as a Barrio of Gapan in 1750 and becoming a Municipality and capital of La Provincia de Nueva Ecija in 1780. The city is the site of the historical Plaza Lucero and the Cabanatuan Cathedral, where General Antonio Luna was assassinated by Captain Pedro Janolino and members of the Kawit battalion. Cabanatuan lost the title of provincial capital in 1850 when the capital of Nueva Ecija was moved to San Isidro, another historic town. It was only in 1917, when the administrative code was enacted, that Cabanatuan was restored as capital of the province. During World War II, the city was occupied by the Japanese who built the Cabanatuan Prison Camp, where many American soldiers were imprisoned and endured the infamous Bataan Death March. In January 1945, the U.S. Army 6th Ranger Battalion and two teams of Alamo Scouts marched 30 miles (48 km) behind enemy lines to rescue the prisoners in what became known as the Raid at Cabanatuan.
Cabanatuan is located in the rolling central plains of Luzon and is drained by the Pampanga River. The city stands 14 kilometres (8.7 mi) southwest of the provincial capital Palayan City and 116 kilometres (72 mi) north of Manila. It is bordered by Santa Rosa to the south, Talavera and Gen. Mamerto Natividad to the north, Palayan to the northeast, Laur to the east, and Aliaga to the west. The city has a tropical wet and dry climate, with year-round warm weather and distinct dry and wet seasons. It is one of the hottest cities in the country, having reached its hottest temperature at 39.8 °C in the summer of 2011, which was also the hottest in the Philippines in that same year.
Cabanatuan is the economic heart of Nueva Ecija, with its dynamic service and agricultural sectors driving the economy forward. It is a vital financial center, housing a good number of banks, non-bank financial institutions, and the headquarters of some of the largest rural banks in Central Luzon. The city is also a distribution and logistics center for goods and commodities, with a number of distribution warehouses and sales offices of various companies serving the whole province. The motor vehicle industry is a notable part of the city’s economy, with popular global automotive companies having established dealerships in the city’s metropolitan area. Existing car/truck dealerships include Mitsubishi, Kia, Isuzu, Mazda, Ford, Nissan, Peugeot, Hyundai, Hyundai Trucks and Buses, Suzuki, and Mahindra, all in Cabanatuan; Toyota, Foton, and Honda in Santa Rosa town; Chevrolet and Hino in San Leonardo town. Motorcycle dealerships are also common, like in most Philippine mid-sized cities.
Cabanatuan has a rich religious diversity, with Roman Catholicism being the predominant religion in the city. The city is host to a major cathedral, the St. Nicholas of Tolentino Cathedral, which serves as the seat of the bishop of the Diocese of Cabanatuan. There are three other major Catholic structures located