GAPAN CITY is a 4th class city in the province of Nueva Ecija, Philippines. The place is known as the "Footwear Capital of the North" and is an inseparable part of the Rice Granary of the Philippines. It is bounded by Peñaranda and San Leonardo to the north side, Gen. Tinio to the east side, San Miguel in neighboring Bulacan province to the south, and San Isidro to the west side.
Gapan used to be known in earlier times as Ibon town. “Gapan” according to legends was derived when Spanish soldiers saw natives crawling through the thick bushes in the area; the soldiers stopped them and asked for the name of the place. However, the natives thought they were being asked as to what they are doing at that time, and they answered back “Gumagapang gapang kami”. Since then the Spaniards called the place Pueblo Gapang. In time, Gapang was changed to Gapan. Others say, the name of the place was derived from the numerous climbing and crawling plants in the area at that time.
In the middle part of the 16th century, Spanish curates and officials founded Gapan and exercised great influence over the people and the things they were doing. Catholic missionaries in 1595 were responsible for clearing the forest which later became a pueblo and a church, presedencia, residential houses made of bricks and lime were constructed. This foundation made Gapan as the oldest town in Nueva Ecija and one of the oldest in the Philippines. The Pueblo covered a vast area as far as Cabanatuan City, Sierra Madres in the East, San Miguel and Bulacan in the south and Candaba, Pampanga in the West. Later on the pueblo disintegrated into many pueblos until it remained to comprise only the towns of Penaranda, General Tinio and San Leonardo in Nueva Ecija province.
Then on August 25, 2001 the Municipality of Gapan was converted into a component city of Nueva Ecija by virtue of Republic Act No. 9022.
Gapan City has a total land area of 185.68 km².
The City now has a population of 89,199 people in 18,200 households.
COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY
Gapan City’s major source of income includes farming, slipper making, fishponds, poultry and piggery, and commercial establishments. The place has rich natural resources and great potentials in agri-base industries as well as footwear industries which help sustain the City’s virtual role in agricultural and industrial production. Commercial and trade activities in the city are further accelerated by the influx of financing lending institution and new businesses.
The City has three types of climate, namely Type I with two pronounced season, Type III with season not very pronounced and Type IV with rainfall evenly distributed through the year. The average maximum temperature of the province is about 31.8 degrees Celsius and ranges from 29.6 °C to 34.1 °C and occurs during the months of April to July. Mean minimum temperature is about 22 °C that occurs during the months of November to March.
ARTS & CULTURE
Gapan celebrates Araquio of Peñaranda during the 1st week of May annually. This is a traditional re-enactment of Queen Helena and King Constantine`s search for the cross where Christ was crucified garbed in colorful costumes. The prince and princess sing, dance and dramatize in this re-enactment that also features sword fights between the Christian and the Moors. The two day performance proceeds to the streets, followed by the audience, till they reach the house of the Hermanos and Hermanas where the search ends and culminates in a procession.
Another event is the Divine Shepherdess which is celebrated every May 1st which is also the official City. Gapan City is also a focal place of Pilgrimage for devotees of Central Luzon. The miracles of the Divine Shepherdess has attracted the attention of the church authorities that on April 26, 1964, she was crown queen at the church plaza thereby making Gapan an official pilgrimage city where her graces would flourish for those who visit Gapan.
The known local product of the city is making slippers.
LIST OF “BARANGAYS” (or communities)
Gapan City is politically subdivided into 23 barangays:
San Lorenzo (Poblacion)
San Vicente (Poblacion)
Sto. Cristo Norte
THE CHURCH OF GAPAN
The Church was built in the years 1856 to 1872 with Byzantine architecture made out of bricks, adobe and lime. The church was built through forced labor.
THE SHRINE OF DIVINA PASTORA
The shrine houses the patron Saint of Gapan, Divina Pastora. The feast is celebrated every 1st day of May. Visitors come to the Shrine for prayer offering. They believe that the patron is miraculous.
Nueva Ecija is strategically situated along two regional boundaries of Luzon: Region 1 (Pangasinan Province) and Region II (Nueva Viscaya Province). The province is dependent on land transportation for mobility. There are eight (8) major buses stationed in the province namely: Baliwag Transit, Five Star Bus, R.L. Transport, Arayat Express, RAM Transit, E. Jose Transit, ES Transport and Sierra Madre Transit plying the rough Manila as far as Appari. Baliwag Transit is the major bus company serving the different municipalities in the province, in support of other forms of public utility vehicles that bound along the countryside.