At the heart of Nueva Ecija, the largest province in Central Luzon, is Cabanatuan City. The city is an economic hub with all the significant investments concentrated here. In fact, Cabanatuan City is one of the most competitive cities in the Philippines as it is a major economic, educational, medical, entertainment, and transportation center in Nueva Ecija and nearby provinces in the region such as Aurora and Bulacan.
One of the most famous landmarks in this city is SM City Cabanatuan, which is about 30 minutes to 1 hour away from Amaia Scapes Cabanatuan via Nueva Ecija – Aurora Rd. The mall is located in Brgy. H Concepcion along Maharlika Highway.
SM City Cabanatuan opened on October 2015, becoming the 53rd mall for SM Prime Holdings Inc. and the 2nd in the city next to SM Megacenter Cabanatuan. The five-level mall has a bold and dynamic design that cannot be missed and its prismatic aluminum-clad curved wall particularly.
Given that Nueva Ecija is in the middle of Tarlac, Pampanga, Bulacan, and Aurora in Quezon Province, SM City Cabanatuan is a destination mall, which serves the entire region.
A green shopping mall, SM City Cabanatuan is built with the Garden Park and the Roof Park. The first one is an elevated outdoor garden complete with canopied walkways found on the second level of the mall while the second one is a small, pocket-like-but-bigger garden fitted with a fully air-conditioned indoor park.
Beside the park are restaurants that make dining experience all the more fascinating. Speaking of which, the food court’s unique look – ceilings with leaf designs in green and brown combination—will be appreciated by the locals and tourists for sure.
Other than the food court’s vast food selection, SM City Cabanatuan also houses several homegrown restaurants such as Hapag Vicentico’s, Leticia’s Breads and Cakes, and Joey’s Snack House. International food chains and Filipino brands are also available.
When it comes to entertainment, the mall is not to be left behind. It has six digital theaters that moviegoers can choose from. One of these cinemas is a large screen that is comparable with that of an IMAX theater, fitting up to 525 guests.
Another feature that the locals love the Cyberzone. Following Cabanatuan City’s moniker as the IT Hub of Central Luzon, SM City Cabanatuan includes major telco and computer stores.
In addition to the event center, the malling experience at Cabanatuan City is completed by amusement areas, wellness facilities, and anchor stores. For the convenience of the mall goers, there are more than 2,000 vehicle parking slots and about 500 motorcycle parking slots in the basement.
Furthermore, as initially planned, the mall is to have solar panels. It was actually built to be disaster-resilient while minimizing the risks caused by flooding in the vicinity.
The mall can be your first or final stop. It’s built near the city center, so there are many other places of interest to see in Nueva Ecija, around Cabanatuan City. Here’s a list of must-visit places:
Inside the mall, as already mentioned, there’s a branch of Hapag Vicentico’s. However, if you want to experience eating Filipino food in an equally authentic Filipino setting, go to Hapag Vicentico’s. Located at Del Pilar St., t’s only 16 minutes of travel away from SM City Cabanatuan.
Dubbed as “Ang hapag kainan ng bawat Novo Ecijano,” the restaurant is famous for its crispy pata, chicharong bulaklak, karioka, rellenong alimasag, sinigang na hipon, pork sisig, kilawing sugba, and pinakbet. The restaurant is an old abandoned house converted into distinct nooks that guests can also explore.
Hapag Vicentico’s in front of Cabanatuan City’s Freedom Park. You can also take a leisurely stroll at the park after satisfying your cravings.
About 25 to 35 minutes of travel away from the mall is all you need to go to Camp Pangatian War Memorial Shrine. It is a military camp that became a concentration camp during the Japanese occupation.
Veterans frequent the place believing that all patriots should come here at least once in their lifetime. Indeed, the shrine is an opportunity to know more about our history and heritage.
The camp is like a museum. It houses all the memorabilia on how Filipino soldiers stopped Japanese troops from going to Pangatian Concentration Camp.
Minalungao National Park is an hour away from SM City Cabanatuan. It is one of Nueva Ecija’s natural wonders situated at General Tinio.
From its name, there are several activities to do here, especially for thrill seekers. Tourists may do river rafting, spelunking, hiking, zip lining, and cliff jumping. The last activity seems to be the favorite pasttime of the locals, particularly children.
If you just want to enjoy the scenery, stay at one of the nipa huts above the wide bamboo rafts. Food is also served there.
These are the must-see places in Cabanatuan City–the pride of the city, and the places are a short ride away from the mall.