PALAYAN CITY ? Since its creation in 1965, this city has been derided rather than esteemed, even if it is the capital of the rice-producing Nueva Ecija province.
The place was not a big rice-growing area as its name ?Palayan? suggests. The Tagalog term means a vast rice field, which this city is not. It has a rolling terrain.
The city has no features, ambience or amenities commonly found in urbanized centers.
It has only about 10,000 residents and most of its highways were not well paved when it became the provincial capital.
The joke was that the city looked like an oversized village, and the animals in a government stock farm far outnumbered the residents.
Then through annexation by law, the original 3,555-hectare area of this city became 17,229 hectares. Added to its area were parts of the reservation of Fort Magsaysay, an Army camp in Laur town, parts of the cantonment area of the camp in Sta. Rosa town, and another village in Bongabon town.
In 2002, then Gov. Tomas Joson III transferred the seat of the provincial government to this city. Aside from the spanking capitol, a convention center, modern athletic grounds with an Olympic-size swimming pool, a public college with student dormitories, a provincial museum, a radio station, and still-to-be-operated provincial hotel, among others, were built in succession on the donated area.
The 50-hectare capitol compound was donated by the city government to the provincial government.
?It?s throbbing with life today. It is no longer called the biggest and longest village,? Mayor Romeo Capinpin said during the opening of the agri-trade here on Dec. 3.
Because of the city?s metamorphosis from an oversized village to a fast-developing city, he said he decided to hold a weeklong festival to commemorate Palayan?s 43rd founding anniversary on Dec. 1-5. He named businesswoman Adrianne Mae Cuevas chair of the festivities.
The city government?s income, mostly from the internal revenue allotment, is P193 million and its population has breached the 50,000-mark, Capinpin said.
Capinpin said the city government operates the Palayan City Institute of Technology while the provincial government operates a college. A state university runs its satellite schools here.
Cost of housing lots and farmlands, which years ago were offered at giveaway prices, has risen. A 750-sq.m. lot along the highway, for example, fetches from P1 million to P5 million.