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Passing through sleepy Palayan City, one cannot miss the drama of it all. Rounding the bend at Barangay Atate, one is jolted awake by what seems to be a mirage: The clumps of trees along the road have given way to a huge landscaped compound on which sits a gigantic white edifice, barely two storeys high, but constructed at such a grand scale 
that it commands attention. It's the new P200-million Nueva Ecija Provincial Capitol Building.


The idea of erecting a new Capitol Building in Palayan City,
the province's capital, was conceived by the late 
Gov. Eduardo "Tatang" L. Joson in 1965. 
Thirty-seven years later, on January 25, 2002, Tatang's dream 
was finally fulfilled by his son, Gov. Tomas N. Joson III.
 


The first thing one notices upon entering the building
is the semicircular staircase surrounding a life-size statue.
 


The likeness of the late Gov. Eduardo L. Joson was cast in bronze
by National Artist Napoleon C. Abueva and donated by
a group of Novo Ecijanos in the United States.
 


Lining two walls of the foyer are oil portraits of 
the governors of the province from the past to the present.
 


The bright, airconditioned offices furnished with new
furniture and equipment are a far cry from the
dark, moldy, dusty offices of the old Kapitolyo which
reeked of cigarette smoke and stale urine.
 


Even the cashiers' windows never looked this sleek.
 


Indoor pocket gardens
help to freshen tired eyes and calm frayed nerves.
 


Art works portraying Nueva Ecija culture and history
especially commissioned from homegrown artists adorn the building.
 


At the left wing of the ground floor is
the airconditioned provincial museum.
 


It features a huge display case of Nueva Ecija flora and fauna
in lifelike setting, complemented with sound effects...
 


...exhibits of farm implements...
 


...antique household gadgets...
 


...tools of various trades...
 


...even a gramophone.
 


A section is devoted to native costumes...
 


...including the raiments worn by performers 
of the traditional "arraquio," 
the Nueva Ecija version of "moro-moro."
 


The spiritual side of Novo Ecijanos is shown
in a collection of religious imagery.
 


An integral part of the displays tackles the province's
revolutionary spirit and the heroism of its citizens
-- from a diorama of the 1896 Factoria rebellion...
 


...to blown-up photo displays of heroes of the Fil-American War
and World War II, including an extensive gallery on the life
and times of Tatang Joson, himself a war hero.
 


Going to the second floor of the Capitol Building, the landing
features a mural showing highlights of the province's
colorful history and culture...
 


...the creation of Nueva Ecija during the Spanish Regime...
 


...economic activities of Novo Ecijanos...
 


...the role Nueva Ecija played in the 
Philippine Revolution against Spain...
 


...and the current leadership and programs 
of the provincial government.
 


A pair of wide, dark stained doors lead to...
 


... the governor's office, sparsely but tastefully
furnished...
 


...and ready to receive the daily stream of visitors.
 


Adjacent is the governor's conference room
with individual microphone sets for the participants.
 


The governor maintains three other 
interconnected receiving rooms...
 


...that make it possible for him to entertain several sets of
visitors simultaneously.
 


At the center of the second floor is the Sangguniang Panlalawigan
session hall equipped with state of the art audio-visual equipment.
The place also serves as a mini-amphitheater for various functions.
 


Behind the session hall is a corridor lined with the individual offices
of Sanggunian members.
 


At the building's roof deck is a restaurant...
 


...catering to Capitol employees and visitors.
 


From the various offices, one can look through 
huge glass-paned windows in any direction...
 


...and view nature at its best -- a panorama of rolling hills
and everchanging sky -- as far as the eyes can see.
 

Digital photos and text by Ramon R.Valmonte
April 2002

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