According to the wikipedia, the town was formerly called Ibon. How it came to be known as Gapan is an interesting legend: When the place was still wilderness, Spanish soldiers came there on a mission when they saw natives crawling through the thick bushes. The soldier stopped them and, not knowing the local dialect, asked in Spanish for the name of the place. The natives knew nothing on the Spanish language and, thinking that the Spanish were asking what they were doing, answered in Tagalog, a local dialect “Gumagapang gapang kami”. The Spanish took it as a name and henceforth called The Pueblo Gapang.
Eventually, the letter “g” was dropped and the name Gapan sticks to this day. Another legend stated the name came from the climbing and crawling plants that were so numerous in the locality.
My companions in going to Gapan were Fr. Glenn Paul Gomez, Fr. Redz Domino, Fr. Kit Ramirez, Fr. Rod Dela Rosa, Fr. Pablito Tagura, Fr. Yoyo Rebucias and his two relatives, Sr. Tonette Morales, two Chinese confreres and two other co-missionaries.
The long trip from Quezon City to Nueva Ecija was not tiresome since the countryside offered breathtaking natural sceneries that makes you feel proud to live in the Philippines. The air was fresh! Their rivers were clean!
Fr. Rod assures us that we would not be lost. “As long as we are near Mount Arayat, we are on the right track.” True enough, the place is just at the back of the majestic mountain. We arrived just around lunch time. Too bad, I was not able to take pictures while we were eating but we absolutely had a big fill.
It was memorable since it was an out-of-town bonding trip for us Christ the King formators. In was also the last time we had our bonding together. Ah, kailan kaya mauulit ito…