|Region||Central Luzon (Region III)|
|Mayor||Ernesto Natividad (Bagong Lakas ng Nueva Ecija)|
|Area|| 185.68 km²|
|Total (2000)|| 89,199|
Gapan City is a 4th class city in the province of Nueva Ecija, Philippines. Gapan is nicknamed the "Footwear Capital of the North", and it is an inseparable part of the Rice Granary of the Philippines. According to the 2000 census, it has a population of 89,199 people in 18,200 households. It has a land area of 185.68 km².
Gapan City is located in the southern part of the province. It is bounded to the north by Peñaranda and San Leonardo, to the east by the Gen. Tinio, to the south by San Miguel in neighboring Bulacan province, and to the west by San Isidro.
Gapan City is politically subdivided into 23 barangays.
Old records called the town 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. In time, 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.
Gapan was founded by the Spanish curates and officials who, in their early occupation, exercised great influence over the people and the things they were doing. History places Gapan as one of the first towns of Pampanga founded sometime in the middle part of the sixteenth century. Records of the first Catholic mission to the far east indicated that in 1595, Fathers Contres Tendilla, Caballo and Salazar were responsible for clearing the forest which later became a pueblo. In this pueblo, a church, presedencia and residential houses made of bricks and lime were constructed, now the age-old landmarks of the town.
Its foundation in 1595 makes Gapan the oldest town in Nueva Ecija and one of the oldest in the Philippines. It was likewise a big pueblo embracing an area as far as Cabanatuan City in the north, which was its barrio with the name Cabanatuan before it separated in 1977: the Sierra Madres in the East, San Miguel, and Bulacan in the south and Candaba, Pampanga in the West. Gradually as the Spanish power waned and economic progress caught up in the area, the pueblo disintegrated into many pueblos until it remained to comprise only the towns of Penaranda, General Tinio and San Leonardo (formerly called Manikling) all of Nueva Ecija province. In fact the Patron Saint Divina Pastora had its origin or residence in Barrio Callos, Penaranda.
By virtue of Republic Act No. 9022 and its ratification in a plebiscite subsequently held on August 25, 2001 the Municipality of Gapan was converted into a component city of Nueva Ecija. Ernesto L. Natividad became the first City Mayor of Gapan.
Current major source of income include farming, slipper making, fishponds, poultry and piggery, and commercial establishments.
The city of Gapan held tremendous promise not only in its natural resources but also in its potentials in agri base industries and in footwear industries which help sustain its 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.
ilo:Ciudad ti Gapan