Friday, May 1, 2015

The Hidden Gem of Nueva Ecija: Minalungao National Park

by lakwatserong tatay

So right after the christening we had attended at Gapan. Next on our itinerary was to visit the hidden gem of Nueva Ecija. Who could have thought that the province of Nueva Ecija, that is known to be as the rice paddies of our country, holds one of a kind secret of our mother nature. A great sculpture of nature that can be found in center of Peñaranda River. Has marvelous limestone that is towering 16 meters high and has calm rivers waters within Sierra Mountain Range, known as Minalungao National Park.

Pristine Calm Water of Peñaranda River
Having heard about this place to my co-bloggers last year. Seeing their shared stories about this park makes me excited to see it up close. However i'm having hard time to schedule a trip on this place, then opportunity comes because of an invite to attend christening. Seeing the chance to have additional side trip and had the chance to first set foot in Nueva Ecija makes me more excited because i'll be seeing the park at last.

The Crowded Park

Crowded Parking Area within rented nipa huts
The park covers 2018 hectares and was recognized as a protected area around 1967. Located in Brgy. Minalungao at General Tinio, Nueva Ecija.
Huge limestone within Peñaranda River

Tourists along the river
A local guide is available to guide you within the park, to the grotto, and to the cave. Our was kid named Felix. Since we have only limited time, we opted to visit the cave and experience the cool waters of Peñaranda river.
a very calm river water..

It is advisable to get a local guide because they know more about the park likewise as you help them too. In touring the park you choose between two options by foot or by boat. So if you want relaxation trip within the park, it is better to choose by boat by renting bamboo raft (please rental fees below). Or you may choose the newly cemented trail path to tour the park. Both trails will lead you to the shallow swimming area with refreshing and cool waters of the river.
the bamboo raft that cruise along the river

awesome rock formations...

our guide felix....

that's how you enjoy its cool waters....

There are so many activities available within the park, that you can choose from. There are ziplines for adventurers, bamboo rafting ride, trekking to limestone to get to the cave, trek to grotto and of course having a picnic with your families and friends.
rocky trail going to cave

one of the shallow part of the river....
As of writing, the local government is promoting this place as one of its eco-tourism destination. Rehabilitation of the road going to the park is on going. The rocky trail before is now established and already cemented path for the tourist which is younger and older ones much enjoy the scenery. The fees was different from last year as i've seen from my co-bloggers.

What i wish on this place is that hopefully when i had again the chance to visit again this place. It will be a pleasant as we've visited it. I know the park will attract more tourist and as the tourist may arise the garbage within the area may also arise. I just hope the local government, locals and tourist alike are more responsible with their own trashes. As i've seen there were actually scattered around the area from foils, plastic and even bottles. Hope that in next years to come the park will stay as is right now or few years before when it was explored and be opened to the public. Moreover, let us help the Minalungao National Park, be placed in map as one of the tourist attraction, be beautiful and as charmed right now, thus it will help more locals to their livelihood, specially to those kids like Felix, it will help them alot with schooling and families financies.
Me with our guide Felix..^_^
XB's - Melvin, Me & Joel

Nature Park Trippin is more fun in the Philippines

Minalungao National Park Rates (as of April, 2015):

Entrance Fee - php 30.00
Minulangao Cave - php 10.00
Cottage - php 200.00
Bamboo raft (small) - php 250.00
Bambbo raft (big) - php 500.00
Comfort room - php 10.00
Parking fee - php 50.00

How to get to Minalungao National Park:

By commute: 
Ride a bus bound Gapan/Cabanatuan. Available bus companies from Cubao/Pasay like Five Star, ES Transport. Travel time may take from 2-3 hours.

From Gapan, you have two options, (1) ride a jeep bound to General Tinio formerly known as Papaya (not sure of the jeepney fare) and then from city proper ride a trike going to park (php50 each as per my conversation with the tricycles around the park) / (2) rent a trike from Gapan to Minalungao National Park. Estimate travel time is 1-1.5 hours (php500-600 per tricycle). This option is hassle free because you knew that there will be a tricycle waiting for you if you want to go back to city in anytime you want.


aijika said...

Wow! I never thought Nueva Ecija has something to offer din pala when it comes to tourism. Great shots btw!

mark said...

Thanks for sharing your wonderful experience in Minalungao. Its discovery by many people from various provinces in the Philippines through social media will erase the impression, "Nueva Ecija has nothing to offer but rice fields."
When in Nueva Ecija, the best place to stay is Harvest Hotel in Cabanatuan City.

mark said...

Pantabangan Lake in the town of Pantabangan is another tourist destination in Nueva Ecija. 😊

Anonymous said...

Amazing places. These places are very nice.
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