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Exploring MINALUNGAO NATIONAL PARK, "One of Nueva Ecija's Well-kept Secrets"



Tourist spots and attractions in Nueva Ecija
Minalungao National Park

Minalungao National Park! Yahoo! Summer has always been my favorite season. Except for the hot weather, almost everyone likes this exciting part of the year. Thus, the hot summer season led us to explore one of the few remaining natural environment in Central Luzon. It was one of those days that I just want to leave and be somewhere. So I invited my friend to explore one of Nueva Ecija's hidden gems - Minalungao National Park in the town of General Tinio.

Tourist spots and attractions in Nueva Ecija
Minalungao National Park

It is one of those places that only a few have been to. I've been wanting to visit this place since I saw photos of it from friends. Since then, I was enticed that I should see it for myself. From Manila, we hopped on a bus bound for Cabanatuan City and reached Gapan, Nueva Ecija after 2 hours. Since it was still very early in the morning, we had our breakfast first in one of the fast food chains at the town center. After which, we hired a tricycle going to Papaya. Please note that Papaya is the old name of General Tinio, that's why locals more often than not, still call it Papaya. The tricycle ride costs 150 pesos, travel time is about 45 minutes.

Tourist spots and attractions in Nueva Ecija
Papaya Municipal Mall

Upon arrival in Papaya, we went to the municipal hall to ask for some information on getting to Minalungao National Park. We wanted to know the easiest way to get there and how much should it cost. Thanks a lot to the very accommodating staff at the information desk for helping us with the information that we need.

Tourist spots and attractions in Nueva Ecija
Gen. Tinio Municipal Hall

At the tricycle terminal, we hired one tricycle. He asked for 250 pesos for a 2-way trip to the Minalungao. We're okay with that, considering the place is far from the town proper. It took us 45 minutes on bumpy and unpaved road to reach the park. It made me realize that it's best to go here on a sunny day, as muddy road maybe your greatest obstacle in getting there. I've heard from the locals that the road here had greatly improved. I could see newly concreted roads, but there's still long kilometers of unpaved road. I guess it will be improved through time.

Tourist spots and attractions in Nueva Ecija
Arriving at Minalungao National Park

Minalungao National Park is a protected area enacted on 1967 by virtue of Republic Act No. 5100. It is known for its clean flowing river, towering rock formations, and clean and peaceful environment. One of the most distinguishable features of the park are the high limestone walls on both sides leading to a cave. One must be extra careful in traversing the side of the limestone walls as it is slippery and a single mistake can lead to accident.

Tourist spots and attractions in Nueva Ecija
Minalungao National Park

Tourist spots and attractions in Nueva Ecija
Rock Formations at Minalungao National Park

Tourist spots and attractions in Nueva Ecija
Me @ Minalungao National Park

Tourist spots and attractions in Nueva Ecija
Minalungao National Park

Things to do in Nueva Ecija
Beautiful isn't it?

Things to do in Nueva Ecija
Minalungao National Park

Along the way, we passed by the cave but we didn't enter it. We just took some photos from the outside.

Things to do in Nueva Ecija
The Cave

We went all the way to the far end of the river where the water is shallow, which is perfect for swimming. I had an awesome time enjoying the cool water and savoring the lush verdant environment.

Things to do in Nueva Ecija
Minalungao National Park

Things to do in Nueva Ecija
Shallow part of the river

Things to do in Nueva Ecija
Swimming time!

Minalungao National Park Nueva Ecija
Bamboo raft @ Minalungao National Park

Minalungao National Park Nueva Ecija
Refreshing!

Going back, we climbed the concrete stairs leading the top which leads all the way down to the cottage area.

Minalungao National Park Nueva Ecija
Super enjoy!

Locals residing at the park are easily available to guide any visitor wishing to explore the place. I highly recommend our guide, Mang Tacio. He is fun to be with as he gives a lot of information about the place. He doesn't have any standard rate for his guiding service, just give him any amount you wish to give. I don't have his contact number, just ask for him when you get there.

Minalungao National Park Nueva Ecija
Mang Tacio, our guide

Cottages for picnics are available. There are also stores where you could buy snacks and refreshments. But it is best that you bring food and drinks when you visit the place.

Minalungao National Park Nueva Ecija
Picnic area at Minalungao National Park

Swimming, hiking, camping, raft riding, spelunking and cliff diving are just some of the activities that can be enjoyed in Minalugao.

Minalungao National Park Nueva Ecija
Minalungao National Park

The awesome geological features characterized by stunning rock formations, serene environment and clean flowing river are just some of the reasons you must visit this place. Truly, Minalungao National Park is one of Nueva Ecija's well-kept secrets.

HOW TO GET TO MINALUNGAO NATIONAL PARK

From Manila, take a Cabanatuan-bound bus and get off at Gapan, Nueva Ecija, tell the bus attendant to drop you in Bucana. Fare is 160 pesos and travel time is 2 hours. From there, hire a tricycle or take a jeepney going to Gen. Tinio (Papaya), fare is 150 per tricycle (1-way), travel time is 45 minutes. In Papaya, hire a tricycle to Minalungao, fare is 250 pesos minimum (round trip) per tricycle depending on how long you will be staying at the park (please do additional payment if you will be staying longer), travel time from town proper to the park is 45 minutes.

Going back to Manila, take a jeepney in Papaya going to Cabanatuan. Fare is 47 pesos, travel time is 1 hour. Then take any Manila-bound bus. Fare is 185 pesos, travel time is about 2.5 hours.

SUMMARY OF EXPENSES

Bus Fare (Manila-Gapan) - 160
Breakfast - 100
Tricycle to Papaya (150/2) - 75
Tricycle to Minalungao (250/2) - 125
Guide (200/2) - 100
Snacks - 30
Jeepney (Papaya-Cabanatuan) - 47
Lunch - 70 pesos
Bus (Cabanatuan-Manila) - 185
TOTAL - 892 PHP each

NOTE: This is the estimated expenses for a group of 2 persons on a day tour to the park.

More photos on Pinoy AdvenTurista's Facebook Page, click here.

*This trip happened on March 20, 2013. Some photos used in this post were grabbed from my friend, Gil Lian



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18 comments :

  1. Who would've thought that there's something like that in Nueva Ecija?! Nice discovery.

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  2. wow... you've been here in papaya. so glad to see our very own minalungao park in your page. thanks man.;)

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  3. Is it possible to hike from the municipal hall to the park?

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  4. ayos ah! pwedeng balikan! 24hrs ba ang bus back to manila? :)

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  5. Thanks for sharing this! Ima go there and visit this summer! :)

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  6. Thanks for sharing this! Ima go there and visit this summer! :)

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  7. Question lang po,,allowed po ba mag overnyt sa place,,,yung by tent lng,,

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  8. Hello! Anyone going on May? Would want to tag along. Solo Traveler here. :)

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    Replies
    1. When do you plan to go? A colleague asked me to check this page if I am interested. I'll ask her as well on her plans. Catch you later...

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    2. When do plan to explore this? A colleague asked me to check out this page. I'll ask her as well on when are her plans.

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    3. Too bad I'll be in Mindanao next week till end of May. Maybe June? :) Lemme know.

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  9. I lived in nueva ecija for a long time but never have I heard of this place. Next time I come home I should definitely look into going to this place.

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  10. Good thing you have featured one of the secret places in nueva ecija, looking for other undiscovered spots here in phils.

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  11. Hi! Meron po bang mabibilhan ng pagkain sa area apart from snacks? Plan ko kasi namin mag-overnight pero travel light kasi commute lang. :)

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Thank you for your comments! I love hearing your thoughts! I may not seem to reply most of the time but rest assured, I read and appreciate all your comments. Salamat! :)