The province of Nueva Ecija has a hidden masterpiece of nature, The Minalungao National Park. It is located in the municipality of General Tinio, Nueva Ecija, Central Luzon, 2-3 hours away from Manila. I’ll discuss how to get there by commuting later in this article. The Minalungao National park has 16-meter high limestone bordering the narrow river Peñaranda. Aside from its beautiful water, the park has been continuously being developed to attract and accommodate more tourists. They now have cottages around, local guides, and stores nearby to purchase food and drinks.
How to get there:
There’s a bus terminal in Cubao going to Cabanatuan, you need to get off at Gapan City, Nueva Ecija. The travel time is around 1 to 1.5 hours. From there, hire a tricycle going to the Minalungao National Park. There’s a Jeepney going to Gen. Tinio but it’s actually rare, so it’s better to take a tricycle and just ask your driver to take you to Minalungao national park. Travel time is 1.5 hours. If you have enough patience to wait for jeepney, find a jeepney going to Gen. Tinio, it will cost you 24php and then hire a tricyle from Gen. Tinio to Minalungao.
Due to rough road, there are limited means of transportation that travel directly to the Minalugao National Park. The usual ones are tricycles. It will cost you around 500-800php per tricycle, the price varies depending on time, seaon and/or on how many passengers. One tricycle can accommodate around 3-5 people, but feel free to haggle with the driver. You might get lucky enough to lower the price.
Now, let’s get to the real deal. What are the exciting activities that you can do in Minalungao National Park? Here’s the list.
1.) Rafting – have you tried riding a raft with a table and Nipa hut on a calm water under the sun? Well, this is the right place for you. Bring your food, drinks, phone and a portable mini speaker with you and eat there while relaxing and listening to your favorite music.
Cost: P500 (whole day)
2.) Cliff Diving/Jump – I missed the chance to do this one and I’m blaming myself, definitely gonna do this when I come back. By the way, be careful in choosing a cliff to have your dive or jump, there are plenty of Cliffs around and some parts of the water could be shallow and others could be very deep. You can ask your guide, I’m sure they know the right spot for you.
Cost – Free
3.) Quick hike and Spelunking – now this is an easy one, the trail has been modified with stairs and handle (rope) for you to get to the top easily. There you’ll find the cave which has a stairs too, so definitely safe. Don’t forget to bring a flashlight with you. The cave is your way to go to the other side. It showcases a beautiful view, too bad we ran out of time to do it. You can always do it with your Guide if you like to.
Cost – Free
4.) Zip Line – Another fun activity to do is Zipline, though I have fear of heights, I managed to do it (yay). The view was breathtaking that I forgot my fear. Worth a try!
Cost: P150 (two-way)
5.) Swimming – Last but definitely not the least is swimming. It’s summer, you gotta enjoy the cold and refreshing water.
Cost – Free
Still thinking whether or not to go? Here are some other photos to convince you to go see and enjoy in Minalungao National Park.
Breakdown of individual expenses.
Fare (bus) – 160 (to Gapan), 160 (to manila) = 320php
Fare (tricycle) – 800 (to Minalungao) / 5 = 160php
Entrance Fee = 50php / pax
Car Park – 30php
Big Raft – 500 / 5 = 100php
Zip line – 150php
Guide – 100php (by donation)
Also, don’t get surprised of the local Tour Guides available, they are usually kids around 11-14 years old that are not going to school due to financial difficulties of their parents. They help their families through this. They are all kind and knowledgeable enough of this place, but they are not official tour guide because of their ages and so they don’t name price for their service. If you have enough money, please do hire them, it would be a great help for their families and I’m sure it would make them very happy. Don’t worry, they may look small but they are strong and good swimmers as well.