Sunday, April 28, 2013

Minalungao to put Nueva Ecija on Philippine Tourism Map


Nueva Ecija is a landlocked province in Central Luzon. With its vast flatlands, Nueva Ecija is the biggest producer of rice in the region, giving it the nickname Ricebowl of the Philippines. It is unsurprising that most Filipinos, even the Nueva-Ecijanos themselves, think that there is nothing else to see in the province than ricefields and more ricefields.


So what is there to see in Nueva Ecija other than ricefields?

Located far beyond the countryside of Nueva Ecija, close to the foothills of the Sierra Madre mountain range, is the sitio of Minalungao in the town of Papaya (officially called Municipality of General Tinio). The entire area has been named Minalungao National Park and features the clear emerald waters of the Peñaranda River. On both sides of the river stand limestone walls towering to up to 16 meters.


One may choose to trek along the limestone formations or rent a raft to reach the other end of the river where a shallow portion awaits visitors for a refreshing swim. Favorite activity of the locals is cliff diving. If you wish to try it, we suggest that you hire a local guide who can direct you to the areas where it is safe for cliff diving. The best time to visit Minalungao is during the dry season as the limestones can get very slippery and the river may turn murky.




Tourism Potentials of Minalungao National Park

Minalungao is one of the very few remaining natural environments in Central Luzon and it is the relative uniqueness of this park that can finally place the province of Nueva Ecija in the Philippine tourism map. With proper care, development and management, the Minalungao National Park will be able to compete with other eco-tourism destinations in Luzon and perhaps across the country. It is not far from now that Minalungao will be fully accessible to visitors. Concreting of the local road connecting the downtown area of Papaya to the park is already 50% complete. Facilities such as cottages and boats are already in place. Ultimately, it is the local community of Minalungao who will benefit from the livelihood that would be created by this development.

How to get to Minalungao National Park

From Manila, take a bus bound for Cabanatuan City passing through Gapan City (Cubao: ES Transport or Baliwag Transport). At Gapan City center, hire a tricycle along the national highway that would take you to Minalungao. We highly recommend Kuya Erning (0909-997-2393). We paid P600.00 for a special round trip rate (three passengers). Please add a little tip for the driver's waiting time. Travel time from Gapan City to Minalungao is roughly 1 hour 20 minutes.

54 comments:

  1. omg, this place is awesome!!!

    nice meeting you guys! =)

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    1. Hi Chyng! Thanks for dropping by our blog :-) Hope to meet you again sometime. Coffee coffee din diba :-)

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  2. Hangganda! Given the time en travel fund now itutuloy ko na north luzon trip ko- #xcited! Keep it up Ramil and Edgar!

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    1. Thanks for visiting our blog Jeff! Kapag natuloy ka sabihan mo kami ha :-) see you around :_)

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    1. Hi Manong Unyol, thanks for passing by our blog :-) Yes, maganda sya, at hindi talaga namin inaasahan na may ganyang kagandang lugar sa Nueva Ecija. You should visit is some day :-)

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  4. Hello po. I know this place but haven't go here yet thou I love to visit some other time.. Can I ask what's the exact or estimated measurement of the rocks where you can do the cliff diving?. Please response as soon as possible po because it is very important info to gather from you as part of my course. Thank you po :)

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    1. Hi Shon, we estimate the rock to be between 12-15 feet tall. Thanks dor visiting our blog. Please do like us on facebook at www.facebook.com/pinasmuna :-)

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  5. Hello Sir,

    Tricycle hire po talaga?wala po regular public trips?salamat po.

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    1. Hi Naomi, I am sure there are regular trips from Gapan going to Papaya town (Gen. Tinio), just ask the traffic enforcers at the highway bus stop in Gapan. But based on what we have seen, most locals do take the tricycle. From Papaya town proper, you will have to take another trike going to Minalungao as there are no regular trips going there.

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  6. Yung hike, hindi ba delikado? even for someone in their 50's and 60's? I'm planning to bring my parents over there eh. TIA.

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    1. Thanks for visiting our blog. Pagdating nyo sa park, meron naman mga cottages doon where your parents can enjoy the river and the scenery, pero if they want to see the rock formations, meron din cemented foot path naman and a mini "view deck". Yung mga mababato at matatalas na portion medyo malayo na and I wont recommend na dalhin ang mga parents mo dun. There are also guides available in the area if you want to reach the other end of the river, pero kung sa view deck lang, hindi nyo na kailangan ng guide. :-)

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  7. Ang tagal ko na tong binabalik balikan, hanggang ngayon di pa din ako nakakapunta. saklap!
    Sobrang ganda talaga nya!

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    1. Dapat mapuntahan mo na yan. Lagi ka kasi out of the country eh, hehe

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  8. Hi! I'm planning to go there this coming long weekend. Pde ba pumasok ang van? How much are the cottages and sino ang pwedeng contact person? Sorry sa mga tanong..Thanks! :)

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    1. Hi! Kaya naman pumasok ang van and may parking spaces naman. Sorry wasnt able to ask about the rates of cottages eh, and I didn't take not of a contact person kasi when you get there, you can just ask around for guides. Nonetheless, napakadali lang nya puntahan. Enjoy your trip :-)

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  9. Hello Kuya Ram!

    Gonna hit this soon! Agg ganda astig. Who would have thought na meron nito sa NE! I wanna see this soon, Thanks for posting this po ;)

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    1. Hi Jherson! Yes dapat mapuntahan nyo na to, one of the best talaga yan :-) Enjoy and dont forget to tell us how it went :-)

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  10. Hi Ramil, been following your great blog. Thanks for sharing your experiences and inspiring us to see the beauty within our country -- a far change from the crap that we see in the news. Are the roads paved all the way to the parking spaces -- kaya ba ng sedan? From the parking space, how far away pa before we can get on a raft to reach the other side of the river? Do we need to climb or trek through the rock formations to get to the raft? Senior citizens kasi kami but we would love to go through that river passage between the rock formations, pero di na kaya ng mga tuhod namin. Pwede bang mag-raft kami? Any rock climbing ay hindi na talaga pwede.

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    1. Good day po! As of our visit last year, may mga sections pa po na wala pang concrete, probably 60% complete na po last April 2013. I drive po and mukhang kaya naman po ng sedan, konting alalaw na lang po sa driving kasi may mga paakyat po na sections. From the parking space, mga 100 meters na lang po ang mga cottages, and the bamboo rafts are available right at the cottages. From the cottages pwede na po mag raft going to the other end of the rock formations. Enjoy the trip po :-)

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  11. meron po pla tyo gnitong place sa N. E...sna marting din nmin ito.. ang ganda!! thanks po for sharing this..

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  12. hi! me and my co-teachers were planning to visit this place tomorrow. i think it's a perfect place para makapag-relax sa ganda ng view. thanks for sharing this one! excited for this :) budget na lang ang paghahandaan dito....

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  13. Hi, ask ko po sana kung pwede mag overnight doon? Thank you.

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    1. Hi, thanks for visiting our blog. There are currently no lodges or resorts at Minalungao so the only option for now is to set up tents. On your way there, I suggest that you pass by the Municipal Hall of General Tinio and inquire with the tourism office, they may be able to assist you.

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  14. Hi sir, tricycle lang ba nakakaraan going to Minalungao? Paano kung may service na jeep kasi mejo madami kami. Ok lang kya? Thanks

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    1. Hi, thanks for visiting our blog. Pwede naman ang jeep or SUV. Trike lang ang possible transpo kung commute ka. Pero kung sarili mong dala ang jeep, pwede naman.

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  15. good day po mag kano ang budget jan galing manila?
    ayos ganda taga cabanatuan po kami hehe.

    mahilig po ako mag roadtrip gamit ang motor

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    1. Hi! Salamat sa pagbisita sa pinasmuna.com. Kung motor po ang dadalhin nyo papuntang Minalungao, naku hindi ko po alam kung mga magkano ang kailangan nyong ikarga. Pero kung bus naman mga 150 siguro hanggang Gapan, then hire na lang kayo ng tricycle dun sa highway mga 600 ang singil nila rountrip sa trike.

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  16. hi tiga NE ako pero ngaun ko lang yan nakita ang ganda ang sarap puntahan balak pa naman namin ngaun ng mga kasama ko mag outing, sasabihin ko tong lugar na to, nga pala mga 7 kami kung sakaling commute kami tricycle ang sasakyan if magpasched kami ng sundo from gapan to the park? and how much naman po ang bayad dun? tama ba na 20 pesos po ang entrance dun?

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    1. Hi! Pagbaba nyo sa Gapan may terminal ng tricycle dun sa tabi 711. Usually 600 ang singil nila ng roundtrip sa Minalungao. Diskartehan nyo na lang ng tawad :-) Yes, P20 ang entrance fee sa Minalungao. Enjoy kayo and dont forget to tag Pinas Muna sa Facebook photos nyo, would love to see them :-)

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  17. Sir/Maam,
    Is it possible to stay overnight? Are there any inns or rooms within/nearby the park to stay in?

    Thank you and more power!

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    1. There are currently no accommodation facilities available for visitors. You can however bring your own tent if you intend to stay overnight. Fee is 150-200. There are NO tents available for rent at the park so you have to bring your own.

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    2. The nearest hotels are located in Cabanatuan. We recommend Microtel in Cabanatuan http://www.pinasmuna.com/2013/04/relaxation-at-microtel-cabanatuan.html

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    3. Hi sir. we're planning an overnight stay there at the park, you said that a fee of 150-200 will be charge... my question is, is this per person?

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    4. Hi, the P150-200 fee is per tent, and not per person. :-)

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  18. may banlawan po ba dyan

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    1. noong last time po na pumunta kami wala pong banlawan na grip. Malinis naman po ang river kaya hindi nyo na kailangan magbanlaw.

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  19. ..how to get there if where from olongapo city???

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    1. Hi Kaye, you can take a bus bound to Manila that passes by San Fernando City. Get off at San Fernando Intersection. From San Fernando, take a jeep to Angeles City, then to Dau bus terminal. There are buses at Dau bound to Cabanatuan, tell the conductor to drop you off at Gapan. From Gapan you can hire a tricycle to take you to Minalungao (P500-600 roundtrip for the trike).

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  20. city proper... ty very much

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  21. Hi Ramil,
    Nice blog!
    My friends and I will visit the place this coming May 24, do you have contacts? And also can you help us with directions on getting there via car.

    Thanks!

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    1. Hi piemond, thanks for visiting our blog. You can contact Mr Edward Dalangin, MENRO Officer of Gen. Tinio. If you are driving from Manila, you can take the Sta.Rita Exit in NLEX and drive until Gapan City. From Gapan City Junction, drive past the town of Penaranda until you read Gen. Tinio (Papaya). When you are already in Papaya, just ask for directions going to Minalungao. You will see a sign board on the main road leading to the park. Along the way, there are also directions going to Minalungao. Thanks and we hope you enjoy your visit to Minalungao. :-)

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    2. Mr. Edward Dalangin 0999-8269003

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  22. san po ba ang daan kung dito kame manggagaling sa rizal, nueva ecija..

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    1. Sakay po kayo ng pa-Cabanatuan central terminal. Option 1 - pwede po kayo mag jeep derecho papuntang Papaya (hanapin nyo na lang po yung pila ng mga jeep na pa-Papaya). Pagdating po sa Papaya, punta po kasyo sa Municipal Hall hanapin nyo po si Mr. Edward Dalangin 0999-8269003 for registration and assistance. Option 2 - Kung wala pong jeep na pa-Papaya sa Cabanatuan, pwede kayo mag-Gapan muna by bus or jeep, then mag trike na kayo papuntang Minalungao. P500-P600 po ang roundtrip rate ng mga trike galing Gapan. Enjoy Minalungao po :-)

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  23. Hi! question po, allowed po ba magluto dun? thanks! :)

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    1. Hi, thanks for visiting our blog. Yes cooking is allowed in the area, pero just make sure to keep the trash in a container, baka kasi kalkalin ng mga aso. Enjoy your visit to Minalungao.

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  24. Hi sir. Any time pwede kontakin si mr. Edward? Were planning to go there this weekend. What is your estimated budget per persob kung kasama yung rafting and pagpunta sa cave plus yung tuktok.. Nakita q sa ibang blog me parang Cross na malaki then overlooking ang sierra madre..

    Thanks in advance ��

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    1. Best contact Mr. Edward between 8am to 5pm lang. Rafting is P500 per raft (good got 10pax), for the cave and the cross, you just have to pay a guide in the area, usually yung makakasama nyo sa rafting sila na rin ang guide nyo (most of them are kids), just negotiate with them the guide fee kasi hindi pa stardard rate, depende yan kung gaano kayo karami. Yung total ng guide fee and P500 for the raft, divide nyo na lang kung ilan kayo sa group.

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  25. super saya at sarap magpunta dito sa minalungao talagang nakaka enjoy ;)

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  26. Hello. Ask ko lang po kung sino po in-charge sa minalungao? tourism officer/mayor/barangay captain, i am planning to go there to conduct an interview about the place e :) Thank you!

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    1. Mr Edward Dalangin, MENRO Officer of Gen. Tinio. 0999-8269003

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  27. Hi Sir Ramil, Wow! this place looks very nice & relaxing. When is the best time of the year to visit Minalungao National Park? Best Regards & Hope to hear from you. Margie Daendliker

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