What can be found inside the municipality of General Tinio (which is famously known to the locals as Papaya), Nueva Ecija is the breathtaking 2,108-hectare area known as the Minalungao National Park. Considered as one of the few remaining natural destinations in Central Luzon, the local government established the area as a national park in 1967.
Minalungao have quite a lot to offer to its local tourists. Though it may not be as vast as the El Nido in Palawan, its green pristine water and unique rock formations are more than enough to have Minalungao be called as the “Little Palawan of the North”, as I call it. Despite not being able to set foot yet in Palawan, Minalungao had made me feel like I’m actually in Palawan, without, of course, having the need to ride a plane.
One of the awesome part about this national park is that you have quite a lot of activities that you can enjoy with your friends/family, such as: swimming, cliff-diving, trekking, picnic, zipline, rafting, cave exploration and don’t forget, photography!
Going here during weekdays would probably be much better since it tends to get crowded in here during the weekends. We did a daytrip on the national park, but if you’re planning to stay for the night, a hotel was built at the entrance of the Penaranda River.
As for the expenses, we have brought a private car which costs us, for our entrance fee, around Php 50.00 per person (excluding my sister, which was the driver) and Php 500.00 for the big raft (which is good for 10 people). Also, don’t forget to give some tip on your guide after the tour! However, be reminded that getting a guide is not actually required. But if you’re interested on exploring the cave and knowing the history and the stories of the place, you can ask from the entrance for a guide.
Why not take a short break from the busy streets of Manila and relax, breathe some fresh air and take a dip on the cold water of Minalungao National Park?