The mountains truly have a plethora of wonders to offer. And sure enough, I could imagine why the early peoples of the Earth worship nature and everything that bring life forth.
Minalungao National Park is only one of the few remaining natural environments very near Manila. It is situated in Gen. Tinio, Nueva Ecija and is about an hour and a half from Gapan City by trike.
The waters comes from the Sierra Madres and the rock formations are truly a sight to behold. It's like a mini El Nido's Big Lagoon for me, just more rugged and tropical in setting.
Most of the waters are shallow but mind the deeper parts please. See the intricate way Mother Nature has carved her way into this beauty? I am running out of adjectives already here. Just enjoy the scenery!
How To Get Here
Ride buses bound for Cabanatuan City (ES or Baliwag in Cubao) and alight in Gapan City. You can also take Five Star Bus direct to Gapan City like we did. Travel time is around 2.5 hours. From Gapan, you can take a trike going to Gen. Tinio. From Gen. Tinio you can hire another trike going to the park.
Contact person: Kuya Darine, tour guide and service - 63928.347.5716
Bus from Cubao to Gapan City and vice versa - P 150
Entrance fee per person: P 20
Trike entrance fee: P 10 (parking fee)
Car entrance fee: P 50 (parking fee)
Balsa rental fee: P 800 for whole day (or depending on your haggling skills)
Boya rental fee: P 50 (with P 50 deposit)
Cottages: P 300
Paid CR: P 10
Trike fare from Gapan City to Gen. Tinio - P 150
Trike fare from Gen, Tinio to Park - P 400
Guide Tip - P 200
***Disclaimer: Rates may change from date of posting***
-- You can hire just the one trike to take you all the way to Minalungao from Gapan
-- Aside from swimming, eating and burping in between, you can also do cave exploration and climb up the more than a thousand steps leading to the cross
-- Leave early in the morning to fully enjoy the place
-- The 2.5 hour estimated travel time is only from Cubao to Gapan City. It takes about another hour or so to reach the park.
-- According to Kuya Darine, overnight camping is allowed. No camping fees as of posting date. (Yey!) There are camping sites at the park situated at the mouth of the river and at the back of the rock formations.
-- If you do not have packed lunch, you can drop by at Gen. Tinio public market.
-- There is no mobile signal at the park.
-- There are small sari-sari stores at the park, but prices may be more expensive. I didn't buy here since we had bought our food uptown.
-- You may opt to provide food for your trike driver if you will be commuting (or depending on your arrangements). They will wait for you since there is no available public transport here.
-- CRs can be found at the park but please do not expect much. It is being maintained by the locals
-- According to Kuya Darine, the entrance fee is for the upkeep of the place (so don't cheat and pay your dues!).
-- Better to go in a group since some expenses can be divided among yourselves e.g. trike fare, balsa rental fee etc.
-- Last, but not the least, PLEASE DO NOT LEAVE YOUR TRASH AND MOST OF ALL, please, POST NO BILL. These natural wonders took hundreds of thousands of years to form, so better keep your foul writing on real sheets of paper. (Sorry, I got really mad upon seeing graffiti on those precious rock formations).
I am hoping that the local tourism office will take notice of the big potential (READ: stable, income-generating jobs for locals) of this park.
LEAVE NOTHING BUT FOOTPRINTS
TAKE NOTHING BUT PICTURES
KILL NOTHING BUT TIME
--- UPDATED: FEB 9, 2015 ---