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Minalungao National Park: Nueva Ecija’s Hidden Paradise

Up for an exciting and picture-perfect adventure in a pristine, underrated paradise? Need to escape the monotony of your daily grind? Then, escape your bustling city life, and head to the hidden, serene and stunning Eden of Nueva Ecija – Minalungao National Park! A haven of untouched natural beauty, this 2,000-hectare national park beckons travel junkies and photography connoisseurs with its splendid limestone rocks and radiant emerald river waters. Nestled perfectly at the foot of Sierra Madre, it will also leave you exhilarated with its mind-blowing outdoor adventures. Trust us, it’s a photogenic and thrilling destination that should be on your Philippine travel bucket list.

Itching to visit Minalungao National Park? Well, you’re in luck! To help you plan the ultimate trip, we’ve collected nuggets of information about the beguiling and enthralling Minalungao National Park!

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Why is Minalungao National Park so important?

Minalungao is one of the most important eco-tourism destinations in the Philippines. In 1967, Minalungao National Park was established as a protected area, thanks to the virtue of Republic Act number 5100. Billed as an eco-tourism destination by the local government, the park is also deemed as one of the few natural environments that remain in Nueva Ecija and its neighboring provinces. Located in the foothills of Sierra Madre, it also has irresistible and awe-inspiring natural backdrops.

Is it really beautiful?

This charming and stunning national park will surely unleash your inner shutterbug. With its towering karts formations and dense forests, this national park is reminiscent of El Nido, Palawan. What’s more, it is home to the tranquil and majestic Peñaranda River, which adds more beauty and charm to its pristine and serene natural setting. On top of it all, the park wows travelers with a smorgasbord of views and nature sights.

And, since it’s untouched and laid-back, it’s also a terrific place to escape your crowded and bustling city life. Whether you’re an Instagram junkie or in need of a refreshing break, you’ll find your bliss in Minalungao National Park.

Things to do in Minalungao National Park

Like most ecotourism destinations in the Philippines, most of the attractions in Minalungao National Park involve nature. Here are some of the best and most exciting things to do in Minalungao National Park.

Swimming

Yearning to take a dip? Well, you’ll definitely enjoy your getaway in this picture-perfect national park. With its cool and crystal clear emerald waters, it will be so hard for any Juan to resist taking a plunge on the Peñaranda River. Just keep in mind that swimming here without a life vest is not allowed, especially since the river has some deep spots. If you don’t have one, there are plenty of life vest rentals available within the area.

Cliff diving

Want to take your swimming experience at the river up a notch? Why not climb up the base of the limestone formations, and jump into the river’s refreshingly cool rivers? Exhilarating, it’s a fun experience that will infuse a dose of adventure to your Minalungao National Park getaway. Don’t forget to exercise extra caution and be responsible, to avoid hurting yourself or others.

Caving

In the mood for some land adventures? Not much of a swimmer? The national park is home to a wondrous cave begging and waiting to be explored. While it’s a short hike, exploring the cave can be pretty challenging and exciting, with so many beautifully formed sharp rocks within the cavern. As of now, the cave has no admission fee, but you need to hire a guide who will show you the way around the park. By the way, make it a point to carry a flashlight.

Hiking

Hit the 1,000-step stairway that leads to a large cross perched perfectly atop a mountain. Once there, spend some time savoring the gorgeous views of the beloved Sierra Madre mountain range. Not only are the views awesome, but the hike can also burn a few extra calories. Not a bad way to spend a couple of hours at the Minalungao National Park, right?

Other activities:

  • Ziplining
  • Kayaking
  • Rafting
  • Cross the hanging bridge to see a different angle of the limestone formations

Minalungao National Park fees

  • Entrance fee: PHP 100
  • Environmental fee: PHP 50
  • Parking fee: PHP 50 (whole day)
  • Cottages: PHP 300 to 500 (whole day)
  • Raft rental: PHP 600 for 4 hours (good for 8 people)
  • Kayak rental: PHP 200 per hour (good for 2 people)
  • 2-way zipline ride: PHP 200
  • Charcoal grill rental: PHP 50
  • Life vest rental: PHP 20
  • Comfort room: PHP 10

Where to stay

Got a tent and other camping essentials? There are designated areas within the Minalungao National Park where you can pitch a tent and camp. Alternatively, there’s also a hotel within the park for those who are not fond of camping.

How to get to Minalungao National Park

Minalungao is located in General Tinio, Nueva Ecija. To get there, first you need to take a bus ride to Gapan. Normally, these buses are also bound to Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija. There are bus liners in Cubao, Quezon City that will take you to Gapan, such as Baliwag Bus Lines, Five Star, Golden Bee bus lines and ES. Travel time is 3 to 4 hours, and fare costs around PHP 150.

Upon your arrival in Gapan, charter a tricycle to Minalungao National Park. Fare per way is PHP 500 and travel time is 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Even though there’s a jeepney route from Gapan to General Tinio, these vehicles are a rarity. If you’re lucky to find one, you may take a ride to General Tinio. Once there, look for a tricycle that will take you to Minalungao National Park.

Dreaming to see and explore Minalungao National Park, but not from Manila? You don’t have to spend a ton of money to visit this national park. With Skyscanner’s award-winning mobile apps, you’ll find tons of flights to Manila that fit perfectly to your budget and schedule.

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