This journey started in an unexpected way and in an ordinary friday night out when my friend from the states came home and wished to see us. After our dinner at RW we had good times at Center stage, Pasay, then drove up in Intramuros. Got hyped ’til 3am maybe we really missed each other.
It’s almost 4am when Eiji and I parted away from Karima and Karoa. Since we don’t wanna go home yet I took my wallet and saw it had 1800php left. I wonder where it can get us, somewhere nice and near the metro then I remember this awesome Minalungao National Park in Nueva Ecija! I saw it in multiple blog post raving how good the place was and so then I decided to bump it up to the top of my bucket list. No saturday class this week plus my football tournament was cancelled, the time is perfect to go there, I thought.
We went to my house to change, get some clothes and charge up our phones in a furtive manners. I don’t even know why we acted sneaky when we know everyone’s still in dream land. Croo.
How to Get there?
Ride a Five Star Bus Company in Kaunlaran, Cubao, Quezon City Metro Manila or in Pasay bound to Cabanatuan, GAPAN. Tell the bus attendant to drop you at Bucana Gapan. Fare is only 150php and 120php if you have your student ID.
It’s only a 2-3 hrs travel depending on the traffic. Our bus departed at 7am and we reached bucana at 9am. We hired a tricycle routes in Minalungao National Park, a round trip for only 600php. You can still bargain about it.
Nueva Ecija located at Central Luzon is known as the “Rice Bowl of the Philippines” because it’s the biggest rice producer of the country.
After a 45 mins ride and upon reaching the park there’s an entrance fee that cost 20php per head plus trike fee is 30php and any car or van is 50php.
Now it’s time to rock your world (literally? Lol!) and see what this park got us. Oh! Don’t forget to hire a tour guide, kids can also be your guide then hand them any amount after.
It’s not hard, it is challenging but don’t ya worry, your tour guide will tell you where to step your feet for an easy trail.
Aside from hiking, swimming and bamboo rafting you can also go for spelunking! There are 3 caves you can enter in Minalungao! You might want to bring flash light for your own convenience.
I love the greeny color of the river matched with the lushes of grass on both sides of the amazing limestone walls!
Who would’ve thought that in just 3 hours away from the metro you can already find this natural hidden gem of Nueva Ecija. This is more than just an earthly pursuits! It is a perfect place for pensive thinking, you know… When you just want to reflect on what you did in the past and what you’re doing now or meditate as well. Allowing your self to get lost with nature. Perfect!
After a 30-45 minutes hiking you have the choice whether to eat your lunch in one of the stones or…
you can just eat in your rented bamboo raft or cottages located at the entrance part of the park.
Cottages range from 150-200php. I would recommend you to buy your own foods ’cause you won’t find any restau or heavy food stall in Minalungao National Park.
After lunch we went swimming with Mario! The water is cold so I would encourage to stretch yourselves a little before dipping into it to avoid muscle spasm or cramps.
Note: Remember that it’s more difficult to swim in fresh water than in salt water, why? Because the more denser the salt the easier to float on it.
Sometimes best things happens in unexpected ways like this journey of ours. Planning is not really a major, get it done. Explore the secrets of the earth and just like what Pope Francis said, “Allow yourself to be surprised by God.” You will definitely feel blessed, you just cannot contain the happiness, that unexplainable feeling…
So what are you waiting for? Travel up!!