Nueva Ecija, a province north of Manila and known or its vast rice fields. But unknown to many it is the home of one of the unique wonders of Philippine nature. Who would have thought that this province is not just merely the “Rice Bowl” of the Philippines?
There lies in the middle of the scenic Penaranda River is the sculpted wonder of Minalungao National Park. The towering rock formations of limestones and marbles plus the jade-colored waters that reflect the green hues of Sierra Madre mountain range brings admiration to those who visit the park.
The park covered 2018 hectares and was recognized as a protected area on 1967.
Local guides are readily available around the area, we picked up kids to be our guide. The park can be explore by riding bamboo rafts or hike the huge rock formation through the sculpted trails. The kids know the place very well and lead us to where we should land our feet. Yes, the climb is quite hard for some trails are narrow and piercing.
If you want to have a comfortable and relaxing trail, you can rent a bamboo raft for Php500.
At the near end of the park, we camped and set our belongings for a short rest. We planned to eat our lunch first before swimming in gushing clear waters of the river.
After consuming our lunch, we couldn’t resist to have a dip in this natural pool. Shimmering pebbles and colorful stones laid on riverbeds. The current of freshwater and the relaxing breeze, AH! Free SPA!
Another activity that you can do is spelunking the cave situated in the high limestone rock formation of the park. Our guide told us that some tunnels and cavities of the cave remains undiscovered. The entrance of the cave is narrow that you thought but inside, the real view awaits.
The ascend upward is not so hard but tiring. Let’s apply the gravitational pull and the thinning of oxygen as you goes up 🙂 But the reward of your ascend? The marvelous skyline and the whole view of Penaranda River and Minalungao National park.
Minalungao National Park is a 3-in-1 adventure trip. Hiking the cliff and mountains, swimming at the clear river and caving. Through the efforts of the local government, Minalungao is gaining attention of becoming an eco-tourism hotspot. But as tourists flock, many undisciplined tourists just dumped their rubbish anywhere. So if you try to visit the park, please maintain its cleanliness. Do not vandalize! Take nothing but experience.