Grand Canyon feels in Central Luzon!
If you’re looking for a quick getaway near Manila, make sure to add this in your list.
This park is a protected area which showcases green pristine river and unique rock formations located at General Tinio, Nueva Ecija. To entice more visitors, local government provides amenities, picnic huts and attractions like zipline, raft riding and hanging bridge. This is perfect for families, friends, couples and solo travelers looking for junkie and heart racing activities all year round.
A home for natural wonder, here is a quick overview on our day trip at Minalungao National Park:
How to get there?
Catch the first trip going to Gapan, Nueva Ecija via Five Star Bus in Cubao Terminal. Bus fare is 150 pesos. Tell the bus conductor to drop you off at Gapan’s Poblacion where you’ll find tricycle and jeepney lines going to General Tinio.
There are two ways on commuting to Gen Tinio:
1. Haggle and rent a tricycle going directly to Minalungao National Park and bring you back to Gapan. This is more convenient with just one ride; you also can ask the driver to be your local guide as well. We recommend Kuya Danny – 0932 842 8470 for this trip.
2. Ride jeepney with Papaya/Gen Tinio signboards. This usually takes time and patience as the jeepneys need to be filled up first before leaving, but considerably cheaper than the tricycle rent. When you reached Gen Tinio, you’ll transfer to another tricycle ride going to Minalungao.
Note: Roads going to Minalungao National Park are mostly bumpy and rough, be prepared. Make yourself comfy with your camera; you’ll see lots of rice fields and small rivers along the road.
Are there entrance fees/environmental fees/guides in the park?
When you reached the gate of the park, you’ll be asked to pay for the ride entrance fee (50 pesos) and environmental fees (30 pesos per person). Community guards and locals are very friendly and will welcome you to the place. Kids will also follow you everywhere just to convince you to be your guide in the park. An 8 year old kid, named John Lloyd served as our guide, he’s jolly and telling us lots of stories about the park.
What to do in Minalungao National Park?
- Trek along the river and fascinate with the big limestone walls around you. The trail is average and can be easily followed even without a guide. It is well constructed of concrete with stairs along the way to help you with the traverse. Just be careful when you step along the sides as the stones are sharp and sometimes slippery.
- Try spelunking and explore the caves in the park. Make sure to hire a local guide and bring safety gears before entering those caves. Enter at your own risk.
- After the long walk and hike, enjoy the cool river basin and swim all you can. You may also try cliff jumping with the big rocks along the river. Just ask the locals for the shallow parts of the river for safety.
- Maneuver your own raft – ride. You can rent the bamboo balsa for 500 pesos per day. This is the best area to nap, eat your lunch and relax. You can hire locals to drive your raft for convenience.
- Cross the hanging bridge and take snapshots at the center. The thrill is there – while seeing all the scenic view around you. For us, that part of the bridge is one of the most instagrammable area in the park.
- Increase your heart rate and take on the 1000 climb step challenge to the cross. Upon reaching the top, you’ll find an amazing view of the foothills of Sierra Madre and its connecting green river.
- Instead of taking the hanging bridge to cross back, try their very own zipline for 50 pesos only. Fly across the river and say Superman!
Where to stay?
If you are planning to stay overnight, there are cottages/nipa huts available for rent for P350. You can also opt to bring own tent or hammocks and install it in the camping site for free. There are also houses for rent near the area, you can ask the community guards along the entrance for details.
Where to eat?
There are few stores along the end of trail that sells drinks and junk foods. But for food menus doable for lunch or dinner, you can buy from the center carinderia near the comfort rooms. The price are around 50 – 100 pesos. For some snacks like ta-ho and peanuts, there are local vendors in the parking area of the park.
If you want to save on some costs, you can bring your own food and cook it there. Make sure to bring your own cooking utensils.
Are there other tips/need to know for this trip?
- Its better to visit the area on a weekday to provide you serene and clean ambiance. It gets crowded on weekends and holidays.
- There is weak mobile network almost all the area. Prepare to become one with the nature and spend more time with your companions.
- There are decent and clean bathrooms near the entrance for 10 pesos fee.
- Parking area also has a fee for around 20 pesos per day.
- Do not leave your garbage and respect the area.
How much did we spend for this trip?
300 – Bus Ride from Manila to Gapan (for 2 pax)
300 – Tricycle Ride from Gapan to Minalungao National Park and vice versa (for 2 pax)
300 – Bus Ride from Manila to Gapan (for 2 pax)
50 – Tricycle Entrance Fee
60 – Entrance Fee (for 2 pax)
20 – Parking Fee
200 – Guide Tip
FOOD – 600 (for 2 pax)
TOTAL : 1830