Attracted with the pictures being posted on Facebook, Minalungao National Park is one of the best destinations especially this Lenten Season. Minalungao National Park which is located in the town of General Tinio, Nueva Ecija.
The Minalungao National Park captivates tourists through its 16-meter high rock formation along Peñaranda river. Because of the clean and crystal clear water that flows through the river, tourists tend to enjoy staying. The park contains a 2,000 hectare of real estate that is divided by the river. Minalungao comes from two words in local dialect which are “Mina” meaning mine, and Lungao meaning a cave. Surely, this is a place not only of a wonderful river and limeston formation but also of caves.
How to get there: Waze or Google Maps?
The best time to start a journey going to Minalungao would always be early before the sun sets. Setting the application Waze to Minalungao National Park, the estimated time of travel was 2 hours and 46 minutes from the Municipality of Binalonan, Pangasinan. As experience by some of the travelers, it is better to use Google Maps than Waze to get to Minalungao especially if the tourist is coming from the north taking the Tarlac City Exit. Waze tends to lead into farm, narrow and rough road while Google Maps selects the best route and fastest route.
Preparing for the experience
Upon reaching the Minalungao National Park, there are the cottages, small stores and bamboo boats. Expect for the entrance fee which costs for P 100 per person while P 50 for the parking. In selecting which one is the best cottage, always go for the floating for it will reveal you the beauty of the park. Also, never bother to get a tour guide though it costs another money.
Things to do in Minalungao
There’s no way to discover the beauty of Minalungao without paying P700 for rafting with the inclusion of life vests. The relaxation and refreshment from almost three-hour travel could only be achieved by rafting into the Peñaranda river. The coolness of the air and the transfixing limestones formations were able restore tired bodies. Surely, the clear water that flows even convince travelers to swim. Through rafting, the experience will be complete.
Ask your tour guide to bring you to the cavern first. The earlier the better. It’s a challenge to walk with slippers through different sizes of rocks. While the way to the cavern is not hot as the breezy air and shades from trees can be felt, the walk would not be easy at all. There’s a saying, “Precious things are usually hidden”. Thus, one of the attractions of the Minalungao National Park are the caves that tell the tourists about what had taken place in the past.
There’s also the 1000 steps going to the top of the mountain. It enhances the visit in Minalungao to reach the magnificent cross. But before starting the 1,000 steps, there’s the hanging bridges where a first timer can see the wonderful Peñaranda river as well as the limestones. Don’t forget to carry water before ascending higher. During peak days, vendors sell bottled water along the way.
There’s also the zipline which costs for P200 pesos back and forth for those who love a memorable adventure.
Aside from rafting, there’s also rentable kayak boats to make the experience interesting. This is not free.
After coming from a 1,000 steps journey, it’s time for a swim. What is amazing in Peñaranda river is the clarity of the water. It’s really a wonderful experience be on the water. The current of the river was not that strong to swim. It’s like you are in a pool but with cool and refreshing water coupled with the fresh air. It is soothing the entire body. When it comes to safety, there’s a lifeguard with a megaphone giving warning to those who are swimming without vests and to those who tend to get into a deep area of the river.
Below the hanging bridge as well as at the top of the river are the diving area. This is also for free.
Absolutely, the picnic part in Minalungao National Park would never be negated at all. It’s great to eat in a floating bamboo boat.
Restrooms and bathrooms are free. There’s also a restaurant within the park for those who didn’t bring food. While the park is still being developed, there are few rooms available for those who want to stay overnight.