Friday, April 5, 2013

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An Incomplete Adventure to Minalungao National Park

    Sun brightly shining! Reggae music in the air! Humid temperature! Big, Big sombreros! Swim suits, two piece, and floral shorts!! 
    They all spell S-U-M-M-E-R!
 It is always an exciting season. Nobody dislikes summer except for its very hot climate. But of course we love what summer brings especially halo-halo and beaches!

Family outing, company Rest and recreations, and Barkada getaways always happens during summer. This summer of 2013 is very special, I already have one adventure a summer trip with my barkada to Minalungao National Park, a few days left for R&R with my co-teachers at Baler Aurora and still planning for an island hopping in Bacacay, Albay. I am sure this is going to be a fun and memorable summer ever!!!
Summer Breeze! It makes me feel fine...
And it thus...
Anyways let me share with your our adventure to Minalungao National Park...

About Minalungao National Park
Minalungao Park

     Minalungao National Park is one of Novo Ecijanos pride! Located at General Tinio, Nueva Ecija, Philippines, this park is one of the very few remaining natural environment here in Northern part of Manila. It is develop and still developing to attract more tourists coming from not only Central Luzon but from different parts of the Country. It also aims to attract tourists from other countries as well, which in my personal experience with the park, this aim is never impossible. 

Travel to the Park
     Nueva Ecija is just a few hours from Manila. Coming from Caloocan City, (Monumento) General Tinio could be not more than five(5) hours travel by public utility vehicle, much faster if you have your own car. From Monumento you drive through North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and exit on San Simon, Pampanga. Take Gapan-Olongapo road for faster route until you reach Gapan. Once you reach Gapan you will never get lost. Everybody knows the route to Minalungao or General Tinio (just make sure you ask the elderly, they know best than the younger ones :]) 
     The route from Gapan is very smooth until you surpass General Tinio proper (market). The adventure of Minalungao Park starts from the travel to the park itself.. The roads are under constructions, some are cemented but most parts are rough. Most of it is foothills so it never get straight, there were times that the roads go so steep either up or down. But the adventure begins there..

What was there in Minalungao?
   You might think, "what's so special about Minalungao except for the cave?" Well, just as mentioned above, the adventure in Minalungao starts from travel until you reach the cave. Once you arrived to Minalungao Park, a very simple mark of the park (first photo) will welcome you. A narrow yet very steep road will bring you down to the coolest and very inviting stream. The stream itself will surely catch your full attention! Once we catch the sight of the stream the only words that we utter were "Ohhh, why we did not bring change clothes?!?". Wow! We did not expect the beauty of the water, we just wish we brought with us some clothes to change on so that we could dive and play on the water.
Minalungao Cave
We are looking down on the stream as we took this photo.
         Anyways, of course this is not a day to spoil. Although we have no clothes to change on, we could not resist the invitation of the water. In the end, after the trekking, we still went into the water and let ourselves be wet! Who cares if we are wet? We are on our way home anyways.
The stream's view from the photo above.

        Boy, boy, boy... that's not yet the end of our trail,.... Let me tell you about our trekking...
        I have one tip for you if want to go to Minalungao Park. Once you arrived and get down your cars, a lot of kids will come and offer their services to you as your guide, there's no problem with that, but ask them to bring you first to the grotto (a small sanctuary of Mother Mary) and not the cave. We were tricked by the kid when we visit the place, we wanted to visit the grotto first, but since no one else among us ever visited from the place, we just follow the kid when he said we will visit the cave first then the grotto next. Trust me, it is still best you come to grotto first before going to cave, especially if you are Catholic or religious person.
     While we are on our way up trailing the way to the popular Minalungao Cave, our guide, Christopher, about 8-10 years old boy, said that the steps to the cave is about hundred. So we ask how long the steps to the grotto is, he said it's about thousand. Whoooh, that was looooonnnngg.. and I'm sure it is. 
1. Let us trail the 100 steps up and down cemented and steep stairs.

100 steps at Minalungao Cave 
2. Trekking on the rocks!
trekking at Minalungao National Park
3. Enjoy the view of the river and the rock formations..
Minalungao National Park4. Visit and enjoy the sparkling stones inside the Minalungao Cave.

Nueva Ecija Cave
5. Before you go home, don't forget to spoil yourself to a little swim on the fresh and cold stream water.

streams and caves 
    I hope you enjoy yourself once you visit. And I promise to go back and complete the adventure by visiting the grotto next time.

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