Popularly known as the “Rice Bowl of the Philippines”, Nueva Ecija is the biggest rice producer of Central Luzon. But aside from its vast rice fields, the province conceals a travel gem that people recently has been ravaging about –  Minalungao National Park.

Minalungao National Park

A protected area located in the municipality of General Tinio, Minalungao came from the two words “mina” (mine) and “lungao” (cave). The park covers an area of over 2,000 hectares situated at the hills of Sierra Madre mountain range. The wonders of Minalungao National Park lie in the emerald waters of Peñaranda river decorated by beautiful rock formations. Stunning as it is, some can even feel a Palawan vibe with the park’s scenery.

Bamboo Raft Rental (good for 4-6 persons, whole day): PHP500

As our Lakbay Norte group arrived in the place after an approximate travel time of four hours from Manila, numerous bamboo rafts parading the river immediately caught my attention.

Bamboo Rafting

Unfortunately, we were told that the current was strong and we can’t go rafting. Some guests who went prior to us tried but they were forced to end immediately. My heart was slightly saddened as I was really looking forward to explore more of the river – to even see beyond the splendor of the towering rock formations. It was actually a gloomy weather during our visit, the gray clouds say so. The river was also noticeably not in its real beauty with its moss green color which is usually the case during downpours.  But wait, our story didn’t end just like that.

Depending on the weather and the current of the river, bamboo rafting may not be permitted.

With the help of the friendly guides, we still rode the bamboo raft but only at a distance where they can just pull the raft with a rope and tie it at one side of the river. Still, I was in awe. As I sat down at one edge of the bamboo, I immersed my legs in the waters. It was damn cold. I felt the strong pressure of the current going against our raft. Coming from Mt. Pinatubo hike just the day before, the frigid river seemed to give my limbs a restorative massage.


Aside from bamboo rafting, Minalungao National Park also offers other activities like trekking. Some members from our group chose to trek a thousand concrete steps to get a panoramic view of the place. Reaching the summit, a man-made cross can be seen.

Trekking at Minalungao National Park. Photo Credit: Martin San Diego of North Philippines Visitors Bureau (NPVB)

Man-made cross at the summit. Photo Credit: Martin San Diego of North Philippines Visitors Bureau (NPVB)

View from the Hanging Bridge

Conquering any fear of heights? Then the park’s hanging bridge may quite be a challenge. I do not panic with great heights but it makes my heart skip a beat. The hanging bridge at Minalungao looked new and safe. More interestingly, standing at its middle will give you a unique view of the river and the rock formations. Amazing vantage point it is!

Minalungao National Park’s Hanging Bridge

View from the Hanging Bridge

Other Activities

Other activities that can be enjoyed at Minalungao National Park are as follows:

  • Swimming
  • Cliff Diving
  • Spelunking
  • Zipline

Zipline (PHP100)

The bamboo raft has a mini nipa hut cottage where guests can eat.

Minalungao National Park Rates and Fees

Admission Fee: PHP30
Bamboo Raft Rental (good for 4-6 persons): PHP500
Zipline: PHP100
Cottage Rental: PHP200
Parking Fee: P50
Comfort Room: P10

Disclosure: This Lakbay Norte trip was organized by North Philippines Bureau (NPVB) in partnership with Manila North Tollways Corporation / NLEX-SCTEX, Victory Liner, Inc., Nueva Ecija Convention and Visitors Associations (NECVA), and Cagayan North Convention and Visitors Bureau (CNCVB).  Lakbay Norte is an annual media familiarization trip aiming to promote Philippine provinces in the north.

Sponsored by: Department of Tourism – Region 2, Department of Tourism – Region 3, Petron Corporation and Prifood Corporation. 



  1. Reply

    edison canlas

    April 9, 2017

    Saan po madaling daan from Tarlac City to Minalungao at makakapasok po b ang van papunta?

    • Reply

      Arrianne Guzman

      April 10, 2017

      Hi Edison, sorry hindi ako familiar sa directions coming from Tarlac. About the van, yes makakapasok ang van, and there is a dedicated parking space ☺ Malapit din ung parking sa cottage area.