This trip can definitely be summed up into 2 words – “spontaneous” and “unplanned”. It was only a coincidence when one of our soon-to-be principal sponsors were in town and invited us to visit their (what I call..ehem..hacienda) farm which is located in Minalungao, Nueva Ecija.
Minalungao, Nueva Ecija is one place where I wanted to bring my fiancé who grew up in Manila all his life. This is perfect for someone who don’t see vast greenery, untouched terrains, and isolated communities very often. Minalungao’s untouched state makes it tempting for nature lovers and solitude-seekers -who are exactly my complete opposite. I’m more of a beach-lover type of girl though I don’t have the luxury to enjoy the beach right now due to my upcoming wedding.
While in there, you can visit the famed Minalungao National Park. I’ve been to the park years ago with my cousins who were both into photography.
Let me show you Minalungao National Park years ago from their perspective:
Anyway, the day we were supposed to go back to Manila, we received an invite from our ninong. My dad, who just got better, got excited from hearing it. You see, my dad grew up in a place that is somehow similar to Minalungao. Also, since we wanted to meet our soon-to-be ninong and his wife (technically our ninang ) personally, we pushed through with the trip.
It was the perfect weather for me – not too sunny. From Gapan, we took the Peñaranda road. During that time, I’m amazed how vast the land of Nueva Ecija is and how many places I haven’t visited yet in the province despite being a Novo Ecijano (I really have to add this to my bucket list).
It is advisable to bring big vehicles (e.g. SUV) if you’re going to Minalungao. I can’t imagine Zoey (btw that’s my Toyota Altis’ name :P) surviving the rough road. However, it seems the local government has started several road projects for easier promotion of Minalungao as a tourist spot in the province (Keep it up guys! 🙂 ) I guess, in a year, the road projects will be complete and it will make the travel easier.
It took us only 1 hr and 30 minutes to reach the place of our ninong.
Upon arriving, we were welcomed by our Ninong who even prepared a festive and mouth-watery lunch meal.
Yes. We ate using real banana leaves as our plates. My fiancé and I were both excited to eat using our hands and all. I must say, what an experience! You really should try this and say goodbye to your diet (for a while.. :P).
Afterwards, we decided to visit the Minalungao National Park. I was thrilled for my fiancé since it was actually his first time.
Upon arriving, I was surprised to see the changes in the park. There were restaurants, inns, and rental huts for visitors/tourists. The park also offers activities such as zip line, rafting, and others. In short, the place was transformed to attract more visitors.
Despite spending a very short time in the place, we were able to enjoy and appreciate nature. Even though I said that I’m more of beach lover person, I definitely enjoy the unique experience together with my loved ones.
For Novo Ecijanos and for adventure-seekers out there, who wanted to get away (even for a while) from the hustle and bustle of the city, why not visit Minalungao, Nueva Ecija? 🙂
I’m planning to visit Muñoz, Nueva Ecija soon. Any suggestions for places and restos to try? 🙂