Prior to leaving for a fifteen-day Turkey adventure, there is one Philippine travel destination that I and some colleagues have been to which I failed to feature and write about. Three reasons for my failure of writing about this Nueva Ecija place is because (a) I was too pre-occupied about my upcoming Turkey journey; (b) I was too lazy; and, (c) I’ve gone selfish and don’t want to share the beauty and splendor of Minalungao National Park.
I had the least expectations about my going to Minalungao. It is because I’ve never heard about this place in the first place. And since it is not a popular Philippine destination, the site must be some mediocre place located in Nueva Ecija. I was also not expecting much because the scale of planning compared to the amount of planning I have to do with my out-of-the-country planning was way way different. Lastly, I had the least anticipations because I know quite a number of friends and colleagues who hailed from Nueva Ecija yet none of them seem to recommend visiting Minalungao.
But as soon as we reached this national park and I alighted from our rented van, my jaw dropped! I was so surprised to find out that Minalungao was such a Philippine hidden gem. Also, what is so distinct about the place is that only locals of Nueva Ecija province seem to be around. There seem to be very few tourists from Manila or even from abroad.
Minalungao is a protected national park considered to be one of the very few remaining natural environments that is close to Manila. This ecotourist destination offers breath-taking scenery, easy hiking trails, green pristine river, inimitable rock formations and explorable natural caves.
After exploring what Minalungao and while we were heading to a cheap hotel in Nueva Ecija city center to stay overnight, it was the time I realized why people of Nueva Ecija seem to not recommend it. Maybe it is because it is so beautiful, Nueva Ecija-ns want Minalungao to be a secret and be a well-kept natural environment. People of Nueva Ecija wants to keep it for themselves because they don’t want this beautiful nature and physical world phenomena to be spoiled, be blemished and be destroyed by unmindful, insensible and ill-mannered tourists.
That is why after reading this, keep it to yourself. You can visit Minalungao (of course) but never tell anyone about it. Keep it at its status, that is, a secret natural environmental gem.
Kaya kapag nabasa mo ‘to, hwag mo ipag-sabi.