Thursday, 9 February 2017

Two Great Destinations In General Tinio, Nueva Ecija To Visit This Summer

Minalungao National Park

I would always say yes to every press trip I am invited! Just a week ago  I went on a five-day trip to the best of North Luzon's tourist spots. We visited beautiful churches, beaches, tasted local delicacies like the tilapia ice cream and chicarabao, went on bamboo rafting et cetera together with other travel personalities in the country. Despite the rainy weather we managed to pull off a great camaraderie of newfound friends and destinations to see near manila this summer.  I am trying to chop the articles to write for the places we have visited per day according to our itinerary. 




Today, I am featuring General Tinio in Nueva Ecija which is just 3 hours away from Metro Manila. We only spent a day there before we head to our next destination so were only able to see Minalungao National Park  and PMP Paradise farm.

Introduction to General Tinio  
General Tinio is the second largest municipality in the province of Nueva Ecija. located 120 kilometers North of Manila and 32 kilometers South East of Cabanatuan City along Penaranda River.  North part you'll find Sta. Rosa, laur, Gabldon. South, you'll find Gapan and San Miguel, Bulacan. East is Aurora Province and west side is Penaranda.


Mayor Ferdinand Bote - General Tinio, Nueva Ecija

Formerly known as the Town of Papaya that is why locals of Gen. Tinio are called Papayanos. Majority of them are called Tagalogs however Gen. Tinio is also home to Dumagats, Ibalois, Applai, Bago, Ifugao and Kankana-eys. These Indigenous peoples occupy the forested areas of General Tinio. They are God-fearing people with cultural practices that have strong Spanish influence.

Agriculture is the major economic activity in the municipality thus it is not a suprise that farm tourism is one of the many great reasons to tourists to visit this part of Nueva Ecija. There are two major destinations in General Tinio that offer the best farm tours: Palas Plantation Resort, a mango plantation turned into resort, and the last one which we were able to visit - PMP Paradise Farm.

Related article what else to see in North Luzon: Town of Iguig, Cagayan: Where To Go, What to See and Tourist Spots to Visit


Places to visit

1. Minalungao National Park


Bamboo rafting 

I've been hearing so much about this place many times from different travel sites and in DIY Travel Philippines, the biggest Facebook travel community in the Philippines. Minalungao National Park is located in Sitio Minalungao, Barangay Pias - a protected area at the foothills of Sierra Madre mountain Range covering around 2,018 hectares. Established by virtue of R.A. 5100, issued on June 17, 1967, Minalungao Park is protected by Philippine law. Let's hope that this park will be for the longest time away from those who would like to destroy Minalungao National Park for their selfish intentions. 

The name of the place is originated from the words "Mina", which means mine, and "Lungaw", meaning cave. There are actually a lot of caves in Minalungao, just so you know. During Japanese occupation, a Japanese garrison was established in Minalungao. There were even stories that Japanese hid their treasures in one its several caves when American Troops returned! This could be one of the many reasons to visit Minalungao this summer!

Dubbed as "Hidden Paradise and Mythical Eco-adventure destination in the Province of Nueva Ecija" for its breathtaking view of pristine water of Sumacbao River cutting across almost identical 16-meter high limestone walls which are adorned with unique rock formations, I would definitely go back here. There are also mythical stories of mermaids dwelling in the waters of Minalungao add mystery to its majestic landscape.

What to do 
One day bamboo rafting for Php 500. Bring your own food and an audio speaker to listen to music while you and your friends float along the Minalungao river. If you have the energy, trek to the Cross of 1, 000 steps to get a panoramic view of Mount Arayat and the surroundings.  If you are the laid back type, take 300 meter zipline  which is Php 150 (two-way).

General Tinio is made of forests and pasture area that this is the perfect home for Minalungao Park. TIP: During rainy season, Minalungao isn't in its full bloom. You may get disappointed by the gray water so best time to visit is summer!


Hanging bridge

Zipline

How to reach Minalungao National Park
From Manila, take a bus bound to Cabanatuan then get off at Gapan, Nueva Ecija especificaly at Bucana. Take a jeep to General Tinio or Papaya. Hire a tricycle to Minalungao.


2. PMP Paradise Farm


Bring our date here


PMP Paradise Farm is where all city rats should go once in a while. Staying here reminds me of the life in a province. This 250-hectare started 19 years ago as agro-reforestration project of Major Pablo Pagtalunan. Now, it is a perfect farm site that serve as living farm school to appreciate and learn the exciting farm activities. Soon, it will emerge as a diverse theme park with a hotel and resort facilities.


Fishing

There's a lot of things to do here. We did fishing, picking tamarind fruits straight from the tree and cook local delicacies.  We saw lots of sheeps crossing by like I feel I'm in an African safari, lots of native ducks and two wild monkeys making out while holding on to a tree. 

Spend your night here


More things to do 
1. Knowing the different fruit varieties
2. Feeding animals such as carabao and ostrich
3. Planting rice or fruit seedlings
4. Harvesting vegetables


Local food we prepared and ate


PMP Paradise Farm is really huge. You can't just walk to get around. The best way is to ride a carabao cart or horseback riding. We have not tried this but they have really cool nipa huts that looks exactly like the traditional houses of Filipinos. Philippine tropical fruit trees are everywhere in PMP Paradise Farm: mangoes, jackfruits, guyabano, sweet tamarind, citrus varieties, catmon, durian, lansones, guava, balimbing, atis, anonas and even imported fruits like date palms. Anytime of the year, you can always find a tree bearing fruits when you come here.


So many to see inside PMP Paradise Farm

Aside from fruits, notable Philippine trees also call PMP Paradise Farm home. Caballero or fire trees, Palawan cheery blossom trees, bamboos, hard wood trees, flowering trees like Cananga, Ilang-ilang, Eucaplyptus, Narra, Mahongay and Golden Shower make this farm rich.


Retired Major Pagtalunan, owner

How to reach PMP Paradise Farm
This farm is located at Barangay Nazareth. From Angeles City it is only 2-hour drive via Olongapo-Gapan Road and 3-hour drive from Manila via SCTEX & NLEX. If you would like to commute, choose the buses bound for Cabanatuan and Gapan City.



For your convenience, saving time and money I would definitely recommend the Eco-farm adventure package which is a two-day tour for PMP Paradise Resort and Minalungao National Park. You can either stay at PMP Paradise or check-in at Nazareth Hotel. Please send your queries to Diana Rose Cunano, Tourism Officer of Municipality of Nueva Ecija and member of NECVA (Nueva Ecija Convention Visitors Association).

NOTE: This NLEX-SCTEX Lakbay Norte media familiarization tour was made possible by North Philippines Visitors Bureau in cooperation with Manila North Tollways Corp., Victory Liner, DOT 2, DOT 3, Jollibee Foods Corp., Petron, Prifood, Maynilad, NECVA and CNCVB.

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