Luisiana, Laguna: Hulugan Falls Travel Guide

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Laguna might be known for its hot spring resorts, location of the country’s biggest freshwater lake, Laguna De Bay and being home of Philippine’s famous amusement park, Enchanted Kingdom but this province situated Southeast of Metro Manila has a lot of natural attractions waiting to be explored. Multiple waterfalls can be found in the province but for this article we’ll be talking about Hulugan Falls located on Laguna’s little Baguio, the town of Luisiana.

Knowing Hulugan Falls:

Hulugan Falls is one of the few falls that you can visit in Brgy. San Salvador, Luisiana. Locals would agree that it is the most stunning among all. Standing 230 feet, you’ll be amazed by its natural beauty and to be drizzled by its strong water drops is an experience you must look forward to. As per our guide, with the effort of the barangay’s ex captain the place was finally opened to the public last 2015 and since then many tourists were captured by its charm.

How to get there?

From Manila

From Manila ride a bus (Buendia, Cubao or Alabang) bound to Sta. Cruz, Laguna. Upon reaching Sta. Cruz town proper, ride a jeepney bound to Luisiana. Jeepney terminal is located at the back of Jollibee Sta. Cuz, fare is P50 each and tell the driver to drop you off on Brgy. San Salvador. Upon arrival you’ll be seeing a sign “To Hulugan Falls” at your right. Walk to your right and you’ll be greeted by tour guides. Once they assigned a guide, they’ll accompany you to the old Captain’s house for registration. After registration, you have to ride another tricycle going to the jump off (80 Pesos per ride good for 4 pax).

From Laguna

Make your way to SM Calamba and look for jeepneys bound to Sta. Cruz on its transportation terminal. Fare will be P60 each and travel time is around 1 hour. Upon reaching Sta. Cruz town proper, ride a Luisiana bound jeepney (located at the back of Jollibee Sta. Cruz). Fare will be P50 and travel may take another 45 minutes to 1 hour. Dropped off at Brgy. San Salvador and walk to your right, have a tour guide assigned and have your group registered at the Captain’s house. After registration, ride a tricycle going to the jump off.

Registration area

Journey to Hulugan Falls:

On this trip, we only decided to visit Hulugan Falls. Upon reaching the jump off, we make our way to the right where we were greeted by the “I Love Hulugan Falls” sign. Long tables and chairs are also available on the area where visitors can take a quick rest. After this part, this is where the real tricky trek starts. You have to descend a very steep natural stairs and since it poured the day before we went, the trail is too slippery, muddy and a bit complex. Good thing is they managed to put bamboo railings that one can hold and use as support all through his journey. We also have a very nice guide that holds and assists us anytime we need.

The trek may take around 30 minutes and after a tiring descent, you’ll be rewarded by the majesty that awaits you. It rained the day before we went to Hulugan, making the waterfalls white in color, larger than usual and water drops powerful. Regardless of its color and not being in its best glory (as per guides and locals), I was just stunned and overwhelmed by the beauty right in front of me at that moment. It’s such a gem that doesn’t deserve displeasure.

We have to put all our belongings inside a big plastic bag (prepared by our guide) to keep our things dry. Due to the strong current of water, we were not allowed to go below or near the falls itself for our safety. You can take photos on the big rocks around the area but make sure to be careful since it can be too slippery. Make sure to bring as well waterproof phone cases so you could take good pictures without worrying about your phone getting showered. Enjoying being poured by water drops from the falls is a must experience! It’s like bathing one rainy day back on your childhood days.

Recommended tour guide, Kuya Jayson
Be careful with the slippery rocks when taking photos

Getting Back From Hulugan Falls:

You have to take the same route to get back above. It may be extra tiring as you’ll need additional strength during ascent. Still, be mindful of your steps because one missed step could make you slide. Upon reaching the top where “I Love Hulugan Falls” sign is located we took some time to rest and that’s when I noticed that I lost my gold ring given to me by my mom. Our tour guide was too kind and decided to went back to the trail to look for it but unluckily, he didn’t find it. (He even went back to the falls by the next day to look for my ring again but still didn’t find it).

We continue our ascent until the drop off and ride a tricycle going to a house where we can take a bath and change clothes (P20/ligo). After fixing our things, we ride another tricycle back to the main highway and waited for a jeep back to Sta. Cruz.

Additional Information To Know:

  • Aside from Hulugan Falls, you can visit the other two falls in Brgy. San Salvador namely Talay Falls and Hidden Falls. You’ll take around 1.5 hours of trek when visiting the three waterfalls.
  • Registration Fee is 40 Pesos only. During this pandemic, they don’t require any requirements but you have to fill out their registration log book with your passing temperature.
  • Standard guide fee is 500 PHP (mandated July 2020) for Hulugan Falls.
  • For a recommended tour guide, you can contact Kuya Jayson. Once you are sure, tell him your desired date to visit so he can reserve you under his name. Kuya Jayson’s phone number is 09094522936.

It’s such a refreshing activity anyone could try since we have been forced not to leave our home for the past months due to the pandemic. We’ll surely be back and will try to visit the other known “Aliw Falls” on the nearby barangay. Please follow health protocols and safe travel to everyone! 

Lost But Trust Me, You’ll Be Found

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Did it ever happened to you that you woke up one morning and suddenly felt lost? For so many years you thought you had your life figured out and you led your life towards the path you always dream of walking on but then within that morning you opened your eyes, the wind blows entirely the other way. Your heart and mind are nowhere to be found and you completely lost your sense of direction.

Feeling empty, confused and unhappy is okay. It’s a feeling that we have to go through in order to be full, precise and genuinely happy again. Think of yourself as a moon, it needs to go different phases for a month in order to be full again and it’s fullness shines so bright beautifully even on the darkest nights. So no matter how empty you are right now, you will go through phases and can still be the light someone is waiting to shine on their darkest times. So prepare yourself to shine.

Not gripping on your sense of direction can be hard for someone who always visions his desires but think about all the possibilities life has to offer. You’ll be touching the lives of thousands or even millions of people a lifetime, there’s a lot of coffee to try in the tiny coffee shops of your hometown, there are plenty of white beaches to visit on your country and there are thousands of languages being spoken across the globe that we can hear by ourselves when traveling. There are so many dreamy things that will come our way as long as we believe. So prepare yourself to believe.

You might be extremely sad having your heart broken by someone. You might be feeling belittle because of a neighbor who judges you for not earning enough. You might be crying over the night because you can’t leave a job that you hate but feeds your entire family. You might be in the middle of a decision of either going forward or giving up. Regardless of how sad or how you push yourself to the inch of giving up, always remember that you will be fine someday. It might not be today or by tomorrow but I truly believe that you will. So prepare yourself to trust because someone still believes in you.

I am proud of you because you are still here, you’re lost but still living and trying to figure things out again despite all. It’s okay not to get all the answers to your questions today. You’ll be found again, someday. Don’t lose heart until then.

I Keep Moving Forward And I Thank Myself For That

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Dear self,

I know how hard it is to live on a world where struggles always arises out of the blue. You don’t let those obstacles torn you down. Your problems seems to be strong but I thank you for being stronger.

I know how frustrating it is for not getting all your dreams in life. I know how sad it is every night to think how far you still have to walk on your journey towards your wildest dreams but I thank you for not giving up.

I know how you cry when people starts to hurt your feelings, judge you and simply disagree with the way you wanted to live. It’s disappointing how many of us still believes with a certain standard setup by the community but I thank you for surviving.

I know how difficult it is to keep moving forward when the world around you starting to fill in with so much hate but I am proud of you and I thank you for still choosing to love amid the uncertainty.

I know how you always feel inferior because of the people who are always trying to pull you down. Regardless how good you’ve shown to them they still have anything bad to say but I thank you for growing instead of feeling belittle.

I know how you struggle with every mistakes you didn’t wished to happen. Mistakes might be a result of your weaknesses but a single mistake should not define you and I thank you for learning from it and by just being a stronger version of yourself.

Lastly, thank you for always saving yourself when everyone else is busy saving their own lives too. I will always love you and I will never get tired of showing how thankful I am to you.

Things Learned By A Twenty-Something Young Woman

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1. Some of the most beautiful lessons in life are learned in a hard way.

We have to fall and get hurt to grow. We have to know the feeling of being deprived to acquire more. Always remember that the world’s precious stones such as diamonds are made under pressure.

2. Don’t follow the crowd, follow your heart.

Living our lives depending on other people’s opinion is such a nonsense ideology. If you keep on living a life and making decisions based on other people’s judgements, think twice and imagine how happier it could be if you just let yourself to be you. At the end of the day, you don’t need to please anyone and you don’t need anyone’s approval.

3. Chasing your dreams is not as easy as it seems.

Before graduating from college, most of us tend to think that they are almost on their way to the top of their dreams but after graduation and stepping to the world of employment that’s where the real game starts. You’ll realize that school grades won’t really matter and what matters most is your actions.

4. Money can buy you things but it can’t buy life’s precious things.

Getting a lot of money is pretty much what everyone wants nowadays but have you imagined how it is more fulfilling to have a good relationship with your family and friends than having a hundred dollar shoes? Material things can give us happiness within the next few hours but a happy relationship, peace of mind, love and trust are some of the thoughts that will keep us in the long run.

5. Mistakes won’t define who you are.

Who among us doesn’t make any mistakes? It’s okay to be wrong, it’s okay to be on the wrong side of the road and it is okay not to win an argument because of having an imprecise rationale as long as you turn all the mistakes into something that will make you grow. Turn it into lessons, motivations, and wisdom. Don’t let one mistake stop you from getting all the possibilities in life.

6. Work hard and travel hard.

Your world doesn’t revolve on the four walls of your office. Some of life’s fulfilling experiences are somewhere outside of your normal view waiting for you to discover. Spontaneous airplane ride and long bus rides are some of life’s exciting escapades. Traveling will make you realize that the language you speak is not the only language that you’ll love hearing and the hometown you grew up in is not the only place that you will be happy seeing. You earn your salary at the office but traveling earns you life-changing experiences.

7. Choose who will be happy for you.

Your outlook, success and you as a being is pretty much made of the company you chose to be with. Surround yourself with positive people, someone who uplifts your drive and those who can be genuinely happy for you in every accomplishment you have, big or small. Those people are precious and worth keeping.

8. You will never go wrong for not giving up.

If one day you get up feeling tired and had no inspiration to do great, please do remember that it is okay. It’s okay to get tired and helpless. It’s okay to put things behind temporarily. It will always be okay as long as giving up will never be your option. Get a rest, build back your confidence, gather all the inspirations that went away and stand up as a better you. Keep in mind that you are loved and you will never go wrong for not giving up.

9. You are God’s unique creation and you are always capable of doing more.

Ever think about fitting in on a crowd then you realized you’re not part of it? Let it be and don’t force yourself. Narrow down the idea of fitting in and embrace the truth that you’re a special gem that can shine on its own. We may feel lost along our journey but we will be found eventually.

10. You don’t have to be rich in order to give.

Did you grasp the idea of how it is happier now to give than to receive? Anything you give to someone can make a great difference to him or her. It might be a small token for you but it could be the world for others. It is no longer about how rich or how much you have but it is now about how many drives you lift up and how many smiles you caused because of the kindness of your heart. You will never go poor by giving.

There are still so many things that I wanted to write down but in the meantime, I think these are the things I can share. Always remember that life will never get tired of giving us lessons and realizations as we go on with our journey. It might be tough, it might be something that can make you smile or might be something that you can cherish for the rest of your life but one thing is for sure, it didn’t happen just for no reason.

Bearseum: A Happy Place in Tagaytay

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Tagaytay would always a go-to place anytime you think of a little adventure after a whole week of your busy schedule. Aside from having a view of the beautiful Taal and eating on Tagaytay’s best bulalo houses, another attraction opened to add up on your next Tagaytay road trip. Bearseum Suites is a hotel and a museum that anyone can visit to reminisce one’s happy childhood memories. You can finish the museum for 15-20 minutes and load yourself with all kinds of teddy bears one could ever imagine. Located in 045 Santa Rosa-Tagaytay Rd., Tagaytay City this place should be definitely a must-try place whenever you are already on the area.

How to Go to Bearseum?

From Santa Rosa, Laguna

Make your way to Balibago, Complex and ride a jeepney bound to Tagaytay Market. Jeepney terminal is located beside Victory Mall and the fare would be around P40. Travel time is around 45 minutes and Bearseum Museum stands beside Loumar’s Cafe.

From Tagaytay City

Make your way to Tagaytay Market and ride a jeepney bound to Balibago, Santa Rosa. Just asked the driver to drop you off on Bearseum or Loumar’s Cafe. Alternatively, from Tagaytay Market you can simply charter a tricycle that will take you directly to Bearseum. Tricycle drivers might ask you to pay P20 each.

Going Around Bearseum:

Upon entering the compound, you have to register for an entrance fee. The entrance fee would be P190 during weekdays while it’s P240 during weekends, this includes the entrance to the museum, a string bag to put in your shoes and two tokens that you can use to play on their claw machine afterward.

Guests of different groups are not allowed to enter the museum at the same time so you really need to wait for your turn. You might wait in their receiving area or in their restaurant. For our case, we chose the latter and we got overwhelmed already of the decorations that welcomed us. Everything was beautifully designed!

Once your turn in the museum, footwears are no longer allowed and you need to put in your socks. The first room is the room of endless circles. It has a huge white-blue bear and the staff is more than happy to assist you in taking photos. They would even ask you what to pose.

Second corner of the room has these huge pink and brown teddy bears. The walls of it suggests the benefits of hugging.

Next corner would highlight a bathtub full of plastic balls and of course, teddy bears. And yes! Bathe yourself with love and happiness as they suggest.

Next room showcases a staircase to your happiness. It is a stairway full of Pandas on the sides. On top, a big teddy bear awaits you and I couldn’t agree with the sign that it holds “Your way to happiness is through your own self”.

Below the staircase, there is a bear inside a big box that you can take a picture with. Standing inside would make you look like a part of a gigantic toy. In front of the big box is a waiting area that is still undeniably instagrammable as well. You can took photos here while waiting to enter their last and biggest room in the museum.

The last room is probably the highlight of your visit here. It has many corners with different themes.

One corner would showcase a “Bear-y Happy” as a backdrop.

Another side is like a thrown for the king and queen teddy bears.

This side is like a wedding booth.

This corner has bicycles and beautiful frames as background.

My favorite part is this side that they made like a tree. The colorful trunk and branches stretches to the leaves made of cloth and colorful papers on the ceiling. Every corner is so beautiful, sweet and really radiates happiness to anyone.

After getting around the museum, you can now use your token for the claw machine or eat a sumptuous meal in their restaurant. They also have a souvenir shop that sells teddy bear memorabilias. Museum is open from 9:30 am-8:30 pm.

Bearseum Suite:

Since Bearseum is a hotel as well they offer themed-accommodations that one would surely love. Each of them, of course, showcases teddy bears. If you wish to check out their rooms and plans to reserve, you can check their official website and Facebook Page.

Do The Things You Want And It Will Make All The Difference

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Growing up on today’s society is now getting difficult and complicated due to the standards that the society itself sets. The respect that people around us would give someone depends on how much he earns, depends on the position he currently have on a company or probably how much help you could give to him or her. 
 
They would say that one woman should be able to get married before turning 30. That one man should work hard and be a sole earner for his growing family. They would say that one daughter should bear a child to be finally called a woman or one son should be able to get a college diploma at the age of 21. There are so many standards going around that would make you feel less of a person if you fail to met those caliber but have you think about how would it be happier if we let those complications and standards slide and be more of ourselves? 
 
I would prefer to go out and see places I’ve never seen before than to keep myself locked out just because people would say it’s not right to spend money on things that won’t last. Life’s experience and memories kept are too precious. I would prefer to go out and eat the foods I want than to keep myself away from the things I crave just because people would mock you for getting fat. A good heart is way better than a perfect figure. I would prefer to meet random people who shares the same love for adventures than to run away from people because someone might judge me of getting along with someone on opposite sex. People who hates wouldn’t say anything good.
 
It’s okay to be on the beach even though it is not summer just because you want to feel the sands and hear the waves coming. It’s okay to have scrambled eggs and pancakes for dinners. It’s okay to have a slice of pizza when everyone else around you decided to have a pasta. It won’t make you unalike, it won’t make you an outcast, it would only make you, just you. You are just someone who knows your worth and wants. Someone who could make a firm choice without needing anyone’s approval. 
 
So if one day someone asked you on how your coffee should be done, tell him to go ahead and just made a cup of his own. Nothing beats an uncontrollable man or woman because only them can control their selves and that will make all the difference. 

Torres Farm and Resort: Getting Around the World in Naic, Cavite

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If travelling the world is one of your wildest dream but money and time won’t allow you for now, visiting Torres Farm and Resort would pretty much give you “the same” excitement as they showcase replicas of the world’s famous landmarks. Torres Farm and Resort is a private resort in Brgy. Sabang in the town of Naic, Cavite and it’s just an hour or two away from Manila!

How to Go to Torres Farm and Resort:

From Manila

Ride a bus bound to Naic, Ternate or Maragondon (Cavite) and tell the driver to drop you off on Mcdo Naic. These bus terminals bound to Cavite are on Coastal Mall in Parañaque and in Pasay. Upon reaching Naic, look for a tricycle that will take you directly in the resort. Fare will be P30 each.

From Dasmariñas

From Pala-Pala, ride a jeepney bound to Tejero. Jeepney terminal is beside 7-Eleven Pala-Pala and fare is P32 each. Upon reaching Tejero, ride a bus or mini-bus bound to Naic. Fare will be P25 each. Drop off on Mcdo Naic and charter a tricycle going to the resort.

Getting Around the Resort:

Upon reaching Torres Farm and Resort, you have to pay a P180 entrance fee (picture taking only) and a bracelet will be provided as a ticket. From there, you can start your little journey around the globe.

  • Windmill of Amsterdam

Windmills are icons of the landscapes of Amsterdam.

  • Eiffel Tower of Paris, France

One of the world’s most famous structure in the most romantic city, Paris.

  • Moai Structures of Easter Island, Chile

Moai are human figures carved by the Rapa Nui people of Easter Island between 1250-1500.

  • Stonehenge of England

Prehistoric monument found in Wiltshire, England.

  • Arab Pool

One of my favorite spot on the resort. Who would not love to swim with an Arab Palace as the background?

  • Statue of Liberty of New York

Iconic structure in New York Harbor which is a figure of Roman liberty goddess.

  • Pyramid of Egypt

Egypt is known for their pyramids that were built as tombs for their ancient pharaohs.

  • Santorini, Greece

The building is inspired by Santorini’s Cycladic architecture. Known for their white-painted walls and blue dome.

  • Garden of Morning Calm of South Korea

A botanical garden located in the East of Seoul.

  • Leaning Tower of Pisa

A freestanding bell tower known for its nearly four-degree lean.

  • Merlion of Singapore

A symbol of Singapore with a body of a fish and a lion’s head.

  • Philippine Villa and Pool
  • Castle of Disneyland Hong Kong
  • Aya Sophia Temple of Istanbul, Turkey

This resort is perfect for family outings and barkada trips. Choose from their series of themed-pools and enjoy a dip on it. Check-ins, check-outs, and other hotel queries can be done on their tourism office which they set as an airport. It really looks like a boarding area on an airport with screens that flashes boarding gates!

Resort's tourism office

The resort has their own food hub called “Garden Cafe” so food would not be a problem. It’s such a good place to eat as you can have a fresh air, a relaxing garden ambiance while eating a sumptuous meal.

Garden Cafe's Longsilog
Garden Cafe's Tapsilog

Here are the current rates of the resort:

Photo taken from the official facebook page of Torres Farm and Resort

The resort is open from 8am-11pm everyday but make sure to check their page because there might be announcements regarding resort’s availability. For inquiries and reservations, you can directly message them as well on their Facebook Page. Here’s the link.

Ilocos Norte Travel Guide: Places to Visit in Ilocos Norte

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I personally suggest that one Filipino should at least experience an Ilocos Norte tour at least once in their lifetime. Imagining one province giving you so must to see and experience within a day. From old heritage churches to white beaches to windmills up to a coastal desert, there are so many things to do here making one day jam-packed.

Ilocos Norte is a special place for me as this was the first place I traveled miles away from home out of my hard-earned money. I remembered myself packing stuffs for our Ilocos tour years back, I was too excited that I even bought a new backpack just for this trip. The 11 hour travel didn’t bother nor scared me but it made me too excited that I can finally start my journey of seeing the beauty of my country. So for now, I listed some of the most visited tourist spots of Ilocos Norte. I am planning to write a more detailed blog about other less known spots of the province once I get back.

Knowing Ilocos Norte:

Ilocos Norte is a Region I (Ilocos Region) province located on the northwest corner of Luzon Island. It has Laoag City as its capital city. Ilocos Norte became known as the hometown of the former president of the Philippines, Ferdinand Marcos, who used to be the longest serving president of the country that lasted 20 years.

Places to visit in Ilocos Norte:

  • La Paz Sand Dunes

This is one of my personal favorite in Ilocos Norte. It was actually my first time seeing a desert-like area that actually lies beside a sea! Lapaz Sand dunes, probably the most visited place on the province, is an 85-square km protected sand coastal desert and beach. It’s a desert-like landscape is such a scene that it became popular to be a shooting location for movies and TV shows locally and internationally. Fill your adventurer heart with a thrill of experiencing the landscapes by having a rollercoaster ride on their 4×4 vehicle or by trying the sandboarding.

  • Paoay Church

Paoay Church, completed in 1710, was declared as a collective group of Baroque Churches of the Philippines in 1993. This Baroque architecture has walls made of coral stones and bricks that said to be Javanese in architectural styles. A three-storey coral bell tower stands separately at some distance from the church that served as observational post for the Filipino revolutionaries against the Spaniards in 1898 and Filipino guerillas against Japanese soldiers during World War II.

  • Malacañang of the North

Malacañang of the North served as an official residence of the late President Ferdinand Marcos and family in Ilocos Norte. This two-storey mansion was opened to the public last 2011 as a museum. It resembles a 19th century bahay na bato with an overlooking view of the alluring Paoay Lake.

  • Marcos Museum and Mausoleum

It is a museum in Batac, Ilocos Norte exclusively devoted to our former President Marcos. The museum, that used to be the ancestral home of the Marcoses, showcases large cluster of collectibles of the late president all throughout his years up to his presidency. It used to house as well the preserved body of Ferdinand Marcos encased on a glass coffin until he was transferred at the “Libingan ng mga Bayani” last 2016. Today, they still display a wax replica of Marcos body inside the glass coffin.

  • Kapurpurawan Rock Formation

An intricate natural art that was formed thousands of years by the natural forces and phenomena. It is a breathtaking sculpture by the shore with creamy white limestone formations. It came from the word “puraw” which means “white” as its color suggests. The place is windy and a little walking is needed to reach the formation.

  • Cape Bojeador Lighthouse

This lighthouse was structured by the Spanish government as part of their plan of lighting up the Philippine archipelago during their colonial period. Also known as Burgos lighthouse, it stands 65 feet tall and was first lit up on March 30, 1892 and still functions up until today.

  • Bangui Windmills

Your Ilocos Norte tour wouldn’t be complete if you didn’t visit the iconic Bangui Windmills. This will usually come into our minds every time we heard of Ilocos Norte to the point that the province became synonymous with windmills. This famous spot highlights a series of windmills standing in a row on the shoreline of Bangui Bay.

  • Patapat Bridge and Viaduct

Patapat Viaduct is a coastal bridge that connects Maharlika Highway in Laoag to the Cagayan Valley. It is more than just a typical bridge, it wreathes around the mountainside while having a beautiful view of the Luzon coastline on the other side. Tourists and tour coordinators will usually park their cars on the side of the road to take photos along the scenic bridge for few minutes.

  • Blue Lagoon

Blue Lagoon is one of the beautiful beaches found North of Luzon. It’s a stretch of shoreline with white to off-white sand and azure waters. So if you’re thinking of spending time to relax under the sun and swim your heart out of the waters, this is the spot for you!

Minalungao National Park: Travel Guide 2020

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Every time we heard about Nueva Ecija, I am sure that boundless rice fields will first pop out of our minds. Being dubbed as the “Rice Granary of the Philippines”, it is the number one producer of rice yield in our country. But this silent province of Nueva Ecija is more than just their rice fields. It has one of our country’s best-kept secrets. Located on one of its towns, General Tinio, is the Minalungao National Park which is being promoted by our government as an ecotourism destination.

Knowing Minalungao National Park:

Minalungao National Park is located in General Tinio (formerly known as Papaya), Nueva Ecija. The park covers an area of more than 2,000 hectares along the scenic Peñaranda river and high limestones skirted on both sides. It is just around 4 hour ride north of Manila and it is said that during summer is the best time to visit the park to see the emerald-green river at its best. But regardless of the day or season, you can’t deny the beauty of the place has to offer.

How to get to Minalungao National Park:

  • From Manila, ride a bus going to Cabanatuan/Gapan. On our case, we took a Five Star bus route directly to Gapan. Fare is P163 and travel time may take around 2-3 hours depends on the flow of traffic.
  • Upon reaching Gapan, charter a tricycle that will take you directly to Minalungao. (We read about jeepneys from Gapan to Gen. Tinio but upon reaching Gapan, we were told by the locals that there are jeepneys and bus that heads to Gen. Tinio but there’s no specified time of departure and most of the time it only departs later in the evening). We hire a tricycle to Minalungao for P800 (two way). There is no standard fare as of this moment but it may cost you around P500-P800 (two way) and travel time may took around 1-1.5 hours (per way).

What to do in Minalungao?

Upon reaching the park, you need to pay the standard entrance fee of P100/person. Once settled, you are now free to do activities you wish to try. Due to the rain that occurs the day before we visited Minalungao, we didn’t witness the river on its full grandeur. Regardless of the color of its waters, it is still a beauty that needs to be seen and adored.

One of the best way to see the beauty of the river is to ride a bamboo raft. The raft will tour you around the river and will take you to its swimming areas. The bamboo rafts also have a built-in cottage perfect for your picnics and lunch.

If you won’t be taking any bamboo rafts, you can trek a bit on the sides of the river to reach some of its cliff diving spots and viewpoints. With this, you can have a chance to walk through its scenic rock formations and have a hands-on experience with its 16m high limestone walls. Just be careful walking as some of the spots are slippery. Please take note that if you wish to swim, a life vest is required that you can rent for P20 each within the area.

There is also a hanging bridge that you can cross for free. Standing in the middle of the bridge can give you the best spot to take a high angle photo of the river.

Upon crossing the hanging bridge, you can start your trek going to the other must-see spot of the park, the grotto with a glass cross. You have to take a 1000-step journey to reach the top. This activity can be tiring but you will be rewarded with a panoramic view and you can enjoy the solemnity of the place from above.

Another activity you can try is riding a zipline (P100) and buy souvenirs in various stores in the park. These souvenir stores sell T-shirts, ref magnets, keychains and many more.

After all the tiring activities that you can try in the park, it is best to reward yourself with a sumptuous meal to end the day right. Families and “barkadas” usually rent a cottage and bring their own foods to eat but if you don’t have and food with you, you don’t have to worry as the place has food stalls that offer foods in affordable prices. We had our lunch at Minalungao Cafe and Restaurant with an overlooking view of the river.

More photos:

Other things to know:

  • Minalungao can be crowded especially during weekends so if you will be given a chance, it is better to visit during weekdays to have a better experience in the park.
  • Don’t expect an emerald-green or clear water during the rainy season. It is said that summer is the best time to visit the park.
  • Comfort rooms take additional charges.
  • There are no phone signals within the park’s vicinity.

Fresno Agro Forestry and Eco Tourist Campsite: Journey to Mt. Kulis and Noah’s Ark

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The municipality of Tanay is probably the must-go destination now in terms of mountain hiking due to its accessibility from our country’s center, Manila. And one of its newest attraction is Fresno Agro Forestry and Eco Tourist Campsite or also known as Mt. Kulis or “Bahay ni Cardo” that made fame from Coco Martin’s TV series “Ang Probinsyano”. The campsite is the perfect venue to catch a beautiful Sea of Clouds that won’t require a radical hiking to reach the top. Yes, you read it right. It was an easy hike (pabebe hike as they say) that you can only reach Mt. Kulis peak by around 15 minutes from the registration office.

Getting to Know Fresno Agro Forestry and Eco Tourist:

Camping area in Mt. Kulis

The campsite is located in Sitio Maysawa Brgy. Cuyambay/Laiban, Tanay, Rizal just few meters away from the entrance gate of Treasure Mountain. The difference is that, Fresno is on a higher location which means a better chance of getting a nicer view. The place is new as well so there are lesser crowd here for you to enjoy the sight. One of its major attraction is the house built for the TV show “Ang Probinsyano” starring Mr. Coco Martin, the place was made as a shooting area for few months before it finally opened to the public.

Mt. Kulis, Sambong Peak and Noah’s Ark:

When we contacted the campsite through their official facebook page, we were given options where to pitch our tent for our overnight stay. First option is on Mt. Kulis where “Bahay ni Kardo” is located and where most of the campers spend the night. Second option is in Sambong Peak which is the peak next to Mt. Kulis or third option is on Noah’s Ark which is our main purpose of visiting. We heard and read about that as early as 5am there are already a long line of people wishing to ride the arc and take pictures on it. So we decided to take the third option so we could be the first in line to ride the arc and as recommended, this vantage point has the higher chance of seeing the Sea of Clouds.

According to our tour guide, we were the first group of campers to pitch our tents beside this distinct vantage point of Noah’s Ark! Take note that there is no proper camping area beside Noah’s Ark. We only pitch our tents on the man-made bamboo bridge that they made where the long queue of people stand while waiting for their turn to ride the arc. As per our tour guide, Kuya Lolong, the camp area on Noah’s Ark can only accommodate up to five tents.

Our Overnight Journey:

We supposedly start our trek at around 4pm but due to the heavy traffic and the heavy rain upon reaching Tanay, we started our trek at around 5:40pm. We first settled our bills and entrance fees on the registration office before starting our ascend. It’s almost dark and we were wearing raincoats as it is still raining when we reached Mt. Kulis and picked up the tent we rented. It’s already dark when we head to Sambong peak where we met another set of campers who were already set for the night on Sambong.

The trail after Sambong peak became a bit complicated as the trail is pitch black and we only have one headlight with us and the rest used their cellphones to see through the dark. And since there was a heavy rain on the afternoon, the trail is too muddy that you can’t even step your feet properly due to the heavy mud that piled up on our shoes and sandals. A lot of sliding into the muds happened that made our clothes and bags full of dirt.

After more than an hour, we reached the Noah’s Ark. No more rain, we assembled our camping tents and washed ourselves to had a dinner. After an hour or two, the Sea of Clouds started to show from our camping area and it’s one of the most beautiful overnight scene I’ve ever witnessed. Though it’s night, you can still see the Sea of Clouds as the moon shines so bright from above. I keep on getting out of our tent from time to time and we had the Sea of Clouds view all by ourselves on the middle of nowhere. I can’t still believe with the beauty that stays right in front of my eyes.

We slept for few hours and manage to wake up at 3am. As early as 4am we already saw a group of trekkers from afar making their way on the Noah’s Ark so we started to fix our tents and things so we could start the line and wait for the sunrise. In order to take a photo within the arc you needed someone to climb a rock formation in front of it. Good thing, we had Kuya Lolong to take a photo of us and he was a good photographer.

As we ride the arc, we saw from above the long queue of people waiting for their turn and its kinda awkward to pose with all eyes on you (lol). I can’t imagine ourselves waiting on that long line and it’s really such a good decision to spend the night in Noah. We started our trek down to take photos on both Sambong Peak and Mt. Kulis as we didn’t get a chance to get good photos the other night.

People line up while waiting for their turn on the arc
One of the rock formation in Sambong Peak

Upon reaching back Mt. Kulis and “Bahay ni Cardo”, there is a small store that offers “silog” dishes for P100/meal only. We tried their tapsilog and tocilog. Other attractions of the site that you can visit are the Lion Falls House, the Hanging Bridge and the newly open Spider web.

Tapsilog for P100
Bahay ni Cardo
Recommended tour guide, Kuya Lolong

Rates and Charges:

Day trip– P150/pax (4:00am-3:00pm)

Overnight– P200/pax (4:00pm-1:00pm)

Tent Rental– P500 (Good for 2 persons)

                      P800 (Good for 4 persons)

                      P200/tent pitching (Bring your own tent)

Guide Fee– P500/5 pax (Day tour)

                    P1250/5 pax (Overnight)

Note: Mandatory guide if you go on Noah’s Ark and Lion Falls House

How to get there?

Via Cogeo

Ride a jeepney or van to Cogeo Gate 2. Jeepney fare is about P25 and van fare would be P35 each. Walk towards the end of the City Market to reach the jeepney terminal bound to Sampaloc. Tell the driver to drop you off in Maysawa Circuit and fare will be P48 each. Upon reaching Sitio Maysawa ride a tricycle that will take you to Fresno Agro Forestry and Eco Tourist. One tricycle ride would cost you P150 good for 4 pax.

Via Tanay

Ride a jeepney or van going to Tanay town proper. From Tanay Public Market, ride a jeepney that will take you directly to Sitio Maysawa. Upon reaching Maysawa charter a tricycle that will take you to Fresno.

Additional information:

Address: Sitio Maysawa Brgy. Cuyambay/Laiban, Tanay, Rizal

Contact number: 09465523659

Official website: Fresno Agro Forestry and Eco Tourist

Official Facebook page: Fresno Agro Forestry and Eco Tourist

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