Its the time of the year again where the middle east OFW’s are given a longer time off due to Eid Holidays. This Eid Holidays plus some of our annual leave enables us to have a short but memorable time with family and friends where ever it may be. This holiday I dedicated some of my time with our clan in my Mother side. Me and my mom rarely visit our relatives in the province. She would ask me to drive her to the province once in a while. So this time I ask her why not ask all your brothers to come so that we could have a small talk since it has been a while when they have a chance to be together (I think the last time is when our lola passed away in 2008). So I set aside a day and ask my mom to call them and prepare a small meal of the family. I did pitch in a lechon to liven the spirit of the mini reunion.
We just set the day and give our share for food (including the lechon) but the location is still unclear. I asked for a more private location so that only the family is there – no kapitbahay and other distant, and very distant relatives that could distract the mini reunioun. The aim is that my mom and her 7 living brothers can talk and be together. BTW my mom is the only female on the 9 siblings. The eldest Tito Sonny died long time ago in the Visayas.
There are a lot of options such as house of one of our pinsan, farm and the last is to go to the Minalungao National Park. To make the long story short Minalungao won… May be I choose it 😊 or maybe because I am a bit of popular to the family. And also I have never been there… i am a Nueva Ecijan, born in Papaya (now General Tinio) where Minalungao is located. I did not recall to have been there since I always have my vacation in Papaya on my childhood – actually I was circumcised on the downstream of the Minalungao river.
The mini reunion is turned is success even if the Minalungao National Park is crowded since the day is Sunday following the Monday Holiday (Eid Al Ahda).
Family pictures turned out great especially the My Moms and her Brothers I really don’t expect it to be this colorful and purely heartwarming. Picture below are the head of the families of Tribu Martin!
I urged all Filipinos especially the Nueva Ecijanos to visit the Park. The tourism pictures and videos that we see is real, the place is beautiful and the limestone and deep blue waters of the river captivates me and surely yours too.
These are some things you can do in Minalungao as follows;
1. Swim on the deep blue freshwater river or lounge on the shallow end of the river. Lie on the shallow side and let river flow thru your body.
2. Ride the balsa thru the limestome passage
3. Visit the Minalungao Caves
4. Trek to the Cross – about 1030 steps to the top
5. Zip-line thru the both ends of the river (very cheap at 100 pesos)
6. Cross the hanging bridge
7. Wash your clothes on the shallow side of the river
8. And many others… There are a lot more possible tourism activities that can be provided such as guided trekking, rafting on the shallow side, individual rafting, wall climbing on the limestone cliffs, etc.
As in all tourist areas, the place is still work in progress and there are some gaps in development. It is not a perfect place but you will surely enjoy the visit. I hope that the Government continue to protect the watershed area of Minalungao so that the water stays blue and clean.