Nueva Ecija is a province in the Philippines located in Central Luzon Region dotted with vast rice fields and beautiful tourist spots. Its plains are covered with verdant rice fields making it the main rice growing province in the country, hence dubbed as the Rice Granary of The Philippines.
For adventure seekers, its mountains and rivers offer eco-tourism destinations like waterfalls, mountain peaks, eco parks and a lake. For history geeks, its towns have noticeable historical sites and landmarks including monuments, markers, ancestral houses and century-old churches. And for family travelers, amusement and recreational parks can also be found in the towns.
The capital city of Nueva Ecija is Palayan. The province is bordered by Nueva Vizcaya (northeast), Aurora (east), Bulacan (south), Pampanga (southwest), Tarlac (west) and Pangasinan (northwest). This means it is a landlock province. There are around 2 million people living here and they speak of Tagalog, Ilocano, Kapampangan and English languages.
If you want to explore the eco-tourism destinations in the province or its historical sites, perhaps enjoy its natural parks, below is the list of tourist spots in Nueva Ecija you may want to visit this year.
10 Best Tourist Spots in Nueva Ecija
1. Minalungao National Park
Minalungao National Park is one of the best tourist spots in Nueva Ecija, a 2,018 hectares protected area surrounded with lush greenery. The main attraction of the park is its wide Peñarada River which is flowing in between towering 16-meter high limestone rocks. The river is clean (muddy if raining) with turquoise waters that’s very alluring for swimming, cliff jumping and bamboo rafting. There is also a zipline to ride and a hanging bridge to cross. One can even roam around with the huge rock formations and even go spelunking in the nearby cave. The park is a favorite weekend getaway among the local and foreign tourist.
Minalungao National Park is located in General Tinio, Nueva Ecija.
2. PhilRice Institute
Philippine Rice Research Institute or PhilRice is one of the interesting places to visit in Nueva Ecija. It is a government entity attached to the Department of Agriculture to develop modern farming techniques for Filipinos to produce more rice. Inside the property is the PhilRice Museum. The exhibits are mostly include materials of rice farming community, farming machines, variety of seeds and artworks. It aims to disseminate interest to general public specially to inspire the youth for a noble career in agriculture industry. Visitors can also tour around the verdant rice fields riding on a farm tractor.
PhilRice Institute is located in Muñoz, Nueva Ecija.
3. Gabaldon Falls
Gabaldon Falls is one of the known tourist spots in Nueva Ecija, a 10-feet waterfalls and the main attraction of Gabaldon Eco Park. Gabaldon falls may be not that majectic but for travelers seeking tranquility and relaxation in nature, the falls with cold and crystal clear waters surrounded with foliage and rock formations is an ideal destination. It is located inside the compound of Nueva Ecija University of Science and Technology Gabaldon Campus. A small environmental and guide fee is collected in the entrance of the eco-park. The falls can be reach about 30-45 minutes hike from the entrance passing though mostly grassy terrain and a small river.
Gabaldon Falls is located in Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija.
4. Crystal Wave Resort
Crystal Wave Resort is a beach alternative destination in Nueva Ecija. It is popular for its wave pool and giant slides. The resort is more of a recreational destination for families and friends. The pool amenities are impressive: wave pool, kiddie pool and Micky Mouse-inspired Olympic pool. If you are planning to enjoy overnight, they also have comfortable and affordable rooms. For travelers who want to stay overnight to relieve from long or tiresome adventures, this may not be an ideal destination because it could be noisy sometimes. For barkadas seeking fun, this the best place to bond in the province.
Crystal Wave Resort is located in Talavera, Nueva Ecija.
5. Pantabangan Dam
Pantabangan Dam is one of the famous tourist spots in Nueva Ecija, the second largest dam in Asia that provides water for irrigation as well as hydroelectric power. It is an earth-filled embankment type of dam which is 107 meters tall and 1,615 meters long. This $20.74 million dollar dam was designed to withstand an intensity 10 eathquake, supplies irrigation for about 77,000 hectares of agricultural lands and generates about 100 megawatts of hydroelectric power. Most visitors go to Pantabangan Dam to marvel its engineering wonders and see beautiful sights of the surrounding mountains, river and lake.
Pantabangan Dam is located in Pantabangan, Nueva Ecija.
6. Pantabangan Lake
Pantabangan Lake serves as a reservoir for Pantangan Dam. It is considered as one of the largest lakes in Southeast Asia and also one of the cleanest lakes in the Philippines. Aside from being a reservoir, it is famous for sport fishing. Though this recreation game is not famous in the Philippines, the Americans, Japanese and Koreans visits Pantabangan Lake for this sport. The largemouth bass, a freshwater gamefish, is the most common fish to catch here especially in the early morning when the lake is calmer. For locals and tourists, it is a lovely place to enjoy scenic views during sunset when the yellow orange colors overlays the mountains. One can also explore the lake with a fishing boat.
Pantabagan Lake is located in Pantabangan, Nueva Ecija.
7. Dupinga River
Dupinga River is one of the known tourist spots in Nueva Ecija, a favorite picnic grounds among the tourist and locals in the province. It is a wide and clean river bordered by the Sierra Madre mountain range on both sides. Nipa huts were lined up along the river bank where visitors would stay during the day. The cold and refreshing waters came all the way from the mountains which makes dipping or swimming into the river is worth a try. Huge rock boulders can also be found in the area where daring visitors do cliff diving. Families and barkadas can also enjoy singing in videoke or have some barbecue party. One can also notice the beautiful views of the river and the verdant green mountains.
Dupinga River is located in Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija.
8. Aloha Falls
Aloha Falls is one of the popular waterfalls in Nueva Ecija though it is not frequented destination by day trippers because it is tucked in the remote part of the province. It is a beautiful 20-meter waterfalls surrounded with lush greenery and foliage. Huge boulders and rock formations are scattered along its bank. Swimming and cliff diving down the wide, cold and refreshing basin are the best things to do here but be warned that it is also deep. It is a picnic grove among adventure seekers where one have to pass though rocky and grassy terrains, boulders and small rivers. It is also a great side trip destination for mountain climbers traversing from Mount 387.
Aloha Falls is located in Carranglan, Nueva Ecija.
9. Gapan Church
The National Shrine of Virgen La Divina Pastora, also known as Gapan Church is one of the most visit tourist spots in Nueva Ecija, the oldest and the biggest church in the province. It is a century-old Roman Catholic Church built on 1872. It is one of the Baroque churches of the Philippines made of limestone blocks and bricks. The Virgen La Divina Pastora and the Three Kings are the patrons of the parish of Gapan whose feast days are celebrated every May 1 and January 6, respectively. These could be the best days to go to the church.
Gapan Church is located in Gapan City, Nueva Ecija.
10. Mount Kemalugong (Paasa Peak)
Mount Kemalugong is a newly explore mountain climbing destination in Nueva Ecija standing 1,750+ meters above sea level. On 17th of January 2016, a group of explorers named Nueva Ecija Backpackers and Mountaineers Community – Exploration Team (NEBMC), explored and reach the highest peak in Nueva Ecija called Paasa Peak in Mount Kemalugong. The spectacular view of the sea of clouds is the main attraction of the peak. It also offers stunning view of the mountain ranges, river and plains of Nueva Ecija and nearby provinces. A coordination with the NEBMC and local government is require to be able to climb the mountain.
Mount Kemalugong is located in Laur, Nueva Ecija. During the exploration, mountaineers thought several times that they have reached the summit, only to realize it is still far, hence the name Paasa Peak.