Must-See Places tourist attractions in Nueva Ecija
Now on its 10th year, the #NLEXLakbayNorte continues its advocacy of promoting more tourist destinations in Northern Luzon. However, because of the global pandemic, the usual 5-6 days caravan across several provinces of past editions is watered down to several shorter journeys focusing on one province. This writer of Out of Town Blog was recently invited to participate in the 2-day familiarization tour of Nueva Ecija. Following IATF-enforced safety protocols, we explored other must-visit places in the province known as the “rice granary of the Philippines”.
Proving that Nueva Ecija is more than just endless rice fields, this landlocked province wants to put travelers on notice about its stunning nature spots, relaxing wellness resorts, thriving farm tourism, rich local culinary culture, and more. To give you several reasons why Nueva Ecija should be looked upon as more than just a pit-stop en-route to places like Baler in Aurora, here are the interesting places we explored during our two-day Lakbay Norte to Nueva Ecija.
Colosboa Hills in Cuyapo
Situated on the rolling slopes of Cuyapo, Colosboa Hills is every bit of a gift to every outdoor enthusiast. This 10-hectare nature park boasts camping grounds spread over a picturesque landscape and a three-kilometer bike trail that combines downhill and uphill tracks catered to both beginner and intermediate mountain bike riders.
Seasoned biker Edrie Ocampo, who was hired by the tourism office of the province as a consultant to design the biking track, said “We designed a trail that will not only test the skills, endurance, and stamina of bikers but also give them the opportunity to enjoy the majestic view.” He also shared with us the plan of the local government to stage an off-road biking competition in Colosboa once the trails are finalized.
Indeed, the scenic setting of Colosboa shall give every “Tambikers“, a reason to sharpen their uphill and downward biking skills while surrounded by a beautiful set of nature that includes a clear view of Mt. Bangkay and Mt. Dulay-Dulayan.
The park is also being repopulated with native trees. Cuyapo Tourism Officer Joan Mendoza said the LGU initiated the replanting of a variety of trees such as the Palawan Cherry, Bambanaba, Fire tree, and Yellow tree.
Famished after several rounds of negotiating the steep biking trails? Don’t worry because the inviting Tambayan ni Berto, a nipa-hut restaurant nestled on the same hilltop, serves mouth-watering boodle-type meals perfect for groups of bikers and friends.
Argamosa Farm Resort
Address: Purok 5, Cuyapo, Nueva Ecija
Travelers looking for a relaxing weekend to enjoy both nature and wellness, can visit and stay at this farm laden with beautiful corners comprising of gardens, ponds, rice fields, and homey villas inspired by Balinese architecture.
The owner Rudy Argamosa originally envisioned his five-acre property as a family vacation spot but eventually decided to transform it into a farm-wellness resort. Located in Paitan Sur, guests can either staycation or enjoy a day tour and feast on the farm’s farm-to-table food. Mind you, their sumptuous servings not only include fresh fruits and vegetables, it also consists of livestock produce. As Mr. Argamosa said, “We harvest and catch it, our guests eat it”.
“Right now, we have a lot of occupancies next year booked by tourists coming from Europe,” Argamosa said as he pertains to the vast appeal of wellness and nature-friendly resorts particularly of Argamosa Farm Resort to foreigners in search of a tranquil environment.
Highland Bali Villas
Address: Intang, Pantabangan, Nueva Ecija
Telephone: 0917 149 8272
Although “Bali” has become a much-used branding word of many resorts in the Philippines, one can’t deny how the influence of Balinese architecture has made it possible for resort owners and developers to come up with elevated style and earthly vibe in their properties.
One such example is this high-end resort in Pantabangan, Nueva Ecija which serves as a perfect getaway for a long-deserved family holiday or an anniversary wellness-and-chill with your special someone.
Aside from the comfort-lavished rooms and great food served in the restaurant and poolside bar, the resort features a couple of outdoor pools, world-class spa service, and an amazing view of the Sierra Madre and the Pantabangan lake.
Farm Ridge by Desmond Farm
Address: Km3 Malbang, Pantabangan, 3124 Nueva Ecija
Mobile Phone: 0908 227 7602
Nestled on the slopes of the Sierra Madre mountains and overlooking the calm waters of Pantabangan lake are a set of cabins that gorgeously blends with the surrounding nature.
Constructed on the vast farmland of Farm Ridge by Desmond Farm, these hilltop cabins dishes breathtaking outdoor views and a country vibe stamped with mother nature’s serenity. Part agricultural and farm tourism site, guests can enjoy a much-needed Zen-and-chill experience while regaling at the spectacular landscape in between spreads of healthy farm-to-table meals.
Currently, there are six cabins of varying layouts but sharing the ambiance of a calm bucolic lifestyle, and the main farmhouse called Matahum. Each cottage was named from different words taken from Tagalog, Cebuano and Hiligaynon languages, such as Amihan, Hiraya, Bahaghari, Maharika, Malipayon and Marahuyo.
The cabins’ interiors are lavished with mostly wooden materials, and finished with floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors, with nipa thatched roofs. Other features include a private bath, a loft, and a veranda that opens to the majestic views of the mountains and the lake.
Accredited as a Learning Site for Agriculture by the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) in 2019, and as a Farmers Field School (FFS) by TESDA in 2020, Myriad Farms— located in Brgy. Triala in Guimba—conduct training for both local farmers and visitors wanting to learn basic and advanced farming methods.
Activities on the farm include Harvest and pay of seasonal fruits and vegetables, Carabao-riding experience, Farm demo and mini-lecture on how to make jam, fruit vinegar, tomato sauce, and processing of meat such as pork tocino, garlic longanisa, as well as vermiculture and compost making.
Myriad Farms also conduct agricultural training on rice production, organic farming methods for livestock and vegetable and fruit produce.
If you’re on the lookout for jogging and biking trails, then the route passing through the span of Pantabangan Dam should be on top of your list of places to see in Nueva Ecija.
Overlooking the waters of Pantabangan Lake (a tributary of Pampanga River), the dam is an earth-fill embankment dam since the spot where the water flows, was once an old town. Because rainwaters from the Sierra Madre always flood the town, the Philippine Congress passed a law authorizing the development of the Pampanga Basin in 1969. Soon, the old town was replaced by a dam reservoir.
Address: Pangasinan – Nueva Ecija Rd, Guimba, Nueva Ecija
Phone: 0936 952 9824
Located in Brgy. Casongsong in Guimba, Nueva Ecija, this farmhouse is another ideal place to enjoy a secluded stay. Offering only a few rooms—all of which are spacious, comfortable, and furnished with complete features, expect a socially-distanced vacation communing with nature and the farm’s countless roaming adorable sheep and goats. At nighttime, enjoy a sit-in by a bonfire or gaze at the starry-filled skies. Other activities include swimming and heaps of Zen and chill time.
Address: Canile Trail, Pantabangan, Nueva Ecija
Unlike the controversial Dolomite Beach, this patch of property is situated on a hilltop in Brgy. Malbang Pantabangan is good for one’s mental health. Why wouldn’t it be? it has amazing nature scenery and fascinating wooden structures millennials would describe as “Hashtag for the Gram”
A small cafe is also located in the property so you can pick a comfy spot at one of Forest Garden’s art installation creations and enjoy a cup of coffee while regaling at the impressive view of the Sierra Madre.
Address: 1077 Del Pilar Street, Cabanatuan City, 3100 Nueva Ecija
Phone: 0917 565 7860
This culinary landmark fronting Cabanatuan city’s Freedom Park serves all-time favorite Filipino cuisine inside a charming fusion of a traditional heritage house and ‘bahay na bato’ setting.
Enjoy a family-reunion type of feast at Hapag Vicentico’s by ordering some of their bestsellers like the crispy pata kare-kare, deep-fried hito, adobong baby pusit, tortang along, and more.
Cabanatuan’s Freedom Park
A stroll through the Freedom Park of Cabanatuan is not complete without learning something about the city’s history. For newbies in the city, it is advisable to hire a tour guide—specifically the one being groomed by the tourism office to become the city’s Carlos Celdran, Jayson Rabino.
During our brief walking tour, he obliged us with a history lecture and some anecdotes about the city’s Freedom Park and its adjacent historical sites.
It’s great to see that historical learning is being fused with tourism promotions in many parts of the country. Therefore, it is advisable that fellow travelers try to hire the services of these historian slash tour guides trained by an increasing number of local tourism offices. Why only travel for the ‘Gram, when you can travel and learn as well. Plus, you can also help these chroniclers of our past, earn additional income.
Want more updates about new package tours and tourist attractions in Nueva Ecija Province, Philippines, that you can add to your itinerary?