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Hale Manna | Where Good Energy Is Nature-Sent

This first appeared on my column Down South on  Moalboal Hale Manna Resort and Coastal Garden

MOALBOAL, CEBU, PHILIPPINES—These past days, work—both self- and client-assigned—became overwhelming that I already entertained magic spells on how to grow another head, feet, and hands to finish everything on schedule.  Books to read, MA classes to attend, a wedding to shoot, places to visit, plants to water, writing deadlines to meet. Writing and photography assignments consumed the time intended for reading and diary writing. Guilt gnawed my gut.

But such self-imposed busyness is treatable. Its perfect antidote is a place of good energy: hale manna.  A sanctuary perched on a cliff, this place—detached from   Moalboal’s tourist belt, the central Bas Daku and Panagsama Beach—offers solitude to its guests.

Moalboal, where Hale Manna is located, is one of the best diving and snorkeling sites in the country.


Check out my Moalboal Travel Guide to know more about this diving and snorkeling destination in southern Cebu .


The chirping of various birds served as my alarm clock. Probinsyana at heart, I could name the birds through their melodies. At half past six in the morning, the siloys (black shama) roosting by my private balcony peeped endlessly, waving complicated notes into one single melody.  A chirpy cacophony of tamsi (sunbird), bangkiyog (pied fantail), and kurokutok (zebra dove)—such sweet reminders of my childhood centered on hills, mountains, and trees.

Hale Manna, however, is a coastal garden graced with trees not normally grown on the coast: kulo(breadfruit), neem trees and some other familiar trees with unfamiliar names: alangasil, noni, carot.


“Hale” is a Hawaiian word for “home” and “mana” “good energy.” It becomes “manna” to connote “gift from heaven” and “an enduring inheritance.” Photo by Jona Branzuela Bering,

I did not know they could grow in salty earth. If there are trees flexible to any kind of soil condition, it is the talisay and coconut trees. But here, aside from the varied trees, there are also the malabato trees that run abundant by the cliff. They are similar to pomelo trees sans the thorns and nodal trunk and with branches all pointing heavenward. A male staff fixing the cottage shared that these trees despite being hardwood become hollowed inside when they reach a certain age. It sounds like a poem to me.

The resort and garden staff know their land, their coast very well.  The same member of the staff said the yuka tree by Inspiration Point is centuries-old. It must be because I never thought such could grow so massive.

Cottages with drapes and mattresses are scattered all over the property. Hammocks are tied on trees by the cliff. Here at Hale Manna, it is not hard to find a corner you can call your own. True to its name, beautiful energy flows in the property that affects the mood of its visitors.

Benches with their uniform redness are strategically situated on the cliffs, overlooking Tañon Strait and the ranges of Tayasan and Jimalalud, Negros Oriental.  Tañon Strait has a drop considered a paradise by snorkelers, free divers, and scuba divers.

Kuya Nic, the lifeguard on duty, accompanied me towards the floating cottage by the drop. He guided me to the area with the thickest corals. Beautiful and varied soft and hard corals adorned Hale Manna’s seabed.

Kuya Nic thought I would make a good scuba diver with my swimming skills. Well, he had not met my free diver friends. I would simply pale in comparison to them. We kayaked to the outcrops where this part of Moalboal got its name: Magpayong. A certain outcrop is shaped like an umbrella.

After marveling at the abundance of nature, I relaxed at the red bench by the yuka tree. This part of the cliff is aptly named as Inspiration Point; it’s a corner for artists, for people like me, who are being momentarily consumed by schedules and deadlines.

Spending a quiet moment by the cliff of Inspiration Point to write an entry in my diary.

With a relaxed state of being, writing became easier. Personal thoughts finally found their way in a diary page. The sound of the water lapping the rough rocks, the chirping of the birds, and my right hand turning the pages of the diary were delightful parts of a romantic date with oneself.  These were moments of coming to terms with oneself, with one’s demons, with one’s shortcomings.

A place like Hale Manna is built to appreciate nature and one’s self. Visit. Love. Be healed.

Magical night scene at Hale Manna.

• Hale Manna Resort and Coastal GardenBarangay Saavedra, Bas Daku, Moalboal, Cebu. For details, check their website or call (+63 32) 316-2603 or (+63) 922-8424939 or e-mail

Jona of Backpacking with a Book

Hi there, I’m Jona, originally from Cebu, Philippines, had live in Hanoi, Vietnam, and now currently based in Munich, Germany. This blog used to house thoughts on life and books, but eventually it morphed into a travel blog. For collaborations, projects, and other things, please email me at For essays, creative nonfiction, and others, find me elsewhere.

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  1. Laveena Sengar says:

    Wow. That cottage looks like a dream. I can imagine how beautiful it would be to stay there. This place is just so perfect for a peaceful getaway and I could write a lot in such places.

  2. Chantal says:

    Everyone needs a little sanctuary from time to time to just relax and rest the soul. Hale Manna seems to be the perfect place to just cut loose and regain some strength. Beautiful!

  3. Carmy says:

    It looks like a very relaxing place! I love the red seats – a great place to hang out and relax with a great view of the water.

  4. EG III says:

    The home of good energy..I like that 🙂
    Hale Manna looks like the perfect place for a peaceful retreat. I’m sure that after your visit you were more refreshed than ever!

  5. Anju says:

    Oh how I would love having a spot like this to get work done! Fresh air and a serene atmosphere does wonders for creative inspiration and focus!

  6. blair villanueva says:

    How much is the rental rate for that cottage cum-tree-house? With more privacy I think this is perfect for couples 🙂

  7. Ami Bhat says:

    Indeed…a relaxing place does make writing easier…why writing…anything – your thoughts get so much clearer. It is always good to take a break every now and then to revive your creativity. 🙂

  8. Joanna says:

    The place looks so beautiful! I would love to wake up in the morning with the sound of birds chirping at my window. It’s so cute that they have an inspiration corner under the yucca tree. It looks so serene and peaceful.

  9. Can’t agree more, nature is the best cure for the sophisticated lifestyle and stress of deadlines. Hale Manna sounds like a resort amidst nature abounds with positive energy for much-needed rejuvenation.

  10. Indrani says:

    Very strange and different kind of trees. Never heard of the before.
    Looks like an ideal spot to relax and soak in nature.

  11. Shane says:

    Cebu looks so serene! With the stress of the holiday season I think I am way overdue for a relaxing getaway!

  12. Tae says:

    Beautiful 🙂 I can see how a paradise like this makes the perfect retreat for writing and reflecting. And about your swimming/diving comment – hey, we all have to start somewhere, right! Maybe you should give scuba a go 😉

  13. Colby says:

    This place looks amazing! I visited Boracay earlier this year and it is hands down one of my favorite places. I want to go back to the Philippines to visit some of the other islands. Hale Manna definitely looks like it is a bit more laid back and less touristy than Boracay. I need to add it to my list.

  14. A real sanctuary perfect to relax and take it easy; I love Moalboal for many reasons, first at all for that one you mentioned in your post and the other one (I am nature and animals lover) because I swam for the first time in my life a 2 meters from a Whale Shark of 5 meters! Amazing and unique lifetime experience, have you done the same?!?! thanks for sharing, it brings me back to last year 😀

  15. Ana Ojha says:

    Looks like a perfect place to get unplug and enjoy the beautiful mother nature! I’m sure you would have had an amazing time staying there!

  16. That make me wanna go there someday. 🙂 Great article.

  17. Such a pretty resort!!!! my raved about how awesome this adventure beach resort is and i cant wait to get there soon. It looks so relaxing.

  18. […] A place like Hale Manna is built to appreciate nature and one’s self. Visit. Love. Be healed. Read my independent hotel review for Hale Manna. […]

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