Before I took the risk of traveling northern Luzon for ten days, I paid my monthly visit to Terra Manna, waiting for a group of Cebu-based travelers/travel bloggers/freedivers who would survey TM’s marine paradise.
I badly needed a paradoxically deep dip before I hit the Cordilleras—the mountain ranges. Johnn of Focal Glass, Doi of the Travelling Feet, Dylan of Wandering Dylan, Edcel and Sheena of the Wandering Couple, and of course, Edwin of Lakbay Diva were the right companions.
I am not accustomed to using snorkeling gear and fins yet. But there is always a sea—not a room—for improvement, a vast sea waiting to be studied and understood.
I’ve been regularly visiting Terra Manna for more than a year now. I swim but rarely snorkel. Ate Lucy and Beth—the closest TM staff to me—said that the kantil has beautiful coral formations according to the local fishermen. So I took their word for it and swam alone during my March visit. And I went gaga over the corals and fish.
Here are some of the amateur pics from Arrietty—a Sony TF1, which I excitedly bought for this freediving escapade. Arriety is a borrowed name from Studio Ghibli’s adaptation of Mary Morton’s The Borrowers. She is a brave little girl.
One of the two beautiful nudibranches I found at Terra Manna.
Clownfish/anemone fish has striking colors. They are interactive. Or should I say combative. While other fish swim away from intrusive humans, anemone fish looks at you straight in the eye.
According to Johnn, this monster is called false fire urchins. They are really huge and, yes, monstrous-looking. I had to navigate my way so I would not step on them. I actually imagined them with an equally monstrous mouth that could swallow me up.
Cheetah Starfish! It was my first time to see this kind. I was afraid to touch it. Sea stars—aside from varied types of sea urchins—are everywhere, creating unique constellation on the seabed.
Another unique sea star. This one is leopard-like. I have to study marine biology, like seriously.
I have no idea what this thing is. I found it while snorkeling at the shallow area.
Venus flytrap! This coral has mouths that trap small things for food! I was tempted to poke it, but fear overcame me. I might surface with a missing finger.
This one appealed to me as a flower coral.
Doesn’t it appeal to you as a scattered yet intact parts of a human brain? This one looks like prefrontal cortex to me.
I once saw locals digging the mud, looking for big white bivalves in my January visit. His bucket was full of them. But when I asked the sawaki hunters, they said they could not be found at Terra Manna. I did not believe them and borrowed a sieve and a machete from TM’s gardener. I was not close to finding one. But I know the silent cockles are somewhere down deep.
But I was afforded with the view of the setting sun while my fellow travel bloggers rested on the platform admiring the same setting sun.
HOW TO GO TO TERRA MANNA?
From Cebu City to Badian
You may take the Ceres Bus at Cebu South Bus Terminal or take Librando Bus at Librando Bus Terminal, just across South Bus Terminal. You can also take VHIRE at Citilink, stone’s throw away from SBT. It takes only 2.5 hours to travel.
· From Badian town proper to Terra Manna:
You may take tricycle for P10 per person or motorcycle for P30 per person one way. Locals know where Terra Manna is.
If you happen to have your own transportation, our resort is accessible by car. You can see a sign on the right side of the road, around 1 km away from the town proper.