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Blog: Terra Manna’s Beautiful Marine Paradise


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.


These tiny stripes only flap their fins by the corals. They never venture further. And when they see a dark alien coming, they hide in the corals. DSC00113re

One of the few elusives that Arrietty were able to capture. They also inhabit the corals in the shallow shore.DSC00143re

This sperm- or tadpole-like fingerlings are locally known as lilong. They often huddle and scatter away when they are disrupted by—again—intrusive aliens: us humans. 

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.


Different corals in one picture. 


Doesn’t it appeal to you as a scattered yet intact parts of a human brain? This one looks like prefrontal cortex to me.


Johnn is one elegant swimmer. He showed the moves.DSC00187re

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. DSC00189re

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.

Follow Terra Manna Camping & Resort’s FB page. They are running a summerlicious promo, giving away 25% OFF on all their accommodation. Check their site for more information.


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.

Jona of Backpacking with a Book

Hi there, I’m Jona! I’m in my early 30s and is currently based in Ha Noi, Vietnam.I primarily write poetry and short stories in Cebuano and lengthy travel essays in English. Blogging has become an outlet to think out loud. I live the life I set for myself. I try to live an unapologetic life. For collaborations, projects, and other things, please email me at Find me somewhere else!

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  1. hana banana says:

    ♥♥♥♥♥♥ your experience is sooooo bonggang jabongga!!!!!
    na-inspire nako mag dive dive para makakita sad ko cute cute cute fishes 🙂

  2. Nice photos! Ganda nga ng corals. 🙂

  3. Ronald says:

    10p for a tricycle….yah….for locals 😉 a foreigner will be asked up to 20 times more sometimes

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