I first learned about Hale Manna when two of my friends (on separate occasions) raved about how awesome this adventure beach resort is. I instantly made a mental note of checking out that famous beach resort in Moalboal Cebu in the distant future. But when I got a spur-of-the-moment invitation from April, one of the Cuckoo girls, to join them on a free diving training at Hale Manna Beach Resort and Coastal Gardens as soon as they finish their post-nup photo shoot engagement, I immediately said yes in order to visit this beach resort paradise in Moalboal, Cebu.
I immediately contacted another freediving buddy, Lakbay of LakbayDiva.com to join us. After making our no-fuss booking arrangements, we found ourselves entering the gates of Hale Manna’s beach and garden resort.
Arriving at Hale Manna
When we entered the gates of the Hale Manna beach resort, we had to pass through a short driveway to get to the resort’s main house. I only saw 2 concrete houses – one that looked like an office and the other one which turned out to be the resort’s only building. It houses the resort’s 7 rooms. Hale Manna only has 8 spacious rooms but plans to expand in the future. The 8th room was the separate house I saw on our way to their main hall.
To tell you honestly, I didn’t understand why my friends raved about how special this resort is. But as soon as we were led to our room and had a good view of Hale Manna’s spacious living area, which provides a good view of their lawns from its open veranda, my perception changed.
In an instant, I fell in love.
I couldn’t contain my excitement. I was convinced at that moment. This beach resort paradise is indeed gorgeous and an ideal summer beach resort for those who love to have an adventure or simply for those who wants to relax and unwind.
Located strategically, a print-out sharing what Hale Manna is about is available for the guest’s information. It says…
Welcome Dear Guest to Hale Manna by the sea,
Hale Manna (ha-le-ma-na) means “house of good energy”.
In Hawaiian, “Hale” means house or home, and “Mana” means “good energy”. The word “Manna” was used to add the dimension of “gift from heaven’ as well as the Filipino connotation of “an enduring inheritance or legacy”. Hale Manna is a retreat where the magical effects of fresh air, sea, sun, sand and coastal gardens serve as a perfect setting to balance one’s mind, body and spirit.
We are most happy to share this private home with environmentally-conscious and respectful people like you. We hope you enjoy your stay and have an incomparable vacation at the house of good energy!
I’m happy to know that the owners of this resort has opened their doors and allowed the world to experience living in this wonderful place.
The Huge Rooms
But before I ran to their gardens, I had to check our room first before we ruin its neat appearance.
We were given the Deluxe Room 7 at their second floor. The room is huge! You can do cartwheels in it and land on your feet inside their equally huge bathroom. Aside from the 2 queen-sized beds, a single bed across it is available making this room ideal for occupancy for 5 guests. I’d have to say that by far, this is the best family beach resort that I’ve visited in Moalboal.
My jaw dropped when I entered the bathroom. It was so clean and huge. If possible, 4-5 persons could camp out in there! No kidding!
The bathroom has a separate shower area and a large cabinet is available to store things. The only downside to this bathroom is that it tends to get humid inside when you’re taking time doing number 2 since the air-conditioning doesn’t reach the room. But if you are alone, then you can just leave the bathroom door open. hehehe.
I also got the chance to take a peek at the Barkada room that our friends booked. The house that I thought was the resort’s office turns out to be the biggest room at Hale Manna, which is ideal for large groups or families, as it could accommodate 8 pax (and even more). I love the huge space of this room. The bathroom is also big but it lacks the storage space that we have at our Deluxe Room. The room has a TV set though and I love the glass door and windows where natural light comes in every morning.
The Resort’s Common Area
One thing that sets Hale Manna apart from other Moalboal Beach resorts is that you’ll feel you are just staying in a huge private home. But the spacious halls and the different living rooms scattered all around allows ample moving area for their guests.
At the second floor, you can select from the owner’s DVD collection and watch a movie with family and friends. There’s also a huge collection of books in there and I’m pretty sure bookaholics would love to feast on them. My guess is that those are the owner’s personal books and they are very kind to share those with their guests.
At the ground floor, there’s a pool table to entertain guests. There are also assorted board games available for the kids and those who are still kids at heart.
The Gardens and Cottages
Once you step out of the main house, you’ll be rewarded with a view of the green landscape that surrounds the resort. Walking through the pathway will lead you to the resort’s perimeter where open cottages are scattered.
In-house guests have the freedom to choose among the many cottages at Hale Manna. It’s the perfect place to relax or read a book while listening to the sound of the waves. Hammocks are also available.
Hale Manna Beach Resort is also an ideal place for photo shoots. This is one of the best beach resort in Moalboal Cebu where one can hold a simple garden wedding.
The Coastal Gardens
One of the amenities available at Hale Manna is their access to the marine life at Moalboal. During high tide, the sea gets to touch the steps at the resort’s cliff transforming the area into a shallow swimming pool with clear waters.
But during low tide, you’d have to walk a little bit farther in order to swim. You just have to be careful with your steps since live corals are scattered everywhere. You need to make sure you don’t step on them as it takes centuries for them to grow again.
One of the things I love about Hale Manna is their small floating hut, which sits in the middle of the sea. For freedivers like me or for those who want a natural pool, hanging out at that small hut is one sure way to have an awesome time enjoying your swimming experience.
Hale Manna offers free life vests and beach shoes to their in-house guests. Those who are not good swimmers can ride the resort’s kayak. Simply ask the lifeguard to take you to the cottage and they’ll happily oblige.
Safety is also on top of Hale Manna’s priority. Lifeguards are available and will always be on the look out for those who’ll swim or snorkel within the area as the current tends to get strong at times.
Once you dip your mask-covered face and check out the marine life at Hale Manna’s coastal gardens, you will be amazed to see the abundant corals thriving underneath. Though it’s sad to see that some of those corals are slowly dying.
When you go to the reef wall, a few swims away from the floating hut, you’ll see small fishes swimming while a school of medium-sized ones pass by every now and then.
Hale Manna at Night
What makes this beach resort paradise even more alluring is the opportunity to witness sunsets on this side of Cebu. Since Hale Manna is facing the western side of the province, you will be rewarded with a beautiful view of the sunset.
At first, I thought we wouldn’t see one since there were dark clouds looming in the area. We almost gave up on getting the perfect sunset pictures because the sun got covered by those clouds. Then out of the blue, one of our companions shouted for us to look at the other side.
Though still covered with clouds, the setting sun offered us spotlight rays. We could only count 2-3 of those huge rays but that was more than enough to make us all sigh at the beautiful sight.
And in no time, we started clicking our camera’s shutter buttons to capture the majestic view in front of us.
It was getting dark by the time we went back to the main house. An indication that we’d be needing to feed our tummies soon.
Their home cooked meals take time to prepare. While we waited, we helped ourselves and burned their pool table.
At night, Hale Manna’s gardens transform into a magical place where colorful lights hung on trees adorn the entire area. If only not for the mosquitoes lurking around the place, it would have been the perfect time to go stargazing on one of their elevated lawns or sleep at their open cottages. Next time, I’ll come prepared as I’d love to sleep under the stars
If you love to drink, grabbing a couple of beers and bringing it on the cottages is also a great way to spend the evening. You can enjoy endless chats with your peers and discuss nonsense stuff like love, driving and missalettes.
Hale Manna has a variety of meals to choose from. Majority are home cooked Filipino dishes. In-house guests have the chance to get free breakfast meals and we were lucky we got to try them.
Their free breakfast menu, which is good for 2, includes
- toasted wheat bread with butter jam, marmalade and peanut butter
- a choice of pork tocino, corned beef or tapa
- fish inun-unan (paksiw na isda/ fish cooked in vinegar)
- scrambled eggs
- juice, coffee or tea
Just imagining what you’ll be served for breakfast will already make you busog (full)!. When they served the fish inun-unan, I was so happy to see my favorite fish for inun-unan being served. Bilong-bilong FTW!!! I got to be reunited with those yummy isda again! The tocino tasted like my mom’s tocino and I loved every bite of it.
L-R: T-B: fried chicken, tinolang manok, inun-unan, pepperoni pizza, tocino,
ginataang kalabasa with 1 string bean, scrambled egg, humba, Cheesy Cheese Pizza
The meals at Hale Manna ranges from 75 up to 300 pesos. They also serve the famous Handuraw Pizza from the city being that the owners are the same. Pizza price starts at 298 up to 368 pesos. They also serve drinks and chips.
Of Freediving, Snorkeling and Swimming
If you are looking for the ultimate diving adventure in Moalboal, you can make the necessary arrangements at Hale Manna. They have partnered with dive shops in Moalboal where you can get a PADI course and get scuba diving certified or if you are interested to enroll in a free diving course then they can also arrange one for you.
But since we are doing our own DIY free diving training, we immediately raced to the floating hut in the middle of the sea after we had breakfast the next day to swim to the reef wall. (Note: Never freedive alone. That’s a must!)
My friends and I are what you can call freediving addicts. We do recreational freediving whenever we have time to train harder and push our limits. We can’t really afford to enroll in a free diving course yet so we just train within our group to improve our freediving skills.
Hale Manna’s reef wall which has a bottomless drop is an ideal place to practice freediving. And with the hut floating near the wall and with the great weather during our visit, we couldn’t express how grateful we were for being given the opportunity to stay at Hale Manna.
Things to Bring at Hale Manna
When you go to this adventure beach resort in Moalboal, I’m sure you will not run out of things to do here. The resort is near the famous White Beach in Moalboal. You just have to walk 3—5 minutes to enjoy the white sands in the area. Just have your sunscreen handy to prevent getting sunburned. And although I was told that the insects in the resort are also there by season, better bring an insect repellant just in case.
And the ultimate item that you should never forget would have to be your swimwear. Sometimes, the waters in Moalboal tend to get itchy because of sea lice and small harmless jellies. So wearing a rash guard and covering your legs is highly recommended. Otherwise, add vinegar on your things to bring list too.
How to get to Hale Manna Beach Resort
From Cebu to Moalboal: Go to the South Bus Terminal and ride ONLY Ceres Bus (yellow bus) that plies the route going to Moalboal. Fare is 107 for non-aircon bus and 111 for aircon. Alight at the town of Moalboal and hire a trike or habal-habal (motorcycle). Just tell them you want to get to Hale Manna. They’ll know where that is. Trike fare is around 100 for the trip. Habal2x is 60 (good for 2 heads). Just haggle for the trike or habal2x fare.
You can also go to Moalboal by van (v-hire). Just go to the Citilink Terminal, 2 blocks after the South Bus Terminal. Fare is 100/head when going from Cebu to Moalboal.
For more information on how to get there by car, click here.
Travel time is from 2.5 hrs up to 3 hours depending on the traffic in the city.
Thank you Ms. Liana! Thank you Hale Manna for accommodating us on such short notice. Can’t wait to go back and enjoy another freediving training at your coral gardens!
P.S. Hale Manna also accepts walk in guests just for the day. Check out the website to see the rates or better contact them so that you can have your own little beach adventure at Hale Manna.