Bringing the ocean calm to the city

Photos by Edd Buenaviaje


I HAVE one of the weirdest reluctance known to man—I’m apprehensive towards massages. I don’t go into panic attacks or break out into hives or anything, but I just have timid attacks, depending on how intensive my body gets exposed or how other people’s hands get in contact with my body.

Despite this, I’ve never kept myself from facials. It’s just way too indulgent to say no to. After all, with all the soothing body products, oils and treatments out in the market offering the same pleasure as a massage, less on the pounding of muscles, not much into body exposure (no to body shaming, please!), why deny myself?

So after an evening session of luscious organic facial pampering at Aloha Mana Spa and Cafe (with yoghurt to sooth the face, brown sugar as scrub, and squeezed watermelon juice as toner after which fresh cucumber slices are used as facial masks, a soothing and relaxing upper body massage follows thereafter), I then decided to take a peek into my editor’s immensely pleasurable Oceanic Swedish Massage session.

cabana-type massage rooms

The 90-minute session of rubbing the muscles with long gliding strokes in the direction of blood returning to the heart, Swedish Oceanic massage therapy goes beyond relaxation. It is exceptionally beneficial for increasing the level of oxygen in the blood, decreasing muscle toxins, improving circulation and flexibility while easing tension.

Bringing the Hawaiian vibe in the middle of the urban wellness landscape, upon checking inside the newly opened Aloha Mana Spa and Cafe, the muted lighting, as well as the aroma of coffee and jasmine, sets the mood and tone signifying to just let it go and sink into the Aloha Mana experience.

Welcoming the session with either a coffee or tea, there’s enough to take in with the selection of mouth-watering goodies on display in their lobby. They don’t only bring the ocean calm to the city, they also bring Cebu’s best specialty coffee with beans and bottles of your favorite Cold White Brew from Linear Coffee Roasters best paired with cookies from Bakeology by Chin. With bric-a-bracs of tiki torches and the murals of panoramic outdoor experience, Aloha Mana is indeed a revitalizing adventure from beginning to end.

There is so much to do here, indeed it lives up to its reputation as a spa and cafe facility. Considering the makeup of most of its guests, it’s no surprise that one its most popular services is the Signature Aloha Mana massage, meant to relieve strained muscles of the back, shoulders and legs to regain energy and sense of balance.

Step inside the massage area that looks more like an upscale treatment center. Boasting of airy massage beds with traditional wooden columns and neatly lined stone slabs, above rocks and limestone walkways divide among cozy villa-like beds.

The brainchild of TV personality and now aspiring businessman OJ Cimfranca, beauty queen-host Nicole Tuazon and their business partners, Lucille Alinsug, Marites Castillo, and Carolina Andres, the spa and cafe does not evoke the descriptions “urban” and “cosmopolitan.” Rather, it is all about unique calm and revitalizing appeal. Everything here is just relaxing.

“Aloha stands for the famous greeting of hi, hello, and goodbye, mana meanwhile stands for your inner spirit, chakra, and energy. So that’s what we aim for wherein if you’ll step inside you will fall in love with yourself as well as be happy and satisfied. It’s love or a way of life in Hawaii, Aloha Mana combined together means powerful love for itself,” he said.

And the clean, sparse woody interiors and the lack of hardware keeps clamor to a minimum, Aloha Mana caters to a new age of mindfulness—the next step in natural healthcare. With its services ranging from Organic Facial, Foot Spa, Foot Massage, Ear Candling with Head and Scalp Massage, Dry Massage, Bamboo Massage, Cowrie Shell Massage, Tides Swedish Massage, Oceanic Swedish Massage, Volcanic Stone Massage, and the Signature Aloha Mana or the Many hands’ Massage.

With 12 therapists (trained under the Training for Work Scholarship program of the echnical Education and Skills Development Authority, 14 beds two of which from the couples room, and three Lazy Boy chairs for the foot massage.

Cimafranca surmised that the establishment is borne out of passion and his and Nicole’s love for the healthy lifestyle.

“This is something that we really want, we just want to relax. We are into massage and for us Filipinos we strive and work hard so we feel that everyone deserves to relax, to allocate a special me-time wherein they get to enjoy things for themselves as well as reward themselves for the hard work they did for the week,” he said.

Chill and laid back, everything is reflective of us here since this is a combination of our personality and characters like for me I am also into tea and coffee and we also serve them here. This is our first venture into business and so far we’re doing good. Mind you it’s not easy and it’s pretty much challenging because this is all new to us from handling the twelve therapists, the baristas as well as doing operations and marketing so it’s a kind of challenge that we are enjoying day by day,” he said.

So, the next time you’re torn between having a good massage or an extremely good cup of coffee, try both at Aloha Mana Spa & Cafe.

*Aloha Mana Spa & Cafe is located at the second floor of the Queensland Manor Condominiums in Rahmann Street,
Cebu City. It is open everyday from 1 p.m., to 1 a.m.

TAGS: ALOHA MANA SPA AND CAFE, bringing ., calm, city, ocean
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