Born in Cebu. Grew up in Cebu. Still living in Cebu. But coming up with ideas on where to bring a first time visitor is still a mind-boggling task. Back in the day, when my parents had visitors over, they'd bring them to Tops. Now, when I have visitors over, Tops doesn't cross my mind. One, because I am too chicken to drive to Tops. Two, I hesitate to plant visitors on a habalhabal (motorcycle) and have them delivered to Tops (oh, the dangers on two wheels—this coming from a mustache that's been on a habalhabal countless times).
So why was I at Tops just recently? When Ryo, a fellow traveler we adopted in Vietnam, informed me that he was visiting Cebu for a weekend, he requested to go to Tops. To grant Ryo his wish, I gathered some friends and threw away my qualms (about planting Ryo on a habalhabal). It turns out two of my friends have never been to Tops, too. So we were hitting three birds with one stone.
Photo by Ryo S.
From the mouths of two birds (the third bird I was not able to ask):
Why did you want to go to Tops? What were your expectations?Ryo: Because the Tops is written in the Japanese guide book as a famous spot where I can see the beautiful night view. That's why I wanted to go there. I wanted to see the view.Ron: I didn't expect that much since I heard from people that it's really not that grand except for the panoramic view of the city. I was just excited because I have never been there and I'm a Cebuano and all.How was your experience there?Ryo: Because I like seeing the nice view, I thought it was really beautiful. If your friends like to see the view, you should take them to Tops. And the wind was so comfortable when I was taking a habalhabal. (laughs)Ron: My experience? The city looked like a bunch of fire flies dancing. The moon was at its full strength to add to the view. I like the cold temperature. When I reached Tops, it felt like it's a prize and I deserved it since it has been humid in the city.
Tops, 610 meters above sea level, offers a panoramic view of the city with Mactan island in the background. It is best to go there at night to see all the city lights twinkling (though I think there are other spots in Busay where you can have the same view for free; the entrance fee at Tops is a whopping Php100). Fireworks in the city as seen from Tops will look like an ant colony's fireworks display. At Tops, there are shops on the left side selling snacks and drinks and on the right side are tables where you can have a little picnic. Just bring food and drinks if you shudder at the thought of overpriced food and drinks.
Tops is in Busay, about 12 kilometers from JY Square Mall in Salinas Drive, Lahug, where the habalhabals (motorcycles) congregate, waiting for passengers. The habalhabal fare is Php100 per motorcycle (only two passengers maximum; that's Php50 per head). When you get to Tops, if your driver's looking for extra cash, he might say he will charge extra for waiting. You don't have to have him wait for you; there are many motorcycles at Tops or the security guard at Tops can always call one for you. Insist on the fare and fare only, no waiting fees.