Note: As a precautionary measure in this time of COVID-19 pandemic, it is best to check with the authorities the updated travel requirements and possible restrictions that might affect your travel plan. Contact Cebu Tourism Office at [email protected] or at (032) 888 2328 to know the latest update.
Remember to always follow the health and safety protocols imposed from your travel origin to your destination. I wish you a safe trip ahead!
Traveling to Cebu City for the first time? This detailed DIY travel guide is exactly what you need. Scroll down and take note of the outlined information from sample itinerary and budget, best places to visit, top things to do, recommended tours and transports, budget-friendly accommodations, and other travel tips. Have a fun and enjoyable trip ahead!
CEBU CITY MOUNTAIN ATTRACTIONS AT A GLANCE
CEBU CITY does not only reach out to heritage aficionados, it also extends its arms to travelers who fancy a mountain adventure. At the highlands few minutes from downtown area are tourist attractions that highlight the beauty of Cebu City on its mountain side, particularly Busay area. Check out some of them below.
Note: If you are reading this while following the DIY Heritage Walk post and is still up for another travel adventure within Cebu City, hop on a jeepney with a Mabolo sign outside Museo Sugbo. Pay for P8 and tell the driver to drop off at Mabolo Elementary school, in front of Mabolo church. Cross the street and ride 04L bound for JY Square mall. The ride will take for about 15 minutes, depending on the traffic situation. At JY mall, ask for motorcycle-for-hire and kick off your Cebu City DIY mountain tour.
HOW TO GET AROUND THE MOUNTAIN ATTRACTIONS IN CEBU CITY
The popular choice for travelers in getting to the tourist spots at the highlands of Cebu City is by a motorcycle-for-hire which alights at JY Square Mall located at Gorordo Street, Lahug, Cebu City. The mall can be reached via 04L jeepney from SM Cebu City for P8.00 or via 04H, 04C, 04D, 17B, 17C and 17D from downtown area (around Colon street and areas near Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño de Cebu) for P10.00.
The motorcycle drivers can arrange a half or full day Cebu City Mountain tour package covering the five (5) tourist attractions below for P750. Note: Negotiate and agree with the price first before going on a tour to avoid getting ripped off.
Another option is via shuttle service offered by GoToTops. Visit their FB page at the link below.
- Pickup Point: Jollibee beside JY Square Mall
- Contact: +63 942 518 0870 | FB Page: GotoTops
On a side note, if you are only looking for a day tour in Cebu City, Klook offers the following for an affordable price:
MOUNTAIN TOUR TOP ATTRACTIONS
Below are the top attractions that can be found at the highlands of Cebu City which are laid out based on its location from JY Square Mall — Taoist temple is the nearest while Sirao Flower farm is the farthest among the four.
Taoist temple, which towers for about 300 meters above sea level, was built in 1972 by a Chinese community, and since then has been welcoming to worshipers and non-worshipers alike. The entrance to the temple displays a representation of the Great Wall of China (check the last photo) while the exit steeps down to an 84-step staircase (so prepare those legs). Few of the notable things in Taoist temple are a chapel, a library, a souvenir shop and a wishing well. It also has a balcony which offers a scenic view of Cebu City’s downtown area.
Few things to bear in mind while visiting the place:
1. Taking of photos inside the shrine is prohibited.
2. Don’t wear shorts or sleeveless if you wish to enter the temple’s altar.
3. You are entering a place for prayer and meditation, please observe silence and solemnity. Look after your kids if you bring them.
- Operating Hours: Everyday, 6:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.
- Entrance Fee: none
- Location: Canyon Road, Beverly Hills Subdivision, Lahug, Cebu City
- To get there: Charter a motorcycle-for-hire for P20 up to the gate of Beverly Hills subdivision where the temple is located, then walk to its entrance for about 10 minutes. The road to the temple is pretty safe; you’ll pass through tree-lined streets which is a good way to share a moment with nature.
TEMPLE OF LEAH
Built in honor of a man’s undying love to his late wife, Temple of Leah (which is still undergoing construction) has drawn thousands of visitors due to its renaissance-inspired architectural design. The temple has 24 chambers, a museum, a gallery and a library that keeps all of Leah’s favorite collection. If the ongoing construction won’t be a bothersome, check out the place preferably in the afternoon or during sunset to catch a fine view of the Cebu City’s skyline from the temple. For more information visit their website at templeofleah.com.
- Operating Hours: Everyday, 6:00 a.m.-11:00 p.m.
- Entrance Fee: P60
- Parking fee: P100
- Location: Roosevelt St., Brgy. Busay, Cebu Transcentral Highway, Cebu City
To get there: There are two options to get to Temple of Leah.
(Option 1) At JY Square Mall, charter a motorcycle-for-hire to take you to the temple. Note: Some drivers may take advantage so make sure to agree on the price before hopping on. Fare costs around P100-P150 per person.
(Option 2) Take the Temple of Leah shuttle service which parks near Dessert Factory at SSY center right across Watsons at JY Square mall. Fare is P120.
TOPS OF CEBU
Tops has three main sections:
- Tops Skyline Garden – a skyline garden, as it goes by its name, which offers a scenic view of the city’s skyline
- Tops of Cebu – a restaurant which opened last August 2017
- Tops Lookout – an observation deck which is notable for its viewing area, a big old bell, and a circular corridor.
The best time to visit the place is during late afternoon. For more inquiries, contact them at +63 909 890 5357. Drawback: Food prices at the restaurant are a bit costly. If you are on a tight budget better bring your own food. There is no corkage fee so nothing to be worry about. You are also free to use the dining tables at Tops Lookout which is beside a small store that sells drinks and snacks.
- Operating Hours: Everyday, 9:00 a.m.-11:00 p.m.
- Entrance Fee: P100 (for Tops Lookout only, the other 2 sections do not require an entrance fee)
- Location: Brgy. Busay, Cebu Transcentral Highway, Cebu City
To get there: The place is a 30-minute drive from downtown area. At JY Square Mall, ride a motorcycle-for-hire for P150-P200 (depending on your bargaining skill). If you are using a private car, just follow the hi-way. The junction to Tops is right after Temple of Leah.
HERE’S MY VLOG ON TEMPLE OF LEAH, TOPS LOOKOUT AND TAOIST TEMPLE.
TERRAZAS DE FLORES
Terrazas de Flores is the first of the botanical gardens that you can find at the highlands of Cebu City (Busay area). The garden is notable for its unique set of flowers that run horizontally at a slope which sits atop a cozy cafe that features a delectable home-made ice cream, and other snack items.
Other notable sections in the area are the art gallery, a small, man-made waterfall, bamboo grove, and a tree sanctuary. To get to Terrazas, you may add P50 per person on your trip as an additional stop.
- Operating Hours: Everyday, 8:00 a.m.-12:00 a.m.
- Entrance Fee: P100 (P40 is consumable)
- Location: Cebu Transcentral Hwy, Cebu City, Cebu
SIRAO FLOWER FARMS
Sirao flower gardens have gained prominence for growing Celosia flowers which come in yellow, orange and fuchsia colors.
There are two flower farms in Sirao, which are only next to each other. The original and is dubbed as “Little Amsterdam” is the second farm as shown in the next photo.
The flowers in Sirao are present all-year round, although they can become scarce right after harvest. The best month to plan your trip is in early October, before All Soul’s Day, where all areas in the farm are likely covered with flowers. The farms are best visited in the morning if you want to avoid the crowd.
- Operating Hours: Everyday, 6:00 a.m.-6:30 p.m.
- Entrance Fee: P60 for the first farm, P100 for the second
- Location: Brgy. Busay, Cebu Transcentral Highway, Cebu City
To get there: Charter a motorcycle-for-hire at JY Square mall. The place is at a hinterland near Ayala heights. Vehicles may not be available on your way back, so agree with the driver for a two-way trip which would usually cost around P400-P600.
CHECK MY VLOG ON SIRAO FLOWER GARDEN AND TERRAZAS DE FLORES.
TIPS FOR TRAVELERS
Here are some tips if you want to embark on this DIY mountain tour.
- Bring a bottle of water. A full tour covering the 4 spots might take half to entire day which can be exhausting under the heat of the sun.
- I don’t recommend chartering a taxi. Some drivers may not use a meter and would charge an extra cost without telling it ahead.
- The road can be challenging so get there in your most comfortable vehicle.
- Put on a sunscreen if you plan to travel in broad daylight.
While this article is best suited for DIY budget travelers, we also share the same sentiments with those who love to go on a tour package. Contact Cebu Rainbow Tours on the information below or click the link to arrange a city tour or avail to any of their tour services.
KLOOK offers the most affordable and hassle-free tour services for Cebu. Here are some of its tour packages. Click each link for more details.
- Cebu Rediscovery Tour for P1,300
- Sirao Flower Farm and Jumalon Butterfly Sanctuary Half Day Tour for P1,800
- Moalboal and Pescador Island Snorkeling Day Tour for P1,850
- Oslob Whale Shark Snorkeling and Badian Canyoneering Adventure for P2,850
- Badian Canyoneering Adventure and Kawasan Waterfalls Private Tour for P2,250
- Moalboal Island Hopping and Canyoneering Experience for P2,400
For other KLOOK services like transport and tour offers, use the search box below:
WHERE TO STAY IN CEBU CITY
When spending a day or two around Cebu City, you want to consider an accommodation that is within or near the city proper for easy access to transport. Below are some of the top-rated accommodations at the city proper. Click the photo for more details.
Like in any parts of the Philippines, the locals in Cebu can speak and understand English. However, here are some good phrases that might prove useful when you find yourself endearing with them.
English to Cebuano (the prevalent language among the locals in Cebu)
Thank you – Salamat
Good morning – Maayong buntag
Good afternoon – Maayong hapon
Good evening – Maayong gabii
How much is… – Pila ang…
Where is… – Asa ang…
MORE OF CEBU
Got more time to spend in Cebu? Go on a hassle-free 3-Day Cebu Highlights Tour from KLOOK. If you are interested, click the link for details. Or you may also check out the travel guides below for more references.
- Cebu Ultimate Budget Travel Guide
- Cebu City DIY Heritage Walk Tour
- A Mountain Peak Trilogy – Osmeña, Casino and Candongao peak of Dalaguete, Cebu
- Top 30 Tourist Spots in Cebu
- Top 7 Waterfalls in South Cebu
- Layover Travel Guide for Mactan, Cebu
- Bantayan Island DIY Budget Travel Guide
- Top Attractions in South Cebu
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