Since we’re already talking about 1 day itineraries, let me also share what I did last week when I tagged along a friend of mine when she toured one of their clients in Cebu.
He is in Cebu for a business trip and since I was told he loves to go on nature trekking, we went to the highlands of Cebu. The plan was to go to Tops, Kan-irag Nature Park and Cebu Adventure Cafe. If you follow this roadtrip, you will realize that you don’t have to go all the way to Tagaytay just to experience how it feels like to kiss and embrace the cold air of the highlands or even get lost on a foggy road since Cebu can also give you that experience and more.
My call time was 8am where I had to be ready since my friend will pick me up at 8:30am and we’ll pick up Nathan in Radisson Blu at 9am.
Although it was summer time in the country, the weather on this particular day was uncooperative (actually, it was raining most of the time for the rest of this week). Before we went to the hotel, the clouds were showing signs of a gloomy day ahead of us. And just before we started the steep drive to Nivel Hills, it started drizzling. But since it was agreed that the trip should be pushed through rain or shine, we started travelling up, up, up into the mountainous area of Cebu. The roads are well paved here so there’s no need to worry. Extra caution should still be considered as the road tends to get slippery with all those drizzle.
Our first stop was at the famous Tops in Busay. After approximately 15 minutes of driving through a winding road uphill, we finally reached the road leading to Tops. Then more winding road greeted us. It is said that Tops is situated 2000 feet above sea level. This is one of the famous tourist spots in town for you can get a good aerial view of the city. The city lights by night is spectacular too. You just have to bring the appropriate apparel needed when you visit Tops since it really gets cold in there.
the winding road going up
We were lucky that the company driver of my friend had a discount card so we only paid 50% of the regular entrance fee. Before, the entrance fee here used to be only P50/head.
i finally go the chance to use my pair of chucks! 🙂
Nathan and Tonya, not suicidal though
city view on a
not so foggy and soggy day
On a clear day, you will see the city of Cebu, along with those prominent tall buildings like the Crown Regency Hotel and Waterfront Hotel. You can also see the 2 bridges of Cebu – the Mandaue-Mactan Bridge and the Marcelo Fernan Bridge as well as the neighboring island of Mactan. And to the farther right, you could see the South Reclamation Project.
At night, this place tends to get colder and this place gets flocked with both tourists (to see the city lights) and lovers (on a chance to find privacy 😆 ).
the proper way to use an umbrella 😆
During our visit, the wind was blowing air like there’s no tomorrow to the point that some of our umbrellas turned upside down 😆 I was glad I wore jeans. My two companions weren’t lucky though for their legs were exposed to the unforgiving wind. I know Nathan wasn’t affected with the drop in the temperature at all but Tonya was.
Nathan’s classic jumpshot
There are stone cottages that surround the place. You can have a picnic here with your family or simply enjoy the view. There’s also a small store that sells chips and drinks. After we’ve had enough of Tops, we asked the personnel in the gate booth if we can still go back in the evening since we were going to Balamban. They agreed and told us to simply show the tickets that were given to us. Those tickets serve as a day pass in Tops. We planned to go back there so that we can also check out the city lights but I was already doubtful of the idea as we might finish the trip early due to the bad weather.
the long and winding road
Kan-irag Nature Park
Our next stop was the Kan-irag Nature Park at Ayala Heights. You will notice that you are almost near the place when you happen to pass by a road that is badly damaged. The Ayala Heights was a failed real estate project by the Ayala Land. I guess they miscalculated the existence of soft soil in the area and immediately constructed a high-end village in there. Am not sure if there are still families that live in the village considering the bad road just outside the gates. This was really one epic failed project. They are fixing the road though but I’m not sure if rich families would still want to risk living in this place.
Anyway, back on the road. After reaching the gates of Ayala Heights, you will see a road to your right and there you’ll see the Nature Park.
We learned that the management temporarily closed the park to make way for renovations. When we asked the guard, he told us that the area is being fixed since the cottages and everything else are starting to break down. There was a trail that we could see and they won’t even allow us to get in and explore the park on our own risk. *sigh*
attempting to sneak in the park
me and my big umbrella
I was really bent on seeing the park but got dismayed that it was closed. We were supposed to do some trekking adventure and have a picnic in there 🙁
Gov. Joe Leyson’s Peak
Since we couldn’t get inside the Kan-irag Nature Park, Tonya told us we’ll just go to Gov. Joe Leyson’s Peak.
the landmark indicating you’ve reached the area
After 15 minutes of driving uphill again and after passing by the landmark of the peak, we went looking for the entrance to this park. And look what greeted us! 😉
“live show” of lechon being grilled 😆
I learned that they are going to sell this roasted pig on a per kilo basis on the nearby stores. This side, where the pig is being roasted, is actually on the right side of the entrance to the peak. On the other side, you will see a couple of stores lined up in the streets selling assorted vegetables and sweet corn, cooked or uncooked.
(I suddenly remembered that it was in this place where we bought sweet corn on an unfortunate joy ride to Balamban. After buying, we left the place and all of a sudden people were shouting at us. We wondered what was causing the commotion and to our surprise, the back door of the Tamarraw FX was left open. When I stopped the car, the door closed on its own. We really had a good laugh with that incident)
view of the mountains from the peak
care to guess the horse’ gender? 😆
I never knew of the existence of this place till that moment. Tonya recalls constantly going there with her family.You can go on horseback riding in the peak. The fee is P20 if within the peak grounds and P50 if you want to go down the mountain. Looking at that horse on top, we didn’t pursue the thought of riding one since we doubted if they’d add a saddle to that horse’ back or if it can even carry our weight considering it’s built 😆
rooms are available for those who want to stay for the night
team building activity
Employees from Gothong were here when we arrived. The place is open 24/7 and I guess people can also camp out for the night if they want to.
our simple picnic table with our brunch
At approximately 10:45am, we had our brunch which consisted of puso (hanging rice), lechon, lechon manok (grilled chicken), bananas and coke. Tonya bought the food prior to fetching me earlier that morning. Gothong rented out the big reception hall and since it was raining, we just settled for a roofed table outside. The chairs were wet so we were all standing while eating. It was also difficult to eat since we were all shaking from the cold wind which was blowing our direction.
Cebu Adventure Cafe
After our brunch, we packed our stuff and left the area. Although we paid for an entrance fee in Gov. Leyson’s Peak and we could have stayed here for a few more hours to explore the area but we opted not to since it was too windy and we were already shaking from the cold atmosphere. We just headed to Adventure Cafe in Gaas, Balamban hoping to ride a zipline. Tonya and Nathan haven’t ridden one before but Tonya was convinced she’s not going to ride one either.
It was still raining when we reached Adventure Cafe and we were told that they had to stop the rides for safety reasons. They assured us though that they will immediately call us once they resume their operations after the rain stops.
Since we can’t go ziplining, we went down to the wall climbing area and Nathan did a couple of stunts.
Cebu Adventure Cafe also has this stress wall where you can buy plates for P25 and throw it on the wall to relieve oneself from any stressful feeling they have. Since we couldn’t zipline, we decided to throw some plates instead. However, the cafe ran out of plates. toinks! They were able to find one plate though.
Adventure Cafe’s stress wall
aiming for his target
my favorite house, spying from Cebu Adventure Cafe
JVR Island in the Sky
Since we were still full yet from our picnic in Gov. Joe Leyson’s Peak and since we can’t go ziplining and plates are out of stock, the staff of Adventure Cafe was kind enough to suggest we check out the JVR Island in the Sky instead as there are a lot of activities to choose from here. There’s a hanging bridge, a cable car, cottages, a pool at the bottom of the mountain and much more. We really had no intention of spending the rest of the after noon there since it was still raining. Instead we just posed at this colorful hanging bridge before we left the place.
walking in a hurry before the resort keeper catches us
There was an entrance fee in here and since no one was guarding the gates, we got in. Nathan and Tonya took turns having their photos taken by the bridge and when we saw the resort attendant approaching us, we immediately hopped in the car and left the area 😆
Since we ran out of options, we decided to go back to the city and call it a day at 2:00pm. But even though it was raining and all, we still managed to enjoy this trip. Too bad we never went back to Tops that night. It would have been cool to see those city lights.
To Tonette, thanks for inviting me on this roadtrip. To Nathan, I hope you enjoyed your brief adventure to the highlands of Cebu 😉
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