Aug 8, 2011

Cebu Getaway: Cebu City Tour

After filling ourselves up with a delicious lunch, we went back to SM Cebu to buy some snacks and a big bottle of water in preparation for our next activity: Cebu City Tour!

3:30 pm. As soon as we're done with our little shopping, we took a cab and told the driver to take us to our first stop: Taoist Temple. Our original plan is to ride a cab only to the said place then just take jeepneys or walk to our other destinations. The driver, however, asked if we don't wanna go to Tops as well. I do, really, but as per the travel blogs that I've read, it's a little far from the city so it's gonna cost us a fortune in terms of transportation. J wanted to take chances so he asked the driver how much it'll cost if we'll be hiring him to tour us around the city, Mactan Shrine included (which is a few kilometers away). His first answer is Php 1500 -- I quickly said no, considering our budget. J haggled so it was down to Php 1300, then PhP 1200, and finally PhP 1000. We got a good deal :D

Since it's already a package, we let Kuya Joe (that's the driver's name) take charge of our route. I didn't mind which to visit first as long as we visit the places in our list so instead of Taoist Temple, we went to the farther spot first: Top Skyline Garden or simply Tops. Getting there from SM Cebu takes approximately 20 minutes. Since it is on top of a hill, expect steep curves and zig-zag roads (which made me realize that while the romantic view of Cebu and Mactan's city lights make evenings the best time to drop by, an afternoon trip is still the safer choice). Upon entrance, a payment of PhP 100 per head is required.

The view from the entrance.

Then here's the opposite side.

This is what you paid Php 100 for.  A beautiful view of the city and its neighboring islands :)

Plus some greens on the side :-)

Of course we took pictures! It was a lovely backdrop, yes? ^^,

Sitting in a corner is a bell. It looks like an ordinary bell but let me share with you what is written there, in case the picture is too small to read.
"Standing face to face, or around in a circle (for groups), hold hands to unite the bond. With the other hand, ring the bell once for a firm partnership, twice for lasting friendship, or three times to symbolize never-ending Love. Repeat the process on anniversaries to strengthen the bond! For special celebrations, the bell may be rung repetitively."

Being the shy guy that he is, J didn't wanna ring the bell and get everyone's attention. But I was persistent so we did! Three times! And true enough, everyone looked at us. But it's fun, I tell ya! ;-)

After "the act" we left Tops and drove down the hill to proceed to Taoist Temple. It's located in Beverly Hills Subdivision, home to some of Cebu's wealthiest so expect tight security upon entrance. We got there around 4:30 and were told by the guard to (kind of) hurry as the temple closes at 5pm. We were handed a sheet of paper where rules and regulations are listed down but the main idea is to respect their place of worship. Admission is free, by the way.

This is the main gate but tourists enter through the smaller one to its left. Oh, this big gate opens up to an ample parking space so you won't have problems if you're bringing your own car.

There are a lot of picturesque spots there so I clicked away...

The main temple will greet you at the end of the staircase.

Does it hurt, hon? :P

A vast space that looks like their multi-purpose hall

A replica of the Great Wall

I was born on the year of the dragon so I really wanted a shot here. Haha.

That's what you call taking turns :D

The only couple shot at the temple courtesy of a helpful stranger :-)

After roaming around and posing for photos at just about every corner of the temple, we hopped back to the cab and moved on with our tour. On the way back to the capitol area, we passed by the Heritage of Cebu Monument and our driver insisted (yeah, he did! I like him because he’s even the one telling us to enjoy the sights! :D) that we get off to take souvenir shots.

I wonder why I haven’t thought of moving a little to the left so that I’ve covered the woman in orange shirt :)
Just across the street is the Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House. Its open 9AM – 6PM daily but we no longer went in since we still have a lot of other spots to visit.

Also along the way is Colon Street, dubbed as the oldest street in the Philippines.

I took advantage of the red light and took a photo of the marker.

In about two minutes, we reached our next stop.

I originally wanted to hear mass but we can’t have the driver wait for us for an hour so we just whispered our prayers, took a couple of pictures outside then carried on.

A stone’s throw away are Sto. Nino Basilica and Magellan’s Cross – both are packed with church-goers and tourist alike.

I can’t help but smile as I looked at the historic cross – this only used to be a lecture in Grade 2 Sibika at Kultura :P

We lit candles outside the basilica to say thanks for the 6 years of love ^_^
And also for Haley who we learned is sick back home :(

I grew up a devotee of the child Jesus so it was one stop that I really looked forward to.
Then we were off to the last item on our itinerary – Mactan Shrine. Being far from Cebu City, this one made the cab rental so much worth it. En route to Mactan, Kuya Joe showed us Fort San Pedro but I decided not to go in (as you know I spent my entire college life “within the walls” so I’m not too excited about another fort... teehee).

After a 30-minute drive, we arrived at the shrine. What I thought was just a monument turned out to be a nice little park filled with trees and adorned with lights.

I wish I was a little better at photography to capture the beauty of the place at night. This shot didn’t do it justice at all!
I don’t know what this is or what it symbolized but if it’ll give you any clue, it has phrases like “Glorias Espanolas” and “A Hernando de Magallanes.”
Say hi to Lapu-Lapu! :D
Of course a photo with him, courtesy of our driver cum photog :)

 A little history... “Here, on 27 April 1521, Lapu-Lapu and his men repulsed the Spanish invaders killing their leader Ferdinand Magellan. Thus Lapu-Lapu became the first Filipino to have repelled European aggression.”

Souvenirs are relatively cheap in Mactan Shrine as well so I suggest you hoard buy there already. J bought for his mom that white shirt in the photo for 100php.

Keychains are 10php each while magnets are at 3 for 50php.

These bracelets cost 10php each also, but since we bought 10, we got one free :-)

This sando for Haley is a little pricey at 80php (or was it 90? I can’t quite remember.)

J bought a couple more shirts for his family sadly though we didn’t find one that we like for the two of us. Good thing Kuya Joe said that he knows a place to buy high-quality shirts. He’s the man, really :)

Pasalubong Center has lots and lots of shirts with oh-so-cool designs (price range is Php300 - Php600) and we found one that we really really like butttttttt… they don’t have my size :( Looks like someone needs to lose weight. For real.

You can also find there a variety of Cebu delicacies (but they don’t have 7D Dried Mangoes, they have other brands though) so we just bought these:

I loved this. I brought some to the office and even my manager said it’s yummy. I wish I bought more :( Each pack costs Php 70.

Ballers for J and his bro at PhP 69 each.

After a 5-hour tour around Cebu’s famous landmarks, we’re ready to call it a night so Kuya Joe dropped us right in front of our pension house. We gave him Php1250 because the 1k that was originally agreed upon was just drop-off at Mactan Shrine. But if you’ll ask me if we got our money’s worth, the answer is still yes, yes, yes! Here’s why:

  • We were able to maximize the limited tour time that we have. Remember we started past 3pm already but we were still able to go to a lot of tourist spots because we didn’t have to look for them. Kuya Joe took charge of the route but he made it a point to visit all that’s in our list.
  • Each destination is tiring but we get to recharge inside our service cab. With chips and bottles of water plus the refreshing air-conditioning, we’re always re-energized for another pit stop.
  • Kuya Joe is pleasant to be with. He starts small talks but knows when to shush to give us some privacy. He tells us tidbits of Cebu info every now and then and never gets tired of dealing with our questions and requests. He shows no sign of boredom when he waits for us, he just enjoys chit-chatting with fellow taxi drivers during his lull time. And essentially, he understands and speaks Tagalog well so we didn’t have to deal with language barriers.

We gave him the all-new PHP bills, thus the smile (kiddin! :D) Let me know if you want his digits and I’ll give it to you by all means so that you too can avail of his service.

Our car for the day! ^_^

It was an exhausting but exciting day 1 at the Queen City of the South. Up next, our Bantayan Island adventure! Stay tuned.

Other posts from my Cebu Getaway Series:

Cebu Getaway: The Beginning
Cebu Getaway: East Capitol Pensionne
Cebu Getaway: SM Cebu and CNT Lechon
Cebu Getaway: Bantayan Island
Cebu Getaway: Kota Beach Resort
Cebu Getaway: Bantayan Town Tour
Cebu Getaway: Gran Tierra Suites
Cebu Getaway: Casa Verde
Cebu Getaway: Skywalk Extreme
Cebu Getaway: See you again, Cebu!


  1. Hi,

    Pwede bang mahingi yung number ni Kuya Joe? Thanks! Ü

  2. Hi MarlBorro09,

    I can give you his digits but let me warn you narin. Tinawagan sya ng friend ko around August, asking him if they can still have the rate he gave us but he said PhP3000 na daw ang city tour nya. For me that's too much. Let me know if you'd still want to contact him given that price. Hehe.

    I have yet to update this post to include his new rate.

    Thanks for dropping by my blog! :)

  3. Oh, I asked the same friend about the taxi service that they got in lieu of Kuya Joe, here are his digits:

    Joselito Sadaya - 09196869851

    Php2500 sya, pero 9AM-9PM sila nag-tour. Down side is medyo luma daw yung cab, pero okay naman daw and mabait yung driver :)

    Hope this helps.


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