Jesse McLaughlan

Travelled to 14 countries / regions

Written 48 briefs
Visited Cebu while in Philippines in 2019



Asia > Philippines > Cebu City > Tops Lookout > Useful Info
Updated on Oct 27, 2019 Useful Info

Best way to get to Tops Lookout in Cebu City, Philippines

  • The Tops Lookout is located 9km north of central Cebu City, perched atop one of the mountain peaks that flank the city. The view from there of the city is quite fantastic so it's one of the top places to check out while you're there. The exact location of the Lookout is hereUser submitted photo of Tops Lookout
  • There are only 2 options to get to the Tops Lookout from Cebu City: taxi and habal-habal (motorcycle taxi). In addition, there might be a third option to get there, by Jeepney, but I do not recommend it at all
  • Overall I recommend travelling there by taxi. Even though it's the most expensive option, it's safe and reliable. The alternative option(s) is cheaper but either too dangerous in my opinion (habal habal) or just not reliable enough (Jeepney)

  • Option 1) Taxi to Tops Lookout
  • Taxi is the most convenient way to get to the Tops Lookout, but it's also the most expensive optionUser submitted photo of Tops Lookout
  • Fare: 400-500 pesos ($8-$10USD) each way. Payment is by cash pesos only
  • Travel time: 30 minutes from central Cebu City
  • How to get a taxi: you can hail one on the street, have your hotel call one for you, or call one yourself. Here's some taxi companies in Cebu City you can call
  1. Spider Taxi (the biggest and most popular taxi company): +63 32 2544335
  2. Richelda Taxi: +63 906084 2967
  3. Blue Eye Taxi: +63 32 2380307
  4. Corominas Taxi: +63 32 2613314
  5. Kevin Mitz Taxi: +63 09394244492
  6. Paneristi Taxi: +63 32 2563367
  • Return taxi: most people that taxi to the Tops Lookout have their taxi wait there for them. You should definitely do this, as it's extremely difficult to get a taxi there otherwise
  • Tips for riding a taxi in Cebu: as with elsewhere in Southeast Asia, make sure your driver turn the taxi meter on. Also carry enough small bills and give as close to exact change as you can (since they may claim to not have change and therefore overcharge you that way)
  • Grab taxi: I'm a big fan of using Grab to get around in Philippines (it's the Uber of Southeast Asia), and Grab is definitely available in Cebu City, but I don't think Grab lets you book a ride to the lookout. Every time I tried to select Tops Lookout, the screen resets. This could just be a bug when I tried to use it, so I recommend trying this option first before getting into a regular taxi

  • Option 2) Habal-habal (motorcycle taxi) to Tops Lookout
  • This is a little less convenient than taking a taxi, and it's not for the faint-hearted since you'll be on the back of a motorcycle zooming through mountain roads (and frankly it is quite dangerous and motorcycle accidents happen a lot). But this option is much cheaper than a taxi
  • This is what a habal-habal looks like, so imagine you're on this but going up the mountain in a very winding road:User submitted photo of Tops Lookout
  • Fare: 150 pesos ($2.95USD) round trip, so it's 75-80% cheaper than a taxi. Payment is cash pesos only
  • Travel time: 15-20 minutes from JY Square Mall
  • Where to take one: the habal habals that go to Tops Lookout can be found in Lahug area, which is about 15 minutes drive north of central Cebu City. In particular, the best place in Lahug to get a habal habal to the Tops Lookout is at the JY Square Mall (but it's certainly not the only place):
  1. Make your way to JY Square Mall (located here) in Lahug area of Cebu City. You can get here from anywhere in Cebu City with Grab taxi or tricycle for $2-$4USD (details on how to get around Cebu City)
  2. When you get to the mall, you will see a bunch of motorcycles parked in front of the mall with people sitting on them just hanging out. These are the habal-habals that are waiting for passengers:User submitted photo of Tops Lookout
  • But you don't have to go to JY Square Mall. Any habal habal you find in Lahug area should be able to take you up to the Lookout. Also, even if you're not in Lahug area, it's worth a shot asking for habal habals around you if they're willing to take you to the Lookout directly. You'll probably have to pay an additional 50 pesos but you save the hassle of having to transfer in Lahug
  • Safety tips: make sure you're given a helmet to wear on the habal habal, it's a standard practice in Philippines. Also keep in mind that this is a risky option as there are motorcycle accidents regularly on this stretch of the road
  • Here's a video I found of a habal habal ride to the Tops Lookout:

  • Option 3) Jeepney...maybe?
  • Aside from the two options I've listed above, there are supposedly some Jeepneys that can get you to the Lookout. I've not had any success finding one that would take me to there, so this is something you can try and let me know if you're successful with it
  • For those who don't know: Jeepney are those obnoxiously-colored shared "minibuses" that roam the streets of Cebu and other cities of Philippines. They're one of the most iconic sights in the country:User submitted photo of Tops Lookout
  • These vehicles are all numbered, and each one of them follows a specific route, which is not published anywhere. It's frankly a nightmare to know exactly which Jeepney goes where
  • The Jeepneys that go to the Tops Lookout supposedly can be found by the Marco Polo Plaza Hotel, located here in Lahug area north of central Cebu City. To get to this hotel, you need to find a Jeepney along Osmeña Boulevard
  • They are extremely cheap and you can get to Tops Lookout for about 50 pesos ($1 USD). However, apparently they don't take you all the way to the Lookout, but rather will drop you off 500 meters of steep climb away
  • Overall I don't recommend this option, for two reasons:
  • It's so freakin' hard to figure out which Jeepney goes to where. Unless you have very reliable tips from a local who can tell you exactly which Jeepney to take, you'll waste a lot of time trying to get to the Lookout
  • Even if you're able to get to the Lookout with Jeepney, you won't be able to get back down the same way because your Jeepney is not going to wait for you there. And since most taxis and habal habals up there are already waiting for their existing passengers who they transported up there, you will have to negotiate your way down