This is one blog post that I am not proud to write about but I must. I feel it is my responsibility to also divulge the tourist traps that may await visitors coming here in Cebu.
I’m happy when there are readers who check back on Penfires to let me know how their trip or vacation went or how they enjoyed what Cebu City offers to tourists. (I really like hearing about your experiences, so thanks to those who do email me back or leave a comment on the post after the trip.). All of these feedbacks have been ‘thank you’s’ and glowing positive feedback about a visitor’s Cebu experience until I opened an email from a reader last weekend.
Two months after coming here in Cebu, one of Penfires readers (let’s call him Juan) took the time out to write me a feedback about a not-so-great experience while doing a do it yourself Cebu City Tour. I have asked his permission to share his story in this Cebu Travel Blog so that it may serve as a warning to those who are coming here esp backpackers and budget travelers who want to visit the Tops.
To Juan – thanks for sharing your story..
If you are considering taking a habal – habal motorycle ride to Cebu Tops, please read this post first. These motorcycles can be found on JY Square Mall in Lahug. Tops is part of Busay, a mountainous area in Cebu.
By browsing through the several posts on cheap CEBU CITY TOUR you would know that I do not recommend habal – habal in going to Tops although it’s cheaper than taking a taxi – my main reason is safety. But after hearing what Juan has to say about their experienced, I realized there are other reasons why you should think twice about getting on a habal-habal ride going to Cebu’s Top.
This is what Juan has to say, shown below is a snapshot of the actual email exchange with him:
A Tourist Bad Experience in going to Cebu Tops
Transcript of the email
The email reads (some sentences translated to English for easy reading of all) –
Hi.. long story… and it happened last Feb 2012, but I still remembers it hehe
This is how it went… first.. we rented one habal – habal.. we were just 2. And we negotiated 200 pesos per person fee to tops. Just when we hop on the motorcycle, there was another habal – habal driver who came and negotiated with us. (I just remembered the face). he said that we should take one motorcycle each because its dangerous if we are two on one motorcycle, it is the same price anyhow, P200 per person. so we took the offer and it was one person on each habal-habal. After touring Tops, they also recommended another tourist spot that offers a zip line activity for an additional of P50 per person. After having fun and all that, we started computing our transpo expenses. They said there is a waiting fee which was not mentioned during the negotiation. I even clarified that it is only P200 pesos flat per person to which they confirmed and agreed to. What’s more aggravating is that, these drivers said that the capacity per motorcycle is really 2 passengers each, so according to them we have to pay for 2 person per motorcycle – that’s P500 per motorcycle if you compute. 1 thousand for us two! P400 pesos is the original price and then it becomes P1,000.00! – WHICH IS SOBRANG NAKAKAASAR. ESPECIALLY that we are budget traveler. We trimmed it down to P800 petot (which is still large amount). + free ride to Taoist Temple. mga gagong un. we chose not to argue as we might be harmed, right? Sobrang inis na inis ako kasi ginanun kami sa lugar. It’s not often you visit cebu, and then this will happen. pangit lang. hopefully their government will fix this. un lang. thanks.
*Sorry if translation is not exact.
I’m sharing this not to discourage you to forgo habal-habal completely. But I do caution you to be very clear during your negotiation with the driver if you chooses to go to the Top in Busay area via these motorcycles for hire. NOT ALL habal-habal drivers are out to scam tourists but yes, there are some who prey upon unsuspecting visitors – both locals and foreigners. This incident is not unique to Cebu, this or similar to this case also happens in other popular tourist destinations in the country and all over the world.
And also, so sorry I really have no idea of what is the proper or correct rate for these habal – habal ride to Tops from JY. I hope there will be regulations put in place not only by the provincial government of Cebu but also by other stakeholders especially the tourism department.
Cebu Popular Tourist Spot – The Top
What do Penfires recommend in going to Tops?
If you have no access to private transport during your Cebu holiday, taxis are my recommendations in going to Tops. I will update this post with the latest taxi service rate to Top. The last time someone went to this popular Cebu tourist spot early last year – they paid P700 round trip from Marriot Hotel with one hour waiting at the Top.
Also please remember that there is a P100 entrance fee per person at this tourist destination.
Cebu’s The Top continues to attract local and foreign tourist because of the view and scenery when you get there. It’s cold up in the mountains and the amazing view of Cebu City laying at your feet is something worth seeing during your vacation. I hope you can visit this place sans the bad experience.
Cebu Top Night Scene