Mt. Manunggal
Fog at Mt. Manunggal by (c) Dale Tucker B. Orillaneda

Transcentral highway guide. Where to stop, what to do, how much it’s going to cost.

If you want to get the west end of Cebu quickly while enjoying a scenic mountain view, the transcentral highway is the road you’ll want to take. It can get you from Cebu city to Asturias, Toledo, Balamban, and other municipalities along the north western and western areas of the island in as short as 2 hours. This mountain highway is also a favourite road trip route since you get to enjoy the fresh air and the beautiful mountains of Cebu. This major 33 kilometre road stretches from Plaza Housing, Lahug to Barangay Prenza, in the municipality ofBalamban.

So what’s there to do while travelling along Transcentral highway? Below are some stop overs for you to check out. (The list starts with the places closest to Cebu city till the stops in Balamban. We left their FB pages and websites for more info. Do tell us if we skipped any. Estimated travel time from the airport is considering traffic situations)

Here’s a list of all the places featured in this article. Read on for photos and to know more about them.

– Mr. A Bar and Restaurant
– Crate Café
– Jardin De Busay
– Chateau de Busay
– Mountain View Nature Park, LantawBusay, and Temple of Leah
– La Tegola CucinaItaliana, Busay
– Michael Buak Store
– Tops Lookout
– Doce Pares Mountain Training Park
– Terrazas de Flores
– Busay Holiday Pools
– TIEZA Botanical Garden
– Vegetable Vendors along the road
– Sirao Flower Garden
– Sileo Bed and Breakfast
– Pine Tree Mountain Resort
– Adventure Café and Zipline
– JVR Island in the Sky Resort
– West 35 Eco Mountain Resort
– Canso X (now close)

Mr. A Bar and Restaurant – Have a nice family meal here with a view of the city. If you travel by cab here, most cab drivers will ask for a little extra since it’s a steep climb to the restaurant. It’s found Lower Busay Heights Cebu City.

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Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Mr.ABarRestaurantCafePizzeria/?hc_ref=SEARCH

Crate Café – A quaint little coffee shop with a nice view. They have coffee and little sweets and pastries to enjoy. Some of the items on their menu are even organic.From JY square you can ride a cab or a habal-habal. Fare may depend on your deal rate start at PhP 30-50 one way.they’re located at Veteran’s Drive (before Maria Luisa Busay exit), Lower Busay, Cebu City.

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Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cratecafeph/

Jardin De Busay – If you’re looking for and ideal getaway place for a staycation, or a house you can call your own while staying here in Cebu, they offer rooms for couples and groups. They don’t have a pool though, but we’re sure you guys can find something interesting to do. Jardin de Busay Estate is located in Busay, Cebu City. It’s probably around an hour and a half from the airport. from JY square you can reach it in around 15 to 20 minutes.

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Website  : http://jardindebusay.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Jardin-de-Busay-524356104372436/

Chateau de Busay – This place will always remind me of the most beautiful wedding receptions I’ve ever been invited to. Other than being an ideal reception venue, Chateau de Busay also has a restaurant that welcomes walk-in guests. Hello romantic dinner destination. They are found at Lower Busay Hills, Nivel Hills, Cebu City. From the airport, it’s going to be an hour and a half travel. From JY square you can reach it in around 15 to 20 minutes.

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Website   : http://www.chateaudebusay.com/
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/Chateau-de-Busay-124477367731968/

Mountain View Nature Park, Lantaw Native Restaurant, and Temple of Leah – Ok, these three are found along the same small road, Roosevelt St.Brgy. Busay, just a little off the highway. There’s a lot you can do in Mountain View. They offer rooms, function areas, and they have a poolEntrance Fee is at PhP 50.00 per person. Swimming Pool entrance is at PhP 100.00 per person. They also have a rope course.

LantawBusay is a nice place to have lunch or dinner while enjoying the view of the mountains and hills of Cebu. Prices are also pretty decent.

Become awed at the amazing structures and statues at the Temple of Leah. It’s like you’ve teleported to Rome. Temple of Leah management charges PhP50 entrance fee per guest and PhP2,500 venue fee for professional photography for wedding and events. You can go swimming in Mountain View during the morning till mid-afternoon, go up to Temple of Leah at around late-afternoon, and then have dinner at Lantaw. That sounds like a pretty fun day to us.

To get to all three of these places, go to JY square and can ride a cab (most will ask for extra on top of the fare) or a habal-habal. Habal-habal fare may depend on your deal rate start at PhP 50-100 one way. Always clarify how much you’re going to pay the habal-habal driver before you get on the motorcycle. If you don’t want to spend more on your fare, you can walk down to the main road and catch a jeep going back to the city, but you might wait long. another option is to ride a jeep from Housing. You’ll have to ask the drivers if they’re planning to go up to Busay and the road leading to Mountain view since some of them actually do.

If you’re travelling from the airport, it’s going to be roughly around an hour and a half travel. From JY square you can reach all three places in around 20 minutes, more or less.

Mountain View Nature Park

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They don’t have an official FB page or website. But here’s their contact number just in case.
Mountain View Nature Park is located in SitioGarahe, Busay, Cebu City.
For inquiries, contact Mountain View Nature Park
(0915)363-1581 (0923)484-9960
(0917)631-2520 (0912)481-7627
(032) 419 2300 – landline

Lantaw Native Restaurant, Busay

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Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LantawNativeRestaurant/

Temple of Leah

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Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TempleOfLeah/
Website  : http://templeofleah.com/

La Tegola Cucina Italiana, Busay – Craving for itallian food? Check out La Tegola. It’s a wonderful Italian restaurant with a breath-taking view. Another romantic spot for lunch or dinner. It’s a bit pricy, but the food is worth is. It’s less than a kilometre away to where you turn left to get to Tops. There’s a big sign along the road and you take the road going down to the right, you can’t miss it. They don’t have a facebook page, but their contact number is listed as 032 4065979.

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***Special Mention****
Michael Buak Store – This place brings back so many memories. It’s just a small sari-sari store right across the road to where you turn left to get to Tops. You can buy snacks here, as well as drinks. At night they sell barbeque and you can buy beer. What makes this little sari-sari store special is that it has a few tables and a killer view of the city. We use to just chill out here at night and enjoy the cold.

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Tops Lookout – Get a panoramic view of the hills, mountains, as well as the cities intheeastern side of Cebu. Tops Lookout is magnificent at night when you can see the city lights shine. It’s also a nice place to go to if you’re on a date. There’s 100 peso entrance per person and there are also small stores there that sells food and drinks, like BudoyOn Top and Topko Food Corner. Riding a cab to Tops is going to cost you a lot, so we really don’t recommend you doing that. A habal-habalwill cost around PhP100-₱150 (one-way). Agree with the driver on how much you’re going to be paying back and forth. Tops is actually pretty far from the highway so you can ask the habal-habal driver to come pick you up when you want to go home. From the airport, it’s going to take you an hour and a half to reach Tops. from JY square, 20 minutes more or less.

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Doce Pares Mountain Training Park –  This is the first (1st) Zip line introduced in Cebu. Other than the zipline, you can also enjoy their other adventures like the Cliffside, Jumper Swing, and Wire Walk. Entrance to the park is at PhP 20.00 per head and Zipline rides are at PhP 100.00 per head. you can rent out a small cottage and there’s also a store there for snacks and drinks. they’re located just across to where you turn left to Tops, just a few steps to Michael Buak Store. They don’t have an official FB page, but for more information, you may reach them at landline (032) 346-0433 or mobile (0906) 5558461.

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Terrazas de Flores – Terrazas de Flores is the only flower terraces in the Philippines. You can walk around their gardens, enjoy a good meal, drink something refreshing, and just relax in their cozy cabanas. The 20 minute habal-habal ride to Terrazas de Flores from JY square would probably cost you PhP 150 one way. They’re located in Busay, Malubog, Cebu City. Entrance fee of PhP100.00.

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Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/terrazasdefloresofficial/

Busay Holiday Pools – The beach can get a bit too hot at times, so cool off at Busay Holiday Pools. This mountain resort offers a cooler alternative with a pool secluded in the middle of the mountains. Get a breath-taling view of the surrounding montains and fresh air while you swim in the cool waters. They have  2 adult swimming pools and 2 kiddie pools, along with a number of cottages, making it a perfect place for family and team outings. Plus, there is no corkage fee for any food being brought into the resort. Call them at 0917-631-3016. Entrance Fee for adult is at PhP100, kids is PhP 75. Tables and Cottages range from PhP300 to 400. They’re located in  BarangayMalubog, Busay.

To get there, you can take a jeepney bound for Bonbon, Busay from the Lahug market or Plaza Housing. A habal-habal is also an option. Fare would be around PhP150.

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Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Busay-Holiday-Pool/282548178616566

*Special mention*
Vegetable and fruit vendors along the road – by the time you pass Busay Holiday Pools and before you reach Ayala Heights, there are a number of small vegetable and fruit vendors that sell their produce along the highway. Do make a quick stop and buy some of their produce, especially the sweetcorn. They’re local famers so they sell their products at a very cheap price. You can get everything from root vegetables, bananas and mangoes, and sometimes even flowers.

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Terracotta Manor – Found in the hills of Bonbon, this stunning homestay is a little far from the highway. Getting there, you’d need to take the Bonbon-Sudlon road. The entrance fee  isPhP 500 per head which includes the use of their pool, pool sala, and garden. The main house is not included but try contacting them if you can stay overnight. It’s an ideal spot for prenuptial photo shoots. You can contact them at 0917 623 3307.

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Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Terracotta-Manor-296766420364596/
Check out this video of the manor. Click here.

Lava Mountain River Farm– This 4-hectare farm with private villas is located beside the Mananga River in the valley of the mountains of Brgy. Bonbon in Cebu City. It’s a beautiful getaway from the city and a perfect spot to go to if you just want to get away from it all. Nature lovers will definitely enjoy their stay here since you can visit a nearby waterfall. It’s a little off the highway, but the road going to the farm is easy. Just take the Brgy.Babag and Bonbon road. Just a reminder that a reservation is required. Call them at 09178285614.

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Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LavaMountainRiverFarm/

TIEZA Botanical Garden – Take stunning photos of the flowers and the mini-lake at the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) Botanical Garden. The small lake was once used as a natural waterscape. You can find wild flora, natural local vegetation, and farm animals. Nowadays, the sides of the lake are lined with flowers (locally called celosia) which bloom red and yellow. The small hut offers some shade, as well as a great photo-op area. To get there, drive to Malubog and keep an eye out for the “Busay Holiday Pool” sign (it’s on the right side of the road) and then turn towards that descending direction. If you’re taking a habal-habal, ask them to take you to the Malubog Lake (not to be confused with the one in Toledo) or Kan-irag old golf course. Fare is about PHP150. There’s also a Php 25 entrance fee that goes to helping the caretaker take care of the garden.

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Sirao Flower Garden – The Sirao Flower Garden became a hot spot for visitors when photos of it became viral online. You can’t deny that this place, especially when the flowers are in season to bloom (around April – May and October – November), looks amazing. Some even call it a mini Amsterdam. It’s going to be difficult to get a solo shot during peak season because of the many visitors that go. if you want a more relaxed visit, go there off season. The flowers, although not as many, are still stunning.  The entrance fee is only PhP30 per person. This helps with the maintenance of the garden. From the airport, it’s going to take you an hour and a half to reach Tops. From JY square, 30 minutes more or less. A habal-habal is going to cost PhP150 to PhP200 depending on the driver.

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Sileo Bed and Breakfast – Another place to get away from the city without being too far from the city, Sileo Bed and Breakfast is found in Km 34 Trans Central Highway, Barangay Gaas, Balamban. Aside from a killer view of the mountains, it has a car park, family room, BBQ facilities, and restaurant, perfect for a weekend getaway with your team, friends, and family. Call them at 032- 511-0986 for rates and reservation.

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Pine Tree Mountain Resort– We actually have an article on this place. Check it out here.

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Adventure Café and Zipline – Want to go for a really exciting ride? Gather your courage and go on the zipline at the Adventure Café in Km 34 Trans Central Highway, Balamban. The zipline takes you from one end of the mountain to the other. Properly the closest thing to flying. The café also serves meals and drinks at a pretty decent price.  Zip Line is at PhP150 and Climb/Rappel is at Php100.

The Adventure Café is around 45-60 mins away from the city, and a habal-habal ride may get a bit too pricy (I paid about 350 pesos for a one way ride once). To get there, you’re better off riding a v-hire from the Ayala terminal. Fare is about Php 100. It’s just along the highway, you can’t miss it.

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Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ADVENTURE-CAFE-115614565124983/

JVR Island in the Sky Resort – Looking for a mountain resort with a pool and rooms for overnight stay? Check out JVR Island in the Sky Resort in Km 34 Trans Central Highway, Balamban. Entrance is atPhP 50 for adult and PhP 25 for kids. Open cottages are at Php 350, and rooms range from Php 1,500 to Php 4,500. They also have a cable car that you can ride. For additional details, information, and reservations, contact them at 09217423392.
To get there, take a v-hire from the Ayala terminal. Fare is about Php 100. Ask the driver to drop you off at the JVR Island in the Sky Resort entrance, just a few meters away from the Adventure Café.

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Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JVRIslandInTheSkyResort/

West 35 Eco Mountain Resort – Get in touch with nature at West 35 Eco Mountain Resort. They offer rooms for couples and/or groups who are looking for a nice break outdoors. Aside from villa accommodations, their Haven Cafe also serves scrumptious meals and drinks. You can go on their zipline or go trekking. Kids are also going to love their playground with a mini-hanging bridge. For company and corporate outings, they also have a function room. Call them at their Gaas Tel No: (032) 514-3262, Lahug Tel. No.: (032) 520-2633 or Cell No.: +63 933 995 3245 for more information.

To get there, take a v-hire from the Ayala terminal. Fare is about Php 100. Just ask the driver to drop you off at the West 35 entrance. There’s a big sign to the right.

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Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/West35EcoMountain/

Canso X (now close) – This is a mountain adventure park located in the mountain barangay of Cansomoroy in Balamban. Go camping and just forget the world. It’s a must visit for campers and hikers. Entrance fee is at PhP 50. If you want to go camping, it’s Php 200. Biking fee is at Php 100-150 and hiking fee is at Php 200. Take note that you have to call in to schedule a hike. Call (032) 411 1600 loc. 1471 for more info on Canso X. To get there, take a v-hire from the Ayala terminal. Fare is about Php 100.

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Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ForessaTrails/

The Transcentral highway is truly a road for the adventures. In it’s curves and turns, one becomes mesmerized at the glorious scenery and fresh air. It’s good to know that this long and winding road offers a number of places for the weary traveller, of for those who just want to get away from the hustles and bustles of the city.

Baguio de Cebu Eco Mountain Adventures – this mountain resort is about 1 hour travel from JY Square Mall Lahug and is specifically located at Barangay Sunog, Balamban. It should be about 4 km from West 35. Once you get to West 35, there should be a right turn going to the place which is about 1.5km away only.

skybiking baguio de cebu
Skybiking in the clouds at Baguio de Cebu by Yen Malasaga

For PHP 80.00 entrance, you can get to enjoy the naturally cold weather, hike, or even do mountain climbing to Mt. Manunggal, Mt. Mauyog, or Monkey Mountain. For additional PHP 150.00 you can enjoy their 200 meter skybike (back and forth rate already), PHP 100.00 for every 15 minutes of horseback riding, and PHP 400.00 for a group of 5 guided mountain climbing.

For more details of the place, check out our guide here: http://queencitycebu.com/bauio-de-cebu-eco-mountain-adventures-guide/

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