MCPB - Tops Lookout

Tops Lookout: A Look Back

Believe it or not, prior to its scheduled closure in 2022, I had only visited Tops Lookout once in my life. You read that right. Despite being a ‘Cebu travel blogger’ who has been to most parts of the island, I never really got to visit the well-loved spot until 2020. And yes, that was during the pandemic!

Tops Lookout

Tops Lookout was considered one of Cebu City’s most popular tourist spots. Attracting hundreds of local and foreign tourists each day, Tops was easily one of Cebu’s most enduring icons. According to the stories of friends who used to frequent Tops, the spot was quite simple. It was basically just a big circular flat open space at the peak of a mountain which offers visitors an unrivaled view of the Metro Cebu skyline.

“But why do you keep coming back?” I asked them. And somehow, they didn’t know the answer to that question.

First Time at Tops Lookout

Back in 2020, I got this short stint with the Department of Tourism. They asked me to cover one event before and that was probably why they decided to engage with me again. For one of our projects, we had to check out and evaluate various highland spots in Cebu. And, yes you guessed it right, Tops Lookout was one of them.

The first time (and only time) I set foot inside Tops Lookout, I must say that I was rather underwhelmed. It was indeed exactly how my friends described it. I was disappointed. I don’t know, I just thought it would somehow have features that would surprise me and make my jaw drop. But there was nothing. It just had a row of tables, a big open space, and a ledge where people can sit down and enjoy the view.

But I’m thankful that something happened that day. See, we had been shooting in various locations the whole day and honestly, we’d been quite tired. So while the other members of the team were busy preparing our model for the shoot, I found one empty table and sat down. My job was to learn as many details about Tops as I could so that I could make a report later on.

But I ended up doing nothing, I just sat there and spaced out. And even after a colleague informed me about a hiccup in the schedule, I still didn’t do a single thing. And you know what’s interesting? I wasn’t worried at all. In fact, I could vividly remember how peaceful I felt. The daily stresses, the long-term anxieties, the plans for the rest of the week, the need to finish my job – they never entered my mind. I just sat there, watching people doing their thing, for almost two hours.

Looking Back

Looking back, I now realize that that was it! That was a prime example of why people kept coming back to Tops. Because it had its ways. It did things to people. And no matter how difficult it is to explain, I’m pretty sure you’d totally get me once you’re there. Tops had its own magic. A unique charm that remains invisible, especially to those who seek it. And I understand now.

In October of 2022, it was announced that Tops Lookout would be closed to the public for a scheduled redevelopment. According to various news reports I read, when it reopens, it will have better viewing deck facilities and will also have dining outlets.

I’m pretty sure the new Tops will look fantastic. There is no doubt about it. But whether or not I’d enjoy the food they’d serve or love the new tables and benches, it wouldn’t matter anymore. It may have a new look, a sleeker form, or a more high-end vibe, but to me, and to countless other Cebuanos out there, Tops will remain the same. Tops is comfort. It is peace of mind. It is home.

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