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The Best Food-Stopovers When Biking Uphill at the Transcentral Highway in Cebu

Wellness and Wheels with a View

by Allain Dumon Fonte


If there is one important lesson that this pandemic has taught us, it is that “health is wealth”.  Many of us have realized that keeping a healthful diet, active lifestyle, and a sound mind free from stress will help boost our immune system.  Thus, making us less vulnerable to sickness.  Because of this, Cebuanos turned to biking as a fun-filled hobby to discover new places in Cebu, release tension, and improve physical and mental wellness.  Moreover, biking has become more popular this year because local government units support and promote biking as a sustainable means of transportation by lessening carbon emissions and limiting the contact with people when travelling to and from work.

As Cebu slowly re-opens, new businesses are springing up like mushrooms.  Who would have thought that the once quiet Transcentral Highway is now a bustling route for bikers, riders, and local tourists?  As much as I would love to bike uphill, my legs are better on the runway than on the highway; so, I asked Alain Ralph, a foodie and a seasoned biker who has traversed the ins and outs of Cebu’s hills for the best food-stopover.  Alain Ralph mentions that there are many interesting places to stop by and rest when you are biking uphill.  He suggests these places are a-must-visit when you are biking up Cebu’s highlands.  So, I put on my gear and got on to my ute to drive up to these places that Alain Ralph recommended. 


Mak’s View

Humba Heaven at Mak’s View


Mak’s view is the home of Humba Heaven and Maharlicup.  The two-storey open-air dining area provides guests with a panoramic view of the lush hills of Busay and offers remarkable Cebuano cuisine.  The ‘humba’ in Humba Heaven figuratively brings you to heaven once you tasted it.  The pork is marinated with flavors to tickle your taste buds and it is so soft that it melts in your mouth.  Maharlicup serves different kinds of ‘sikwate’ (a hot chocolate drink made from home-grown cacao).  Paired with sticky rice, your ‘sikwate’ will be perfect with the hill’s cool breeze and an endless sight of greens.  The fog late in the afternoon, the sunset painting the clouds and sky in hues of orange, plus the rustic ambiance of Mak’s view, makes this place a romantic site to dine with someone special.

  • Ambiance ★★★
  • View ★★★
  • Food ★★★★


Matana Cafe

Matana Cafe


Still enroute to Balamban on Transcentral Highway is Matana Café that offers guests a refreshing view on the hills of Busay.  However, what makes Matana Café’s view unique from the rest of the stopovers is the sunset.  The sunset view of Matana Café is like looking at a sunset painting of Thomas Moran in the Louvre.  If you will dine here, the chorizo Cebuano should be on top of your list to order.

  • Ambiance ★★
  • View -★★★★
  • Food ★★


21 Kilometers Cafe

21 Kilometers Cafe


21 Kilometers Café is small coffee shop that offers a romantically homey ambiance with its white walls and art murals.  It also gives guests a wide view of greens facing the hills of Cantipla.  The view deck where you can enjoy a slice of cake or a beverage that is specially concocted by the cute barista gives you a sense of tranquility.  There is not much to talk about food in this venue, but the beverages are a must try, and my favorite is the avocado-banana shake.  In fact, I am writing this article while sipping my creamy avocado-banana shake and getting inspired by the view.

  • Ambiance ★★★★
  • View ★★★
  • Food/Drinks ★★★★


Charlie’s Cup

Charlie’s Cup


Charlie’s cup is probably the most visited coffee shop and stop over on the Transcentral Highway.  It is a pet-friendly café since it is named after the owner’s favorite pet, a corgi.  The sight here is breathtaking and the ambiance is perfect for an afternoon tea and chit-chat with your friends or family.  The architecture is remarkably interesting and accentuates the view of the lake, which was an old mining site in Toledo City.    Just like any other coffee shop, it offers a wide range of hot and cold beverages; but you must try their hearty breakfast meal.  Charlie’s Cup should not be missed when you are driving up to Balamban.

  • Ambiance ★★★★★
  • View ★★★★
  • Food ★★★


These are the stopovers and coffee shops highly recommended by Alain Ralph, and I could not disagree.  Every stopover is something new to the eyes, and makes you want to stay longer.  I shall be back to enjoy another bite of ‘humba’, or a sip of ‘sikwate’, or to relax with the view of the sunset.  I may still be driving my ute on my way back, but who knows?  I might surprise myself and grab a bike.  For more tips on biking trails and bikers’ stopovers, you may check the youtube videos of Alain Ralph at alainralphTV.


A Quick Chat with Radisson Blu Cebu’s Kitchen Team at Feria


Cebu is now abuzz with so many activities and events from last month’s Cebu Business Month (CBM) and the Cebu Food and Wine Festival (CFWF) where the food and culinary industry and the hospitality sector are in focus as two of the key developments and growths in the tourism economy.

Radisson Blu Cebu, located at Serging Osmeña Blvd., corner Pope John Paul II Ave. in Cebu City is an imposing hotel building across SM City Mabolo where comfort, unparalleled service and close attention to detail are described as the Radisson Blu Cebu experience.

What catches this writer’s attention is the hotel’s Feria Restaurant, the Lobby Bar and the Pool Bar. Many of my friends here and abroad have shared with me their food and wine dining experience while at Radisson Blu Cebu. I decided to visit and try the buffet spread at Feria and ended up chatting with the chefs, the kitchen team behind Feria’s sumptuous menus and dishes every day.

This writer had a chance to chat with Radisson Blu Cebu’s kitchen team headed by Chef Nicholas van Riemsdijk, Radisson Blu Cebu’s Executive Chef. While last month’s CFWF festival highlighted the various culinary experiences of more than 20 national chefs, Chef Nick wanted to emphasize Radisson Blu Cebu’s kitchen team that consists of 8-10 Indian, Japanese, Filipino and Mediterranean chefs that collaborated and assembled Feria Restaurant’s spread and menus at the Lobby and Pool Bars.

“Radisson Blu Cebu’s Feria is a popular buffet place in Cebu City and I am very proud of my team whipping up authentic food with all our hearts. I want my Team to be in the spotlight for what they’re doing in the kitchen. You see a beautiful buffet arrangement everyday at Feria and that is because of the hard work of my chefs,” Chef Nick told this writer.

During the Cebu Food and Wine Festival, Feria concentrated on local Filipino buffet cuisine because last year, the restaurant had 280 covers in full buffet. “This year, we intended to put out brand new local Cebuano and Pinoy dishes in our buffet to support the CFWF and we wanted to surpass last year’s covers,” Chef Nick added.

Everyday is a different buffet here at Feria, Chef Nick said that the team creates menus based on the best available products and as much as local products; sourced out from local suppliers and farms to support local as much as possible, as responsible business ethics.

“We, my team puts out authentic food each time. The by-word at the kitchen and among the chefs is consistency in tastes of the various menus we put out, because consistency means quality and respect of food and cuisine in the world.  As chefs, we love food and that is true to our profession,” Chef Nick smiled.

According to Chef Nick, the chefs sit as a team to come up with the daily themed menus; changing recipe’s new things for Cebu, what’s here, what’s not and what’s to improve.  Whatever he brings to his team, they learn and they are continuously working, discussing all the time and it’s always a working process, Chef Nick said.

Radisson Blu Cebu’s Feria buffet

Every day is a different buffet at Feria. Feria’s daily themed highlights to accompany its signature international staples of Filipino, Chinese, Indian, Japanese, and Mediterranean fare:

  • Mondays are American Grill and BBQ buffet: A homage to the beloved Texas BBQ, plus American classics
  • Tuesdays are Asian menus focusing on well-loved recipes from the East and Southeast Asian neighbors including Malaysian, Indonesian, Singaporean, and Korean dishes highlighting refreshingly spicy flavors
  • Wednesdays are European dishes with more on pastas, creamy soups, heavy meat dishes
  • Thursdays are Latin American, highlighting recipes from Mexico to Brazil with spicy flavors
  • Fridays are Seafood galore, finding ways to incorporate the fruits of the sea in pizzas, pasta, fried and grilled dishes
  • Saturdays are for Global street food, elevated versions of easy to eat comfort foods, but not just Filipino street food but also from around the world like noodles from hawker stalls of Singapore and Malaysia; fresh and filling Vietnamese and Thai recipes as well
  • Sundays are Filipino food. There’s nothing like the familiar taste of home

Feria lunch is Php1,488 and dinner is Php1,688 while wine buffet also available at Php1,288 sold separately–just unlimited wine, red or white, the selection available in the buffet area and the servers will assist and can pour when requested.

Let’s meet Radisson Blu’s Chefs

“My team is flexible to the clients, they speak to the guests and talk to them for some with special requests in their dishes, like guests who are vegans or pescatarians. My team of chefs mostly always accommodates special requests,” Chef Nick said

Chef Nicholas van Riemsdijk started working as a chef since he was 16 years and he has lived and worked in many parts of the world, making his international knowledge on food and cuisine incredibly wide and expansive in nature. He brings these experiences in the Feria kitchen as the executive chef of Radisson Blu Cebu.

Chef Leo Montemayor is the Chef de Cuisine, from Canlaon City in Negros Oriental. Chef Leo has been with Radisson Blu Cebu for 10 years now and he is very proud and happy to work at the kitchen with Chef Nick and the other chefs. He said the team can do any kinds of dishes in collaboration with other dishes especially that Feria has a variety of menus.

Chef Arnel Quilestino is the Sous Chef, from Badian, Cebu. Chef Amel has more than 30 years of experience in the kitchen as part of the staff with all the other chefs at Radisson that can do all kinds of signature dishes.

Chef Jyoti Singh is the Indian Chef at Radisson who’s instrumental in winning the SunStar’s Best of Cebu 2022 Best Indian Food for Radisson Blu Cebu. Chef Jyoti is a quite guy with a cool demeanor. He is responsible for all the Indian menus and dishes at the Feria Restaurant in collaboration with the other chefs for unique tastes.

According to these chefs, they help each other and always work as team. Feria has a variety of menus every day and the team always adhere to the consistency of tastes of whatever they put on the buffet table, with the approval from the executive chef.

“There is a recipe card and description of every dish that we do because we work for excellence, quality and consistency of food tastes at Radisson Blu Cebu, and we are all very proud of our profession and our work.  We feed people from the best of our hearts and soul.  We respect food and mindful of food wastage,” they said.


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‘Find Your Shangri-La’ Whimsical Menu at the Shangri-La, Mactan Cebu

A dreamy, indulgent gastronomic heaven awaits in Mactan, Cebu. For the discerning gourmand, our Master Chefs have curated a series of new Whimsical Menus, featuring exquisite culinary creations that shines the spotlight on the freshest locally sourced and sustainable staple ingredients.

Guests are invited to feast their senses on a delightful medley of enticing, exotic flavours, with delectable delights such as Bohol-farmed Prawns & Cebuano Mangoes with Kataifi Noodles, Double-boiled Abalone, Dried Scallop in Coconut Shell, Red Lapu-Lapu Grouper Fillet with daubs of Gold Broth and Smoky A5 Wagyu Cube Roll in Merlot Black Pepper Sauce.

Soup–Double-boiled Abalone and Dried Scallop served in a Coconut Shell

Main Course 3–Smoky A5 Wagyu Cube Roll in Merlot Black Pepper Sauce

Dessert – Mango Passion Fruit, Strawberry Pearls, Peach Gum and Matcha Crumbs

Exclusively available only at Tea of Spring, Shangri-La Mactan, Cebu’s contemporary Chinese restaurant until 13 August 2023.

Making of Daydreamer Cocktail

For bookings and reservations, contact (032)2310288 or email

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Mix and Match Your Orders as GrabKitchen Officially Launches in Cebu!

Grab Philippines officially launches GrabKitchen in Cebu – the first cloud kitchen of the leading super app outside of Luzon. GrabKitchen Cebu will serve as a central commissary of an inaugural slate of six restaurants: Happilee Korean Kitchen, CoCo, Big Al’s Cookie Jar, and Merry Moo; and homegrown Cebuano restaurants Chef Joshua’s Kitchen and Cooee Cafe. In celebration of the launch, consumers can use promo code HELLOGKCEBU for every order from GrabKitchen Cebu merchants until March 31 to avail of a discount!

As a central commissary of multiple restaurants, GrabKitchen Cebu allows consumers to better mix and match various food items from its merchants. Through this, Cebuanos can enjoy a wider food selection with just one delivery fee. Cebuanos can now also take delight in the offerings of food brands that are entering the Cebu market through GrabKitchen – such as Happilee Korean Kitchen, Big Al’s Cookie Jar, and Merry Moo. With the launch of GrabKitchen Cebu, these restaurants will be more accessible across the province, even extending over to Mandaue City.

GrabKitchen Cebu is Grab’s first cloud kitchen service outside of Luzon. The cloud kitchen will serve as a central commissary of several restaurants, allowing consumers to better mix and match their orders from various brands with just one delivery fee.

“We are truly excited to empower and enable more MSMEs to scale their businesses as we launch our first GrabKitchen in the Queen City of the South. GrabKitchen is designed to be a vehicle for smaller local businesses to scale and expand their presence across regions without having to break the bank for facilities and equipment. With our cloud kitchen, we are optimistic that Cebu culinary offerings will be enjoyed by more Filipinos both in the province and in other areas across the Philippines”, Grab Philippines Director for Deliveries Greg Camacho shares.

GrabKitchen offers much-needed kitchen facilities to food and beverage MSMEs, helping them scale their business and expand their presence via GrabFood. This also gives MSMEs the opportunity to expand their channels for deliveries, thus making them more resilient amid the ever-changing dining behavior of consumers. 

GrabKitchen Cebu is set to grow its roster of restaurants and food brands in the next few months to include more homegrown brands and introduce more food concepts from other regions.

GrabKitchen Cebu’s Happilee, CoCo, Big Al’s Cookie Jar, Merry Moo, Chef Joshua’s Kitchen and Cooee Cafe are now open for both delivery and Self Pick-Up via GrabFood! Experience the convenience of the mix-and-match feature when you download the Grab app on Google Play Store or the Apple App Store. Be sure to follow Grab on Facebook and Instagram to keep posted on updates.

Grab is Southeast Asia’s leading superapp based on GMV in 2021 in each of food deliveries, mobility and the e-wallets segment of financial services, according to Euromonitor. Grab operates across the deliveries, mobility and digital financial services sectors in 480 cities in eight countries in the Southeast Asia region – Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

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