Bohol Travel Guide 2019: our first AirBnB experience + family adventure

Monday, 20 May 2019

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Bohol’s beguiling beauty is hard to resist. So this 2019, we decided to have our family adventure in this breathtaking island province. 

Ynah and I have previously been to Bohol three years ago. However, my mother-in-law, as well as my sister-in-law and brothers-in-law, have not been to Bohol yet. It was also Miguel’s first airplane ride, so we were quite excited to take him with us.

boats at the fishport in Panglao Island, Bohol
Fishing boats at the fish port

Bohol Travel Guide 2019: our first AirBnB experience + family adventure


    Booking our accommodation via AirBnB


    We were 11 all in all, with 8 adults, 2 almost teenage girls, and one toddler. We were a big group so hotels and even inns are definitely out of the occasion when it came to planning for accommodation in Bohol. Of course, we wanted a beachfront hotel but that was just not practical for us plus, having booked late, it would be impossible for us to get adjacent rooms.

    lovely facade of our house in Bohol which we booked via AirBnB
    Façade of the house where we stayed in at Bohol
    We have heard and read many raves and positive reviews about AirBnB and we were convinced that it was definitely the way to go. Imagine, we can rent a whole house all to ourselves. What could be better than that? We were a little nervous though because we were unfamiliar with AirBnB’s interface and we had to pay in advance. We soon familiarized ourselves with the AirBnB app though and we were soon searching for our home in Bohol.

    pingpong area in our house in Bohol

    The second level entrance of our house in Bohol

    We searched for accommodations near the beach. We found several houses, and then narrowed the choice down to two, until we finally booked a house in Panglao Island. The deciding factor was actually just a swimming pool but, after finally seeing our home in Bohol for the next four days, we deemed it a good choice. Our host was also very accommodating and easy-to-talk-to, so that gave us the confidence to finally book and seal the deal.

    Second level common area in our house in Bohol
    View from the second level entrance
    The house had three big rooms, each with its own toilet and shower. It had two levels – one family room was in the ground floor while the other two are in the top floor.

    The common area of our house in Bohol
    The common area
    It was a beautiful house; beautifully-constructed and well-maintained. It looked new, but maybe just because it was well taken cared of. The furniture choices are simple and rustic, which made us feel that we were indeed home. The floor at the second level was made of wood; my choice of material when it came to flooring. That also meant that we need not worry about Miguel getting hurt when he falls.

    The kitchen of the house in Bohol
    The kitchen
    The kitchen, meanwhile, had a gas range, a refrigerator, rice cooker, drinking water with dispenser, an electric kettle -- basically all the things that we need to keep us well-fed.

    Dining area of our house in Bohol
    Dining area
    Actually, the entire property has all the makings of a dream home – a beautifully-manicured garden, with trees, low plants, and Bermuda grass; a gazebo at the back where one can lull time away on a lazy afternoon, a swimming pool, a grill area, and a table tennis at the ground floor.

    Our bed
    Our bed

    Our bedroom in Bohol
    Our bedroom
    There was also a van that guests can rent when going to the supermarket or the airport. Speaking of airport, the house is just a five-minute drive away from the new Bohol-Panglao International Airport. Unfortunately, the van and driver are not accredited to conduct tours so we had to hire another van for our countryside tour.

    View of the backyard and swimming pool of our house in Bohol

    All in all staying in that house was an experience that was hard to forget. The house was comfortable and had all the basic amenities that we needed to have an enjoyable rest after our activities.

    How to book via AirBnB

    1. If you have not yet downloaded the AirBnB app, go to either Apple App Store or Google Play Store and search for “AirBnB.”
    2. Download and install the AirBnB app.
    3. Register and create your profile here to get up to Php2,200 in credits.
    4. Once you have created your profile, go to “Explore.” In the search field, type your destination.
    5. A list of available houses will appear in the results page. Here, you will see the number of beds, the name of the house, the price per night, and the rating.
    6. You may click on a house of your choice to reveal more details such as the rest of the amenities, house rules, location, and detailed reviews, among others. You may also check if the property is available during your planned travel dates.
    7. Once everything is set, you may already proceed with booking. Only credit card payments are accepted, by the way.

    Things to do in Bohol


    Bohol is most synonymous with the Chocolate Hills, among all her breathtaking landmarks and eco-tourism sites. Since most of our companions have not been to the Chocolate Hills (all of them, actually), it was at the top of our itinerary. We booked a countryside tour which included a visit to the Chocolate Hills, man-made forest stopover, Loboc River cruise with buffet lunch, tarsier sanctuary tour, Hinagdanan Cave, and a visit to a butterfly farm.


    Chocolate Hills


    It took us almost 2 hours to drive from our house to the Chocolate Hills, primarily because it was drizzling that day. When we arrived at the visitor drop off area of the Chocolate Hills, it was still raining lightly. The weather was very erratic so when we had the chance, we climbed the stairs to the top of the viewing deck right away.

    The iconic Chocolate Hills of Bohol
    The iconic Chocolate Hills
    The Chocolate Hills are stunning as ever. However, it was a little browner as compared to how I first saw it in 2016; probably because we went during summer this year. I actually liked that it was brown because, well, it’s the Chocolate Hills.

    Jose Family with the Chocolate Hills at the background

    I was supposed to take Miguel with me to the top but hesitated because it was drizzling. It was a good thing that I did not take him with me because I underestimated the height of the steps; I was catching my breath by the time I reached the top.

    Man-made forest

    We had our photo taken at the man-made forest in Bohol

    From the Chocolate Hills, we proceeded to go to the man-made forest. This is just an obligatory stopover because, well, everybody is doing it anyway.

    man-made forest of mahogany trees in Bohol
    Bohol man-made forest
    However, since learning about the negative impact of plantingnon-indigenous trees such as mahogany in the Philippines, I lost all excitement for this forest although the towering trees no doubt looked impressive.

    Tarsier sanctuary


    Part of our itinerary was to visit the Tarsier sanctuary but Ynah and I declined to join. I personally would not want to add further stress to the tarsiers in the sanctuary. Let the tarsiers have their rest (they are nocturnal) and let them eat their food in peace.  

    Loboc River Cruise


    Aside from the Chocolate Hills, the Loboc River cruise is one of the activities that our companions are looking forward to. The river cruise is highly-recommended because it was a great way to marvel at life along the banks of Loboc River. Also, the Loboc River is one of the cleanest bodies of water you would see in the Philippines.

    Loboc River cruise buffet lunch
    Buffet lunch at the Loboc River cruise
    Honestly, I was not too excited about lunch because, during our first time to try the Loboc River cruise, we did not enjoy the food too much. While we were not really expecting the food to be spectacular, we hoped that is was at least flavorful and not dry.

    Loboc Church being restored
    Ongoing restoration of Loboc Church
    When we were about to approach the tourism office, our driver informed us that cost is now at Php650 per head. The price increase actually gave me hope that food has improved and that we would enjoy lunch at the floating restaurant this time. When we were called to line up a few minutes before boarding time, we could feel the excitement from our group.

    Family photo during the Loboc River cruise

    Immediately after boarding, guests may already get food from the buffet table. I was one of the last one to take food because we had to secure Miguel in his stroller first. Upon seeing the food, I was impressed with the variety of choices. There was soup, pancit guisado, rice, shrimps, humba, chicken, and vegetables. There was also unlimited cucumber and lime juice, a salad bar, and desserts.

    People swimming along the banks of Loboc River
    A daily scene along the banks of Loboc River
    In terms of flavor, the food has immensely improved. I particularly enjoyed the pancit guisado, shrimps, and humba. Now, that’s what I call delicious, home-cooked food.

    a small waterfalls at Loboc River
    a small waterfalls
    Loboc River still did not disappoint. The cruise was as scenic as I last remembered it. Looking at the simplicity of the surroundings is nothing but soothing and relaxing.

    Hinagdanan Cave


    This is also one of the main natural attractions in Dauis in Panglao Island. It features a lagoon as well as stalactites and stalagmites. We skipped this trip since I could not take Miguel with me to the cave. While our driver told us that it was safe inside the cave, I did not want to risk it because of the sharp rocks.

    Butterfly Sanctuary

    a butterfly sanctuary in Bohol
    Butterfly sanctuary
    It’s not really worth it, even with its Php45 per head admission fee. I thought we were going to Bohol Habitat but we were taken to a small “sanctuary,” which is more like a little patch in a garden with butterflies and a “guide” explaining the lifecycle of a butterfly. I agreed to go because I wanted to take Miguel inside, thinking that he would enjoy it. I came out disappointed because I thought it was an extensive tour similar to how they do it at Bohol habitat. We were done in less than 30 minutes!

    a creative shot with butterfly wings in Bohol


    Dumaluan Beach Resort


    Bohol takes pride in its stunning white sand beaches. As such, it seems like a mortal sin not to visit any beach when in Bohol.

    shoreline of Dumaluan Beach Resort
    Breathtaking shoreline of Dumaluan Beach Resort
    On our second day in Bohol, a session at the beach is on our priority list. We initially wanted to go to Bohol Beach Club because we were after the facilities. However, our plans did not push through because, aside from the fact that Bohol Beach Club has increased its day tour rate to Php1,000 per head, we were told by the guard on duty that they were not accepting day tours on that day because of the volume of guests.

    We took our Miguel for a swim at Dumaluan Beach Resort
    Miguel's first time to swim at the beach
    We changed plans and headed to Dumaluan Beach Resort. I told our companions that they will not be disappointed because Dumaluan Beach Resort (Php25 per head entrance fee) and the upscale Bohol Beach Club share the same shoreline. That means we will get to enjoy the same fine white sand and clear aquamarine waters. The only difference is that, of course, the high-quality amenities offered by high-end resorts.

    Miguel swimming with his Mommy at Dumaluan Beach Resort in Bohol


    Miguel swimming with his Daddy at Dumaluan Beach Resort in Bohol

    Anyway, we were after the beach so what we needed is just basic amenities like a cottage where we can eat and a shower room where we can change. My brothers-in-law went to the supermarket to buy meat and fish for grilling, as well as ice, drinks, and filtered water. After settling in, we spent half of our day enjoying the world-class beach.

    Cottages at Dumaluan Beach Resort
    View from our cottage at Dumaluan Beach Resort

    Our family photo while we were at our cottage at Dumaluan Beach Resort in Bohol

    Just a word of caution though, it can get crowded later into the day so it’s best to arrive early. We went here at around 8:30 AM so there were no crowds yet.  

    Bohol Bee Farm


    Bohol Bee Farm is another must-see destination in Bohol. It offers day tour in its bee farm as well as overnight accommodation. It is also best known for its honey-based products like bread, tea, sandwich spreads, and bath amenities. A trip to Bohol Bee Farm is also not complete without having a scoop or two of their artisanal ice cream. I had 2 scoops of my favorite flavor – salted honey ice cream.

    Our family photo at the Bohol Bee Farm

    After buying some bread, muffins, honey, and spread, we were all tired and decided to head back to our house. We were supposed to visit a vintage car museum but decided not to avail of it anymore because it was getting late. It was also our flight back to Manila the following day so we thought it best to just recharge ourselves instead of heading out to see other attractions.

    Sample itinerary


    The itinerary below is what we actually used during our Bohol trip. This is a more “relaxed” schedule because we are a big group with a toddler, two young girls, and a senior citizen. This tour is, I reckon, very family-friendly and will also work well for groups similar to ours.

    Day 1 (half-day only)

    • Arrival at the Bohol-Panglao International Airport 
    • Check-in
    • Buy groceries and supplies

    Day 2 (Bohol countryside tour)

    • Chocolate Hills
    • Man-made forest
    • Tarsier Sanctuary
    • Loboc River Cruise
    • Hinagdanan Cave
    • Butterfly sanctuary

    Day 3 (Panglao tour)

    • Dumaluan Beach Resort
    • Bohol Bee Farm
    • Vintage car museum

    Day 4 (half-day only)

    • Check-out
    • Depart for Manila at the Bohol-Panglao International Airport 

    Other places to see in Bohol


    Bohol is a province where you can find almost everything that the Philippines has best to offer. Here, you will find breathtaking beaches, stunning dive sites and islands, eco-tourism destinations, and heritage sites.

    Here are some of the places that are also worth seeing when you are in Bohol:

    1. Balicasag Island
    2. Churches of Bohol such as Baclayon Church, Loboc Church, Alburquerque Church, Alicia Church, Anda Church, Antequerra Church, Balilihan Church, Batuan Church, Bilar Church, Calaca Church, Calape Church, Dauis Church, and Dimiao Church, just to name a few.
    3. The sandbars of Tubigon
    4. Mag-aso Falls
    5. Hinagdanan Cave
    6. Cabagnow Cave Pool

    What to remember when bringing an infant with you


    As parents, Ynah and I find it really fulfilling to be able to bring our son with us whenever we travel. Babies grow up too fast to we are doing our best to create happy memories with Miguel. It can be challenging because we have to constantly prioritize Miguel during our trips; we cannot just do the things on a whim. More importantly, the last thing that you would want is to have a sick child with you when you are traveling.

    During our flight to Bohol for our family adventure

    So before this Bohol trip, we consulted Miguel’s pediatrician on what medicine to bring with us. Here is what Miguel’s doctor recommended:
    1. Probiotics (Erceflora) for diarrhea.
    2. Allergy medicine
    3. Paracetamol for fever

    Of course, don’t forget to bring milk, feeding bottles, diapers, stroller, and comfortable clothes. I think I may have thought about Miguel’s things too much because I almost ran out of clothes to wear. Anyway, a stroller is always a life saver because you can put your baby down when you are eating or when he has fallen asleep.

    When traveling during summer, always bring clothes made with light fabric. We prefer sando or sleeveless shirts and breathable shorts. Also, be sure to keep your baby’s back dry when he is sweating. Put an absorbent piece of fabric such a cloth diaper to keep sweat away.

    More tips when traveling


    Here are some of the things that you need to keep in mind when traveling long distance:
    Pack lightly but be sure to bring enough comfortable clothes.

    1. Bring a first aid and medicine kit with you containing paracetamol, loperamide, and anti-histamine.
    2. Always bring extra cash with you as ATMs can be hard to find outside the city.
    3. Use reusable water bottles, cups, and straws whenever you can.
    4. You need not avail of a tour to see the tourist destinations in Bohol. You can ride a jeepney or a tricycle to the places that you want to see.
    5. Enjoy and always take happy memories with you.

    PIN THIS BOHOL TRAVEL GUIDE

    Similar stories

    If you would like to read more similar stories about Bohol, please check the following posts:
    1. Bohol travel guide + itinerary (updated)
    2. Ushering 2016 with a weekend adventure in Bohol
    3. Bohol Beach Club and Bohol Bee Farm tour
    4. Ocean Suites: comfortable accommodation with a stunning view of the sea

    Suggestions and other helpful information are welcome in the comments section below.


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    8 comments

    1. The accommodation looks great specially for family . Also thank you for sharing your itinerary that is really helpful

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    2. This looks really awesome! I have never done an ABNB before!! I feel like it makes the trip more home-feeling so I need to try it!

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    3. you did such a great job at explaining every detail. Makes me want to visit asap!

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    4. I have stayed at a few air bnb's. I found location is everything. You an have the nicest place but with nothing around to do it makes it boring!

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    5. Wow! I haven't been to Bohol. Thanks for sharing your itenerary, na excite ako sa pool sa house (lol) I have 2 kids (1 and 3 y/o) So this blog really helps.

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    6. You sure were busy during your travels to Bohol! It looks like you had a great time, and you took some amazing photos! The Chocolate Hills are so interesting. I have never done an Air BnB, but during my next travels I will look into it.

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    7. Thank you so much for sharing all these info with us,your article is perfect for anyone who would like to visit Bohol ��

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    8. There really are a lot of great accomodation finds sa AirBnB. Ang ganda ng nakuha nyo. So worth it! ☺️

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