We spent two months of our full-time slow travel lifestyle in the Philippines. Most of our time was spent on Bohol Island, after our first 10 days in Cebu City. We’ve already written about our top recommendations of things to do in Cebu City, and now it’s time to share some fantastic options for things to do in Bohol with kids!
With a few ideas about where to go with family on Bohol it can certainly be considered as a great option if you’re looking for kid-friendly travel destinations. Here are 12 things we recommend adding to your Bohol tourist spots itinerary with kids!
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- Things to do in Bohol with kids
- 1. Banat-i hill
- 2. Alona beach, Panglao Island
- 3. Things to do in Bohol with kids: Baluarte beach
- 4. Hinagdanan cave, Panglao Island
- 5. San Isidro Beach, Panglao Island
- 6. The Philippine Tarsier Conservatory
- 7. Camugao Falls
- 8. Mawbaw Reef
- 9. Relax at South Palms Resort
- 10. Visit the beautiful river village of Loboc
- 11. Visit a dive resort
- 12. Things to do in Bohol with kids: Visit the Chocolate Hills
- Amazing reasons to visit the Philippines
- More things to do in Bohol with kids
Things to do in Bohol with kids
1. Banat-i hill
We were pretty stoked to have the base of this cool little hill just 10 minutes walk from home. The path up this hill didn’t exist in my map apps but I knew it was there as I’d seen photos on Google from the top of it.
So we started walking, perhaps a little later than we should have to catch the sunset. We ended up coming down in the dark! To find our way up the hill we just started asking locals where the path was.
No one seemed to know what we were talking about until some local kids started leading us just where we were trying to go! So if you can find your way to the start of the path this is a lovely little hill walk with nice views all around.
On the way up, and also from the top, you can see Panglao Island, which is just a hop skip and jump away. Banat-i hill is a short, doable walk for people with an average level of fitness. Our six year old daughter walked up with no problems. We’d definitely recommend it as one of the fun and free things to do in Bohol with kids!
2. Alona beach, Panglao Island
Alona Beach is located at the bottom of Panglao Island. Panglao is connected to Bohol, where we were staying, by two bridges. It took 30 minutes for us to get to the far end of Panglao where this beach is. Or maybe 45 minutes since we catch the bus there and it stops at the airport for a bit.
Panglao is famous for its beaches and Alona is probably the most famous. It’s certainly very touristy and is one of the most popular things to do on Bohol Island. We visited several times during our stay. We struggled with some of the food options in the Philippines so at least we knew we could get a familiar western fix here! At the same time, we were glad to be living away from tourist-central.
There are plenty of great restaurants to eat at along or near Alona beach. We really enjoyed Buzz Cafè, which is up on the second level, overlooking the beach. It’s a great place for healthier options and to enjoy the magnificent view after you’ve had enough sand! Those of you with babies and toddlers will know what I mean!
We loved the crystal clear water and sea life at Alona beach. You can take a snorkeling trip from Alona or you might even be able to see a bit just from shore swimming.
There’s rubbish around so consider picking some up if you visit this beach. Sadly there were lots of cigarette butts around on the sand too. We couldn’t find a rubbish bin so we gave the rubbish to people working in one of the cafes and they happily took it.
3. Things to do in Bohol with kids: Baluarte beach
Next up in the crystal clear waters of the Philippines is Baluarte beach, on the island of Bohol.
It’s really easy to get here from Tagbilaran City and you’ll have no trouble getting a jeepny or tricycle home.
There are a couple of swimming options. Firstly, you can swim from the big shaded concrete block. There are steps down to enter the bathlike water. We were there during low tide however, so we had to wade for ages to get past knee deep.
Therefore, download a tides app so you can visit at high tide for swimming in this part. There’s also a jetty, which offers a deeper swim option during low tide. There are a few sandy patches around and also some rocky areas. The water is crystal clear so it’s easy to see what’s under foot.
We didn’t swim off the jetty since it wasn’t the safest place to have wee Romy! Plus the temperatures are so hot and it’s super sunny here so it’s best to be in the water or shade.
Visit Baluarte beach at high tide for more swimming options
We didn’t end up going for a second visit, but if we did we would have gone at high tide, or gone without Romy so we could swim off the jetty. It looked so inviting over that side and would have been perfect for anyone who can swim unassisted.
We saw lots of fish, star fish, sea urchins and hermit crabs! It’s also a lovely spot to watch the sunset.
Again, trash can be a bit of an issue here. We did see big bags full of it but it wouldn’t take much wild weather to blow these over and send the trash into the sea. They were hung up on the edge of the jetty near the water and there were also a couple of garbage piles on the land, near the big shaded concrete block.
4. Hinagdanan cave, Panglao Island
Bohol really offers so many opportunities to visit outstanding areas of beauty. It’s certainly the place for crystal clear waters, blue skies, white sand, and waterfalls.
Hinagdanan cave is located on the west side of Dauis, on Panglao Island. Entry is 50 pesos per person, or 125 including swimming.
It’s a lovely little cave complete with stalactites, bats and clear cool salt water (being right next to the ocean).
It’s deep enough to dive into from a rock if you’re careful. And it provides a lovely break from hot sun and sand!
Romy even enjoyed a swim since there are some shallow rocky areas we could play. The water was extremely clear, even in the dark.
It’s just a small cave but even on a Sunday we found it wasn’t too busy, especially as most people just come in for a look, take some photos and then leave. We stayed as long as it was good for the bub! If you’re looking for things to do in Bohol with kids and are after a mini-adventure, check out this cave. It’s a lot of fun for a refreshing swim in a unique location.
Head down to the ocean, or along to a nearby beach afterwards
Afterwards you can enjoy a fresh fruit shake from one of the vendors outside or take a stroll down the path to the ocean. There is a rocky beach there where you could swim at high tide if you wanted to.
We decided to walk to the closest beach afterwards, which was San Pedro, a white sand beach about 20 minutes walk away. There was a lot of rubbish on the beach and quite a few boats around. It wasn’t really set up with refreshments or anything but Colin had his first ocean swim.
We did get some yummy meals from Natura Vista bungalows afterward, which is just along the path, back from the beach a little.
5. San Isidro Beach, Panglao Island
San Isidro is located in Dauis, on Panglao Island.
Our visit there was supposed to be a family day out, but a series of events led to daddy and the little one staying at home and Ayla and I going out for a date afternoon.
We didn’t quite end up where I expected, which is half the adventure. There are lots of white sand beaches along the east side of Panglao island so you can really take your pick!
I don’t think the one we ended up at really even features on the map since the beach is so tiny. If you want to visit, just head to Cush Resto, which is an upmarket new restaurant near the beach.
We didn’t notice the restaurant until we were heading out. It would be well worth a visit with its comfy dining space and grassy outdoor area. There were a few people doing yoga on the grass and a few fishing here too.
A clean little beach, and plenty of other beaches in the area
The beach itself was pretty clean. There were a few big sacks around, hanging off trees, so it really looked as if people had made an effort to keep it clean.
There are also good trees and rocks to climb and it was the first spot we’d been to that even has a few little waves.
From here if you wanted to explore further you could walk 15 minutes down the path to the bigger /main beaches in the San Isidro area.
This was our original intention but we arrived much later than expected and Ayla broke her only pair of footwear. So instead we decided to stay put and enjoy this little gem on its own. And then we headed to the local market to find some second hand shoes!
6. The Philippine Tarsier Conservatory
The Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary is about 30 minutes drive from Tagbilaran City. It’s both a fun, and educational option for things to do in Bohol with kids.
This is one place you’ll either need to take a tour or use your own transport. We hired a car for the day and this was the first of two places we visited. We like to slow down and take our time so two places in one day is about our limit!
Tarsiers are primates, but they are not monkeys! They have opposable things and can grip things like humans can.
They’re carnivores and mostly feed on insects. Tarsiers are endangered and this variety is only found on four islands in the Philippines (of which Bohol is one). A tarsier can only produce one baby each year since they’re pregnant for six months and nurture the baby for another six.
Way tinier than we’d imagined, they’re about the size of a small rat and kind of have a rat-like tail. They’re nocturnal loners and are very territorial. One very neat skill of a Tarsier is that they can rotate their head 180 degrees for a full 360 vision. Their huge eyes stay in one place though.
Such little cuties who don’t belong in captivity
There are a few places you can see the Tarsier in their natural habitat. We chose the Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary based on the good reviews we’d read about how they care about the conservation of these cuties.
When you get to the tarsier conservation area it’s very clear that silence is important. It’s also crucial not to try and touch any tarsiers or the branches they’re on. Guides provide an orientation and take around small groups at a time.
They certainly don’t belong in captivity. Tarsiers kept in cages can become distressed and commit suicide as a result of banging their heads against the cage.
The biggest threats to tarsiers are habitat destruction, house cats and hunters /trade. We’d definitely recommend adding the Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary to your itinerary of things to do in Bohol with kids.
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7. Camugao Falls
There are so many beautiful swimming holes that can be found around Bohol, and Camugao falls is one of them.
After visiting the Tarsier sanctuary we drove for about 30 minutes to Camugao Falls. There are a few falls in the area and we thought we might make it to one of the others. But for us family travel is done best by going slow. We always still think we can squeeze in a little more than we actually do!
By the way, you’ll definitely need your own transport to visit these falls or others in the area.
We drove down some beautiful, rustic little country roads and veered off along dirt paths. Then we accidentally made a wrong turn and ended up at these falls. We decided there was plenty of reason to stay and play a while!
Entry was 125 pesos (just a few dollars) for the three of us who paid, and to park the car. There’s a beautiful little walk from the car park (which is just a big patch of grass), along a path and down a bunch of steps to the swimming area. It’s a nice little, fun adventure for a family and we’d highly recommend that you add it to your list of things to do in Bohol with kids!
The water was clear and refreshing. It’s definitely cooler than the beach water! You can also hire tables and tubes down next to the swimming area.
8. Mawbaw Reef
Bohol is an amazing island for catching sunsets. It’s likely that you’ll see them even while you’re cruising along the road on your way home from work or play.
Mawbaw reef is a good option for things to do in Tagbilaran, because it’s very close to the city. You can catch most of the sun setting here. I say most because there’s a little piece of nature blocking the last part (not complaining)🤣.
Catch a tricycle or take your own transport. When you arrive there’s a little path off to the left. It leads onto a wee trail with a very awesome tree to climb. It was a real shame to see the grass was absolutely covered in rubbish and broken bottles though. It’s definitely not a place for going barefoot.
So as always, please pack out any rubbish and collect any extra to take away if you can. There were a few sacks for rubbish here which were mostly filled with glass bottles and completely over flowing.
We’ve noticed a bit of a drinking culture at many of these coastal spots. Huge bottles of coconut wine were the choice of bevvy for a group of people while we were there. There was also a karaoke machine, as we’ve also seen in a number of places 🎤🙄.
Something we didn’t know before we went was that there is a big concrete pool there that fills with seawater at high tide. It was high tide when we were there so Ayla enjoyed an evening swim. This feature makes Mawbaw reef a good option of things to do in Bohol with kids.
9. Relax at South Palms Resort
Some days we just crave a little bit of luxury. We rented a house in the local community and on occasion we visited places like this as day guests.
Sometimes there will be a fee to use the facilities. Other times you’ll just need to eat at the on-site restaurant.
We had some pretty good food at the South Palms Panglao Resort and they kindly let us use their beautiful pool which is set right on the beach. There is a sign that specifies it’s for in-house guests… but sometimes it still pays to ask.
South Palms is one of the fun, kid friendly resorts in Bohol. There’s a mini forest area and beach side massage beds. And also comfy chairs by the pool bar and on the beach. It’s set on Dumuluan beach, which has a beautiful long stretch of white sand.
We were happy to see a few other options along the beach in terms of places to hang out, eat and relax.
10. Visit the beautiful river village of Loboc
Just 40 minutes from Tagbilaran City is the beautiful river village of Loboc. With various activities on offer in the area, it’s a great choice for things to do in Bohol with kids.
Check out the Loboc ecotourism adventure park for a zipline adventure! For 500 pesos you can fly across the Loboc River and back again. Or you can opt for a slower cable car ride, or a taste of each.
Ayla was just on 120cm at the time which meant she could go on the zipline, as long as she was flying with a grown up. So off she went with her dad!
There are a couple of other activities there too, including the harnessed trampolines and a ropes course. You get about 10 or 15 minutes on each and they’re 150 pesos each.
There are some lovely bungalows to stay in at various river resorts in Loboc. We found one that had quite a few healthy vegetarian dishes so we dined there for lunch and dinner!
Ayla and I hired a double kayak for an hour. Other options on the river include :
- A Loboc river cruise with a meal and entertainment
- Stand up paddle boarding
- Paddle bike boat thingys (only 250 pesos per hour – you can see them in one of the pics we’ve shared)
We’d highly recommend a day or more relaxing Loboc if you’re coming to Bohol. You’ll either need to take your own transport or join in a tour which would take in several places in one day. Car hire is cheap and easy here. We didn’t even require an International licence.
11. Visit a dive resort
On the west side of Panglao there are a number of dedicated dive resorts. Although we’re not doing any diving as a family yet we were keen to check them out and do some snorkeling in the clear waters and also maybe a bit of cliff jumping.
It’s always good to go to these places without expectations. Many of our beach visits, including this one, were very windy and not really the best conditions for snorkeling. After getting close to the water and thinking about it a bit we decided it was a little bit too choppy, even for the grown ups to want to swim.
So we had lunch at Kalikasan resort and enjoyed using their pool facilities and hanging out with the local animals on site.
It’s better to be safe and we enjoyed watching the ocean from a distance on this particular day.
If you want to check out Kalikasan resort they have an entry fee (where you can use the pool) for 150 pesos per adult and 100 per child.
12. Things to do in Bohol with kids: Visit the Chocolate Hills
The Chocolate Hills was a lovely final day trip for us in the Philippines. We think it looks a little like teletubby land!
Situated just over an hour from Tagbilaran City you could combine it with a trip to Loboc if you like to cover a bit more ground in one day than we do!
On the way you can also visit the Bilar man made forest and take pictures under the shade of the trees that lean in from each side of the road to create a complete shade cover. It’s a main road but some people really wanted those pics. They were prepared to sit and pose for ages in the middle of the road!
When we arrived at the Chocolate Hills the first stop for us (as always) was for food. We had an amazing yummy lunch including a rare (in these parts) plate of delicious vegetables at Acacia glamping Park. It looked like a lovely place to stay with its bright flowers, papaya trees and pineapple plants 🍍.
The Chocolate Hills complex is just down the road and is a great place to get an elevated view of all the cute little hills. There are just a few steps to walk up and many tourists around.
Chocolate Hills Adventure Park
We finished the day at the Chocolate Hills Adventure Park where we did one activity each. We were the only ones there! The entrance fee is 80pesos and then you pay individually for the activities you want to do.
There are so many to choose from including overnight camping, guided hiking, mountain biking, ziplining, wall climbing, ropes courses, zorbing, chicken and fish feeding, and more.
Kids are a little more limited in their options but Ayla chose the climbing wall and climbed to the top twice! Colin opted for a surf in the sky and I (Elly) did the bike in the sky. It’s kind of like a slow zipline where you’re riding a bike!
It was loads of fun and we’d highly recommend it as one of the most fun things to do in Bohol Island with kids!
Amazing reasons to visit the Philippines
In general, we struggled with the adjustment to local living in the Philippines more than we did in other parts of Southeast Asia. it’s possible that we just got used to an easier, more Western style of living in our previous two destinations, which were Singapore and Malaysia.
The accommodation standards were lower than what we were used to in Malaysia, yet, the price we paid was similar. We left before the blocked drains and ants took over our life completely!
Of course, there are pros and cons to every destination. If you are staying in a hotel or resort, or working with a higher budget you’ll no doubt have a different type of experience. Overall, the Philippines is stunningly beautiful and we’re so glad we got to stay there before we moved on to Europe.
Here are some of the amazing reasons to consider the Philippines as your next destination.
Why you’ll love visiting the Philippines
1. Clear water and white sand beaches. They’re the best beaches we saw anywhere in Southeast Asia
2. Lowest language barrier we came across in all of Southeast Asia. Pretty much everyone in the Philippines seemed to speak English
3. Beautiful blue skies. Grey was the more usual theme in many parts of Southeast Asia that we visited. We always spend time outdoors and in the Philippines we actually got a bit tanned too!
4. Loads of other amazing nature areas such as rivers, caves and endless waterfalls
5. Cheap cheap cheap! Food and attractions are generally cheaper than many other parts of Southeast Asia (which is already cheaper than many other parts of the world). Baby sitting is $2US per hour. Or you could get a full time nanny for about $97USD per month if you wanted to!
6. Extremely friendly people. OK so we found Southeast Asia to be very friendly in general. We just noticed the people in the Philippines were very super friendly
7. Nationals of many countries can keep extending their tourist visas every two months for up to three years. This makes it easier to stay in the Philippines on a long term basis without leaving than many other Southeast Asia countries. There’s a reasonable cost involved for each extension, which does add up as a family. But if you’re looking for somewhere to stay on a long term basis it doesn’t appear to be too difficult to stay here.
As a destination it generally feels like Bali or Southern Thailand circa 1990 (as we would have imagined those places back then!)
More things to do in Bohol with kids
This post included all the activities that we personally enjoyed as a family during the two months we spent in Bohol. We also visited the Blood Compact Shrine, which was interesting for a five minute look, but didn’t keep us there any longer.
There are certainly even more options for things to do in Bohol, Philippines. Here are a few extra suggestions that we know other travelers have enjoyed:
- Sagbayan Peak for the butterfly sanctuary, large T-Rex, great cafe, and natural surroundings
- Bohol bee farm, which has a hotel and restaurant. We enjoyed foods from here at their cafes in Tagbilaran city
- Danao Adventure Park, as an alternative to the Chocolate Hills Adventure Park
- The Tigbao Hanging Bridge, also known as the Bamboo Hanging Bridge
Overall, Bohol is a fantastic island to consider if you’re looking for things to do in Philippines with kids. Have you visited Bohol, or are you planning on visiting? Feel free to join the conversation and share your thoughts below!
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