Truly a home from home, perfect base for Panglao + Bohol
I stayed at Island View for a week last year and it simply wasn't long enough, so this year I came back for three weeks and brought my 80-year-old mother and my sister along too.
My sister and I wanted to concentrate on diving but we also wanted a place where mum could relax 'at home' while we were out on the boat. Island View was perfect, there are currently only 3 villas for rent and we booked all three, so we each had our own space but were close enough to pop next door for chats and to have breakfast together, supplied in the communal area as part of the rental.
The owners, Kelvin and Glenda, go out of their way to make their guests feel at home. This includes free pick-up and drop-off from the pier or Tagbilaran airport and many other touches that go far above and beyond what you'd get at any other place.
For instance, on the days where we dived, they would drop us off at Alona Beach (6km away) and we would get a tricycle back in the afternoon (cheap and easy) and there was always someone back at the villas watching out for our mum when we weren't there - talking to her, taking her snacks and providing her with drinks and so forth.
The villas are set slightly up a hill so that each one has gorgeous views of Libaong Beach, but it is still just a two minute walk to reach the actual beach. And it is a real gem of a beach - long, white and relatively unspoilt by tourism. There are a few little cafes on the waterfront but no shops within walking distance (Kelvin and Glenda are happy to take you to Tagbilaran for supermarket shopping if you need it).
The Island View villas have small kitchens and fridges (huge containers of drinking water are supplied free and replaced as you need it) but we tended to walk down the beach most nights to eat at Dumaluan Resort, simply because the walk was so lovely and the food was so good and cheap (the seafood barbecue grill is well worth exploring).
Kelvin and Glenda are exceptional hosts who provide a wealth of information and contacts. They put us in touch with their friend Ollin, who we hired for various day trips around Bohol. He showed us lots of places that we'd never have found on our own - small fresh water swimming holes, spectacular rice terraces in the mountains, unspoilt waterfalls and sleepy fishing villages as well as all the usual tourist spots (Chocolate Hills and tarsiers).
As we were so busy diving and touring, Kelvin and Glenda also very kindly took care of booking our return ferry tickets to Cebu. Honestly, who does that sort of thing these days? In fact, for our outbound ferry trip, when we were still in Cebu Glenda texted me the number of her best friend who had a contact at the pier in Cebu City and she arranged a porter who not only got us a fantastic deal on our tickets, but who managed to usher us and our bags through the whole check-in process so efficiently that we ended on a ferry that left an hour earlier than we'd expected to get.
Back to the villas though, all three are set around a gorgeous tropical pool surrounded by bouganvillea and lush palms and ferns. There is a small spa pool and Kelvin is extending the barbecue area (they invited us to one of their seafood barbecues and it was a proper feast!). Their right-hand man Danny takes care of breakfasts (different each day and each one presented like a work of art), Danny also takes care of any laundry that may be required, topping up water bottles and, in our case, keeping mum entertained.
The villas come with cable TV, DVD players, fridges, kettles, hair dryers, toiletries and complimentary snacks. There are two air conditioners in each - one for the living area and one for the upstairs bedroom. Each villa also has a balcony with views (and a hanging rail for drying stuff).
There is really nothing negative I could say about this place, it was a proper wrench having to say goodbye again to Kelvin, Glenda and Danny. Our three weeks in Panglao was the perfect family holiday and it was largely due to their kindness.
For any divers, I should add that it's very easy to reach Alona Beach in the mornings (10 minutes by car or bike) but it was very nice to return to the peace and tranquility of Libaong in the evenings. The meals we ate at Dumaluan and the nearby Bee Farm were far superior (and cheaper) than what we were finding at Alona.
The diving off Alona is fantastic (we used Go Scuba, which is right in the middle of the beach at the bottom of the main road). We swam with whale sharks and saw countless other very 'special' things.
What more can I say other than - thank you Kelvin and Glenda for a fantastic trip and some wonderful memories.
Family - May 27, 2017