Pneumonia Experience in Bohol

Special thanks to: Dr Kit Lydia Brown, Dr Bryan Cepedoza, Dr Jane Ramiro, Ace Hospital, Dao Barangay Captain Leo, Nurse Dian
Thanks to our great friends Jeany & Renz Bakiki that helped with so many important things whilst we were admitted

I was recently in hospital with Pneumonia and I want to share my experience with people as it may help others. Many people don’t believe the Covid thing and they probably won't until it happens to them or someone very close to them...  Around 95% don’t suffer serious symptoms but the unlucky 5% get very sick and some of those get pneumonia and that can kill people. Young people tend to be largely unaffected, but this is also very dangerous because they go around spreading it to others unknowingly, passing it on and killing people they care about. Fatal situations usually only happen if a person has other issues/low immune system OR when there is a lack of resources, for example NO hospital space, NO breathing equipment or NO medication available, like bad timing could kill you!  On our island of Bohol there is currently only one hospital that has the breathing equipment required for serious cases and their isolation unit is usually full with a queue of people waiting. Also, the crucial medication people need is often out of stock, so life depends on availability and timing...

Pneumonia can get you by surprise, like one day I was totally fine and the next day I woke up with a tight chest and was gasping for air. I had no pain or lead up signs to give me an indication I had pneumonia, I just ended up in emergency unable to breathe and the rest is a crazy blur!…


I am a very calm and controlled person, I don’t panic or get anxious and I did not cry about my own sickness. Personally, I don't feel I could have overcome the pneumonia without medication because my breathing and chest pain was VERY bad and getting worse. Also, I was NOT going to risk being a spiritual hero and leave my children WITH NO mother, so YES, I took the medicine offered!! My x-ray clearly showed the pneumonia, my chest was so painful, I was gasping for air and each second this was getting worse, so why not take some pills to try and help me breathe and stop the pain? I’ve taken loads of pills and drugs in the past, so why wouldn’t I try this to see if it could help my situation?

It is not until a person themselves experiences physically being unable to breath alone, laying in a hospital bed, that they will realise how it feels and know what decision they might make...

Of course, a person could try to beat the pneumonia naturally, but if each repeat x-ray that comes shows more pneumonia spreading and your chest is getting tighter, more painful and harder to breathe, you are gasping for air and you have been told there is NO highflow breathing equipment available and NO ICU hospital space available to help save your life if your breathing worsens… Also, you feel faint, you see your oxygen level decreasing and you know this can cause damage and failure to other organs and lead to critical situations… You hear other patients dying in the rooms next to you… The decision you face is to:

1. Take the drugs offered and try to save your own life
2. Continue to fight it naturally and see what happens next...

It is NOT until YOU are actually in that position, that you will really know what you will choose. Also, everyone's choice would be different, depending on their personal situation, like if you have young kids, you may be more motivated to try and stay alive so they don’t have to grow up without you, or if you had a partner and they were begging you to not risk leaving them etc.

It does not matter how someone explains their experience to another human, it is NOT until someone is in that situation that they will truly understand how being close to dying feels and know what their choice will be in regards to being hospitalized and buying and taking medication...

The virus may well have been released by pharmaceutical companies to make money, but I did not want to risk dying and leaving my kids behind! After receiving antibiotics and recommended Covid meds by IV for a few days, I started to feel better, also my x-ray showed the pneumonia decreasing. I was able to breathe on my own without oxygen and slowly my head started coming back to reality and I was able to eat and communicate with some normality. I was in hospital for nearly 2 weeks and my admission was unexpected, it came from nowhere like BLAM I’m fighting to catch a breath on oxygen in the hospital!



During my time in hospital, my friend's mother was fighting for her life and is still admitted (she is like family to us). Her pneumonia was much more serious than mine, her lungs full of mucus and she is 67 years old with other health issues, she had already received her first Sinovac vaccine shot. She had to wait 3 days for an ICU space and nearly died in this time. At a time when I was supposed to be recovering, I was calling hospitals, pharmacies, doctors, delivery services etc. to try and arrange things to save her life, battling with bruised painful wrists from the multiple IV collapses.

My friend's mother was in a room opposite me and I could hear everyone rushing trying to save her and keep her breathing, this was so heartbreaking. I was on the floor crying, trying to look out my door without being caught by the hospital staff, to see if she was ok. My heart was hurting so bad, my IV drip was so painful, it was such a distressing situation. I never cried for my own sickness but I cried for days for my friend's mother, praying she would survive. What if this was your mother, crying, gasping for air and fighting for life in the room next to you but you were not allowed to go there and you had to stay isolated in your room…

In addition to all this, both her daughters were also Covid positive with breathing problems and the granddaughter also had persistent high fever, everyone was so distressed and sick, it was like a TERRIBLE MOVIE with everyone in pain, one thing after another... We just didn’t know how we would cope... I was laying there with the stress making me even more weak and unable to breathe and fight the virus… Not to mention the stress of the increasing medical costs for myself and all my friends… During this time, our kids were at home in isolation, had to also think about getting them food and making sure Covid did not make them sick as well, whilst also keeping an eye on the multiple businesses we run and client projects we had active, it was a NIGHTMARE EXPERIENCE!  My experience was terrible but nothing compared to my friend and her family, my heart just breaks for them...

There were so many stupid processes that we had to arrange, just to get necessary supplies and meds. Medicine is NOT always provided by the hospital, they often do not have stocks, you have to send your OWN “runner” person to go and get forms, line up, get medicine and bring it back to the hospital for them to administer.  Some crucial medicine needed was sold out in Bohol everywhere, we had to call around loads of Cebu hospitals until we found it, the Chinghua Hospital had some in stock but only accepts cash!  We had to find someone in Cebu to go and buy it, we had to scramble to transfer the money for the 11 vials of medicine 65,000 pesos / £1000/ $1200!!!! from multiple places because the online banking had limits and the person had to drive through traffic and wait in line for ages to buy the medicine.  They then rushed to the ferry to try and ship it to our island Bohol, but it was closed!  More worry, stress and delays in a crucial lifesaving situation... We were so lucky to have a contact that knew someone at the ferry company and we were able to get it included before the ferry sailed off. 

Luckily she made it through, but the treatment and medicine for my friends mother came to OVER 1.2million pesos / £17,000 / $24,000


Before my experience, I was unsure about the vaccine, I was waiting to see what happened to others and if people had any issues. After what happened, I can see it from another perspective. YES, I will risk taking this new unknown vaccine if it can prevent me going through that and risking my life again! Millions have had the vaccine and it’s been around a few months, no major swarm of deaths from it and I’m in my 40’s already, so by the time they discover any negative side effects, my life will probably be coming to an end anyway. Therefore, I will take the vaccine when I’m allowed (have to wait 90 days after having Covid) and I will enjoy and live my life to the fullest.

I am sharing our experience in case this can help others avoid fatal life threatening situations. Also, to help people appreciate life and prepare things for loved ones. It’s stressful enough dealing with someone’s death, without having to sort out admin and all the estate concerns. Some people have debts and these get passed down to family, why the hell would you want your family to be burdened with sorting your loans and similar matters? That’s selfish, so get your admin in order and record any important messages/info you would want your loved ones to know.

Why do people get so stupid and weird if someone talks about death, we are all going to die at some point, why not organize things now to make it easier for people and ease their pain? When my dad died, I wished I had videos of him, I wished I had asked him certain questions, I wished he had put his stuff in our names beforehand because now his assets have been stuck for years awaiting a long list of requirements and papers from 11 heirs all around the world. It’s long, time consuming and annoying!! Don’t leave people you care about to deal with this stuff just because you are scared to think and prepare for your future death!

Going forward, will I still go out and live life, go out to eat, go to the beach? Yes, probably as life goes on, we cannot let this conquer us, but I will be EXTRA safe!



> In the Philippines they don’t have free healthcare. My medical expenses were £7,000 ($10,000 / P500,000), this is a lot of money! If I didn’t have this money to pay for my medicine and treatment, then I could have died. If you live in a country without free healthcare and you don’t have this type of money, then you stress and burden loved ones to find it because they will not want to let you die, no matter what you tell them! I have insurance and I should get this money back BUT my insurance was not able to pay the hospital immediately because the documents they needed to approve the claim would take 1 week for my hospital to request and process… As each hour is crucial to a person's survival with pneumonia, I chose to pay upfront, rather than wait days and risk death.

> Always check your Hospital bill for every item, all our bills had incorrect items listed like extra meds, extra equipment use etc. Hospital admin skills are not great…

> Some hospitals in Bohol do NOT accept Philhealth and those that do still request upfront payment because Philhealth takes so long to reimburse them (hospitals need to manage their cash flow so they can stay afloat to keep helping people). This situation makes it very challenging for hospitals and this is why they keep pressuring for part payment but this is so stressful for patients and their families during emergency critical situations.

> Ace Hospital has a policy that they will NOT communicate with international insurers. Patients must always pay upfront directly to the hospital, then handle their claims with their insurance companies. If you do not have money to pay first yourself, then you could die without treatment. The documents the insurance company requests in order to authorize a claim take Ace hospital at least 5 days to process and they require your authorization and the signing of forms. Who wants to do admin like this after nearly dying and whilst still sick and recovering?...



> In Bohol (like many other low resource ares), there are often NO isolation hospital spaces available. You need to call a few times a day to each hospital to try and find a space, during that time waiting for crucial medicine and treatment, your condition would likely worsen and you could die… Only certain hospitals accept Covid patients and the government hospital is usually full with a long wait list and the quality of care is quite different to Ace.

> Due to the surge, crucial medicine is often out of stock, also the hospitals cannot cope with the amount of cases, so patients and their families are tasked with the responsibility of calling around to source and buy medicine, often from other islands.  Sadly, these delays in treatment and can be life threatening...

> Ace Hospital is the only place that offers highflow oxygen equipment for serious cases, if they have NO spaces available or if the equipment is all currently being used by other patients, then you can die waiting… My friend's mother’s oxygen level went down to 40%, the doctor said it is a miracle she is still alive! Ace did have some shortcomings, like they forget stuff sometimes, they forgot to give me my discharge medicine.. but it has a massively higher quality of care than other hospitals in Bohol. The food we had was decent and the staff were kind.



> Private hospitals require you to be admitted with a companion (a watcher) or they will NOT accept you, this person has to stay isolated with you for the ENTIRE stay, they cannot leave the room. This means you need to put another person's life at risk if they do not also have Covid. For parents, this is challenging because who looks after their kids if they are stuck in hospital? Also, who wants to risk their life going to live with and take care of possible covid positive kids?... and if this person usually works, who will reimburse them their time for taking care of the kids? If you have NO trusted family and friends, then this is a terrible situation to be in!

> Hospitals require you to have a “runner” a person outside that can do errands like get medication and supplies, get forms signed, make payments for you etc. Again, you have to inconvenience others to help, so you have a chance of survival. What do people do with no family and friends in the area?...


> Your assigned doctor plays a massive part in your recovery - some doctors are very knowledgeable, detailed and aggressive in following up on your progress and some are just not!  Also, some must find it hard to manage and keep on top of all the critical cases... Dr Kit Lydia Brown, Dr Bryan Cepedoza, Dr Jane Ramiro were all very attentive and looked after me well and answered my concerns. They went above and beyond and I truly appreciate that. Dr Kit Lydia Brown is a special friend and she really helped a lot and took personal time to assist in our time of need, we are very grateful for that.

> To be safe, always do your own research, ask what medicine/treatments the hospital are giving you and why, check online to see if this appears to be correct. Ask friends that know doctors, for a second opinion. Don’t just wait and hope the doctors are doing the right thing, mistakes and delays can cost your life.


> My lungs are not fully recovered, around 3-4 times per day, my chest still feels tight and heavy, like only 50% air goes inside. My heart feels weak, I also have episodes where I feel shaky and dizzy. Luckily, I am a very controlled and calm person, so I relax and work through this but many other people would probably panic.

1 in 7 people get persistent symptoms (Long Covid) and continuing symptoms can last for weeks or months and include: breathlessness, extreme tiredness (fatigue), problems with memory and concentration (known as ‘brain fog’), difficulty sleeping (insomnia), dizziness, pins and needles, joint pain, chest pain or tightness; heart palpitations, depression and anxiety, tinnitus, earaches, feeling sick, diarrhoea, stomach aches, loss of appetite, high temperature, cough, headaches, sore throat, changes to sense of smell or taste, rashes. You can read more about Long Covid on the links in the info section below.

After our terrible experience, I contacted the Gov and the Bohol Medical Society to see if I can donate time and work with them to help others avoid critical situations.  Initially, it would be great to setup a drive through testing/support center, so people can get early help to try and avoid them getting serious symptoms/pneumonia because Bohol island currently has very limited resources. People are dying waiting for a hospital space, breathing/equipment/medicine, they cannot cope as we never had much Covid here before and suddenly there is a massive surge, sadly they are not prepared or equipped for it. When other places were in lockdown we were largely free to live normally here with NO Covid, then suddenly bang!, it’s everywhere!

Please read about my thoughts below in BOHOL COVID INFORMATION.



Even though it was a terrible thing to experience, there has been something positive from it. Now, I will be even more focused on the things I would like to do with my remaining time. I listed a few points of advice:

> Consider what you really want to do in your lifetime, what makes you happy? Make your time left valuable, make a bucket list, make a difference, let people you care about know you love them etc. Don’t be a person that never gets around to doing something… Making a bucket list was a really nice exercise, I highly recommend you take time out to do this, you can see my list so far below 🙂

> Write a computer doc or notebook of important information and let your loved ones know how they would access it if the worse happened. If you or a family member died, what would you need to know and organize and tell others? For example: wills, insurance, estate, properties, last wishes, messages for loved ones for future etc. Don’t be scared to discuss and prepare, it’s always good to be organized, death is stressful enough without family having to deal with admin!

> Stay extra safe until you have your vaccine (even people close to you can spread Covid). For example even your neighbour/staff/family member could visit and bring it back to your home and spread to you all. What risk would you rather take? An unknown vaccine that has already been taken by millions of people OR possible DEATH and leaving your loved ones behind?...

> Enjoy life safely but take social distancing, wearing masks/shields and washing hands more seriously. Keep your nose covered and keep a good distance from people.  We still need to live, it can be very depressing and sad not being able to see and be close to our friends and loved ones, especially for kids not being able to play with each other, but this pandemic has killed so many people and we want to try and prevent this from happening to us and people we care about.  Kids and young people often carry Covid spread this to others unknowingly.  You could easily catch this from someone close to you that you see regularly.

> Be responsible if you think you may have been exposed to Covid or if you have symptoms. STAY HOME & ISOLATE, you could basically be murdering people going out and spreading it to others that may be unlucky to progress to serious symptoms. Have some decency and integrity, you could kill a friend or loved one or cause them a lot of pain, inconvenience and money!

> Do your best to be a kind and good person, don’t compromise yourself or your values for others. Appreciate your life, live it proud and do positive things to make a difference. Don’t waste time with dishonest, unkind, negative people or let people tempt you into negativity, you can tell a person's heart by the small things they say and do, especially those that talk about others, post/comment bad things on social and calculate and manipulate for their own benefit. Surround yourself with TRULY positive and kind people, life is so much happier and easier this way.  Sadly, so many bad people in this world, murderers, cheaters, mental & physical abusers, robbers, users - they give you one thing, then try to use this as leverage so you feel obliged to always do what they ask!  Be strong and stay away from these people, keep true to yourself, lead a good life and be a role model for your family and friends!  Contribute something positive to the world, yes a person can make a difference, we would not be here today if people in history did not make stand to fight for the greater good!


> Make videos and write letters to loved ones to include important info and messages
> Call and thank people that had a positive impact on my life
> Live healthier, try to be vegetarian most days, grow more of our own veg to eat, appreciate nature more and being alive, go on outings with the kids like hiking, camping, fishing etc.
> Core strength workouts with my daughter, get stronger and fitter together
> Learn to freedive with my kids and explore the wonders in the ocean
> Teach my kids more skills and good values i.e. cooking, DIY, crafts, arts, charity, kindness etc. Regular volunteer visits to orphanages, people in need etc.
> Work with my daughter to finish her website project, an online store to celebrate and be proud of ethnicity i.e. print on demand (cards, house items, decor, fashion) with cool, modern multi-cultural art and message statements with meaning
> Setup more affiliate and passive income streams for the kids
> Sort backlog admin and organise info for life insurance etc.
> Help friends if there is anything I can do to improve their lives and future
> Further my sideline career as a special life consultant/coach, focusing on life appreciation, fulfilment and charity/philanthropy. Also, become a will writing specialist, helping people to have the courage to openly talk about death and make the necessary important arrangements. Why are people weird when talking about dying, it’s doesn’t mean you think you will die soon, it just means you are preparing for it, so it is easier on your loved ones
> Setup a Charity/Philanthropist network where high net worth individuals can collaborate on positive projects and generally just give aid to people in need
> Bohol Local giveaways/freecycle, give away all the clothes and stuff in the house to people in need
> Help Bohol medical industry, improve processes/healthcare quality/access especially for people with low income
> Setup a community / work training project, a farm to table FREE cafe/pantry, diners can donate if they want, locals are trained and placed in jobs after
> Practice my singing and record a meaningful song for kids



Have you experienced Covid or had someone very close to you be in critical condition? Until it happens to you, it’s hard to understand just how serious and heartbreaking it is…  Your LIFE will depend on IF there is a hospital space, breathing equipment and medication available and IF you have money to pay for it!  Medical expenses can range anything from 200k-1.5m+!

We have collated a few notes on the common questions and concerns about Covid and general medical matters. Also, some ideas on projects, campaigns and improvements that could be explored and implemented to help improve and save the lives of both Bohol residents and visitors.

We have contacted official organizations to try and obtain all the crucial information to list on this ONE page.  It is too hard to look across different FB pages/posts and scroll to try and find the necessary info, especially when stressed in an emergency situation, we need ONE RELIABLE SOURCE.  We are donating our time for FREE for this cause as a gesture of goodwill to help in this terrible pandemic situation to help improve & support medical processes in Bohol.

The surge of Covid pneumonia is getting serious. Sadly, Bohol has a lack of resources, hospital spaces, medication and breathing equipment and we need to try and help prevent people from fatal situations. Please read about our own Covid emergency experience. If we don’t manage the situation before it gets out of control, then people will not want to visit Bohol, we need to preserve the reputation for tourism and take urgent action ASAP.


  • Educate about crucial and specific Covid & general medical information i.e. contact numbers, transport, testing, meds, FAQ’s etc. Introduce a central Bohol Info Hub FB page as it’s very hard to search recent info across many different pages and locations, mixed with other posts. Also, there are MANY unmanaged FB pages with old content, it is confusing for people to get the correct and most recent info. We need to pin the key info and resources at the top of ONE well known FB page and keep it regularly updated and all old and unmanaged FB pages should be taken down asap to avoid confusion.
  • Setup a 24/7 easy drive through testing center with a free shuttle service.  People should be able to drive through, get tested, wait for result, possibly get an xray to check severity and easily get prescribed the necessary medication and info leaflet to be able to have peace of mind to manage things at home. This model has been working very well in many other countries, so we should try to follow this.
  • Implement a safe confidential information line/message service to provide early fast access to info and needs to try to prevent critical situations #speaksafe
  • A person's life currently depends on available transport, meds, hospital space, breathing equipment etc., how can we help change this?
  • Remove the stigma, fear & judgement - many people hide things because they think they will get into trouble as nobody really practices correct social distancing.. Everyone is guilty of that because it is not taken seriously until it happens to us, but we are just humans and we are trying to live life with some normality…
  • Improve general medical and hospital processes that cause serious delays to healthcare provisions.  Private hospitals should NOT be allowed to ask for co-payment and threaten to delay/suspend patient treatment.  Suspending treatment in life threatening situations is unethical in the healthcare industry and they should not be putting patient lives at risk. 
  • Work with official bodies to create a simple, friendly, professional campaign i.e. infographic post and video to share and educate people 
  • Explore creating an ongoing project to improve general medical processes and support in Bohol i.e. confidential helpline, medical transport/runners/companion services such as those listed below. Better collaboration and consistent process across all LGU’s/bodies.
  • Save lives and help people have more confidence and peace of mind visiting Bohol #staysafebohol
  • Start a medical sponsor/crowdfunding Facebook page/group where legitimate cases can be verified and listed asking for help/donations for those in need. Appeal to the kindness and compassion of those in Bohol that have spare to give.
  • Appeal for regular business donations to help fund the project &  services, for example if a few large businesses in Bohol donated just 100 pesos each per month, this could support the project and help so many people. We can make the project cool to be part of, so organizations can display a badge and feel proud they are doing their part for the community i.e. build a brand like #greenheartbohol #bettercarebohol #healthfirstbohol #healthnheartbohol #speaksafebohol etc.


  • Where to get tested & can it be free?, how long for results, what process during and after? Need more special 24/7 centers, can we import and hire specialists for this?
  • What current transport services are there to transport suspected cases and transport patients between hospitals (not dependent of persons registered home address/barangay)?
  • URGENT Access to meds before symptoms worsen, how can people pay for meds with no money? Any medical grants, loans, gov support? What general meds are recommended for managing and preventing symptom progression? Need easier access without waiting for ages to get a prescription and risk contact/spreading to others.
  • How many spaces in each hospital, current wait lists, approx costs to expect etc. We experienced costs of approx 20k-30k per person per night. Phil Health only provides set discounts/packages, so other cover and insurance options should be explored where possible. There are international employee and family plans available online, for example this INSURANCE WITH COVID COVER
  • How can we increase the shortage of spaces and equipment?
  • Status of vaccines, how many vaccinated so far in Bohol, how can this be faster and more efficient?
  • What support from LGU specifically? Include on central FB page with list of all contacts/key info.
  • Why are people scared to come forward for help, why are they scared of contact tracing? We need to provide support and remove the stigma of this with a confidential helpline/info/message service.
  • 24/7 Medical Runners Service (for medicines and general needs and house/family checkups/deliveries)
  • 24/7 Medical Transport Tricycles -  safely transporting suspected and positive people in need
  • Medical Companion Service (vaccinated cares to help those admitted)
  • Hospital meal deliveries that can deliver to nurses stations and not be delayed at reception
  • Why does Philhealth take so long to pay Hospital, how are they supposed to continue operating quality medical services with no funds?



*We are still checking this info, need to verify correct numbers



Most hospitals offer testing, they have different timings and processes, so best to contact them directly
> Click for Hospital Contacts



> Tarsier 

> Panglao EMergency Rescue Unit (PEMRU)
09282362633 and 09633874604

> Dauis Emergency Response Unit (DERU)
0949 733 4575 (Smart) 
0915 852 7358 (Globe)

> 411BABA Tagbilaran
411-(BABA) 2222







Governor Fund



Baba Yap



*Awaiting reply from official organizations, so we can complete the answers to these.  Please email us at: for any other questions you would like answered.

> What do I do if I suspect I might have Covid?
> What do I do if I suspect someone might have Covid?
> What medicine do I need for Covid?
> Where can I get a Covid test?
> How can I get vaccinated?
> How long to wait to get vaccinated after having Covid?
> What financial support is available?
> What hospital costs to expect?
> How many Covid cases in Bohol?
> What can I do to protect from Covid?


Have a read about all the details of a REAL COVID experience in Bohol, see what people have to go through and how heartbreaking it is. Learn how you can avoid critical situations, HOSPITALS ARE FULL - Medicine is Out of Stock Breathing Equipment & ICU is Limited - YOUR LIFE DEPENDS on timing and availability!

You MUST read this so you can protect you and your family.



Covid Podcast by Top Lung & ICU Specialist



Many shops in the malls and other stores are offering vaccination discounts, you can see a few links below but you can check on the mall FB pages for recent offers.

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> Bohol Local Community Initiative - Community program aiming to provide regular support to organisations in need and help raise awareness for sustainable & environmental causes.  Also, practical work training schemes to help local people learn new skills and gain employment with local businesses.

> Bohol Local Prestige Awards - Annual awards to show appreciation for the efforts and innovation of Bohol food & hospitality businesses.