The Chocolate Hills are a natural landmark on the Philippine island of Bohol. They are symmetrical cones, resembling huge anthills up to a hundred meters high. Although dense tropical jungle stretches between the hills, no trees grow on the steep slopes, the cones are covered with grasses, flowers, low shrubs. During the dry seasons (March/May), the green cover burns in the sun and turns a chocolate brown color, and during the rainy season, it is covered with grass, which makes it appear soft.
Read this post about Chocolate Hills in Bohol island and get more details on how to get there, best time to visit, how they appear and other useful information for travelers.
Click here to join day tour from Cebu to Bohol and visit Chocolate Hills.
In the vast valley there are at least 1,268 of these geological formations, the authors of some guidebooks give an even more impressive figure – 1,776 mounds. The Chocolate Hills in the Philippines have been tentatively inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, but have not yet been approved.
The famous hills in Bohol are spread over an area of 50 square kilometers, their size ranges from 30 meters to 120 meters in height. The protected area borders several cities: Valencia, Carmen, Batuan, Bilar, Sierra Bullones and Sagbayan.
Chocolate Hills in the Philippines and the legends of their origin
There are several ancient legends about the origin of the amazing Chocolate Hills in the Philippines. One of them says that this valley was once a battlefield of giants, throwing huge boulders at their opponents. Then the weary giants made peace and departed, leaving the wreckage of the battle weapons on the island.
There is a more romantic legend. The mighty divine warrior Arogo fell in love with the earthly beauty Aloya, but her happiness did not last long – the girl died. The hero mourned for a long time for his beloved, his tears dripping from the heavens to the island and turning to the hills.
Scientists’ version of the origin of the hills on Bohol Island
Scientists claim that the Chocolate Hills in the Philippines were once coral reefs. Hundreds of thousands of years ago, tectonic forces lifted these sediments from the depths of the sea, and the rains and winds worked on the ideal shape. Similar formations have also been found on the island of Java in Indonesia. However, no one can explain why such cones are not found anywhere else on the planet.
Chocolate Hills: how to get there, cost of a visit
The protected kingdom of the Chocolate Hills, Bohol is located 55 kilometers northeast of Tagbilaran, the island’s capital. Any local resident will tell you how to get to the Chocolate Hills. The easiest way to get a cab, the trip will cost about 800 pesos (about $15). You can also take a shuttle bus from Tagbilaran to Carmen. Travel time is 1 hour. 30 minutes, ticket price – 56 pesos ($1.1). The bus stops close to the observation deck on one of the natural mounds.
You can rent a bike in Panglao and take it to Carmen. If you decide to stay overnight in Panglao or Tagbilaran, you can get up early and arrive in the Chocolate Hills at dawn. In addition to the stunning views of the rising sun, you will probably be the only tourists, which will make visiting this place even more enjoyable.
From there you can admire the wonderful landscape and take panoramic photos. Admission is 50 pesos. At the top leads stairs of 214 steps. The ascent is quite tedious, there are chairs and umbrellas on the side platforms to rest. There are souvenir shops, small cafes where you can drink tea.
The second observation point is Sagbayan Peak. This place is less popular with tourists, so if you want solitude, go here. The site is located near the town of Sagbayan and is relatively far from other cities, about 75 km away.
Shopping at Chocolate Hills
At the foot of the observation hill are cafes and souvenir stores. As a memento of the Chocolate Hills tour, you can buy a delicious souvenir – a box of Chocolate Hills specialty chocolates with nut filling.