Bohol is one of the Philippines‘ tourists destination. One of its prime attractions are the Chocolate Hills. In fact it is featured in the provincial flag and seal to symbolize the abundance of natural attractions in the province and these hills are the country’s 3rd National Geological Monument. The Government proposed for inclusion of these Chocolate Hills in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The Chocolate Hills are scattered throughout the towns of Carmen, Batuan and Sagbayan in Bohol which is more than 50 square kilometers. The Chocolate Hills are estimated to be at least 1,268 to about 1,776 individual hills. These cone-shaped or dome-shaped hills are covered in green grass that turns brown during dry season which transforms the area into seemingly endless rows of chocolate “kisses” from which the Chocolate Hills derived its name. Other times the hills will turn green making it difficult to make associations.
The Chocolate Hills vary in sizes from 30 to 50 meters with the largest being 120 meters high. The 2 of the highest hills have been developed to provide facilities such as restaurant, souvenir shops and a viewing deck. The viewing deck is rested at the apex of a 214-step hill that gives the viewer a 360-degree panorama of the hills.
Chocolate Hills is indeed incomparable. It’s just so amazing how the magical hands of nature molded these cone-shaped hills. Up to this day, geologists haven’t reached a consensus on how the Chocolate Hills were formed. The nearest and probably the most accepted theory is that they are the weathered formations of a kind of marine limestone on top of an impermeable layer of clay.
According to legends, the Chocolate Hills were formed because of the two feuding giants who hurled sand and stones at each other which lasted for days. The two giants eventually got exhausted and later became friends. When they left the island, they forgot to clean up the mess they made.
From a more romantic legend, it tells a story of a giant named Arogo who once was very powerful. He then fell in love with Aloya who was a simple mortal. When Aloya died, Arogo was in so much pain and misery. Because of his sorrow he could not stop crying and when his tears dried, the Chocolate Hills were formed.
Going to the Chocolate Hills is a joyride. One can pass the town of Loboc where the famous Loboc River and Floating Restaurant is located. Then you can pass the 2 kilometer Bohol man-made forest in the towns of Loboc and Bilar. Still in Bilar, you can pass the beautiful Butterfly Sanctuary.
You have several choices to reach the Chocolate Hills. You can hire a tourist guide or you can go there on your own. Tourist guides will offer you different packages to choose from for your tour, either as a separate trip or as part of a day tour. But if you want to reach the place on your own, from Tagbilaran you need to go to the bus terminal in Dao and catch the trip going to Carmen. If you’re not familiar with the place, just don’t hesitate to ask the locals as they are more than willing to give you the right direction. Once you’re on your way to Carmen, inform the bus driver to drop you off the Chocolate Hills Complex. From the drop off point, it will be like 10 to 15 minutes going up to the complex.
If you’re coming from Tubigon port, you can catch the bus going to Carmen. Then once you arrive in Carmen, take the next bus or jeepney going to Bilar, Loay or Tagbilaran and ask them to drop you off at the Chocolate Hills complex. As an alternative, you can ask a “habal-habal” or motorcycle-for-hire to take you to the complex.
Years ago, picture taking outside the fences is allowed. Foreigners and Locals bring a broomstick with them and posts on a camera while jumping and riding the broomstick. This makes a cool witch-like picture with the Chocolate Hills on the background. But due to a couple of incidents where Koreans roll down the hill because they were horse-playing, the Bohol Government decided to put a long fence and avoid having this type of accident again. To continue the woderful withch-like pictures, locals decided to make a banner of the Chocolate Hills and a broomstick as props. They have their own cameras and printers and sells the pictures at P250 per print.
Chocolate Hills is an attraction within an attraction nestled in between a twin chocolate hill. It’s a good thing that up until now, this famous attraction has been preserved. I am optimistic that the coming generation will still be able to see and appreciate the exquisite beauty of the Chocolate Hills.