The Chocolate Hills Philippines is an amazing geological formation of hills, and a must see for all who visit Bohol Island. In fact, they are one of the most visited tourist destinations in Bohol and the Philippines.
Chocolate Hills Philippines
The hills, as can be seen in the photos, are generally conical in shape and covered in grass that turns to a chocolate-brown color when the weather turns dry. When seen from the lookout during the dry season they look like chocolate “Hershey’s Kisses”. Thus the name was given to this amazingly unique place. So if you are a lover of chocolate kisses then this is the place for you.
We were there in November. The weather was beautiful, the sun was shining and we could see for miles. With the nearby Panglao Island, Alona beach and a beach resort to suit any need, it is easy to extend a day trip to a weekender. Oh, and remember there is also another wonder of the world on the same island… The Tarsier… Cute little dudes, you will fall in love with… Make it a date and don’t leave Bohol without seeing them… It is totally worth it.
To date, it is unknown exactly how many hills there are but at a bare minimum, there are at least 1268. While other experts estimate as high as 1776. On our trip, we didn’t quite see as many as previously stated but from the lookout, you do get an amazing view.
Now, we are not talking about mountains, the chocolate hills are only hills – the highest barely reaching 120 meters. Most only reach between 30 and 50 meters. Remember, it’s not the size that counts…
Of course, attached to every great tourist attraction there must be a local legend and the Hills do not, in any way shape or form, let us down…
Yes, there are a few stairs to climb before you reach the top.. But, trust me.. It is all worth it. The views you get from up there beat any view you get from the drop off point or rest area.
“You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.” ― Dr. Seuss
The steps up to the lookout
If you look above you can see the steps leading up to the lookout. The steps can be tiring but there are a few stopping points for those with tired legs. It may be a bit of a strain for some getting up the stairs but it is totally worth the energy you put into it so don’t give up. Also at the base of the stairs is where the small parking area for tour buses and vehicles. There is also an eatery and a place to get drinks. With this said I was disappointed with the lack of shaded resting areas.
The day we were there it was quite sunny and hot so don’t forget to bring sunglasses and a hat. Just look at how many chocolate hills there are in the background…
Chocolate Hills in Bohol – Many, to this day, are still debating how the amazing Hills were formed. The prevailing local legend has it that long ago, two giants fought. Day after day the battle continued as the giants relentlessly hurled earth and stones at each other. Until finally they could fight no more. Totally exhausted they fell into each others. Realizing how foolish they had been a friendship was born.
The more romantic version of this story is a rather gwapo (handsome) young giant, Arogo, fell in love with a mortal Filipino woman. They lived happily for years until one day, age caught up with the woman and she died. Overcome by grief, the giant wept and with his tears, he formed the famous Chocolate Hills.
One less romantic but more scientific view is that they are marine limestone formations that have been heavily weathered over time and can be found sitting on an impenetrable base of clay.
All I can say is, no matter what their origins may really be, standing in their presence is a uniquely surreal experience. If you look closely at the photos you will notice that the only thing that grows on the hills is grass. There are no signs of any shrubs or trees.
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The Best Time To Visit The Chocolate Hills in Bohol?
The simple answer is Anytime. The Hills look great any time of year and Bohol Island is a great place to holiday. They are just as amazing during the wet season as they are during the dry.
In case you were wondering – No, you can’t climb any of the Chocolate Hills. There is, however, a viewing deck with a wide panorama of the hills as far as the eye can see. You might not be able to see as far as Panglao island or Tagbilaran city but what you do see of Bohol Island is beautiful. Please be mindful of the heat as the viewing deck is only accessible by stairs and on a hot Summers day temperatures can be quite hot. In 1988, the Chocolate hills became the Philippine’s third National Geological Monument. It has also been submitted to UNESCO World Heritage.
Other things to do
Once you have taken in the sight of the Hills and have made your way down the winding road to the base of the complex, you might be wondering – “What to do next?”
Don’t worry, there are still plenty of other things to see and do. If you are adventurous you can try the ATV’s seen below or maybe the Chocolate Hills Adventure Park (CHAP for short). You can visit the Tarsiers at the sanctuary or look at the Natural Arch, for the thrill seekers there is the Bike ZipLine. There is river cruises down the Loboc river, island hopping, diving or just relaxing on the beach. It is all here and the choice is yours.
Try an ATV tour for something different
I highly recommend taking one of the ATV tours are available at the checkpoint before you start up the winding road the Complex where the Lookout is. The ATV’s are heaps of fun and a great alternative way to see the sights.
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How To Get To Bohol
By Air – Many of the Airlines have daily flights from Manila flying direct to Bohol Airport. Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific and AirAsia have daily flights to Tagbilaran.
By boat – Access points are in Jagna, Jetafe, Tagbilaran, Talibon, Tubigon, and Ubay. These connect to Manila, Cebu, Mindanao, Siquijor, Leyte and Negros. The most popular way is to simply fly to Cebu City and then take a 90-minute ferry ride to Tagbilaran. There are 9 ships running daily between Cebu and Tagbilaran. A one-way ticket costs around PHP 500 with a return ticket costing PHP 800.