You might have come across different mountains and hills worldwide, usually known for their towering peaks or massive sizes.
But do you know about the eye-feasting Chocolate Hills in Bohol, Philippines, a beautiful cluster of hills that appear like chocolate molds or, as many tourists stated, chocolate truffles?
So, here’s a sweet exploration of this mysterious and wonderful landscape, a recipe created by nature for tourists across the globe.
1. The Chocolate Hills in Bohol: A Lovely Overview
These are a cluster of rounded hills sitting in the center of a tiny Island in Bohol, Philippines.
They have a make-believe man-made touch to them, resembling chocolate truffles.
Sometimes they are called the Eighth Wonder of the World (unofficially) and the third national Geological Monument of the Philippines of 1988.
You can find a picture of these hills even on Bohol’s local flags.
So, if you take a private day tour of this surreal place, you get some interesting scenic views and enjoy the pomp of adventure to carry home some precious, eternally tranquil memories.
2. Where is the Chocolate Hills Located in Bohol?
For a precise location, you can find these Hills in the Carmen region on Bohol Island.
If you are planning to visit it from the Panglao, a focal tourist hub, it takes a 70km drive or a rental scooter of up to 2 hours to reach the destination.
Check out here to know the exactly pinned locale of the Chocolate Hills!
3. Now, Why is It Called the Chocolate Hills?
The true origin of the name remains a mystery.
But you must not get yourself mistaken that the hills don’t possess a chocolate plantation or are made of chocolate.
And there is NO chocolate factory in the area because of their color and name. Then you might wonder why they are called the Chocolate Hills.
This is because these hills are blanketed with shrubs and bushes, which become dry during summer, emitting a chocolatey brown hue as the sun waxes hot, hence its name.
4. Indulging into History: How Were the Hills Formed?
Traveling backward in time, the famous history of these hills can be divided into two strands.
One is the cultural history in the form of oral legends, basically, make-believe stories passed down for generations.
The other is a science-based history that excavates its evolution from the conical karst topography, as stated by geologists.
So, here’s a brief about both types to let you know the depths of this amazing geological wonder!
4.1 Cultural History
Four primary legends span around the evolution of the hills that people believed for years.
The first legend narrates the feud between two bickering giants.
In the middle of this long and hard battle, they flung boulders and mud balls at each other, and the legend says that it was an eternal fight.
In the limelight, the combat ground where they left the boulders and the mud balls became the famous Hills that appear today.
The second legend spans a romantic strain where a powerful young giant named Arogo falls in love with a mortal young woman named Aloya in Bohol.
However, as Aloya dies according to all the mortals’ course of life, the sad giant cries over Bohol. It was believed that these tears solidified to become the hills today.
The third legend spans around a giant swap-dwelling buffalo (also known as the carabao).
It is said that this buffalo grazed over all the villagers’ crops. And to end this eating, the farmers gathered piles of rotten food in giant heaps for the buffalo to graze.
Unfortunately, the giant carabao grazed over the rotten food until his stomach could not handle it, leaving the buffalo grievously ill.
The funny part is that the giant buffalo’s feces all over Bohol is believed to have formed these Hills!
Finally, the fourth legend has a romantic touch that spans around a greedy giant named Miguel.
He was a glutton who ate everything that came his way.
One day, he fell in love with Adrianna, a lovely girl. This encounter inspired him to lose a few calories.
Hence, to win the girl’s affection, the giant eliminated all that he ate, forming the massive brown hills.
Ultimately no matter what story you come across about the origin of the Chocolate Hills, they are one- of- a- kind of bizarre landscapes you can see!
For those who didn’t find cultural legends a satisfactory answer to the evolution of the hills, it’s time to sit on the lap of science to get all the answers you seek!
According to science, these Hills are a geological formation of nearly hundreds of conical hills ranging from 30- 120 meters.
They cover a landscape of up to 50 sq km and are a part of the Carmen, Batuan, and Sagbayan municipalities.
If you take a Bohol private tour, the hills are surrounded by a flat landscape, making them look unique.
Geologists classify them as a conical karst landscape.
To simplify it further, these hills were formed from leftover limestone deposits.
And rainfall and other water bodies were shaped into what we see today.
Nevertheless, there were many theories around the formation of these hills, and the one widely accepted was the formation due to tectonic activities.
This theory states that the tectonic plates’ movement resulted in the mountain upliftment.
And the limestones that are a primary component of the hills were initially found on the ocean floor and were pushed to the surface through tectonic activity.
Astonishing Fact: Did you know? The coral rock that composes the hills consists of fossilized coral and shells, suggesting that the area was initially underwater.
To support the theory, scientists have discovered a fault line running through the area to prove the presence of tectonic activity.
It is said that the fault line’s occurrence can result from the movement of the Philippine Plate and the Eurasian Plate that further uplifted the limestone.
Furthermore, the uplifted limestone was exposed to erosion over time, resulting in the formation of the cone-shaped hills that are seen today.
Also, this upliftment created caves in the limestone that is visible at the foothold of these hills.
Fantastic fact: Did you know? Despite the dissimilarity of these hills with regard to height, if you look at them from afar, they appear symmetrical. Sounds cool, right?
5. A Topographical Exploration of the Chocolate Hills
Apart from the wonderous evolution, as you delve into taking a tour, you might get to experience the unique and diverse vegetation that grows amidst the harsh conditions of the place.
The hills are significantly blanketed by grass that appears like chocolate molds in summer and greener during the rainy seasons.
This hardy grass variety can survive in rocky and dry hill environments.
Interesting Fact: Only a few plants can grow on the here, as these hills have an underlying geology of limestone comprising fossiled corals and shells.
Also, the weather patterns significantly influence the vegetation prevalent in the area.
The dry season lasts up to eight months, where the grass turns brown.
It comes to life in the rainy season and turns green, with flowers blooming everywhere.
6. Chocolate Hills Facts You Didn’t Know!
At first sight, the hills might look to you as a manufactured wonder and not as a handcraft from nature.
Hundreds of domed and conical hills are stacked side-by-side like haystacks in a field.
They are a renowned UNESCO World Heritage Site among the many nationwide geological commemoratives in the Philippines.
So here are some exhilarating facts that make the hills stand out in the Philippines.
6.1 360-degree Panoramic View
You get a 360-degree Panoramic View of the Hills at the summit once you are at the peak.
The unique mountain view of all the ranges is a prominent fact that no other mountain view can provide.
The plus here is that you can also view the rice fields at the foot between the hills and the heavy winds to capture captivating photography that’s worth it for your Insata feed!
6.2 It Houses the Philippine Tarsier
Found in Siargao Island, Maripipi Island, Dinagat Island, and Basilan Island, the Philippines is the native of the endemic Tarsier.
They belong to the 45 million-old Tarsiidae family.
Their diet consists of small vertebrates, spiders, and tiny crustaceans, and they mostly occupy the dense parts of bamboo shoots, tall grasses, and bushes.
6.3 These Hills Remain Flooded Without an Underground Water System
It’s a natural phenomenon that limestone hills have an underground water system.
But you might be awestruck that the Chocolate Hills don’t possess this feature and remains flooded!
Guess how? It’s because of the formation of the natural rivers and springs due to the erosion of the farmlands around the hills that create the flood.
6.4 They Contain Marine Deposits
Each hill only has topsoil, usually covered with grass.
And with the tectonic activity that has given the shape and structure to the hills, marine deposits like coral, algae, and mollusks exist.
The evolution of the Bohol hills might have started as corals thriving in a warm, shallow sea around two million years back.
6.5 People Around the Hills
There are numerous towns around the Chocolate Hills, like Carmen, Butan, and Sagbayan.
The language they speak is Tagalog.
They call themselves the Boholano people, referring to the individuals living on the Provincial Island of Bohol.
However, natives also thrive in the place known as the Eskaya, a cultural minority group in Bohol.
These have a separate cultural heritage in language, religious adherence, literature, and clothing.
You can gain deeper insights if you take a Bohol countryside tour.
6.6 Chocolate Hills to Chocolate Milk Hills?
Fondly known to resemble Hershey’s Kisses, these Chocolate Hills, after the deadly earthquake in 2013 that struck Philippines, had cracks on them and their complex.
And interestingly, they were white inside and were famous to many tourists for transforming from Chocolate Hills to Chocolate Milk Hills.
6.7 The Government Protects these Hills
The National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS) has covered the Hills to preserve and conserve rich biodiversity.
Also, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) protects these hills for safety purposes.
Hence trekking is forbidden here for tourists. The only place to view the hill summit is the Sagbayan Peak and the Complex in Carmen town.
One must admit that thethese hills in Bohol are worth visiting once in your lifetime.
The experience can be outstanding and genuinely extraordinary.
Ultimately, you can get the best glimpse of why it’s worthwhile visiting the Hills from this quote:
Chocolate Hills are one of the most mysterious creations of GOD, maybe in their innermost part lies an amazing secret.
FAQ for Travel Enthusiasts
How many Chocolate Hills are there in Bohol?
There are no solid discoveries about the number of hills there. Some reports say there are 1,260 Hills in Bohol, but others have reported that there are 1,776 Hills spread over about 50 sq km.
When to visit the Chocolate Hills?
The best season to take a tour of the hills is between December and May to capture the best of the chocolate color of the hills.
This is when there is less rainfall for you to grab on some activities like snorkeling, swimming, and diving.
However, you must note that the Philippines experiences a tropical climate where you can’t predict the weather.
So, it’s best to check the predictions before booking the tickets.
How to reach the Hills?
First, you need to reach the Province of Bohol from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, the major cities of the famous isles of the Philippines.
Then you must reach Tagbilaran City or Panglao Island in Bohol by air or ferry to get to the chocolate hills.
If you are a first-time traveler, follow this link to get there!
Who can benefit from visiting the Chocolate Hills?
Visiting the Hills is a must for those wishing to quench their wanderlust to enjoy every natural marvel across the globe.
This is a mind-blowing place with breathtaking scenery that will be etched in your heart and soul forever.
Also, these are gifted hills for those who love playing with words on paper, drawing inspiration from nature as they can fill your pages with mysterious legends, engaging stories, exciting plots, ideas, and foundations for writing from its ghostly geological presence.
It also offers a mesmerizing trekking experience for adventure enthusiasts and nature spots for couples and families to escape into the unknown!
What should I carry to the Hills?
These are a must before you climb the Chocolate Hills;
- Comfy cotton clothes
- Lightweight baggage and water bottles
- A good-conditioned camera to capture picturesque terrains.
What are the places to visit in the Hills?
As you step into this fascinating place, try visiting these spots to get some best views of the mysterious places in nature!
- Chocolate Hills Complex Viewpoint, Carmen
- Sagbayan Peak Viewpoint
- Take a dip into an adventure for all ages in the Chocolate Hills Adventure Park.
- Camp closely beside the Chocolate Hills.
- Ride the Chocolate Hills ATV rentals for action-packed fun.
Before you leave, check out the other aspects of information posted on our blog here to get useful tips to put your best foot ahead!