Nestled within the heart of the Philippines are the Chocolate Hills of Bohol. If it weren’t for the fact that there are so many hills one might believe that these hills were man-made, though they are not. These incredible natural hills remind many of “giant mole hills” and draw more tourists than any other area in the country.
About the Chocolate Hills of Bohol
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The Chocolate Hills are comprised of at least 1,268 small hills. Some people claim this number is an estimation while others believe this is the exact number of hills in the area. Most of the hills have a very similar shape and they all average between 30 and 50 meters in height.
Don’t be confused if you visit the hills and see an incredible green landscape. When the dry season ends the grass will have turned a dark chocolate brown and this phenomenon is how the hills earned their name.
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Scientists are not 100 percent sure how the Chocolate Hills of Bohol were actually formed. They believe that they may be weather formations that sit on top of limestone and clay, but this theory has not been confirmed.
Mystical Theories Regarding the Development of the Chocolate Hills
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There are two main theories or legends describing the ways in which the Chocolate Hills came into existence. In the first legend a couple of giants got into a fight and began throwing sand and stones towards one another. The fight went on for a number of days and in the end the two became friends again. After bonding over the laughs they had they left the island but never bothered to clean up the rocks and sand they had thrown – thus forming the Chocolate Hills.
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The second legend is that of Arogo. Arogo was another giant but he had the distinct misfortune of falling in love with a human girl named Aloya. Aloya at some point died and Arogo became sad and cried for days. It is rumored that his tears turned into hills and that the Chocolate Hills of Bohol are symbols of his mourning and grief.
Visiting the Chocolate Hills of Bohol
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Those looking to visit the Chocolate Hills of Bohol are in for a real treat. Some tourists opt to include a trip to the hills as part of a pre-planned tour while others plan to visit separately when they have more time to explore.
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Those visiting from Tagbilaran will need to go to the Dao bus terminal and head towards Carmen. You’ll have to ask the bus driver to let you off near the Chocolate Hills Complex, which is approximately 4 kilometers away from Carmen itself. You’ll have to walk about a half mile to the complex where you will find yourself face to face with some of the most breathtaking natural views you’ve ever seen.
Be careful not to overstay your welcome, especially if you need to get back to Tagbilaran. In order to get back to the city you’ll have to head back towards the main road and wait for a bus to pass by. The last bus from Carmen heading towards Tagbilaran leaves at 4pm each day. If you miss the bus you may have to hitch a ride back on a “motorbike taxi” – with a motorcyclist waiting at the entrance waiting to drive tourists.
Can I Stay in the Chocolate Hills?
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The Chocolate Hills are protected by the government and, as such, if you wish to stay in the hills you’ll have no choice but to stay at the Chocolate Hills Resort. Do yourself a favor and call the resort in advance to ask if it is still under construction. There’s nothing worse than finding yourself in such a beautiful atmosphere only to find you have chosen to sleep in what can only be described as an eyesore.
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Otherwise, anyone looking to visit the Chocolate Hills would benefit from staying in either Tagbilaran or Tubigon. It’s not too difficult to reach the hills from either place and the trip is well worth the effort.
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The Chocolate Hills of Bohol are considered to be a national treasure in the Philippines. The hills are featured on both the flag and seal of the province and are featured on the list of must-see tourist destinations put out by the Philippine Tourism Authority. The Chocolate Hills of Bohol are also considered to be the 3rd National Geological Monument of the Philippines and is being considered as part of the UNESCO World Heritage List.
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Photographs of the Chocolate Hills of Bohol do them no justice. These conical haycock hills, once believed to be man made, are surely the result of a feat only Mother Nature could undertake. Visit them for yourself and you’re bound to be completely amazed!