Bohol, Philippines, is home to the Chocolate Hills, a geological formation of at least 1,260 hills, and possibly as many as 1,776 hills spread over nearly 50 square kilometers.
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Most people who first see pictures of this landscape can hardly believe that these hills are not a man-made artifact. However, this idea is quickly abandoned, as the effort would surely surpass the construction of the pyramids in Egypt.
The chocolate hills consist of are no less than 1268 hills (some claim this to be the exact number). They are very uniform in shape and mostly between 30 and 50 meters high. They are covered with grass, which, at the end of the dry season, turns chocolate brown. From this color, the hills derive their name. At other times, the hills are green, and the association may be a bit difficult to make.
Many people are unable to believe the hills are not man-made when they first see pictures of them. However, this idea ends up being abandoned due to the immense effort involved. In total, 1268 hills make up the chocolate hills (some claim that this number is accurate). They are all very uniformly shaped and range in height from 30 to 50 meters. When the dry season ends, the grass turns brown, and the hills derive their name from this shade. In other seasons, however, the grass is green, making the association more difficult.
When to go
Although the Chocolate Hills get their name from their color in the dry season, they were spectacular when we saw them in the rainy season. The lush green grass gave them more of a mint chocolate look.
The best time of day to visit the Chocolate Hills is debatable. If you’re staying in Carmen, it’s easier to visit for sunrise and/or sunset, both of which are supposed to be beautiful. We visited midmorning and again in the afternoon. The clearer the skies, the more even lighting you’ll get in the photo, so avoid clouds if you can. You’ll also avoid the crowds if you stay away from the midday hordes of tourist buses that shuttle in and out.
The chocolate hills facts
The Chocolate Hills
When you reach the top, even if you turn 360 degrees you’ll see the hills! Plus of course the rice fields in between the hills. It’s very windy too! So wearing skirts is not advised, but a Korean girl did and her photos are like Rose of Titanic.
According to people there, there are at least 1,260 hills but there can be more than that spreading through the towns of Carmen, Sagbayan and Batuan in Bohol, and that is about 50 square kilometers.
The Sagbayan Peak
Speaking of the Sagbayan peak, it’s now the other way to view the Chocolate Hills which is just about 75 km from Tagbilaran City and 18 km from the complex. The viewing from this resort is also through the deck of a raised edge just like in the complex that gives you an unbarred view of the Chocolate Hills plus the sea off Cebu City of the province of Cebu Philippines.
The 4 Legends
Filipinos love legends and stories; and there are at least 4 legends that are shared with me about the Chocolate Hills: From the two feuding giants who forgot to clean up their mess; the town that is plagued by the giant carabao leaving behind a mount of feces, and the feces dried and shaped to this Chocolate hills; the greedy giant so-called Miguel that eats anything and everything in his path, who fell in love and decided to lose weight for the girl, and defecated everything he ate and obviously formed into these hills; and lastly, the romantic legend of a giant named Arogo who was really powerful and young, who fell in love with Aloya, a simple mortal who died. So Arogo was in too much pain that he can’t stop crying and his years formed into these hills.
Hershey Kisses Chocolate Hills?
These cone-shaped or dome-shaped hills are actually made of green grass-covered limestone, wherein the grass will turn brown (like chocolate) in the dry season, and that’s why they named it the Chocolate hills because it’s chocolate colored and probably because it’s shaped like the Hershey’s Kisses. But due to the earthquake they have last year, some of the hills cracked (and even the complex have cracked) and saw the middle of the Chocolate hills, discovering that the Chocolate Hills is actually a Chocolate Milk Hills – because it’s white inside.
What to consider
For a really spectacular view, hire a plane to fly over the landscape.
The only place to spend the night in the Chocolate Hills is the government run Chocolate Hills Complex.
The hills can be visited any time of year as they landscape is equally impressive in dry and rainy season.
The individual hills cannot be climbed, and viewing is limited to the lookouts (or a plane)
How to get there
Once you arrive in the main city, you will need another ride to the central part of the island, to the town of Carmen.
You have plenty of options to get there. First, you can book one of the many tours available that will take you to other destinations as well. If you don’t want to book a tour, you can rent a car or a jeepney in Tagbilaran.
Alternatively you can take taxis as well, but these are not the cheapest nor the most adventurous ways to get to the hills.
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