Viewed as the main attraction of Bohol by most locals and tourists, the famous Chocolate Hills have reaped a worldwide recognition as one of Mother Nature’s precious marvels, as well as the title of being the 3rd National Geologic Monument of the country. Its estimated 1,268 perpetual cone-shaped hills made of grass-covered limestone that are scattered throughout three interior towns of Bohol namely Carmen, Sagbayan, and Batuan have always captivated tourists and locals alike especially during summer.
The dry season causes the grass to wilt away, turning these humungous mole hills brown, making a good resemblance of the favorite Hershey Kisses that are ready to eat, thus the name Chocolate Hills.
Different theories from geologists and townsfolk about these hills spawned time after time, ranging from folk legends to scientific presumptions:
The most common theory is that these hills were the product of the thousands of years of weathering of marine lime stones.
Others say that the hills were created due to the uplift of coral deposits during a massive geologic shift, and such factors like rainwater and erosion helped in the formation in a span of a thousand years.
Legends of the Chocolate Hills
Two Giants in a Fight
The most frequent story often told is that there were once two giants who were caught up in a fight. They threw rocks and sand at each other which lasted for days, and in the end, both of them got exhausted. In the long run, they forgot about the root of their quarrel and became friends again and left behind all the mess they made.
Another famous legend was about a giant named Arogo who fell in love with a simple mortal named Aloya. When Aloya died, the giant grieved and shed tears for days. His tears eventually dried up and became the hills that are of today.
To obtain a perfect view of these majestic hills, you can travel to the town of Carmen, which is 55 km from Tagbilaran City. Upon arrival, you could see a stairway to heaven, consisting of 214 steps. The highest step is 210 ft above from the ground viewing deck. On top, you get a 360° view of the awesome and breathtaking panorama of the mystic hills scattered everywhere around you. By this time, everyone would go on a picture-taking frenzy, because of the eager excitement and astonishment of this natural wonder. Besides, taking a picture of yourself with numerous hills surrounding you doesn’t happen everyday.
At the ground deck, you can find the Complex, which houses a restaurant and a souvenir shop. The Complex also has rooms, but for the time being, they are still undergoing renovation and further improvement.
Another Bohol mountain resort which is located 18 km from Carmen, is the famed Sagbayan Peak in the town of Sagbayan. This is usually the next destination after visiting the Chocolate Hills Complex in Carmen.
Owned and operated by the Local Government Unit, the resort boasts a wide array of facilities that provide fun, amusement and comfort such as:
Pavillion which serves as the receiving area where guests and tourists could take a break and unwind.
Viewing Deck that offers another exhilarating and epic outlook of the pristine chocolate hills, the lush terrain, and the magnificent blue sea that parts Bohol and Cebu.
Café endowed with a luscious menu to satiate hungry taste buds.
Butterfly Dome that houses 18 different species of butterflies.
Children’s Playground ideal for those little feet in need of fun and adventure.
High-powered Telescope for better viewing of the hills, the sea and Cebu.
Tarsier Sanctuary which serves as a shelter for the celebrated Philippine Tarsier, the 2nd smallest primate in the world.
Water Park equipped with appetizing swimming pools.
Souvenir shop that sells favorite native delicacies and products.
How to Get to the Chocolate Hills:
“For Hire” Vans are usually on standby and available for touring purposes at the City Pier or at the Dao Terminal. These vans are good for people going on groups and for those who prefer an air-conditioned transportation.
There are also public vehicles such as buses parked at the Dao Terminal bound for different destinations to cater passengers who travel within Bohol. Look for a sign that says Carmen or Sagbayan if you want a more personal experience with the locals and the Boholano culture.
If you are staying at a resort or hotel, the staff would gladly make the necessary arrangements for your Bohol tour package. All you have to do is just sit back and enjoy the blissful land of Bohol.