Here on Mary Road, we’re no stranger to the island province of Bohol and its world-famous Chocolate Hills. It’s estimated that there are more than 1,700 of the famed hills in the over 50 square-kilometre sites in the middle of Bohol.
While the hills are a lush mint green during the Philippines’ wet season, they gain their signature chocolate hue during the driest months of the year. You can check this article about what else to do in the Philippines if you are on a budget.
Once you’re in the area, you might not notice that you’re already surrounded by these hills. There are so many of them in Bohol that you’re bound to see tens or hundreds of them even if you’re just passing through. The best way to observe these hills is from a high vantage point right in the middle of the formations.
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CHECK OUT THE VARIOUS VIEWPOINTS
First on the list of viewpoints is the Chocolate Hills Complex, which is owned and operated by the local government. A short set of stairs lead to a platform where you can get a good view of the hills. Entrance is just 50php or around $1 – totally worth it for one of the most majestic natural sights you’ll ever see in your life.
If you want a different view of the hills, head to Sagbayan Peak. The entrance is also 50php or $1, but you get a different view where the hills are more spread out than at the Chocolate Hills Complex. As an added bonus, this particular viewing platform also doubles as a playhouse/amusement park for children. It includes a free self-monitored “zip line” for kids, statues of animals and superheroes, and playgrounds.
THE HILLS ARE ALIVE
Many local folk stories explain the mythological origins of Bohol’s Chocolate Hills. Perhaps the most famous of these stories is about two disagreeing giants who settled their differences by hurling huge rocks at each other.
This exhausted them to the point of sleep, and once they woke up, they forgot about the disagreement and moved on without bothering to put the huge rocks away. It’s an even more intense story when you hear it from a local Bohol tour guide instead of reading it on your computer.
As charming as these local myths and rumours are, the scientific explanation for the formation of the near-identical hills might seem even more magical. According to geological data collected by the University of Melbourne, the unique topography or physical arrangement of the hills is due to the limestone underneath the topsoil of the hills.
The slow dissolution or erosion of the soluble limestone bedrock have come to form what is known as a karst landscape, overlaid with topsoil over an insurmountable amount of time. The surrounding rivers, caves, and underground springs found in the area both contribute to the unique shape of the hills as well as serve as proof of the karst limestone formations.
GETTING THERE EASY
If you’re coming from Metro Manila, the fastest way to get to Bohol is to take a one hour and 15-minute plane ride to Cebu and from there ride a ferry to Bohol. Proving that you can fly to local destinations from Metro Manila for an affordable price.
Once you’re in Cebu, look for the local port authority and take a two to three-hour ferry ride straight to the island province of Bohol. Whichever port on Bohol you end up in, you need only to look for the local tour guides to point you in the direction of the famed Chocolate Hills. If you will be here for a few more days, you definitely should check out these things to do in Bohol.