Chocolate Hills of Bohol

September 29, 2010

Chocolate Hills of Bohol

We were picked up by Tatsky, our tour guide, around 8am at Isis Bungalows, Alona Beach, Panglao Island. Since the weather that morning was great, Tatsky suggested that we visit the Chocolate Hills first to take advantage of the weather. In the past few days, it rained in the afternoons. Even though we visited  Bohol in the midst of summer in April, it still rained in the afternoons. The Chocolate Hills cannot be seen from the viewdeck once it rains because of the fog.

Things the Kids Should Know
  • Why it is called chocolate hills: during summer, the grass covering the hills turns brown and resembles Hershey's Chocolate Kisses.
  • What it is made of: limestones covered with grass  
  • No. of chocolate hills: 1268-1776 hills in uniform conical shape
  • Height of chocolate hills: mostly 30-50 meters high, but the highest is 120 meters.
  • Where the chocolate hills are located: It is spread in 3 towns: Carmen, Batuan and Sagbayan in an area around 50 square kilometers. The highest concentration of chocolate hills is in Carmen town.
  • Explanation for the formation of chocolate hills
  • Scientific: geologists still have no conclusive scientific explanation. The most popular theory proposed by Philippine geologists (see here) is that Bohol was formerly underwater and that coral deposits forming the chocolate hills used to be coral reefs.
  • Myths and Legends: 
  • chocolate hills are stones thrown by 2 giants fighting each other.
  • chocolate hills are tears of a giant who fell in love with a mortal who died
  • chocolate hills are the feces of a giant carabao
  • chocolate hills are the feces of a giant who wanted to lose weight to win the affection of a lady mortal so he excreted all that he ate
8AM-930AM: Travel time from Alona Beach, Panglao Island to Carmen, Bohol

There are 2 viewing sites for the Chocolate Hills, one in Carmen and the other in Sagbayan. The one we went to is the original and government owned resort called "Chocolate Hills Complex", located in Carmen. Carmen has the most concentration of chocolate hills so they built the 1st viewing site there.

The Chocolate Hills Complex in Carmen, Bohol is around 55 km from Tagbilaran City. Since we were coming from Panglao Island and not Tagbilaran City, our travel time to the Chocolate Hills Complex is 1 1/2 hours.

As you travel along the highway leading to the Chocolate Hills Complex, this is the sight that surrounds you. Because of the sheer number of chocolate hills, you have the feeling that they are just all around you. Wherever you look, you can spot the chocolate hills.

930AM-1030AM: Chocolate Hills Complex 

The Chocolate Hills Complex is built on top of  2 chocolate hills. So when you go up the Chocolate Hills Complex, you are actually climbing up a chocolate hill. 

This is the Chocolate Hills Complex nestled between 2 chocolate hills and surrounded by thousands of chocolate hills. You go up a cemented road to reach this complex

The Chocolate Hills Complex includes a resort, a restaurant, stores and a 360 degree view deck.
The road on the left is the entrance to the complex. The stairs you see is the one leading to the view deck. The rest stop is the one you see at the foot of the stairs. It's only one of several rest stops on the way to the view deck

There are 2 ways to climb up the 360 degree view deck:

First option: By climbing the stairs with 214 steps

These are the stairs opposite the area where the stores and restaurant are.
There are 214 steps to the observation deck.

Second option: By taking the sloping ramp at the left side of the stairs

My tip: The easier way up is the sloping ramp. Seniors or the elderly should use the slope. It's possible for the elderly to climb to the view deck because they can pace themselves and use the several covered rest stops along the way leading to the view deck. My mom, who's 77 years old, was able to go up the view deck.

This is the view on the right side of the view deck. 
You can see the cemented road below that leads to the entrance of the complex.
Upon reaching the view deck:

Plaque declaring the Chocolate Hills as a National Geological Monument. 
It also shows the popular theory for the formation of the Chocolate Hills
To see in detail what was written in the plaque, click here
The view deck

See the next stop: The Manmade Forest