Wow! This word summed up the excitement I felt when I finally got to visit one of the top tourist destinations in the Philippines, the Chocolate Hills. The Chocolate Hills is located in the island of Bohol, in the Visayas Region of the Philippines. It is famous for its geological formation. There are more than 1200 hills spread across the towns of Carmen, Sagbayan, and Batuan, which are between 30 to 50 meters in height.
I came across the Chocolate Hills in my elementary books. I could still remember how fascinated I was about its changing colours. During the wet season the hills are lush green but they turn to chocolate brown colour during the dry season, hence the name.
There are other options to viewing the Chocolate Hills but our tour guide /driver drove us to the Chocolate Hills Complex in Carmen. This is a government owned facility. On the road to Carmen, our driver/tour guide told us legends and information about the Chocolate Hills, and how the viewing deck was damaged during the 2013 earthquake in Bohol. The good thing was, Bohol Tourism easily recovered. At present, the viewing decks are under renovations.
To view the Chocolate Hills in all its splendour, you have to take the 214 steps to reach the summit of the viewing deck. Yes, 214 steps – taken from February 14, they say. I guess they took it from the famous legend of a giant’s tears of sadness and grief when his beloved ordinary mortal girl died. (Note: There is another legend about the Chocolate Hills)
Since Tatay wasn’t feeling well, he did not dare climb the summit. He just stayed at the rest stop near the parking area. Nanay did climb though, thanks to the rest stops along the way, she made it to the summit.
From the summit, the picturesque view was a delight to the eyes. Too bad it didn’t look so “chocolatey” that time, rather lush green. Yes, we visited during the wet season, so what could we expect? However, it was indeed a beautiful sight that I couldn’t help but be amazed at this astounding creation of God. I always wonder how these symmetrical hills came to be. I can imagine it would look even more beautiful and magical during sunset. The view is so postcard worthy. Just wow!
We stayed for a few minutes and after soaking all in and having our pictures taken, we ventured down the stairs again. Tatay was waiting for us and we had our pictures together taken. Good thing, we could still have a photo of the chocolate hills from the parking area.
The only disappointment we experienced is the construction and renovations going on. Plus, there are litters in the area. I wish the visitors and the management could do something about it. Although a minor thing, it could ruin someone’s day.
Note: If you wish to view the hills from the ground level, you can take the ATV ride. Ask your driver or tour guide about it.
How to get there:
Bohol can be easily accessed by air or by boat.
By air: From Manila, take a flight to Tagbilaran City, Bohol.
By boat: There are a lot of access points via ferry ride to Bohol but the most popular option is the 90 minute ferry ride to Tagbilaran via Cebu City.
From Tagbilaran, you can hire a car or a jeepney to take you to Carmen or book one of the many tours available. You can also opt to rent a scooter or a small motorbike for a day which will cost you 400 pesos a day. You can also take a taxi but it can be very expensive.