Chocolate Hills of Bohol

The famed Chocolate Hills of Bohol are not only two but more than 1,268 cone-shaped hills – a very strange geological formation that has baffled a lot of geologists. The hills are spread over an area of 50 square kilometers or more and vary in size from 30 meters to 120 meters in height.

The Chocolate Hills appear to be seemingly endless when viewed atop the hill in Carmen town. The viewing deck there gives you a 360° view of the hills “as far as the eyes can see”. It is more majestic when viewed from a plane – them appearing to be thousands of mole hills dotting out from verdant surroundings.

What’s unique with these limestone chocolate hills is that they are only covered in grass and the cone shape is more or less common to all although differing in size. The hills look chocolaty only during dry season when the grass withers and turns into brown and looks like giant chocolate kisses.

Grass species found to thrive on the hills are Imperata cylindrical and Saccharum spontaneum and several Compositae and ferns. Trees grow on the base of the hills and are lush and verdant rings around the almost bare cone-shaped hills resulting in its awesome natural beauty.

Chocolate Hills Complex
Chocolate hills in verdant colors

Likewise, the flatlands surrounding the hills are given to rice and corn farming and results in a beautiful green backdrop for the Chocolate Hills. Elevation ranges from 100 meters to 500 meters above sea level. Higher hills can be found but almost uniform cone-shaped hills are found in Carmen town.

The most acceptable geological theory of the Chocolate Hills of Bohol is that the hills were the result of thousands of years of weathering of marine limestone. Others say that the hills were formed ages ago by the uplift of coral deposits or that they erupted from the sea in a massive geologic shift, and the action of rain water and erosion for the past thousand years put in the finishing touches.

Chocolate Hills Complex
Viewing Deck on top of Chocolate Hills Complex

Considered sometimes as the “Eight Wonder of the World”, the Chocolate Hills has been declared as the country’s 3rd National Geological Monument by the National Committee on Geological Sciences on June 18, 1988 in recognition of its special characteristics, scientific importance, uniqueness, and high scenic value; and as such is among the country’s protected areas.

Chocolate Hills Complex
Chocolate Hills Complex Hilly backdrop for the family pix

Proclamation No. 1037 was signed to this effect on July 1, 1997 declaring the hills as a natural monument and that they are now covered under the National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS) with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) as the lead implementing agency for its protection.

Furthermore, the Philippine House of Representatives introduced House Bill No. 01147 on July 6, 2004 wherein it was reiterated that the hills are a national patrimony and geological monuments, penalizing their plunder, destruction or defacement, and for other purposes.

Finally, on May 16, 2006, the DENR submitted the Chocolate Hills of Bohol to the UNESCO World Heritage for inclusion in the list of Natural Monuments because of its outstanding universal value, superlative natural phenomena or areas of exceptional natural beauty. The area is now in the Philippine Tourism Authority’s list of tourist destinations in the Philippines.

A tourist destination way before the white sand beaches of Panglao came to be known, it is now featured in the provincial flag and seal of Bohol to symbolize the abundance of natural attractions in the province.

Chocolate Hills Complex
Grotto halfway up towards the top of the Chocolate Hills Complex

Location

The Chocolate Hills of Bohol are spread over an area covering the towns of Sagbayan, Batuan, Carmen, Bilar, Sierra Bullones and Valencia. Most of the hills though are found in Sagbayan, Batuan and Carmen, the later having the most uniform cone-shaped hills.

Two resorts have been developed: one in Carmen town called the Chocolate Hills Complex, and one in Sagbayan and known as Sagbayan Peak. The oldest resort of the two is the Carmen complex and is located in Barangay Buenos Aires about 5 kilometers from the town. Carmen town is 55 kilometers from Tagbilaran City.

Chocolate Hills Complex
Sagbayan Chocolate Hills Complex

The Chocolate Hills Complex is a government-owned and operated resort. The Carmen-LGU and the provincial government presently own the complex with the former managing the operation anchored on a 70/30 sharing of its net income. The complex has a restaurant, souvenir shops, hotel with swimming pool, and a viewing deck.

The newly developed “Sagbayan Peak” is a5-hectare mountaintop resort and recreation center which also has a viewing deck that offers a 360° view of the hills and the blue sea beyond. It is 18 kilometers from the Complex in Carmen town.

Chocolate Hills Complex
Sagbayan Chocolate Hills Complex

How to Get There

Buses bound for Carmen town or Sagbayan are available at the Dao Terminal in Tagbilaran City. Just ask the bus drivers to drop you off at the junctions leading to the resorts. In Carmen town, the road leading to the resort from the junction is only a 10-minute walk along a winding uphill road.

Vans are the most common means of transportation though, especially when traveling with a group. Aside from convenience and comfort, visitors can visit more places in a short span of time. Waiting for buses or public rides is time consuming.

Read more: Chocolate Hills of Bohol Legends
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Bohol Stories by Our Visitors ...

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A Wonderful Paradise 
Actually, I was born in Bohol particularly in Sagbayan. But as I grown up to be a mature individual I left Bohol to find a greener pasture in Mindanao. …

Ancient Stock Piling  Not rated yet
that is ancient stock piling with the use of machinery thousands of years ago before man develope writing.. According to ancient aliens visited the …

educational tour at chocolate hills Not rated yet
oohhhh...that's so amazing and unforgettable experience about the chocolate hills. that was my first time to go in chocolate hills and I say to my self …

No Place Like Home Not rated yet
I grow up in a small town of Garcia-Hernandez, also called the "Limestone Country".A town, 54 kms. away from the heart of Tagbilaran City.It's in this …

great experience Not rated yet
yeah... i have a great experience in bohol. the people are very nice, very kind, they have shown a great hospitality.. & such a wonderfull place. actually …

BOHOL-The Place to be Not rated yet
It was in bohol where me and my husband spent our honeymoon.It was the perfect place for us because we both love to travel, enjoying historical landmarks …

BOHOL-The Place to be Not rated yet
It was in bohol where me and my husband spent our honeymoon.It was the perfect place for us because we both love to travel, enjoying historical landmarks …

Bohol escapades Not rated yet
The whole batch of Seniors 2009-2010 had their educational tour at Bohol. One of the destinations is the Chocolate Hills. When they arrived there, …

sagbayan peak Not rated yet
the sagbayan peak is very nice but it is so far u will travel 1 hour to get there but sagbayan is similar to a chocolate hills...

phyton snake.......... Not rated yet
bohol is very nice u can see all the spots u wan't to visit and people there are very cortues........

Me and Prony Not rated yet
sssttt...baka magising si prony...' dep.ed impasugong administrators goes to bohol

At the Castle Not rated yet
oppps...mga bata lang ang magplay dha sir... dep.ed impasugong,bukidnon administrators goes to sagbayan peak (bohol)

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