A taste of the Chocolate Hills in The Philippines

Bohol in The Philippines is often called “God’s Little Paradise”, as the tenth largest island in The Philippines it is separated from the island of Mindanao by the Bohol Sea and from Cebu by the Bohol Strait.

The Chocolate Hills are Bohol’s most famous tourist attraction. They look like giant mole hills, or as some say, women’s breasts.  There are 1,776 hills spread over an area of more than 50 square kilometres (20 sq mi). They are covered in green grass that turns brown during the dry season, hence the name.

These dome-shaped hills are actually made of grass-covered limestone. The domes vary in sizes from 30 to 50 metres (98 to 160 ft) high with the largest being 120 metres (390 ft) in height.

These hills are conical karst hills and there are similar, though less impressive, geological formations in Slovenia and Puerto Rico.

Legend has it that the hills came into existence when two giants threw stones and sand at each other in a fight that lasted for days. When they were finally exhausted, they made friends and left the island, but left behind the mess they made. For the more romantically inclined is the tale of Arogo, a young and very strong giant who fell in love with an ordinary mortal girl called Aloya. After she died, the giant Arogo cried bitterly. His tears then turned into hills, as a lasting proof of his grief.    

The Chocolate Hills are located near the towns of Carmen, Batuan and Sagbayan in Bohol.  There is some tourist development near the town of Carmen and also Sagbayan, with the viewing platform on Sagbayan Peak offering 360 degree views of the hills and of the Bohol Strait and Cebu in the distance.

Perhaps the best way to get to Bohol is to take the supercat ferry from Cebu to Bohol.  You can either join a tour or organise a car and driver for the day.  If you wish you can stay on Bohol or catch the evening ferry back to Cebu.

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