The Chocolate Hills of Bohol in the Philippines

chocolate hills bohol

An unmissable visit to the Visayas

On theisland of Bohol, in the Philippines, you’ll find the famous « chocolate hills ». You can’t eat them, and they’re not made of chocolate, but you’ll surely appreciate the magnificent scenery they offer. The Chocolate Hills look like giant molehills and remind us exactly how to draw a mountain or hill when we’re little. The hills are a true wonder of nature, not an artificial creation. There are no fewer than 1,268 hills (some have as many as 1,776), spread over an area of more than 50 square kilometers. The hills are mostly uniform in shape, measuring between 30 and 50 metres in height. Covered in green grass, the hills turn « chocolate brown » during the dry season (March to May).

chocolate hills philippines

Flickr – The Original Ki

Some legends explain the formation of the Chocolate Hills. Here is the most romanticized:

A battle of giants

Legend has it that the hills exist because two giants quarreled. They threw blocks of sand and rock at each other. The fight lasted for days. Exhausted, they forgot their quarrel and became friends. The giants have since left the island and forgotten the mess they left behind. And that’s how the Chocolate Hills came to be.

The real story of their training

The Chocolate Hills are a rare geological formation in Bohol and around the world. No one yet knows how the hills were formed, and even geologists have reached no consensus as to their exact cause. However, their underwater formation dates back some two million years and is due to theaccumulation of successive layers of coral and shell. Plate tectonics then caused the sea to recede and the formation to emerge from the water. Over time, erosion by rain and wind gave the hills their conical shape. You’ll have the opportunity to read an explanation on a bronze plaque once you’ve successfully climbed the 214 steps to the top of the Chocolate Hills observation hill.

chocolate hills bohol

Flickr – dibaer

How to get to the Chocolate Hills

From Manila, you can fly to Tagbilaran (approx. 1h15). If you’re in the Visayas region, there are regular ferries to Tagbilaran. From Tagbilaran or another village on the island of Bohol, you have several choices: take a bus to Carmen (and ask the driver to drop you off at the Chocolate Hills), take a tricycle (not very comfortable), or rent a scooter or motorcycle and go by yourself. The latter proves to be the best solution (for those who know how to drive a two-wheeler), as you’re then free to go and see what you like in the surrounding area. The surrounding villages and landscapes are superb. To find a cheap flight to the Philippines, check out the best offers from our partner Skyscanner.

What else is there to see in Bohol?

A must-see attraction on the island of Bohol is the discovery of the world’s smallest primate: the Tarsier! When you’re in Bohol, ask around to see this Master Yoda-like monkey, which is in fact a species endemic to the island of Bohol. Unfortunately, the latest typhoon to hit the Philippines in November 2013 is thought to have extinguished most of the tarsiers… For scuba diving lovers, read our article on diving on Balicasag Island.

tarsier bohol

Flickr – Roberto Verzo

Where to sleep on the island of Bohol?

Ideally, you should move away from Tagbilaran to find a quieter, more beautiful spot on the coast, such as Panglao. To find a hotel on the island of Bohol, consult our hotel comparator.