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The Chocolate Hills of Bohol, a Fascinating Geological Formation

They look like giant Kisses chocolates, don’t they?

Ann Moises

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  • The Chocolate Hills is one of the Philippines’ most famous tourist attractions.
  • Approximately 1, 776 almost identical, cone-shaped hills stretch over 50 square kilometers of land, covering at least six towns in Bohol.
  • These odd, geological formations resemble gigantic Hershey’s Kisses chocolates during dry season.

Bohol is well known for a number of reasons. Apart from exotic animals, delectable delicacies, and its white sand beaches; the province is, first and foremost, famous for the Chocolate Hills.

Although they actually vary in height, they appear almost symmetrical and endless when viewed from a distance. Seeing over a thousand of these cone-shaped mounds jutting from verdant fields is truly a remarkable sight.

The Chocolate Hills of Bohol stretch over 50 square kilometers, covering the towns of Carmen, Sagbayan, Batuan, Bilar, Sierra Bullones, and Valencia.
Their height vary from 30 meters or 98 feet to 120 meters or 349 feet.

Grass species such as Imperata cylindrical and Saccharum spontaneum flourish here, as well as several asters, daisies, and ferns. Trees don’t grow on top of them.

Similarly, the rice and corn fields surrounding the lush hills compliment its natural beauty, most especially during the rainy season.

As the grass withers during dry season, the hills turn tawny and resemble giant chocolate kisses; hence, the moniker.

Two resorts with viewing decks are available for those who wish to see the expanse; one is at the Chocolate Hills Complex in Carmen, and the other is at Sagbayan Peak.

The Chocolate Hills Complex is older, and is owned and operated by the government. The town itself is 55 kilometers away from Tagbilaran city.

Sagbayan Peak, on the other hand, has a viewing deck that offers tourists a 360-degree view of the hills and the sea beyond. It is located 18 kilometers from the Complex.

Several theories involving the origin of the famed Chocolate Hills exist.

There are also fascinating folklores about its origin including a giant’s love, and another about two giants at war.

The most acceptable theory is that the hills resulted from weathering marine limestone. Others say it was the result of the uplift of coral deposits and of rainwater and erosion.

On June 18, 1988, the National Committee on Geological Sciences declared it the Philippines’ 3rd National Geological Monument due to its uniqueness, scientific importance, and high scenic value. Moreover, it is included in the Philippine Tourism Authority’s list of tourist destinations.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) submitted the Chocolate Hills for inclusion in the list of Natural Monuments to the UNESCO World Heritage on May 16,2006.

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