The Chocolate Hills of Bohol

Mar 29, 2014 4 comments

Bohol is the main island of Bohol Province and the tenth largest island of the Philippine archipelago. Bohol is a tropical haven of natural beauty with a gentle coastline of white sand beaches skimmed with coves - a paradise for divers and snorkelers. Bohol’s most famous natural attraction are the Chocolate Hills. These are small grass covered conical shaped hills scattered by the hundreds over an area of more than 50 square kilometers. There are between 1,260 to 1,776 individual mounds, ranging in height from 30 to 50 meters with the largest being 120 meters tall. The hills are covered in green grass, which turn to brown during the dry season, making them look like dollops of chocolate.

The Chocolate Hills are composed of limestone which was subsequently covered with topsoil and grass. Their origin is not exactly understood but according to the most accepted theory they were created when limestone weakened by rainfall, surface water, and groundwater was fractured and uplifted by tectonic forces and subsequently eroded by rivers and streams. Such geomorphological features are called cockpit karst, and Chocolate Hills is considered to be a remarkable example of this topography. Between the hills lie well developed flat plains that contain numerous caves and springs.


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One tourist observes: “The actual mounds are quite weird; if you go down to the base and have a look, these things simply rise from nowhere. Most normal hills usually have a gentle slope that starts them off, but these hills sit there on grounds which are completely flat farmland, and they suddenly 'exist'.”

Many urban legends and myths surround the formation of the symmetrical hills. One story involves two feuding giants who hurled rocks, boulders, and sand at each other. The fighting lasted for days, and exhausted the two giants. In their exhaustion, they forgot about their feud and became friends, but when they left they forgot to clean up the mess they left behind. A more romantic legend tells of a giant who fell in love with a girl, but when his sweetheart died the giant cried bitterly. His teardrops gave rise to Chocolate Hills. A less romantic story tells about another giant who, in order to win the heart of beautiful young woman, excreted all over to lose weight and in doing so created those Chocolate Hills.

Despite being a UNESCO World Heritage site (correction: the site is on UNESCO's tentative list for World Heritage Site), the Chocolate Hills are now threatened by quarrying activities.


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  1. For the record, as of March 2014, the Chocolate Hills are not yet in the official UNESCO World Heritage list.

  2. If you cant afford bohol, check out the chocolate hills of Zamboanguita!


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