Chocolate Hills Complex, Bohol, Philippines

One of Bohol’s premier tourist attractions, and certainly most hyped, are the Chocolate Hills, a series of majestic grassy hillocks that span far into the horizon. The hills get their name from the lawnlike vegetation that roasts to chocolate brown in the driest months (February to July). They were supposedly formed over time by the uplift of coral deposits and the effects of rainwater and erosion. Since this explanation cannot be confirmed, the local belief that they are the tears of a heartbroken giant may one day prove to be correct.

Straddling three municipalities, the largest and most visited concentration is 4km south of Carmen, site of the Chocolate Hills Main Viewpoint. From the base of the viewpoint, motorcycles can whisk you up the hill (P40 one way for two passengers), where the views are compromised by kiosks selling kitschy souvenirs. Of course, you can also walk up the hill (20 to 30 minutes).

The same habal-habal drivers will take you on a thrilling motorcycle tour (half-/one hour P250/350) along winding roads to the main viewing sites, as well as to lesser-known spots, such as the Eight Sisters Hillocks. Fun ATV and buggy tours are also available near the base of the viewpoint.

If you want to sleep somewhere around here, the swimming-pool-equipped Banlasan Lodge is on the highway between the viewpoint and Carmen.

For less touristy Chocolate Hills, your best bet is northeast of Sagbayan on the road to Danao.

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