Vacationing at different places of the world has been everybody’s dream at least once in a lifetime and only some of us are able to fulfill and live up to this dream. Although the Philippines is not among the top tourist destinations, it is only because it got its recognition later compared to the rest of the world. Replete with natural beauty and sightseeing areas, the Philippines is an exceptional experience and must be on your Bucket List for various reasons.
The Philippines As An Ideal Holiday Spot
Known for its beautiful beaches and delicious fruits, the Philippines was named after King Philip II of Spain. These collective islands are located in South East Asia and are home to various kinds of flora and fauna. Traveling to a place like the Philippines can be one of the best experiences one could get. A refreshing atmosphere, unique culture, and polite people might just be what you need if you are looking to get away from your tedious life for a while.
There are countless places to spend your time in the Philippines such as the famous Boracay, which is also considered as the capital of the Philippines. This particular place has more than 12 beaches and is perfect for someone who wants to just relax and experience water activities. Since the Philippines has more than 7000 islands, the most difficult decision a traveler has to make is to figure out which island to visit first.
Banaue, for instance, has strikingly beautiful rice terraces which just cannot go amiss once you are there. If history pleases you or you don’t mind spending time at a historic place, then the historical city of Vigan should be on your checklist. There are other stupendous cities and islands in the Philippines that are equally exotic and exhilarating such as Manila or Davao city. Manila, which is a vibrant city is always full of activities. You can roam around the city in jeepneys, which are the main form of public transport there. Davao, a metropolitan city, is a pleasant blend of urban as well as natural elements. In short, the city not only features malls and a large population, but is also home to nature reserves like the Eden Nature Park, Philippine Eagle Center, and the Davao Baywalk along the sea.
Chocolate Hills in Bohol As Your Destination
However, of all these, the island of Bohol in the Philippines, is perhaps, the best holiday destination that one should visit at least once in a lifetime. The place is home to one of the most famous Chocolate Hills in Carmen where hundreds of brown hills create an interesting scenic view, looking like little mountains of chocolates scattered within 50 kilometers square area. These natural wonders are worth paying a visit and seem surreal; their landscape being very impressive. It is the popular tourist spot of Bohol and is a 1-2 hour drive from Alona Beach. If you are from another country and planning a drive in the Philippines then you need to get an International Driver’s Permit.
About Chocolate Hills
To begin with, the Chocolate Mountains in the Philippines are a geological formation in the Bohol province of the Philippines and by now, most people reading this are probably wondering what makes these hills so popular and what is with the name. So the unusually peculiar thing about these majestic hills is that the hills which are usually covered in green grass turn chocolaty in color during dry seasons. These chocolaty and magnanimous hills are more than a thousand in number and are spread over an area of 50 square kilometers in the towns of Carmen, Batuan, and Sagbayan. The strange thing about these hills is despite the difference in their sizes when looked from afar, these hills look symmetrical nevertheless.
Chocolate Hills as a perfect shooting site
Chocolate Hills are reputed for being the best location for innumerable foreign and national films and television series. Due to its well-known and intriguing history, picturesque views, and fairytale like backdrop, the Chocolate Hills tour, Bohol, has been on television quite a few times. Cinephiles who revel in foreign films, especially South-East Asian ones, would be happy to know that films such as Aguila, Puri, Loveboat, Esteban, Muro-Ami, and international film Tigershark have been shot here. It’s the beauty of this spot that attracts people from across the world either for exploration or to feature this natural wonder in their documentaries or films.
Cuisines popular around the Chocolate Hills
By the end of the 20th century, the cuisine of the Filipinos started getting known all around the world. Filled with authentic spices, it boasts of unique flavors. Today, one of the fastest booming street food markets is found in this country, and the diet includes dishes that are both palatable and healthy. Foodies must travel to this country at least once to experience the authentic cuisine which includes dishes such as Adobo, Sinigig, Kare-Kare, and Lechon.
Myths surrounding the Chocolate Hills
The Bohol Chocolate Hills, Philippines, is also sometimes considered as the eighth wonder of the world, obviously because of the unknown origin of these hills. So there are many myths associated with Chocolate Hills, Filipinos commonly speak of, which revolves around the formation of these hills. As per legends, these glorious hills have formed due to two feuding giants who pitched rocks, boulders, and sand at each other. All that was left after this feud was what we call Chocolate Hills today. Another legend talks about a heartbroken giant, whose tears led to the formation of these famous hills. Another myth says the hills are the dried feces of carabaos.
A Scientific Glance
What matters, although is the actual scientific explanation behind the formation of these hills. So the geological theory behind the formation of these phenomenal Chocolate Hills is that these hills were the result of the weathering of marine limestone. Further, according to a plaque exhibited at a viewing deck in the town of Carmen, these Chocolate Hills were a result of erosion of limestones which were uplifted above the sea level and were fractured due to tectonic processes and rests atop the hardened clay. Another theory suggests that the hills were coral reefs that erupted after a geological shift beneath the waters. So, irrespective of how these hills were formed, the fact is that the picturesque beauty of these hills is a major attraction and shouldn’t be missed while vacationing in the Philippines.
Best time to visit the Chocolate Hills
Most of us by now have at least acknowledged the Chocolate Hills as a spot for vacationing. So, the ideal time to visit the hills is during the dry season. It is when the grass begins to dry up making the hills look chocolaty in color. The season, therefore, begins in late November and lasts until May. But since the beauty of the Philippines lies in the unpredictability of its weather, it is better to get the weather updates before you begin your journey. Once you get there, there are two significant spots that should be considered to get the best view of Chocolate Hills.
Viewing deck of the Chocolate Hills complex
The Chocolate Hills complex is the main destination to get the best view of the Chocolate Hills. Located in Barangay, Buenos Aires, Carmen, Bohol, the Chocolate Hills complex is comprised of two chocolate hills which were developed years ago and were transformed into a complex with a cemented road that goes upward towards an activity area that includes swimming pools and restaurants with dazzling tall pine trees to shade the pathway. There are further rooms available at affordable prices for those who wish to stay overnight at the center of the Chocolate Hills. Given its high altitude, one can enjoy beautiful sunsets from the observation decks at the Chocolate Hills.
The Sagbayan Peak is another spot for the best view of these hills. It is a mountain resort and recreation center located in the town of Sagbayan that not only offers an astounding 360-degree view of the famed Chocolate Hills but also the distinct blue sea that separates the island of Bohol from the island of Cebu.
Things to do at the Chocolate Hills
Explore Chocolate Hills Adventure Park
You can take this exhilarating Chocolate Hills experience to the next level by visiting the adventure park. This is an eco-tourism park, located at Barangay Buenos Aires, Carmen. Once you are here, the biking midair or bike zip or the surf zipline is something you just cannot miss. This Chocolate Hills adventure is sure to give you an adrenaline rush. There are also several other facilities and activities available here such as the rope courses, wave runner and one can even spot several kinds of butterflies here and the rich flora and fauna in the “Ang Paru Paro”, butterfly garden.
Ride The Action-packed Chocolate Hills ATV rentals
Nature lovers are in for a treat at the Chocolate Hills because one can hit the trails by riding an ATV and get the best out of this trip. On their way to the Chocolate Hills, Carmen, travelers are bound to pass the captivating Bilar manmade forest, which adds a completely unique and mesmerizing touch to the whole adventure. It is a popular pit stop where one finds tall, white and red, Mahogany trees and people usually stop here for photoshoots. The manmade forest is situated on the borders of Loboc and Bilar.
Travelers passing through this forest will experience a sudden and pleasant change in the temperature where they are greeted with a cool breeze as the tall and dense trees here block the sun entirely.
Apart from Chocolate Hills, Bohol is also known for its big-eyed mammals, the Tarsiers. These are nocturnal creatures about the size of a human hand and are extremely sensitive to sound. No adventure in Bohol is complete without seeing these small creatures. So while you are around Chocolate Hills, you might as well visit a tarsier sanctuary and make the most out of your adventure.
The Chocolate Hills are a must-visit for-
For the ones who love traveling and it is in their blood and soul to experience every natural marvel on earth; they must visit the Chocolate Hills. The breathtaking site will blow your mind away and will be forever inscribed in your hearts.
For those who love to play with the words and love to take inspiration from nature, this place will not only gift you the Aha! Moment, but its mysterious legends, fascinating stories, and its perplexing geological existence can provide interesting plots to your stories, or can also give you ideas and foundations for your writings.
For the Adventurous Trekkers
Chocolate Hills is one of the best locations for trekking and other such adventures in Philippines. The place is replete with flora and fauna with the backdrop of small waterfalls, which are a treat for the eyes. There is no dearth of good trekking groups that conduct regular treks here so make sure you pre-register with them.
The Chocolate Hills- A Unique Place for Honeymoon
For couples who want an offbeat destination for their honeymoon; this is the perfect place to be at. The Chocolate Hills apart from being magnificent also have many caves and springs on its plains that will keep you hooked to this beauty. These spots are the best locations for capturing a lot of memories and impressive experiences.
Things to prepare for, before going to the Chocolate Hills:
- Comfortable, cotton clothing
- Light luggage
- Light-weight bottles
- A good conditioned camera to catch the picturesque landscapes.
So Chocolate Hills, the pride of the Philippines, not only features unlimited adventurous activities but is also a great spot for nature lovers and couples alike.
Therefore, despite the unknown origin and several myths and legends about the majestic Chocolate Hills, one needs to admit the simple fact that these hills are not just miraculously phenomenal, but are as scenic and worth visiting at least once in your lifetime. The experience can be exemplary and truly awesome. Besides, there are several other fun activities one can indulge in once here. So traveling to places like the Chocolate Hills will let you explore the natural wonders in their best forms.