The Chocolate Hills is the most famous tourist attraction in the province of Bohol. More than 1,200 perfectly-shaped cone hills are scattered around the municipalities of Batuan, Carmen and Sagbayan, the hills range from 40 to 120 meters in height. The hills are covered in green grass which turns to brown during summer. This is how Chocolate Hills got its name.
There are several theories regarding the formation of the numerous hills. One states that it could be a product of limestone weathering. According to the bronze plaque located at the viewing deck in Carmen, the Chocolate Hills was formed “by the uplift of coral deposits and the action of rain water and erosion”. Another statement from the plaque reads “the grassy hills were once coral reefs that erupted from the sea in a massive geologic shift. Wind and water put on the finishing touches over hundreds of thousands of years”.
Of course, Filipinos have a legend to explain why the hills were formed. It involves a handsome giant named Agoro, who fell in love with an ordinary mortal girl named Aluya. Agoro kidnapped Aluya before her wedding to another mortal man. The girl cried and cried with sadness until she died. Arogo mourned her death and cried himself for months. The hills were the result of the giant’s tears, which fell to the ground and hardened.
The Chocolate Hills is considered as one of the prime tourist destinations in the Philippines. Two of the hills have been developed into resorts. The government created The Chocolate Hills Complex, which has a hostel, a swimming pool and an observation deck which gives a spectacular view of the hills at 210 feet above the ground.
Another mountaintop resort worth visiting is the Sagbayan Peak, which also offers a 360-degree viewing deck for visitors. It has a hotel, a restaurant, swimming pool and children’s park. Plans are in progress to add a golf course, tarsier sanctuary and butterfly dome.