… and a very few hours later hauling ourselves out of bed again to catch the 5 AM ferry to Bohol Island and its signature attraction and Tentative World Heritage Site, the
Chocolate Hills and its immediate environs are relatively flat to rolling topography with elevation ranges from 100 m to 500 m above sea level. It has been declared the country’s 3rd National Geological Monument on June 18, 1988 in recognition of its scientific value and geomorphic uniqueness.
Similar to the formations found in Java, the conical and almost symmetrical and same-sized hills known as the “Chocolate Hills”, are more aesthetically extensive. These were the uplift of coral deposits and the result of the action of rainwater and erosion. The hills are located throughout the towns of Carmen, Batuan and Sagbayan and consist of about 1,776 mounds of the same general shape. During the dry season when precipitation in inadequate, the grass-covered hills turn chocolate brown, hence the name in reference to a branded confection.
There’s a designated viewpoint that all the tours stop at, where you drive up most of the way, get dropped off — no parking on the hill itself — and walk up a little more to the top, where your vista is those round hills in front of you. And behind you.
Round hills all around you in every direction!
And … well that’s it really. An interesting landscape, but well hills are hills even if they’re unsually regular hills, so this one falls more on the “mildly amusing” side of natural landscapes than the “EPIC!”…
… we were actually more entertained by the musical show the locals were putting on for the tourists by the souvenir shop, particularly this little girl dancing almost precisely opposite the intended choreography:
We’re generally considered to have a pretty good I just don’t care face, but we’ve got nothing on this little Filipina figuring it’s up to the rest of the troupe to follow her lead, not the other way around. Natural leader in the making there, yep.
There’s plenty of other things to visit on the island, and as it happens driving to the Chocolate Hills viewpoint goes right past a lot of them. Particular shoutout to the Tarsier Sanctuary,
which is almost certainly the closest you’ll ever get to these little guys without a cage between you, and they are just the cutest little bundles of fur, like a cute fluffy Gollum or something.
Also right on the drive and much less of a tourist stop easy to overlook is a butterfly sancturary, with some of the biggest butterflies you’ve ever seen fluttering around with you:
So if you are going to be around the Cebu area, we definitely recommend you set aside at least a day trip to Bohol Island, plenty there besides the Chocolate Hills to make it a thoroughly worthwhile visit!