BOHOL TRIP PART 6: CHOCOLATE HILLS
The Chocolate Hills a geological formation in Bohol Province, Philippines are probably Bohol’s most famous tourist attraction of the province . That’s many believed that visiting Bohol would never be complete without paying a visit to this place. The Chocolate Hills viewing deck and the leaning tower overlooking the famous Chocolate Hills in Carmen in Bohol, Philippines, were destroyed by the 7.2 magnitude earthquake and the series of aftershocks that followed last October 2013. That’s why I had a mixed feelings while I was on my way to see the place. Finally, I arrived at the viewing deck of the Chocolate Hills and was happy that despite the damaged cause by the quake the viewing deck was still there and many people still come to see the place.
Climbing the stairs to the viewing deck can really be tiring. But there are rest stop balconies along the way, so you have a sometime to rest to catch your breath, relax, and enjoy the view in different parts of the hill. If you don’t want to show your age , stopping to take some photos would be perfect. Reaching the upper observation deck is rewarding, being able to see the hills in 360 degrees viewing angle.
The Chocolate Hills is compose of no less than 1268 hills but it is said that there may be as many as 1,776 hills spread over an area of more than 50 square kilometers (20 sq mi). The hills are covered with shrubs and bushes , which during summer or dry period turns into brown. From this color, the hills derive their name. Of course during rainy days , the hills are green. The Chocolate Hills have been declared the country’s third National Geological Monument and proposed for inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Traveling alone can be funny should you wish to have your self-portrait in the place you’ve visited. But thanks to my driver cum tour guide , he volunteered to be my photographer all throughout the trip.
HOW GET THERE
Renting a car would be the easiest way to reach the place. However, should you wish to go here on your own, from Tagbilaran, you will have to go the integrated bus terminal in Dao and catch a bus going to Carmen. At the entrance of the bus terminal people will point you to the right bus. Make sure it is the first one to leave, and ask the driver to drop you off at the Chocolate Hills complex, about 4 kilometers before the town of Carmen. From there it is a 10 minute walk along a road winding up to the complex. To get back to Tagbilaran, you will have to walk back to the main road, and wait for a bus to pass by. The last bus from Carmen to Tagbilaran leaves at four P.M. Alternatively, you can use the services of the motorcyclists who often wait here for tourist, and ride ‘habal-habal”. If you’re coming from Tubigon (arriving from Cebu by boat), a few buses go to Carmen daily, but sometimes you’ll have to wait for some time for the bus to fill up. When you arrive in Carmen, you can catch the next bus or jeepney in the direction of Bilar, Loay or Tagbilaran, or ask a ‘habal-habal’ driver to bring you to the Chocolate Hills Complex.