I have previously written on this site about how much I enjoy visiting unusual places, and even wrote a list of alien-looking destinations I’d like to see. Included in this list was the chocolate hills of Bohol.
As soon as I booked my ticket to the Philippines, I put Bohol right at the top of my list.
I had just two days to see everything that the island has to offer and so I decided to hire a driver for a day so that I wouldn’t miss any of the important sights.
The chocolate hills are located right in the centre of the island and it takes a few hours to drive there. It was decided that we would break up the long drive by going on one of the famous jungle river cruises on the Loboc river.
The cruise lasted approximately one hour, and included an amazing buffet lunch for 150-350 pesos.
There were five different floating restaurants to choose from and my friends and I chose the more expensive one – something which turned out to be a very good decision.
We had the entire restaurant to ourselves.
As the boat gently drifted away from the dock and we headed downstream, an elderly gentleman in a sequinned suit and bow-tie carefully switched on his keyboard and the familiar opening chords of What A Feeling filled the air.
Despite the unfortunate soundtrack, I soon felt my shoulders relaxing and my tension beginning to float away as the bamboo boat slowly meandered through the jungle.
The YMCA/Smooth Operator mash-up signalled the end of our time on the river and we quickly piled back into the car for the hour-long drive through Jurassic Park-esque scenery to the chocolate hills.
The Chocolate Hills are a collection of over 2000 grass covered limestone hills. When the dry season arrives, the lack of rain causes the grass to dry up, turning the hills a chocolate brown colour.
While nobody knows for sure how the chocolate hills were formed, any scientific theory is now overshadowed by Philippine legends.
Our driver informed us of some of the more popular, and amusing, theories:
Two giants were fighting and throwing rocks and boulders at each other. They soon became tired from the disagreement and so they decided to become friends and together they left the island – forgetting to clean up the rocks.
A giant fell in love with a girl who unfortunately died soon after. The giant was so upset that he cried for days and days until the tears dried and hardened on the ground.
And the most ridiculous theory of all: a fat giant fell in love with a woman who wasn’t attracted to him because of his obesity. The giant took a large amount of laxatives, thus forming the chocolate hills!
As we neared our destination, I was able to put my British weather observation skills to good use. As I watched the skies becoming increasingly overcast, I warned the others that a torrential downpour would soon be upon us.
Just as I had predicted, the once blue skies we experienced on the river cruise soon became enveloped in dark thunderous clouds and we had just five minutes to take all of our photos.
Despite the rain and lack of time spent there, visiting the chocolate hills was one of the highlights from my time in the Philippines. I’d love to go back someday, but hopefully without rain and clouds obscuring the views!
If you ever find yourself in Bohol, it is worth hiring a driver for the day as by doing this you can easily fit in all the main attractions of the island. Drivers can be found almost everywhere you go and I hired a guide from the ferry port at a price of 500 pesos (£7).