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.

Meal on Bohol tour

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.

Tour on the river in Bohol

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.

Bohol river cruise

Bohol river cruising

bohol river tour

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!

Views of Bohol 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.

chocolate hills

chocolate hills in bohol

chocolate hills panorama

panorama of the chocolate hills

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).

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32 Comments

  1. The World of Deej
    January 29, 2012
    Reply

    Looks like an awesome day…sometimes the cheesy things are the best:)

    • Lauren
      January 30, 2012
      Reply

      Hahaha! It’s true – the cheesiness provided a lot of entertainment! :)

  2. Mike
    January 29, 2012
    Reply

    Great pictures. Sounds and looks like somewhere definitely worth a visit

    • Lauren
      January 30, 2012
      Reply

      Thanks! I was glad that I managed to fit it into my busy schedule :)

  3. Bryan
    January 29, 2012
    Reply

    Great photos, it really looks like a beautiful place. And that food looks great, too!

    • Lauren
      January 30, 2012
      Reply

      Thanks, Bryan! The food was amazing!

  4. Jerick
    January 29, 2012
    Reply

    I stayed in Nuts Huts in Bohol and we had the Loboc river just in front of our hut. We spent most of days just swimming in the river. :)

    Bohol’s definitely well worth the visit!

    • Lauren
      January 30, 2012
      Reply

      Nuts Huts! I heard about this place everywhere I went! We looked online and it had terrible reviews so we stayed by the beach instead ;)

  5. Caroline
    January 29, 2012
    Reply

    It’s crazy how popular the Philippines are getting! Definitely gaining big momentum these days! I never considered it before but maybe we’ll add it to our RTW itinerary! But again, love to go with the flow!

    • Lauren
      January 30, 2012
      Reply

      Hey Caroline – you should definitely add the Philippines to your list! It was in my top 3 countries :)

  6. jan
    January 30, 2012
    Reply

    I think the clouds add to the photos. The shape and quantity of the hills are amazing. Great Photos.

    • Lauren
      January 30, 2012
      Reply

      Thanks, Jan! It was truly bizarre looking out and seeing hills everywhere stretching out towards the horizon!

  7. Someday I'll Be There - Mina
    January 29, 2012
    Reply

    Looks like a good place to visit! Delicious name eh? :D I just imagined real chocolate hills!

    • Lauren
      January 30, 2012
      Reply

      Oh, imagine if they were real chocolate! Somehow I don’t think they’d still be there! ;)

  8. Antoinette B.
    January 30, 2012
    Reply

    Great post and pics! I was there 3 years ago and have almost similar pics, especially the river cruise. I love reading about people’s travel posts about the Philippines, especially. I was born there but grew up in NYC. What I’ve always come to find when I come across travel blogs of people who’ve done Southeast Asia extensively is that they ALWAYS leave out the Philippines. It’s such a wonderful country, and I’m glad you visited it! I’d actually love to explore more of my country soon, hopefully.

  9. Ryan Brown
    January 30, 2012
    Reply

    Ha! Very odd stories, the laxatives one suits the last photos better I think, or that scene from Jurassic Park with the triceratops =P

    Awesome photos, the scenery looks stunning, even with the foreboding clouds!

  10. Terry T
    January 30, 2012
    Reply

    I spent a lot of time in the Philippines a while back and remember visiting the fabled chocolate hills. They’re quite amazing, not to mention oddly delectable.

  11. Elizabeth Bird
    January 30, 2012
    Reply

    Personally I love What a Feelings – that might have been a tour highlight!

  12. Toni37
    January 30, 2012
    Reply

    I have seen this Chocolate Hills in the internet and I find this place a great spot for my vacation. I am in love with the hundred islands with matching hill sizes. This is amazing…

  13. wandering educators
    January 30, 2012
    Reply

    what a beautiful place! i am still laughing at the soundtrack. yikes!

  14. Audrey
    January 31, 2012
    Reply

    Looks fascinating! I prefer the first theory the best. :)

  15. Will - Gap Daemon
    February 1, 2012
    Reply

    Very Jurassic Park! I was waiting until you did the big reveal at the end and showed us a T-Rex fouling up the countryside.

    Disappointed Lauren!

  16. Will - Gap Daemon
    February 1, 2012
    Reply

    Some raptors would have been nice!

  17. bohol
    February 3, 2012
    Reply

    Great photos of Bohol. Can we repost your images in our Bohol forum? Thanks in advance. – Mike

  18. Doreen Pendgracs
    February 6, 2012
    Reply

    Totally awesome pics! Anything with the word “chocolate” in it attracts my attention, but those hills are really spectacular. Will have to add the Philippines to my list!

  19. Laurence
    February 9, 2012
    Reply

    Looks like they have a serious mole problem going on there. Would be amazing if they were actually made of chocolate!

  20. Dayna
    February 9, 2012
    Reply

    Wow! This is definitely on my bucket list now!

  21. cheryl
    February 15, 2012
    Reply

    Very lovely shots! Looks like a great day. I’d definitely visit the Chocolate Hills too.

  22. Stephanie - The Travel Chica
    February 16, 2012
    Reply

    Interesting story and cool photos… but, I was expecting there to be REAL chocolate too.

  23. Turtle
    March 6, 2012
    Reply

    This is the second post I’ve read about the Philippines in the past couple of days. And it’s only increased the desire to go there and visit. Looks amazing!!

  24. Sara
    May 18, 2014
    Reply

    Hi, I just stumbled across your blog tonight for the first time. My husband and I spent a month in the Philippines and while we were there we visited the chocolate hills. We also went on the same floating restaurants! LOVE the Philippines and will go back some day :D

    • Lauren
      July 30, 2014
      Reply

      Great! So pleased you also had such a great time, Sara :-)

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