Loay Interior Road, Carmen, Bohol, Philippines
GPS: 9.8000237184048, 124.16822549189
Travellers looking for information about Chocolate Hills should know they are the flagship attraction of the Visayas. This natural site is located in the centre of Bohol, the 10th largest island of the Philippines. These geological formations vary in size (between 30 and 50 metres in height) and are distinguished by their homogenous silhouette in the shape of a cone or dome. Covered with grass, the Chocolate Hills are thought to have been formed around two million years ago thanks to the accumulation of several layers of coral and shells, washed ashore by an ancient sea which gradually receded due to the effect of tectonic plates. A long process of erosion would have ended up shaping this unique landscape.
Green during the rainy season (from June to November), the vegetation of the Chocolate Hills turns brown at the end of the dry season (from March to May). This visual particularity naturally gave its name to the famous Chocolate Hills. According to the lowest estimates, there are more than 1,200 atypical hills and bumps, which are spread over about 50 km² of hilly terrain. The geological monuments of the Chocolate Hills are spread across six towns of Bohol (mostly in Sagbayan, Batuan and Carmen). High platforms, accessible by stairs, provide a 360-degree view of sunrise or sunset. When the weather permits, it is sometimes possible to see in the distance the Cebu Strait separating the island provinces of Cebu and Bohol.
Both massive and compact, the Chocolate Hills are karstic (an area of irregular limestone in which erosion has produced caverns, fissures, sinkholes and underground streams) resembling huge truffles, mounds, molehills or giant anthills. Damaged by a magnitude 7.2 earthquake in 2013, these natural wonders are now threatened by quarrying activities. When you visit the site, you will probably have the opportunity to get to know tarsiers, a tiny animal found only on the islands of Southeast Asia. This nocturnal mammal, recognizable by its large and luminous eyes, shares several characteristics with monkeys. Along with Madame Berthe’s mouse lemur (a lemur endemic to the island of Madagascar), the tarsier represents one of the smallest primate species in the world.