Chocolate Hills

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The Chocolate Hills

The Chocolate Hills are the Philippine’s third National Geological Monument. These funny little hills are waiting on the approval of UNESCO to be listed as a world heritage site.

So-called due to the brown colour they take on at the end of the dry season, the Chocolate Hills can be visited any time of the year and are just as spectacular during the rainy season as they are during the dry.

Apart from their change in colour, the hills constantly retain a uniform look as, curiously, no trees or clumps of shrubs grow on them.

The Chocolate Hills are in the Visayas

They are found in the centre of the island of Bohol and Bohol, in turn, is in the centre of the Philippines. These strangely shaped mounds are unique to the island.

Nobody knows exactly how many there are but estimates are around 1200-1700. The Chocolate Hills are by no means huge; the highest barely reaching 120 meters in height. Most range between 30 and 50 metres, scattered within a fifty square kilometre area.

Mystery surrounds the formation of the hills. One of the more popular local legends states that long ago, two giants fought for days, hurling earth and stones at one another. Afterwards, they fell exhausted into each other's arms, friends once more.

A more romantic telling is of the handsome and immortal giant, Arogo, who fell in love with a mortal woman. When she died Arogo wept and his great teardrops became the Chocolate Hills.

Geologists have a very different view. One plausible theory is that they are weathered formations of a marine limestone lying on top of an impenetrable clay base.

Whatever the origin, it's a surreal landscape, and one of the most bizarre. It's not possible to climb the hills but there's a good viewpoint from a large platform from where you can marvel at the scene before you.

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