Enigmatic Chocolate Hills, world’s geological wonder

Beyond the Horizon

By Pradeep Kumar

Nestled in the heart of Bohol in Philippines, the captivating Chocolate Hills beckon explorers to witness their mesmerizing karst landscape. Comprising approximately 1,268 hills spread over an expansive area of 50 sqkm, these natural wonders are named for their distinct brown color. During the dry season, the grass covering the hills turns brown, creating a breathtaking spectacle.

To truly appreciate the grandeur of the Chocolate Hills, one has to venture to the viewing deck in Carmen town. From this vantage point, one will be greeted with a panoramic 360° view that seems to extend infinitely, as far as the eye can see. For an even more awe-inspiring experience, consider viewing them from a plane, where they resemble thousands of mole hills dotting the lush surroundings.

Interesting facts are: 1) Shape: The hills are uniformly cone-shaped, with heights ranging from 30 to 120 meters. Their distinct shape contributes to their iconic appearance; 2) Grass Covering: During the dry season, the hills turn brown, resembling chocolate kisses, due to the grass withering and changing color. This unique phenomenon gives them their name; 3) Geological Origin: The prevailing theory suggests that the Chocolate Hills were formed through thousands of years of weathering of marine limestone. The process of rainwater and erosion sculpted these remarkable formations; 4) Natural Monument: The Chocolate Hills were declared the country’s 3rd National Geological Monument in 1988, recognizing their special characteristics, scientific importance, uniqueness, and high scenic value; 5) Protected Status: The hills are covered under the National Integrated Protected Areas System, ensuring their preservation and conservation. They are protected by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources; 6) UNESCO World Heritage: The Chocolate Hills were submitted to the UNESCO World Heritage for consideration as a Natural Monument due to their outstanding universal value and exceptional natural beauty; 7) Cultural Symbol: The Chocolate Hills are featured on the provincial flag and seal of Bohol, symbolizing the province’s abundance of natural attractions and serving as an iconic representation of its beauty; 8) Geographically, the Chocolate Hills span several towns, including Sagbayan, Batuan, Carmen, Bilar, Sierra Bullones and Valencia. While each town contributes to charm of the landscape, Sagbayan, Batuan and Carmen boast the majority of these cone-shaped wonders, with Carmen showcasing the most uniform and iconic hills; 9) Popular Tourist Destination: The Chocolate Hills attract visitors from around the world, offering a captivating and enchanting experience amidst nature’s wonders; 10) Two resorts have been developed in the area. The Chocolate Hills Complex in Carmen town, located in Barangay Buenos Aires, offers a delightful experience just 5-km from the town center. Another option is Sagbayan Peak, where a resort is situated, to allow hilarious beauty, mysterious formations and fascinating histories of natural paradise.

These facts showcase the unique geological and cultural significance of the Chocolate Hills, making them a must-visit destination for travelers.

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