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A Guide to Activities at the Chocolate Hills

The Chocolate Hills, Bohol, stand as a testament to the wonders of nature. These peculiar dome-shaped mounds have captivated visitors for centuries, transforming into chocolate brown during the dry season. But the Chocolate Hills offer more than just a breathtaking vista. Here’s a comprehensive guide to the activities that await you at this geological marvel

The Chocolate Hills
The Chocolate Hills

Viewpoints and Photography at the Chocolate Hills

  • Panoramic Vistas: The Chocolate Hills Complex Viewpoint in Carmen is the classic choice. Climb the 214 steps to the observation deck and be greeted by a seemingly endless sea of chocolate mounds. The view here is truly awe-inspiring.

  • Alternative Perspective: For a less crowded experience, head to Sagbayan Peak. This mountain resort offers a spacious viewpoint with a slightly different perspective of the hills. Enjoy the panorama while enjoying the resort’s amenities like a butterfly dome and a tarsier sanctuary.

  • Capturing the Moment: The Chocolate Hills are a photographer’s paradise. During the dry season (roughly November to May), the hills transform into a chocolate-brown tapestry, creating dramatic landscapes. Play with contrasting colors by including the vibrant blue sky or lush greenery in your shots. Early mornings and late afternoons offer the best lighting for photography.

Beyond the View: Activities and Adventures

  • Thrill-Seeking Adventures: The Chocolate Hills Adventure Park (CHAP) in Carmen caters to the adrenaline junkie. Experience the world’s first “Wave Runner” zipline, where you can surf through the air on a surfboard-like contraption overlooking the hills. The park also offers a “Bike Zip” for those who prefer a two-wheeled adventure.

  • Off-Road Exploration: Embark on an ATV adventure and get up close and personal with the Chocolate Hills. Traverse designated trails, feeling the wind in your hair as you explore the surrounding countryside and hidden gems. This is a fantastic way to appreciate the local flora and fauna.

Off-Road Exploration

  • A Serene Hike: For a more peaceful exploration, consider hiking through the Loboc River Nature Reserve. This lush reserve offers a network of trails that lead through diverse ecosystems. Look for various bird species and unique plant life.

  • Cultural Immersion: Visit nearby Carmen town and explore the local Boholano culture. Explore the Carmen Church, a beautiful example of Spanish colonial architecture. Learn about traditional handicrafts by visiting workshops where skilled artisans create woven products and souvenirs.

Experiencing Bohol Beyond the Hills

  • The Tarsier Encounter: Bohol is famous for the Philippine Tarsier, the world’s smallest primate. Visit the Tarsier Conservation Area in Loboc Town and observe these adorable creatures in their natural habitat. Remember to maintain silence and avoid using flash photography as this can stress the animals.

  • The Bilar Man-Made Forest: Take a detour to the Bilar Man-Made Forest, a testament to local environmental efforts. This reforestation project boasts diverse mahogany trees, creating a scenic and peaceful drive.

  • Loboc River Cruise: Enjoy a relaxing cruise along the Loboc River, a scenic waterway teeming with life. This leisurely boat trip offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape and a chance to observe local fishermen at work. You can also indulge in a delicious buffet lunch on board, making it a truly memorable experience.

Loboc River Cruise
Loboc River Cruise

Planning Your Chocolate Hills Adventure

  • When to Visit: The dry season (November to May) offers the best weather conditions for outdoor activities and showcases the classic chocolate brown color of the hills. However, the rainy season (June to October) has its charm, with lush greenery and fewer crowds.

  • Getting There: Bohol Island is easily accessible by air or ferry. Flights arrive at Bohol-Panglao International Airport from major Philippine cities like Manila and Cebu. Alternatively, ferries connect Cebu and Tagbilaran City, the capital of Bohol.

  • Accommodation: A wide range of accommodation options cater to all budgets, from luxurious resorts with stunning views to budget-friendly guesthouses in nearby towns.

Responsible Tourism Tips

  • Respect the Environment: The Chocolate Hills are a natural wonder. Be mindful of your impact and avoid littering or damaging the vegetation. Opt for reusable water bottles and dispose of waste responsibly.

  • Support Local Communities: Whenever possible, choose local guides and businesses. This helps inject tourism revenue into the community and ensures sustainable development.

  • Be Culturally Sensitive: Dress modestly when visiting religious sites and respect local customs and traditions.

A Journey Beyond the View

The Chocolate Hills offer a unique blend of natural beauty, thrilling activities, and cultural immersion. Whether you seek panoramic vistas, adrenaline-pumping adventures, or a deeper connection with nature and local culture, Bohol has something for everyone. So, pack your bags, embrace the

spirit of adventure, and embark on a journey to unveil the mystery of the Chocolate Hills. Here are some additional details to enhance your experience:

Hidden Gems and Local Delights

  • Baclayon Church Ruins: Nestled in Baclayon town, these partially ruined structures remind visitors of a devastating earthquake in the 1700s. Explore the historical site and marvel at the resilience of the local architecture.

  • Bohol Bee Farm: Immerse yourself in the world of honeybees at the Bohol Bee Farm. Learn about the beekeeping process, witness honey extraction demonstrations, and indulge in various honey-based products, from delicious snacks to beauty products.

  • Foodie Delights: Bohol boasts a vibrant culinary scene. Sample the iconic “Bohol Chicken” – a dish known for its flavorful marinade and charcoal-grilled perfection. Don’t miss “Kalamay,” a sticky rice delicacy with various flavors, and “Panglao Lobster,” a fresh seafood treat.

Enhancing Your Stay

  • Festivals and Events: Plan your trip around a local festival to experience the vibrant culture of Bohol. The Sandugo Festival in Tagbilaran City commemorates a blood compact between Spanish conquistadors and a local chieftain. The Bohol Chocolate Festival in Carmen celebrates the region’s rich chocolate-making tradition.

  • Day Trips and Island Hopping Adventures: Bohol is a fantastic base for exploring other nearby islands. Pamilacan Island is a haven for dolphin watching, while Balicasag Island boasts stunning coral reefs for diving and snorkeling enthusiasts.

  • Wellness and Relaxation: After a day of exploration, unwind and pamper yourself at one of Bohol’s many spas and resorts. Enjoy traditional Filipino massage techniques or indulge in a relaxing soak in a natural hot spring.

Creating Lasting Memories

The Chocolate Hills offer more than just a scenic vista; they promise an unforgettable adventure. By combining breathtaking natural beauty with thrilling activities, cultural immersion, and delicious local cuisine, your trip to Bohol will leave you with memories that will last a lifetime. So, come explore the mystery of the Chocolate Hills and discover the magic of Bohol!

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