THE CHOCOLATE HILLS ON BOHOL

The sun rising over the chocolate hills landscape

Chocolate Hills on the island of Bohol are hundreds of dome shaped hills creating an incredible landscape and make for a unique sunrise spot. In recent years, the strange uniformity of the chocolate hills has sprung to be one of the highlights on a Philippines trip.

It is quite stunning to see the chocolate hills, however we had a strange underwhelming experience

WHERE ARE THE CHOCOLATE HILLS

The chocolate hills are in the Carmen Region in central Bohol the Philippines. And the main tourist area on the island is on Panglao island in South West Bohol.

Panglao is Bohol’s main tourist area and is a separate island connected to Bohol with a bridge. The Chocolate Hills are a 65km ride from the hotels and accommodation on Panglao island.

By car or scooter, the Chocolate Hills are 1.5 hours drive. Meanwhile, if you stay in Tagbilaran City, the ride will be just over an hour.

HOW TO GET THERE

One of the most popular ways to get to the Chocolate Hills is to book a tour. A tour is a great way to combine some of the best tourist spots in Bohol all in one full adventurous day. Tours include pick up and drop off at your hotel and will usually include lunch in the price.

But if you are an adventurous traveller and want to this D.I.Y, then I suggest you rent a scooter. The ride from either Panglao or Tagbilaran is pretty straight forward. You may come across some traffic in the City (Tagbilaran) but nothing too extreme.

Once you get out of the City and start cruising further inland, you will be in the countryside. During the day it’s a breeze cruising along these streets. But if you want to reach the Chocolate Hills for the morning light, you will need to set out before the sun rises and most of the journey is along pitch black streets. So just keep that in mind.

Scooters range in price but usually cost around 400/500pesos ($8/$10). And you can get a good deal if you plan on keeping the scooter for more than a day. We managed to find a good deal from the Port in Tagbilaran and paid 300pesos ($6) per day for a 10 day rental.

The chocolate hills from along a dirt road

THE CHOCOLATE HILLS IN BOHOL

We wanted to reach the Chocolate Hills for the morning golden hour. At 5:00am we set the destination into Google.Maps and were on our way cruising along the bridge from Panglao island and into Bohol. 

It was still dark and at least 1 hour until sunrise, yet as we rode through Tagbilaran City streets, locals had already started gearing up for the day.

As we cruised out of the city, and into the countryside the only lighting was from our scooter. Here, in Bohol’s rural areas you won’t find many street lights and most of the journey will be in pitch darkness with no way of telling what is around you. 

After about 1 hour of riding in the darkness, the day slowly brightened up. We were riding in the middle of nowhere with rice fields on either side and carabaos strolling in the verdant fields.

Soon after the rice fields there is a point where the dome-shaped hills come out of nowhere and increasingly get more and more. In the region there are over 1260 Chocolate Hills that have created one of the most interesting landscapes on Bohol.

We were in Bohol the first week of February and as you can see the grass was green. Still it was an interesting landscape to see but for some reason we think the chocolate have been overly hyped.

Reading so many articles about this place had got us so enticed that we just had so huge expectations. Even the ride along the hills and up to the main viewpoint is simply amazing. However, once we reached the viewpoint that is actually on top of one of the hills, we were a bit, like, “ok…”

To see the actual Chocolate Hills it is imperative to be in Bohol between March and May. This is summer time in Bohol and when the grass over the hills turns brown which should resemble a chocolate colour.

Walking up to the viewing platform
The road that climbs up one of the hills

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