Chocolate Hills

Chocolate Hills

Chocolate Hills in Bohol in are unusual geologic formations that consist of cone like hills covered by tropical jungles of Philippines.


Generally speaking, the Chocolate Hills are an uneven terrain of grassy hilltops, which are characterized by a uniform cone or dome-shaped and mostly symmetrical appearance. Their total number is given as at least 1268, with a total of up to 1776 individual hills of grass-covered limestone. The elevations vary in height from 30 to 50 m, with the largest crest reaching a height of around 120 m. Though scattered like molehills across the central plain of the island, they do accumulate in the areas of Sagbayan and Batuan parishes, with the largest accumulation occurring near the village of Carmen.

During the dry season, when the amount of precipitation is insufficient for the vegetation, the grassy hills dry up, change their color and take on a chocolate brown tone. Because they remind of oversized chocolate kisses in these dry periods, they were given the name Chocolate Hills.

The photographer Salvador Andre provides a particularly accurate description of this sight:

“Most people who see the pictures of this landscape for the first time find it difficult to understand that these hills were not created by human hands. Nevertheless, one quickly gives up this idea, given the (necessary) workload, which should surely have exceeded the construction of the pyramids. "

And further:

“There is no natural formation like this anywhere in the world. From a distance, they look like half balls that seem to have grown out of the ground. The hills, shaped like molehills and formed almost uniformly, provide the entire landscape with green and brown dots. ”

Topography and vegetation
The area around the Chocolate Hills is characterized by a relatively flat to uneven topology, which is characterized by various elevations, which do not protrude more than 100 to 500 m above sea level. Overall, the landscape of the interior is dominated by a series of high karstart hills, which in the village of Carmen are predominantly shaped by nature.

The vegetation of the Chocolate Hills is determined by hardy grasses, such as Imperata cylindrica or Saccharum spontaneum, a type of sugar cane. They also grow various daisy species and ferns, although the natural vegetation of the hills is now endangered by quarry work. Between the hills, the lowlands are cultivated with rice and other crops.

Geologists have long debated the origin of the hills, with various assumptions about the origin of the Chocolate Hills. There are therefore a number of hypotheses that attempt to explain the origin of the hills. The simplest explanatory approaches are based on weathering of the limestone, undersea volcanism and geological elevation of the lake floor. A more recent theory assumes that a volcano that was active in ancient times spewed out huge blocks of stone when it erupted, which were then covered with limestone and later rose from the ocean bed. Some arguments also add to the explanation of the origin of the hills with the influence of the tidal movements.

Another theory suggests that the hills originated in primeval limestone coral reefs that were eventually formed by the erosion of both water and wind for thousands of years. Geologists also believe that the specific shape of the hills is due to the weather influence over millions of years. The upper layers of the limestone formations were broken off before erosion processes followed and created the cone-shaped hills visible today.

The bronze plaque, which was installed on the observation platform in Carmen, is based on the theory that it is about eroded formations, which consist of a kind of sea limestone and sit on hardened layers of clay.