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Bucket List Must See: The Chocolate Hills

by John Webber

The ‘Chocolate Hills’ are a mysterious landscape worthy of any bucket list.

Located on the island of Bohol in the central region of the Philippines about 550 miles south of the country’s capital Manila, the Chocolate Hills are a slight mystery to locals and visitors alike. The attraction is exactly what it sounds like: a ground of rounded hills, chocolate brown in color during the dry season, located at the center of the tiny island. Geologists categorize the landforms as “conical karst topography.” In layman’s terms – these hills are leftover limestone deposits from a time when streams and rivers were far above sea level. Rainfall and other natural water sources slowly created the dips and valleys the island has become so famous for.

For the sake of folklore and everything fun, there are a few other ideas on how this area came to be. One local legend shares the thought that the hills are the aftermath of a fight between two giants who spent days hurling stones at each other before finally giving up. Another idea states that the hills are the tears of a giant grieving the death of a mortal woman he had fallen in love with.

There is no clear count as to how many hills there are exactly – some say 1,268, while others have counted as high as 1,776. Trees and shrubbery refuse to grow on these curious slopes, mostly due to a noxious weed called cogongrass that replaced much of the native vegetation on the hills. All of this being said, it is clear the Chocolate Hills are worth a spot on any world traveler’s must-see list.

Be warned though: You will not be able to climb any of the hills, a number of which can be as high as 120 meters/390 feet which is equal in height to a 30 storey building. The hills have steep inclines with nothing to hold on to and could result in you losing a step and tumbling all the way down with nothing to break your fall. Instead, there is a Viewing Deck open to the public with hilly vistas out to the horizon as far as the eye can see.

“Do not go where the path leads, travel instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”   @wbbrjp / Phone   213-387-4345 / 3407 W 6th Street, Los Angeles CA

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