Everyone has imagined a place that truly existed while drawing the landscapes in our drawings in our child hood. Now imagine visiting a place that looks exactly like you have been drawing back then. Some people say the chocolate hills are man made artefacts but they aren’t. There are about 1700 Chocolate hills in Bohol and most of them look alike which gives it a distinct feature. The hills are not more than 50 – 60 metres high and are mostly conical in shape and covered in grass. During the summers the grass dries out, giving the hills a chocolate colour and as the hills are conical in shape they look like conical chocolate mounds.
Reaching Chocolate hills
The Chocolate hills are one of the most visited and hyped places in the Philippines. There are numerous legends and scientific explanations to the formation of the Chocolate hills. But the one that I most like is that; there was a giant buffalo that wreaked havoc by destroying vegetation and crops in the region. In vengeance the locals left out spoiled crops for the buffalo to graze the next day. When the buffalo ate the spoiled crops, it got sick and left giant mounds of dung.
The chocolate hills can be reached from Tagbilaran which has an airport and a port. It is about 4 hours on a bus and less than 3 hours on a motor bike or adventurous habal-habal. We took an AC bus from Tagbilaran and stayed in Banlasan Lodge, which is about 5 kms from the viewpoint. As I was there for the sunrise I could afford to loose our stay in Tagbilaran. Banlasan Lodge is a pretty comfy place with a swimming pool but we loved their food the most.
Getting around Carmen
Carmen is well connected with a fleet of buses, so it isn’t difficult to get around the place. Theres a bus in every hour, it also has plenty of motorcycles and habal-habal running as taxis around the areas. Theres a park of Tarsiers which is a primitive species in the Philippines and is about an hour from the lodge. The landscape around carmen is mind-blowing and there are couple of beautiful beaches around Bohol too. If you plan to hire a bike then you should get it from Tagbilaran as there are hardly any bikes available for rent in Carmen. The roads around Carmen are pretty amazing making us love this place even more.