If you’ve ever seen the bizarre and awe-inspiring landscape that is the Chocolate Hills, you’ve probably wondered how it formed in the first place. Truth is, no one really knows for sure.
The UNESCO-recognized site on the island of Bohol is one of the Philippines’ most popular tourist attractions. Consisting of an estimated 1,776 hills scattered over a landscape, many of the hills are between 30 and 50 metres in height and covered in grass which turns brown towards the end of the dry season. The resultant image is of thousands of Hershey’s Kiss-like brown hills spread out over the terrain.
The origins of the Chocolate Hills
Now, how did they form? There are several theories. The most commonly accepted – and the one you’ll read on a plaque at the top of the observation hill – is that they are the weathered karst formations left behind after layers of soluble bedrock were eroded away via a process of dissolution by rainfall, surface water and groundwater. There were also and numerous rivers and caves and underground springs which contributed to the unique conical shape of these hills.
Legends of the Chocolate Hills
But even more interesting: One popular legend is that two giants went to battle in ancient times, hurling stones and sand at each other for days. When they finally made peace after being too tired to fight, they left the island and the mess they created in the process.
Another legend deemed that a young giant, Arogo, fell in love with a mortal girl named Aloya. When she died, he wailed and wailed until his tears covered the landscape and turned into hills. How wonderfully and tragically romantic.
Still another story says that the buried gold of the biblical land of Ophir lies beneath these man-made hills which were designed to ward off gold seekers.
It has also been told that there was a town plagued by a giant carabao – or giant water buffalo, the national animal of the Philippines – who kept eating all the crops. The town folk got together and came up with a scheme to get rid of the carabao by planting spoiled food for the huge animal to eat. The carabao was badly poisoned by the food and ended up defecating all over the landscape until he was properly “empty”. And that’s how the hills came about.
Finally, another legend tells the story of Miguel, a giant who eats everything in his path. He fell in love with a beautiful young woman named Adrianna, and he decided a quick loss of weight was needed for him to win her favour. So, like the carabao, he made his mark on the landscape. All’s well that ends well, though, as he did win Adrianna’s affection in the end.
And those are just a few of the many stories of the Chocolate Hills. To see this breathtaking sight and other Philippine attractions, check out Nezasa’s fully customizable itineraries for the Philippines.