Friday, November 5, 2010

Chocolate Hills - Philippines

The Chocolate Hills are an unusual geological formation in Bohol, Philippines. According to the latest accurate survey done, there are 1,776 hills spread over an area of more than 50 square kilometres (20 sq mi). They are covered in green grass that turns brown during the dry season, hence the name.
The Chocolate Hills are a famous tourist attraction of Bohol. They are featured in the provincial flag and seal to symbolize the abundance of natural attractions in the province. They are in the Philippine Tourism Authority's list of tourist destinations in the Philippines; they have been declared the country's 3rd National Geological Monument and proposed for inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The Chocolate Hills is a rolling terrain of haycock hills – mounds of general shape which are conical and almost symmetrical. Estimated to be at least 1,268 individual mounds to about 1,776, these cone-shaped or dome-shaped hills are actually made of grass-covered limestone. The domes vary in sizes from 30 to 50 metres (98 to 160 ft) high with the largest being 120 metres (390 ft) in height. They are scattered throughout the towns of Carmen, Batuan and Sagbayan in Bohol. Bohol's "main attraction", these unique mound-shaped hills are scattered by the hundreds on the island's central plain, concentrated near the town of Carmen.
During the dry season, the precipitation is inadequate such that the grass-covered hills dry up and turn chocolate brown. This transforms the area into seemingly endless rows of "chocolate kisses". The branded confection is the inspiration behind the name, Chocolate Hills.
The Chocolate Hills consist of conical karst hills, called mogote, created by a combination of the dissolution of limestones by rainfall, surface water, and groundwater and their subaerial erosion by rivers and streams after they had been uplifted above sea level and fractured by tectonic processes. These hills are separated by well developed flat plains and contain numerous caves and springs. The Chocolate Hills are considered to be a remarkable example of conical karst topography.
The origin for the conical karst of the Chocolate Hills is described in popular terms on the bronze plaque at the viewing deck in Carmen, Bohol. This plaque states that they are eroded formations of a type of marine limestone that sits on top of hardened clay. The plaque reads:  The unique land form known as the Chocolate Hills of Bohol was formed ages ago by the uplift of coral deposits and the action of rain water and erosion.
The plaque also makes reference to a fanciful explanation of the origin of the Chocolate Hills that is unsupported by any published scientific research, i.e. either Hillmer or Travaglia and other, when it states:  the grassy hills were once coral reefs that erupted from the sea in a massive geologic shift. Wind and water put on the finishing touches over hundreds of thousands of years.
Self-published, popular web pages present a variety of fanciful and less credible explanations about how these hills formed. They include sub-oceanic volcanism; limestone covered blocks created by the destruction of an active volcano in a cataclysmic eruption; coral reefs that were raised form the from the sea as the result of a massive geologic shift; and tidal movements. The lack of any exposed or associated volcanic rocks anywhere in the Chocolate Hills refutes the popular theories involving volcanic eruptions. These theories involving either a sudden, massive geologic shift, coral reefs being erupted from the sea, or tidal movements lack any collaborating evidence and support among geologists.
The Chocolate Hills placed Bohol on the tourist map long before the beautiful white beaches of the island became major tourist destinations. The most famous and signature tourist attraction of Bohol, it is a prime tourist destination in the Philippines. This is because the Chocolate Hills are incomparable and is one of the country's most spectacular sceneries. Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who admits that she is the No. 1 tourist of Bohol for having visited the province so many times, said: "Bohol is a major tourist province. The fame of the Chocolate Hills is not only known in the country but worldwide.” The national government has chosen the Chocolate Hills as one of its "flagship tourist destinations".



Post a Comment