Chocolate Hills Adventure Park

A panoramic view of the iconic Chocolate Hills from CHAP
Last year, a magnitude 7.2 earthquake crumbled many parts of Bohol and Cebu, the former being damaged the worst. Many of us were saddened not only by the death tolls but also of the massive destruction the calamity had caused. Case in point: the demise of the centuries-old churches and some of the major tourist spots like the Chocolate Hills viewing deck. 

I, personally, was saddened when I heard that some parts of the Chocolate Hills were damaged. Who would ever get over seeing the postcard perfect Chocolate Hills in its most pitiful state? Not me, definitely. So much so that when I saw up close the ruined bell tower of the Sto. Nino Church in Cebu and the totally knocked down Loboc Church, I was in deep shock. I have friends who went to Bohol not too long after the earthquake, and all they could tell were sad stories enough to give us goosebumps.

I came back to Bohol almost 15 months after the earthquake, hoping that I would still see the picturesque Chocolate Hills and the churches. While most of the churches were, as I've said, totally knocked down (I won't post church photos here as I want to remember them as churches with beautiful interiors and solemn ambiance), the Chocolate Hills fortunately remained intact, with only one hill badly damaged. 

There was a lot of improvements already and the resorts are all fully-operational now. A sweet bonus is the emergence of the Chocolate Hills Adventure Park (CHAP) in the town of Carmen. a few kilometers away from the old Chocolate Hills viewing deck. They said CHAP served as a temporary/alternative viewing deck when the original one was still under repair.

How to go to CHAP:
From Bluewater Panglao where we were billeted, CHAP is about an hour and a half away by private car, passing through other famous sites like the Loboc River, Tarsier Sanctuary, and the man-made forest. If you are from the man-made forest, CHAP will come first before the original viewing deck.

First Impressions:
Unlike the old viewing deck which is usually crowded, CHAP is more laid-back and has less tourists (or it might be because we arrived late in the afternoon). What welcomed us at the entrance was lush greenery and sounds of chirping birds--the same scene I witnessed when I first went to Nurture Spa in Tagaytay a few years back. The gate leads to a bridge surrounded by verdant lawns. At its end is the reception area and the restaurant that offers hearty buffets at Php 300 (a good alternative if you are like me who's not a big fan of the food served at Loboc River cruise).

The bridge
Toni, the daredevil, and I =)
The restaurant
What to enjoy in CHAP:

CHAP is created with nature-lovers and adventure seekers in mind. Besides the lush greenery around the complex, there is also a butterfly sanctuary and a serpentarium, as well as exhilarating activities that are not for the faint at heart.

The oldest tree in CHAP
The butterfly sanctuary showcases the life cycle of a butterfly. This tour is educational and is child-friendly. Plus, the in-house guide can do some camera tricks on you, making you appear (and feel) like a butterfly even for awhile.


Butterflies unite!

Toni, the mariposa
The serpentarium houses various species of reptiles and mammals, as well as an interaction area perfect for educational field trips. You can have your photo taken with a snake.

Kids will also enjoy the mini adventure nook especially created for them. There's a rope course that will definitely challenge your children.

Rope course for kids
For those who seek extreme adventure, there's a rope course for adults with varying levels. My dear friend, Toni, tried the easiest level which they call "The Snake Ladder". This includes the canopy walk, islands in the sky, Burma loops, rappel or mini zipline. The intermediate level or what they call "The Pentagon" includes the canopy walk, Burma planks, earthquake, vine walk, Jacob walk, tyrolene, and rappel or mini zipline.

Rope course
Canopy walk
Burma rope

Done! Wheeewwww!
Saving the best for last, go up to the viewing deck that is about 248 steps from the base camp. Midway, you will already see a sneak peek of the famous Chocolate Hills. Wait until you go all the way up, as you will be welcome by a sweeping view of the brown and green Kisses-shaped hills. Also up here is the ultimate adrenaline-boosting attraction--the zip bike.

Halfway to the deck, this was what we saw
The old viewing deck as seen from CHAP's

Toni was finally convinced to do the zip bike or what they refer to as "The Rush," where one has to ride a bike mounted on a cable up to the other end and back. The "zipline" where the bike is mounted is about 550 meters long (roundtrip) above 150 meters of scenic views including lush valleys dotted with cone-shaped hills. Best to do this when the sun is about to set as it gives you a fantastic view of the Chocolate Hills backdropped by the fiery sun and the verdant surroundings.

The launchpad of the zip bike

Toni braving the heights

So how did Toni find the ride? Well, she said it's relaxing! I guess you have to do it and see for yourself if it is indeed "relaxing"!

Fees and Charges:
Entrance fee to the entire park - Php 60
The Rush (zip bike) - Php 400
The Snake Ladder - Php 200
The Pentagon - Php 350
Gymnaskids (for ages 6-12 only) - Php 300

Chocolate Hills Adventure Park (CHAP)
Brgy. Buenos Aires, Carmen, Bohol 


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