In the province of Bohol, where the world-famous Chocolate Hills are found, lies a place dedicated to saving the lives of emotionally-sensitive species—the Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary.
It is a large forest home to the endangered tarsiers. These 45 million year-old small nocturnal primates with big round eyes usually cling to low branches or the trunks of slim trees. They are very delicate and emotionally-sensitive creatures that get stressed easily. The tour guides explain that tarsiers commit suicide by banging their heads against tree trunks when they get stressed, so visitors have to keep the noise level to a minimum. Visitors are allowed to take pictures except using the flash. And tarsiers aren’t allowed to be touched.
Prior to the development of the Philippine Tarsier and Wildlife Sanctuary, many people hunted for tarsiers. The captured endangered primates were being sold, kept as pets by private individuals in environments not conducive to their lifestyle and survival, or killed.
Because of this, the tarsiers were declared to be specially protected faunal species of the Philippines by virtue of Proclamation No. 1030, declared by former Philippine President, Fidel V. Ramos on June 23, 1997. Hence, creating the Philippines Tarsier Sanctuary for their protection.
The Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary has been established to allow the tarsiers to live and reproduce freely in a natural setting. The sanctuary is officially run by the Philippine Tarsier Foundation, Inc. (PTFI), a non-stock, non-profit organization established in 1996.
What to expect at the Philippine Tarsier and Wildlife Sanctuary
There are tarsiers everywhere
Well, because this is a Tarsier sanctuary in Bohol, you’ll get to see many tarsiers all over the mini forest. Some of them are asleep while most of them are picture-ready! But remember to follow the rules to avoid unfavorable circumstances. When taking pictures of tarsiers, make sure to turn off your camera’s flash and don’t make too much noise as the tarsiers might get stressed.
The tour is quick
The Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary is pretty small and is easy to explore. The duration of the tour depends on your pace but usually, it takes about only 15 minutes to see the whole sanctuary. Entrance fee to the Philippines Tarsier Sanctuary is P60 per person. They are open daily from 8:30am to 4pm.
There are leisure areas for the guests
To attract more guests, the Philippines Tarsier Sanctuary has established a visitor’s complex. The visitor’s complex comprises an exhibition area, audiovisual room, mini cafeteria, toilet facilities, library, research center related to tarsiers, conference rooms, and storage rooms.
How to get to Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary
The tarsier sanctuary in Bohol is 14 kilometers from the provincial capital Tagbilaran City. To reach this place, ride the buses and jeeps from the capital city.
For public transportation, just go to Dao Jeepney terminal. Ask which jeepney is bound for Corella via the Sikatuna route. This jeepney passes directly to Bohol monkey sanctuary. Make sure to tell the driver to drop you off at the Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary. You will see a big sign on the left. Fare is P20 per person.
For more details about the Bohol monkey sanctuary, you may contact them through the following:
Email: [email protected]
Facts about Tarsiers
– The tarsier’s eyes are as large as their brain.
– Their long hind legs enable them to leap 16 feet (5 meters) between branches.
– Tarsiers are capable of turning their heads 180° in each direction, allowing them to rotate their heads almost 360°.
– Adult tarsiers live in monogamous pairs and keep in contact vocally during the night, defending territory against other pairs using extremely high-pitched calls.
– Tarsier babies are the largest in relation to their adult size of all the mammals.
– Tarsiers are entirely carnivorous, eating mainly insects including beetles, grasshoppers, cockroaches, butterflies, moths, praying mantis, ants and cicadas.
– A tarsier’s lifespan is around 8 years.
Places to visit near Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary
1. Chocolate Hills
Bohol is known mainly because of the Chocolate Hills. These are not literally chocolates, okay? But they are called such because in the summer, the vegetation dies off and turns to a chocolatey brown hue and their shape resembles Hershey’s Kisses. For a more detailed guide to Chocolate Hills, read this.
2. Man-made Forest
Man-made Forest in Bohol is a 2-kilometer stretch of mahogany trees. This forest stands out because of the mahogany trees’ uniformity in height, the spread of its branches, thickness and design of leaves.
3. Loboc River Cruise
A Bohol tour wouldn’t be complete without hopping on the famous Loboc River Cruise. Tour guides usually bring their guests here for lunch while exploring the Loboc River. At the middle of the tour, your cruise will stop by at a place where the locals will play musical instruments and perform traditional dances.
To make the most of your Bohol experience, make sure to book the best accommodation at ZEN Rooms. You can enjoy a quality stay at the lowest rates!