Tarsier Sanctuary in Bohol
The Tarsier Sanctuary is a sprawling 134 hectares of forested land. The Tarsier Sanctuary is in the midst of the towns of Sicatuna and Corella in Bohol, Philippines. To get to the Tarsier Sanctuary, one can ride a bus or jeepney that plies that route. In the Tagbilaran bus/jeepney terminal, you ride a bus that is bound for Sikatuna. From Tagbilaran to Sikatuna, the trip usually takes about 30 minutes. From Sikatuna, you can hire a pedicab or motorbike for Php40 or so. For a faster and more convenient trip, you can also get a cab or for-hire cars from hotels and travel agencies. The sactuary is a short trip from Tagbilaran, around 14 kilometers, and short 4 km from Corella.
The Tarsier Sanctuary serves as a protected habitat for Philippine tarsiers, considered to be the world’s smallest primate and is endemic to the country. These are nocturnal animals that slightly resembles Steven Spielberg’s E.T. with their large eyes and strange-looking toes. Each of the tarsier’s eyes is bigger than its brain. Meanwhile, their toes are used to grip branches.
From toe-to-head, tarsiers measure only between 8 to 16 cm. That’s just about the size of a phone! Despite its size, tarsiers can do amazing things like giving their heads a 180 degree spin, and jump to a height of 16 feet! Locals refer to Tarsiers as Maomag. Its other interesting features include a rat-like tail that has a length longer than its body. It also has ears that resemble a bat’s and which a tarsier can move independently of each other.
The tarsiers are believed to have already existed 45 million years ago. However, they have become an endangered species. Many factors contributed to the diminishment of their number. For one, there used to be a practice of catching the animals and selling them to tourists as stuffed animals. When captured, tarsiers commit suicide because they are not used to human touch. Secondly, the destruction of forests through slash-and-burn culture and in order to give way development projects has destroyed also the natural habitat of the tarsiers.
This has prompted the creation of the Philippine Tarsier Foundation, which acquired the dense jungle to serve as the sanctuary of the endangered animals. Entry to the Tarsier Sanctuary costs only Php 20, a small fee to see one of the great wonders of nature in their natural habitat. Inside the Tarsier Sanctuary, one will also find an information center.
Before leaving, you might want to keep a souvenir of your trip to the Tarsier Sanctuary and of your trip to Bohol, Philippines. There are souvenir shops around where you can buy t-shirts with tarsier print, key chains, and more. If you have not hired a cab or a car, you can take a motorbike again to Sikatuna town center where you can take a bus to Tagbilaran City.