Monday, September 21, 2015

Bohol: Top Ten Facts to Remember When Up Close With a Tarsier

Wazzup Pilipinas!

It was our last destination for our Bohol countryside tour but I chose to write about it first because of the thrill I got meeting the tarsier up close.

It's my first time to see the adorable little creature considered as the world's smallest primate and is so famous as an iconic symbol for Bohol. It is the only smallest primate that feeds on live prey.

You'll see their images in shirts, stuffed toys, postcards, figurines and other souvenir items every time you visit the Philippines. It is not only in Bohol that it's widely known but all over the Philippines and even the world. It is one of the animals that represent the Philippines aside from the carabao and the monkey-eating eagle ... and the askal (Asong Kalye) which has now been elevated to "aspin" (Asong Pinoy).

They say you never really have seen Bohol if you never visited the sanctuary sites of the tarsier. Just like the Chocolate Hills and the Loboc River Cruise, a visit at the Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary in Corella, Bohol is a must for every itinerary. It should always be part of your list of places to visit and explore.

I would have to thank the Department of Tourism (DOT) for giving me the opportunity to be pat of the Bohol familiarization tour. It will be a very memorable part of my life.

They look so harmless but it is prohibited to touch them or disturb them with sudden noise and light.

Here are some interesting facts about the tarsier:

1. They are nocturnal animals so they are active at night and should not be disturbed during day time. The sanctuary has knowledgeable spotters that will guide you in seeing a tarsier up close but they will not allow you to touch or disturb them.
2. They don't belong in cages. The tarsiers will commit suicide during captivity due to trauma from touching, noise and light. Thus, don't touch their tail, fur or ears as they might accidentally bite you due to stress and fear.
3. They are one of the slowest fetal growth rates of any mammal taking 6 months to reach a birth weight of 23 grams.
4. They are solitary and territorial animals. They don't go in groups so do not wonder if you only see a few of them. A singe tarsier needs at least a hectare of space per individual
5. Noisy visitors are not allowed. Visitors are not permitted to shout or speak loudly, blow the horns of their cars, play music, and keep the engine of their cars running.
6. Its ears move to the direction of sound and its long and rat-like tail is a perfect counter-weight for balance. No sudden noises when up close.
7. It can turn its head 360 degrees but its huge eyeballs can only keep still.
8. It carries only one baby in its womb for six months and nurtures it for another six months. This means it can only have one baby per year. This is a reminder to care for them and keep them safe.
9. Its eyes are so sensitive so camera flashes are not allowed when taking pictures. This includes flashes of smartphone and tablet cameras.
10. They like to rest in shadowy places with the bushes, leaves, grasses and everything else in a dense natural forest.

Together with me on the Bohol familiarization tour were photographers and journalists from different countries including Japan, China, Korea and the USA. They were actually here for the Diving Resort Travel event that happened a few days earlier (September 11 to 13, 2015) before our trip to Bohol (September 14 to 18, 2015).

This tarsier was sleeping heavily while in the midst of the leaves and branches of the trees at one are of the sanctuary. Of course, we did not disturb it and let it sleep while taking our photos.

Photojournalist Hiroshi Takano from Osaka, Japan takes a photo of one of the tarsiers. He really took a lot of photos and even videos and told us that it was very important for him to bring home photos and videos of the tarsier. Aside from being a photojournalist, he also performs a unique photo-concert where he combines his creativity in photography and videos with music containing lyrics and sounds he composed himself.

The Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary in Corella, Bohol is just around 30 minutes from the Tagbilaran airport so it's also easy to visit but a phone call or reservation is recommended so that you'll be assured that a guide will be available to take you around the sanctuary.

I also took a video of the tarsier so it will also be available soon at our Wazzup Pilipinas YouTube channel at

More photos will also be uploaded at the official Facebook page of Wazzup Pilipinas:

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