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The Philippine Tarsier and Wildlife Sanctuary in Corella, Bohol is a dedicated conservation area established to protect the Philippine tarsier, one of the smallest primates in the world. The sanctuary covers approximately 134 hectares of secondary forest, providing a natural habitat for these unique creatures.
Located just a short distance from Tagbilaran City, the sanctuary offers visitors an opportunity to observe tarsiers in their natural environment. The well-maintained trails wind through the forest, allowing visitors to explore while being mindful of the tarsiers' welfare. Knowledgeable guides accompany visitors and provide information about the behavior, habitat, and conservation efforts of the tarsiers.
The Philippine Tarsier and Wildlife Sanctuary follows strict guidelines to ensure the well-being of the tarsiers. Visitors are advised to keep a respectful distance from the animals and avoid making loud noises or using flash photography. These measures are in place to minimize stress and disturbance to the tarsiers, allowing them to live and thrive in their natural habitat.
The sanctuary also features an information center where visitors can learn more about the tarsiers and the conservation efforts being undertaken to protect them. Educational materials and displays provide insights into the unique characteristics and importance of the Philippine tarsier in the ecosystem.
By visiting the Philippine Tarsier and Wildlife Sanctuary in Corella, visitors have the opportunity to witness these fascinating creatures up close and contribute to their conservation. The sanctuary plays a vital role in raising awareness about the importance of protecting tarsiers and their natural habitat, ensuring their survival for future generations to appreciate and enjoy.
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The Tarsier Trail in The Philippine Tarsier and Wildlife Sanctuary of Corella is a popular route frequented by trekkers and eco-tourists who are eager to explore the scenic and forested landscapes of Corella, Sikatuna, and Loboc.
This trail is particularly renowned for being the natural habitat of the tarsier, one of the world's smallest primates.
Recognizing the importance of conserving the tarsier species, Proclamation No. 1030 has declared them as endangered.
In response, the Philippine Tarsier Foundation, Inc., a group of concerned individuals from Corella, took the initiative to establish the Philippine Tarsier and Wildlife Sanctuary, with the approval of the DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources).
Within the sanctuary, a 15-kilometer trail has been carefully crafted by the foundation.
This trail offers strategic vantage points that allow visitors to observe the tarsiers in their natural habitat. Moreover, the trail serves as an educational platform, providing opportunities to learn about the diverse fauna and flora found in the forests. Signage with scientific and relevant information enhances the educational experience along the trail.
The forested area encompassed by the trail also offers a haven for birdwatchers, as it is home to rare bird species that inhabit the Bohol forests. Spotting these elusive birds requires some luck or the use of birdcall tapes, binoculars, and other necessary equipment for optimal sightings.
Before embarking on the trail, visitors are treated to up-close encounters with tarsiers in captivity at the Tarsier Research and Development Center, where the adorable creatures are housed in a netted enclosure. At the visitor's complex, guests can further acquaint themselves with the unique characteristics and behaviors of tarsiers through a captivating photographic display and an informative audio-visual presentation.
For those interested in exploring the trail and gaining a deeper understanding of the tarsiers, as well as the area's wildlife and flora, trained guides are available. These guides are typically volunteer college students from Tagbilaran City. To ensure a non-disruptive experience for the tarsiers, tours are conducted in small groups, minimizing any unnecessary disturbance to these small mammals.
The The Philippine Tarsier and Wildlife Sanctuary is home to an estimated 500 tarsiers, living in mini-colonies of three to ten adults and their offspring. Along the trail, visitors will encounter various types of secondary growth, including mahogany, teak, and ficus trees, as well as a diverse range of palm trees, ferns, bamboo, and other low-growing trees and shrubs.
As guests venture deeper into the forest, they may have the opportunity to spot various bird species that inhabit the area, including the majestic serpent eagle, brahmini kite, woodpecker, rocky-tailed blue-headed parrot, glass owl, bubock pigeon, water cock, parakeets, and more. Occasional sightings of monkeys, monitor lizards, pythons, cobras, macock palm civet cats, and Philippine civet cats have also been reported, adding to the wildlife diversity of the region.
The forested area is teeming with insects, which serve as the primary diet for tarsiers. These tiny primates exclusively feed on live insects, making the insect-infested environment an essential part of their survival. The trail leads trekkers through the hinterlands of Sikatuna before crossing over to Loboc, where panoramic views of the picturesque Loboc River, with its wide and deep emerald green waters, await. After more than two hours of hiking, a refreshing swim in the river or a rejuvenating experience under the rushing waters of Busay Falls, followed by a sunbath, offers a well-deserved break.
A brief visit to the historic Loboc Church, one of Bohol's oldest churches, is a fitting addition to the trail. The church showcases beautiful frescoes adorning its ceilings, while the adjacent three-floor convent houses the Loboc Museum, offering a glimpse into the area's rich heritage. If fortunate, the group may even witness the renowned Loboc Children's Choir practicing inside the church, adding a touch of musical delight to their visit.
To conclude the journey, trekkers will be guided to embark on designated floating restaurants, where they can indulge in a delectable native seafood buffet or enjoy a hearty snack. Drifting leisurely down the river, they will pass scenic landscapes until reaching the small seaport of Loay. From there, the group will take a convenient ride back to Tagbilaran City, located just approximately 18.3 kilometers away.
Several tarsier sanctuaries have been established in Bohol to protect and conserve these unique creatures, allowing visitors to observe them in their natural habitat. These adorable, small primates with large eyes are native to the Philippines and are considered one of the smallest primates in the world.
Here are some of the tarsier sanctuaries in Bohol:
1. Philippine Tarsier and Wildlife Sanctuary (Corella):
Located in the town of Corella, this sanctuary is one of the most popular places to see tarsiers in Bohol. The sanctuary covers an area of approximately 134 hectares of secondary forest and is home to a significant population of tarsiers. Visitors can take guided tours to learn about the conservation efforts and observe the tarsiers up close while following strict guidelines to ensure their well-being. (This page will cover this sanctuary.)
2. Tarsier Conservation Area (Loboc):
Situated in the town of Loboc, this sanctuary offers visitors a chance to see tarsiers in their natural habitat. The area features a well-maintained trail through the forest, where tarsiers can be spotted clinging to trees or leaping between branches. Knowledgeable guides provide information about the behavior, habitat, and conservation of these unique creatures. Being closer to the chocolate hills this sanctuary is quite touristy.
3. Philippine Tarsier Recreation Inc. (Bilar):
Located in the municipality of Bilar, this sanctuary is dedicated to protecting and preserving the tarsiers. It provides a safe environment for tarsiers to thrive, and visitors can observe them from designated viewing areas. The sanctuary also features an information center where visitors can learn more about tarsiers and the efforts being made to conserve them.
4. Tarsier Botanika (Panglao Island):
Situated on Panglao Island, Tarsier Botanika is a unique eco-sanctuary that combines tarsier conservation with beautiful gardens. Visitors can explore the lush gardens and spot tarsiers in their natural habitat. The sanctuary promotes responsible tourism and educates visitors about the importance of conservation and protection of tarsiers.
When visiting these tarsier sanctuaries, it's important to follow the rules and regulations set by the management to ensure the well-being of the tarsiers. Guidelines typically include maintaining a distance from the tarsiers, refraining from using flash photography, and keeping noise levels to a minimum.
By visiting these sanctuaries, tourists not only get a chance to see these fascinating creatures but also contribute to their conservation efforts. The tarsier sanctuaries in Bohol play a crucial role in raising awareness about the importance of protecting these endangered species and their natural habitat.
The Philippine tarsier is a small primate that is found only in the Philippines. They are nocturnal animals that are active during the night and sleep during the day. They have large eyes that are fixed in their sockets, which means they cannot move their eyes to look around. Instead, they rotate their heads up to 180 degrees to see their surroundings. They have long fingers and toes that are used to grip onto branches and tree trunks. The tarsier is an endangered species, and there are only a few thousand of them left in the wild.
The Philippine Tarsier Foundation, Incorporated (PTFI) is a non-stock, non-profit organization entrusted by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Department of Tourism (DOT) to implement the Philippine Tarsier Conservation Program. Based in Tagbilaran City, Bohol, the foundation aims to engage local residents and corporations in actively supporting and participating in the conservation program and the foundation's work.
Initially focused on conservation efforts in Bohol, the foundation has a long-term vision of collaborating with similar organizations across the Philippines to develop projects that protect and preserve rare fauna, flora, and their natural habitats.
One of the notable achievements of the foundation is the establishment of the Philippine Tarsier and Wildlife Sanctuary. Covering an area of 167 hectares in the municipalities of Corella, Sikatuna, and Loboc, the sanctuary is under the administration of the DENR as part of its Social Forestry Project. The sanctuary features the "Tarsier Trail," a 15-kilometer trail that winds through the forested terrain, offering visitors numerous vantage points for observing the tarsiers in their natural habitat.
To provide additional protection, the foundation acquired 8.4 hectares of land in Corella and enclosed it with a seven-foot-high fence. This enclosure safeguards the tarsiers from predators such as feral cats and prevents poaching and hunting. Although the tarsiers are free to roam within the enclosure, they often return before daybreak, almost as if observing a curfew.
Within the 8.4-hectare land, the foundation established the Tarsier Research and Development Center, serving as a visitor center and research facility. Here, visitors can learn about the unique characteristics and behaviors of tarsiers through engaging photo displays and audio-visual presentations.
Apart from the Corella Sanctuary, there are other tarsier sanctuaries in various towns in Bohol. The River Watch Tarsier Sanctuary in Loay town and a fenced sanctuary in Loboc town offer further opportunities for observing these remarkable creatures. Candijay town has its own tarsier sanctuary, where tarsiers roam freely in their natural habitat within a 2,360-hectare upland forest conservation area.
Additionally, there are smaller caged tarsier sanctuaries, such as the ones in Loboc and Sagbayan Peak. However, the practice of keeping tarsiers in small enclosures for close interaction is not encouraged, as it can cause stress and prevent them from breeding successfully.
Through its conservation efforts, research initiatives, and establishment of sanctuaries, the Philippine Tarsier Foundation plays a crucial role in preserving the unique tarsier species and raising awareness about the importance of protecting their natural habitats.
Carlito Pizarras, also known as "The Tarsier Man," is a dedicated conservationist and advocate for the protection of Philippine tarsiers. Born and raised in Corella, Bohol, Pizarras has devoted his life to preserving and raising awareness about these unique primates.
Pizarras' passion for tarsiers began when he was young, growing up in a village where tarsiers were abundant. He witnessed the rapid decline in the tarsier population due to habitat loss and poaching, which prompted him to take action. In the early 1990s, he established the Philippine Tarsier Foundation to focus on the conservation and protection of tarsiers.
Through his foundation, Pizarras initiated various projects aimed at safeguarding tarsiers and their habitats. He played a key role in establishing the Philippine Tarsier and Wildlife Sanctuary in Corella, working closely with local communities, government agencies, and conservation organizations. The sanctuary has become a model for responsible tourism and tarsier conservation efforts.
Pizarras is known for his tireless efforts in educating both locals and tourists about the importance of conserving tarsiers. He conducts guided tours and provides informative lectures, sharing his knowledge and experiences with visitors. His engaging approach and deep understanding of tarsiers have made him a respected figure in the field of conservation.
Pizarras has received numerous awards and recognition for his dedication and contribution to tarsier conservation. His work has not only helped protect the tarsier population in Bohol but has also raised awareness globally about the need to preserve this endangered species.
Through his unwavering commitment, Carlito Pizarras, "The Tarsier Man," continues to inspire others to take action and make a difference in safeguarding the future of Philippine tarsiers. His passion, knowledge, and leadership have made a significant impact on tarsier conservation efforts, ensuring the survival of these fascinating primates for generations to come.
There are many different things to do at the Philippine Tarsier & Wildlife Sanctuary. Here are a few of the most popular activities:
The Philippine Tarsier & Wildlife Sanctuary has rules and regulations in place to ensure the safety and well-being of the tarsiers. Visitors are not allowed to touch or hold the tarsiers, as this can stress them and cause them harm. Flash photography is also prohibited, as the bright light can damage the tarsiers' sensitive eyes. Visitors are advised to keep a distance of at least one meter from the tarsiers to avoid disturbing them.
Visitors are also required to follow a dress code when visiting the sanctuary. They are not allowed to wear bright colors or strong perfumes, as this can agitate the tarsiers. Visitors are also required to wear masks and practice social distancing, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Philippine Tarsier & Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the town of Corella, which has other attractions that are worth visiting. One of these attractions is the Corella Rice Terraces, which is a series of rice paddies that are carved into the mountainside. The terraces provide a picturesque backdrop for a hike or a picnic.
Another attraction in Corella is the Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church, which is a beautiful example of Spanish colonial architecture. The church was built in the 18th century and features a bell tower that is separate from the main building. The church is a popular destination for visitors who are interested in history and architecture.
If you are interested in outdoor activities, the nearby Loboc River is a great place to go kayaking or paddleboarding. The river is surrounded by lush greenery and provides a peaceful and relaxing environment for a day out on the water.
For those who are looking for more adventure, the nearby Chocolate Hills are a must-visit attraction. These are a series of over 1,200 cone-shaped hills that are spread over an area of about 50 square kilometers. The hills are made of limestone and get their name from the brown color they turn during the dry season. Visitors can climb to the top of one of the hills to get a panoramic view of the surrounding landscape.
Here are a few tips for visiting the Philippine Tarsier & Wildlife Sanctuary:
The Bohol Tarsier Sanctuary is a great place to learn about and see these amazing creatures up close. By visiting the sanctuary, you can help to ensure that tarsiers continue to thrive in the wild.
The Philippine Tarsier and Wildlife Sanctuary of Corella, Bohol is an arm of the Philippine Tarsier Foundation, Inc. (PTFI), a non-stock, non-profit organization established in 1996. The Foundation has been issued a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) by DENR to find ways to conserve as well as to promote the tarsier of Bohol.
The tarsiers have been 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.
In this pursuit, a 167 hectares sanctuary has been established by the Philippine Tarsier Foundation, Inc. covering areas within the municipalities of Corella, Sikatuna and Loboc. This is timberland area currently under the administration of the DENR and is part of the Social Forestry Project. The sanctuary starts at barangay Canapnapan in Corella, Bohol.
These three towns were chosen as the sanctuary site since numerous sightings of the tarsiers have been made within their forested domain. In fact, these were the places where the little creatures were formerly hunted down, captured and then sold to local and foreign visitors.
Declared as a sanctuary, the tarsiers are now allowed to live and reproduce freely in a natural setting. Poaching, killing and even wounding of them are strictly prohibited as well as the destruction of its declared habitat. Possession of the tarsier for educational, scientific or conservation-centered research purposes may be allowed upon certification by the DENR Secretary.
The sanctuary is mostly of secondary growth forest quite extensive and largely uninhabited and isolated from settlements. Portions of the area are open and relatively bare yet majority has lush vegetation mostly of second-growth trees, bamboo clumps, tall grass patches and thick bushes that tarsiers prefer.
One can also observe different fauna and flora in the forested areas. The later has signage with their scientific name, place of origin, geographical distribution, and a brief explanation of their properties and traditional applications.
Within the sanctuary and situated at Corella, the Tarsier Research and Development Center has been established with a visitor’s center complete with a reception and souvenir counter, an exhibition area, an audio-visual room, a mini-cafeteria, toilets, and administration offices. A lounge-deck is outside and a large parking lot beyond which no vehicles are allowed to enter.
The research center will rise within the sanctuary at Corella and this will be fully equipped with a laboratory, veterinary clinic, library, offices and conference rooms, staff quarters and storage. Suitable accommodations will also be provided for visiting scientists and technicians. Access to this center is restricted though.
Trails and pathways spread out to various parts of the sanctuary where the tarsiers can be observed in their natural habitat either with the naked eye or through binoculars. Viewing decks have been set up at ground level and some atop elevated platforms to facilitate proper sightings.
The “Tarsier Trail” has been set up by the Foundation within the forested area. The pathway winds its way thru the gently rolling terrain of the interior towns of Corella, Sikatuna and Loboc. The trail is over a distance of about 15 kilometers with established vantage points along the way.
The sanctuary is envisioned to grow with the move of the Foundation for reforestation; another priority project of the group. Portion of the sanctuary will be set aside for the cultivation and propagation of hardwoods, bamboo, varieties of palms and ferns, herbal, flowering plus medicinal plants especially those with commercial value.
The Philippine Tarsier & Wildlife Sanctuary is a unique and unforgettable experience that should not be missed when visiting Bohol. It offers visitors the opportunity to observe one of the smallest primates in the world in its natural habitat and learn about the importance of conservation and wildlife protection.
The sanctuary is well-maintained and organized, with knowledgeable guides who are passionate about the tarsiers and their habitat. Whether you are a nature lover, an animal enthusiast, or just looking for a memorable experience, the Bohol Tarsier Sanctuary is definitely worth a visit.