The Tarsier Trail
The Tarsier Trail is a much traversed pathway in Corella by trekkers and eco-tourists. The pathway winds its way thru the gently rolling forested terrain of the interior towns of Corella, Sikatuna and Loboc which has been known as the natural habitat of one of the world’s smallest primate – the tarsier.
By virtue of Proclamation No. 1030, the tarsier has been declared endangered specie. To properly implement the mandate, concerned private citizens of Corella formed the Philippine Tarsier Foundation, Inc.. With the go signal of the DENR, the group established the Philippine Tarsier and Wildlife Sanctuary.
Within the Sanctuary, the 15-kilometer trail has been set up by the Foundation with specific vantage points to enable interested parties to observe the tarsiers in its natural habitat. The trail was also established for educational purposes. Various fauna and flora can be found in the forests with the later having signage with scientific and other pertinent information given.
The forested area where the trails winds its way is also a birdwatchers paradise. Rare birds known to inhabit the Bohol forests can be found in the Sanctuary – that is, if one is lucky enough or come prepared with the necessary paraphernalia for proper sightings such as birdcall tapes, binoculars and the like.
Before embarking on the trail, guests are treated to close-up sightings of tarsiers in captivity at a netted enclosure at the Tarsier Research and Development Center. At the visitor’s complex, guests will be oriented to the unique characteristics and habits of the tarsier via a photographic display and an audio-visual presentation.
If guests want to pursue the trail to better acquaint themselves with the tarsiers, other wildlife and flora of the area, they will be guided by trained guides, mostly volunteer college students from Tagbilaran City. Tours are however conducted in small groups so as not to startle the little mammals unnecessarily.
The Sanctuary is populated by an estimated 500 tarsiers which lives in mini-colonies of no more than three to ten adults and offspring each. On both sides of the trail, one will encounter different secondary growth of mahogany, teak and ficus trees as well as varieties of palm, ferns, bamboo and other low-growing trees and shrubs.
Further into the forest, guests may be able to sight some of the birds that inhabit the area such as the serpent eagle, brahmini kite, woodpecker, rocky-tailed blue-headed parrot, glass owl, bubock pigeon, water cock, parakeets, reel and more. Sightings of monkeys, monitor lizards and snakes like the python and cobra have been done from time to time as well as of the macock palm civet cat and the Philippine civet cat.
The whole area is insect infested which are the staple diet of the tarsiers who only ingest them live. The trail takes you to the hinterlands of Sikatuna then crosses over to Loboc where one will view the wide and deep emerald green Loboc River. A swim in the river or a stint under the rushing waters of Busay Falls plus a sunbath, after more than two hours of hiking, would be a welcome respite.
A short visit to one of Bohol’s oldest churches, the Loboc Church, is just apt and appropriate. The church ceilings have beautiful frescoes and the 3-floor convent houses the Loboc Museum. If the group finds the famous Loboc Children’s Choir practicing inside the church, then it is your lucky day!
The trekkers will then be guided to embark on designated floating restaurants to enjoy a native seafood buffet or a hearty snack as they slowly flow down the river up to the small seaport of the town of Loay. Disembarking, the group will then take a ride back to Tagbilaran City which is only about 18.3 kilometers away.