Tarsier Sanctuary

Selected by the Philippine Tarsier Foundation as site is a public domain of approximately 167 hectares between the municipalities of Corella and Sikatuna in Bohol. Corella is only 10 kilometers northeast of Tagbilaran City. Buses and jeepneys regularly ply the route. Air-conditioned coaches and cars are likewise available for hire at the airport, travel agencies and hotels in the capital and resorts on the nearby island of Panglao.

From the town center of Corella to the Sanctuary entrance is a mere four kilometers away. Existing in the area now is a spacious 3,667 sq. m. net-fenced area where “tarsier man” Carlito Pizarras, who at the outset caught and sold specimens to collectors, hobbyists and tourists for a living but has since become an enthusiastic environmentalist, keeps several of the specie for breeding and display. Pizarras is now employed by the Foundation, which has likewise assumed responsibility for the maintenance of the netted area and its inhabitants.

Numerous sightings of the tarsier within and around the site confirm that it is most suitable for the stated purpose. In addition to being extensive, it is largely uninhabited and isolated enough from settlements that neither population pressure nor pollution in any form is foreseen to be a problem. While certain parts are open and relatively bare, the whole vegetation is adequately lush, mostly with the kind of secondary-growth trees, bamboo clumps, tall grass patches, and thick bushes that the tarsier prefers. For the visitor, the hilly terrain offers bucolic vistas of green rolling fields, low-lying mountains, and still dense forests.

Amid such scenery, the Tarsier Research and Development Center was constructed. Aimed at introducing guests to the Philippine tarsier, the Philippine Tarsier Conservation Program and the Sanctuary, this building houses, among others, a reception and souvenir counter, an exhibit area, an audio-visual room, restrooms, and administration offices. Outside will be a lounge deck, and nearby a parking lot, beyond which no vehicles will be allowed.

Elsewhere on the premises of the research center will be a fully equipped laboratory, veterinary clinic, library, offices and conference rooms, staff quarters and storage. This is intended to provide suitable if limited accommodations for visiting scientists and technicians. Access to this center will naturally be restricted. Adjacent to it, is a sizable enclosure which will hold a small colony of the species for both public viewing and study.

From the Research and Development center, trails and pathways will spread out to various other parts and corners of the sanctuary, where the tarsier can be observed in its natural habitat either with the naked eye or through binoculars. A series of viewing decks will be erected at ground level or atop elevated platforms. On the walking tours that the visitor will be guided through, there will be ample opportunity to become acquainted with a wide variety of other fauna and flora, with signages of their scientific name, place of origin, geographical distribution, and briefly explaining their properties and traditional applications.

Parallel to and in aid of wildlife conservation, the Foundation envisions reforestation as another priority. To this end, it plans to allot a substantial portion of the property for the cultivation and propagation of hardwood that Bohol was renowned for among shipbuilders, carpenters and furniture makers in centuries past; of bamboo which has become synonymous with Asian handicrafts and housewares; of palms and ferns that have always provided sustenance and shelter to the Filipino apart from being decorative; and of plants, herbs and flowers, which are either medicinal or have commercial value.

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