Tarsier in a tree at Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary.

© StanislavBeloglazov/Shutterstock

Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary

Top choice in Bohol

In Canapnapan, a barangay of Corella, you can see saucer-eyed tarsiers in the wild at the Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary. Over 100 of these territorial primates hang out in the immediate vicinity of the centre, though only eight are in the viewing area. The guides will bring you right to them via a short jungle trail; no flash photography is permitted. The visitors centre includes good information boards and the whole forested sanctuary is well managed and a pleasure to visit.

The simultaneously crazy and cuddly looking tarsier can fit in the palm of your hand yet leap 5m, rotate its head almost 360 degrees and move its ears in the direction of sound. It has huge imploring eyes, 150 times bigger than a human's in relation to its body size.

The tarsier is not only one of the world's smallest primates and the oldest surviving member of the primate group at 45 million years old, it is also an endangered species. The main threats to its survival are habitat destruction, introduced species, hunting and the pet trade. While also found in Samar, Leyte and parts of Mindanao, Bohol is the province that is doing the most to promote awareness of the tarsier and attempting to ensure its survival.

Keen hikers can arrange longer guided walks in the surrounding wildlife sanctuary, although you are unlikely to spot tarsiers outside the immediate vicinity of the visitors centre.

From Tagbilaran, take a Sikatuna-bound jeepney (P25, 45 minutes). From Loboc, take a jeepney heading to Tagbilaran (P25, 40 minutes).

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