Aside from the Chocolate Hills, these guys have been the unofficial ambassadors of Bohol throughout the world!
The trip was a bit long from the Chocolate Hills view deck to the Tarsier Conservation Area but this was a pleasant trip.
We were first made to pay the entrance fee of Php 60.00 each (Php 50.oo for Senior Citizens) and wait for the next batch of tourists for a briefing on how to conduct ourselves inside the conservation area. We got another souvenir postcard from visiting this, an I idea I really, really like. 🙂
Not long after sitting in the waiting area, “Love Añover” comes out and introduces herself as Laiza, our guide. (I swear, they must’ve been separated at birth!) She discussed house rules and some facts about the tarsiers in captivity in the conservation area and that flash photography is strictly prohibited. it wasn’t long before we were ushered into the enclosed area to see the tarsiers. I was really excited to meet the little critters like i was going to meet a rock star. really!
during the briefing, we were told how to spot the tarsiers: ‘spotters’ of the conservation site had tied red bows on or near the tree trunks where tarsiers can be found. this was the deal-breaker for me. more on the later.
the trek was somewhat paved with concrete steps in some areas that were quite slippery (MIL had a little difficulty because of the flats she wore) but the rest of us were prepared with quite grippy shoes. (N.B. to those who want to visit!)
anyway, it was a quick tour, really. that’s the really disappointing part… i had imagined something that was straight out of a Steve Irwin documentary or one of those from National Geographic. instead, it was like i got into a big zoo with animal props. it felt a bit staged to me. plus the faces and posture of the spotters didn’t help — they looked like mall attendants at closing time who have been on midshift for two weeks straight. they looked awfully bored and tired! aside from “Love Anover”, only one other ‘spotter’ (who took our picture) was smiling during this trip.
so this experience was half-half for me. it was great to see this creature for once in my life in such a beautiful and safe place but at the same time, it’s hard not to think that they are also victims of commercialization.