Isip ko’y Buhol-BOHOL: Living The Life of a TARSIER (part1)

Posted: August 24, 2012 in Blog, Travel
Tags: , , ,

Photobucket

Isip ko’y Buhol-BOHOL:
Living The Life of a Tarsier
Part 1

Having regretted not passing-by Bohol when we went to Cebu for the SINULOG, we planned another trip and would stay longer than a day. So after a long wait we were booked via Philippine Airlines to Tagbilaran, and our plan was to stay in Bohol for 2 days then stay a night in Panglao Island

Bohol, derived from the word Bo-ho or Bo-ol, is the seat of the first international treaty of peace and unity between Datu Sikatuna, a native chieftain and Miguel Lopez de Legaspi, a Spanish conquistador on March 16, 1565 through a blood compact known today as Sandugo. Located in the Central Visayan Region, consisting of Bohol Island and 75 minor surrounding islands. Its capital is Tagbilaran (where the airport is located). With a land area of 4,117.3 square kilometers (1,589.7 sq mi) and a coastline 261 kilometers (162 mi) long, Bohol is the tenth largest island of the Philippines. To the west of Bohol is Cebu, to the northeast is the island of Leyte, and to the south across the Bohol Sea is Mindanao.

The island is a popular tourist destination with its beaches and resorts. The Chocolate Hills, numerous mounds of limestone formations, is the most popular attraction. Panglao Island, located just southwest of Tagbilaran City, is famous for its diving location and routinely listed as one of the top ten diving locations in the world. Numerous resorts dot the southern beaches and cater to divers from around the world. The Philippine Tarsier, considered the second-smallest primate in the world, is indigenous to the island.

Awaiting for our flight at 0535hrs at NAIA Terminal II and arrived at Tagbilaran Airport at around 0700hrs. Having gathered our bags from the luggage carousel, we tried to look for those tourism students which would be our guide but could not see one, on our way out of the airport we were approached by accredited tour guides and we inquired about the fare to our lodging and told us that it would be Php800. Then upon haggling for the price, we got our tour guide for the day for Php2,500, which would take us to major tourist spots around Bohol plus other we would like to visit.

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Little did we know when we arrived in Tagbilaran that they were celebrating the Sandugo Festival, and there were a lot of personalities for the Bohol Festival. We were brought by mang roque to out first stop, which is the cathedral of Tagbilaran or St. Joseph Cathedral.

The present cathedral of Tagbilaran, traces to a church built by Fr. Valero de San Pascual, OAR, while the bell tower to Fr. Jose Sanchez, OAR. The church’s interior and exterior have undergone renovations. However, despite the renovations, some historic pieces still remain. The two side altars are in the 18th century Baroque style, while the central altar, decorated with symbols from the Old Testament is in the 19th century neoclassical style. The statue of St. Joseph, the patron of the church, is an 18th century vintage. The church has a good collection of ancient documents, including a fragment of an 18th century Visayan dictionary.
Near the cathedral is the Lions Children’s Playground where children enjoy different playground facilities. There is also a plaza near the cathedral, which functions as the meeting place of people in the city. The plaza has been remodeled a number of times. A cement kiosk traces to the early 20th century while the mushroom-like shelters, are said to have been designed by National Artist Napoleon Abueva, a native of Bohol.
Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Was on our way to Bohol Museum but since it was a Bohol Holiday (Sandugo Festival) the museum was closed, and so was others around tagbilaran, so strike one! We then headed for Barangay Bool, or the approximate site of the Bohol Blood Compact Shrine where Miguel Lopez de Legazpi and Rajah Sikatuna made a ritual to enter a pact of friendship and end the hostilities between them.

More than forty years after Magellan’s death, in 1564, Spain sent out four expeditions to establish colonies in the Far East, and to pick up a share of the lucrative spice trade under control of the Portuguese. These expeditions failed, but in the next year, Miguel Lopez de Legazpi was more successful. Sailing westwards from Mexico with four ships and almost four hundred men, he reached the Philippines in the beginning of 1565, and established a Spanish settlement. This wasn’t an easy achievement. Just like Magellan before him, Legazpi met with hostile native warriors, who didn’t like the idea of foreigers invading their islands. His attempt to land on the island of Cebu was twarted, and he decided to look for a friendlier place. He lifted his anchor and headed south in the direction of Mindanao. A change of wind, however, forced his fleet back to north in the direction of Bohol. With the help of a Mohammedan Malay pilot from a captured trading ship from Borneo, he learned that the Filipinos were involved in trade with the Moluccas, Borneo, Java, Malacca, and even far away places such as India and China.

Also at Bohol, Legazpi was given a hostile welcome. From his Malay pilot, he learned that this hostility was due to maurading expeditions of the Portuguese. Coming from the Moluccas, the Portuguese raiders traversed the Visayan seas, and just a few years before, in 1563, had plundered Bohol and killed or enslaved about one thousand of its inhabitants. Of course, the Boholano’s easily mistook the Spaniards for Portuguese. Again with the help of his pilot, Legazpi explained two chiefs of Bohol, Datu Sikatuna of Bool and Datu Sigala of Loboc that they were not Portuguese, and had come in peace, and not to plunder or kill. This convinced the Kings to end their hostility and enter pact of friendship. On 16 March 1565 (or 25 March, records are confused due to the Georgian calender reform in 1584), Legazpi and Sikatuna performed the now famous blood compact, probably not far from the modern town of Loay. This event is still celebrated in Bohol every year in June with the Sandugo (“One Blood”) festival. The same ceremony was repeated three days later with Sigala.

The month-long Sandugo Festival every July is punctuated by balls and dances, beauty pageants, fairs, sports events, and the reenactment of the blood compact to signify the friendship formed between the Boholanos and the Spaniards.

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Off to Baclayon and see the Baclayon Church or the Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception.

The Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception in Baclayon is considered to be one of the oldest churches in the Philippines. It is one of the best preserve Jesuit built churches in the region, although in the 19th century, the Augustinian Recollects added a modern facade and a number of stone buildings that now surround the church. The first Spanish missionaries or doctrineros in the region, Fr. Juan de Torres and Fr. Gabriel Sanchez, first settled in Baclayon in 1595. Shortly after their arrival, a visita was erected on the spot.

Although Baclayon was the first seat of the Spanish Jesuit missionaries, fear of Moro marauders soon forced them to move their headquarters more inland, to Loboc. Only in 1717, Baclayon became a parish, and construction of a new church commenced. Some 200 native forced laborers constructed the church from coral stones, which they took from the sea, cut into square blocks, and piled on to each other. They used bamboo to move and lift the stones in position, and used the white of a million eggs as to cement them together. The current building was completed in 1727. The church obtained a large bell in 1835. In the Baclayon church is a dungeon, which was used to punish natives who violated the rules of the Roman Catholic Church.

Next to the church is the old convent, which also houses a small museum with centuries-old religious relics, artifacts and other antiquities, dating back to the 16th century. Included in the collection are an ivory statue of the crucified Christ looking towards heaven; a statue of the Blessed Virgin, said to be presented by Queen Catherine of Aragon; relics of St. Ignatius of Loyola, old gold embroidered ecclesiastical vestments, books with carabao skin covers, and librettos of church music written in Latin on sheep skins. Here you can also find the cuadro paintings made by the Filipino painter Liberato Gatchalian in 1859.

But since it was a Bohol Holiday… the museum was closed, so strike two!

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

We headed next to the town of Albur and the Sta. Monica Church when it started raining.

Boholanos call the town “Albu.” Located along the highway is the church complex built on a low knoll. The Albu parish was established in 1869 after being separated from Baclayon. A 1886 report, indicates that the church was built of light materials, however, the convento described as “de grandes dimensiones” was already standing. This way made of rubble, wood and tabique.

The date of the construction of the church is uncertain, although, the generous use of reinforced concrete for the façade and the bell tower (which is integrated into the façade) indicates that the church was either being built or renovated in the 20th century. The church interior has been renovated. The large convento, to the side of the church and is connected by a bridge to the church. The whole complex is harmonized by a series of arches that link church, bridge and convento.

Near the church in a small animal sanctuary lives prony

Prony is caged in Upper Sta. Felomina in the town of Albur. It is about 15 minutes away from Tagbilaran City. The owner says that Prony’s growth abnormality is due to the fact that they treated the Python with utmost care. They fed Prony live chickens before but due to her large consumption and the cost of chickens, they now fed her with pig or goat every month. This Python has an amazing ability to sense unsuitable food such as sick pigs and goats. Prony doesn’t like dark, spotted and dirty pigs. She chooses clean white pigs that weigh over 40 kilos. The Python is given a bath 4 times a day and celebrates her own birthday annually.

Because of the curious locals and foreigners who want to see the largest Python in captivity, the owners decided to open their gates to the public at a very affordable rate of P10.00 per person. A souvenir shop that sells bags, wallets, miniature snakes, etc is now owned by the Family. They are now raising additional animals such as turtles, owls, king –fishers, herons and a wild cat to keep up their growing collection and their dream to build a zoo.

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Before heading further away from Tagbilaran, we headed back to town and got some provisions we might need for our stay in Loboc. Heading for Loboc passing the town of Loay, we stopped at a shed where mang roque said we could see the tarsier. We saw some tarsiers all right but not in their normal habitat which means they were bought and held in captivity so we tourist can see, photograph and feed them. (i really wanted to see them in their natural habitat which means at night time).

The Philippine Tarsier (Tarsius syrichta), known locally as the Maumag in Cebuano/Visayan and Mamag in Luzon, is an [endangered species] [endemic] to the Philippines. It is found in the southeastern part of the archipelago, particularly in the islands of Bohol Island, Samar Island, Leyte Island and Mindanao. It is a member of approximately 45 million years old FamilyTarsiidae, whose name is derived from its elongated “tarsus” or ankle bone.

Like all tarsiers, the Philippine Tarsier’s eyes are fixed in its skull; they cannot turn in their sockets. Instead, a special adaptation in the neck allows its round head to be rotated 180 degrees. The eyes are disproportionately large, having the largest eye-to-body size ratio of all mammals. These huge eyes provide this nocturnal animal with excellent night vision. The large membranous ears are mobile, appearing to be almost constantly moving, allowing the tarsier to hear any movement.

The Philippine Tarsier is a shy nocturnal animal that leads a mostly hidden life, asleep during the day and only active to look for food during the night. During the day, it sleeps in dark hollows close to the ground, near the trunks of trees and shrubs deep in the impenetrable bushes and forests. They only become active at night, and even then, with their much better sight and amazing ability to maneuver around trees, are very well able to avoid humans.

It is arboreal and is a vertical clinger and leaper, habitually clinging vertically to trees and are capable of leaping from branch to branch.

The Philippine Tarsier is solitary. However, it is found to have either monogamous or polygamous mating system.

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Checked in a nuts huts, a secluded place where their guest are mostly foreigners and is included in Lonely Planet as one of the cheapest places to stay in Bohol. While getting there is no easy task, walking down 200 steps where about half way down is the main house where you register and get a room, where they serve food or where you just laze around in the many hammock or lounging beds around.

Which had me thinking, why do Filipinos seldom go and stay here? Is it that we Filipino look for the amenities that would make our lives easier or “Sosyal lang tayo’ng mga Pinoy!”

Nuts Huts is owned and managed by a Dutchman and his Chinese wife is located at the edge of Loboc river. You would literally be living in a jungle but good thing there is electricity. Huts are modest with bath and the food they serve is the best.

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

After the long walk up the step and along the fire road back to the van, we headed for Loboc River for the River Cruise and to eat some lunch.

All photos are owned and copyrighted by Joey Rico (also known under these names: alien_scream).
All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized use, copy, editing, reproduction, publication, duplication and distribution of the digital photos, without his explicit permission, is punishable by law

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Philippines License.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s