Oct 26, 2017
Cycling to View the Tarsier in Corella
Location: Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary, Corella (municipality), Bohol (province), Philippines
Cycling to Sikatuna
With father-and-son, Juan and Jeffrey taking turns to show me around the countryside, Juan and I, this time, got saddled-up to do a leisurely ride to see the tarsiers of Corella - about 15kms one-way. We took the less-traveled under-construction diversion highway from Loboc that goes all the way to Tagbilaran, passing only 2 towns - Sikatuna and Corella.
At 62, Juan is ahead of the game, still hammering for epic rides. For long and winding roads along rolling hills like this leisurely ride, Juan takes me around. For bad-ass take-no-prisoner rides, it's Jeffrey's department.
Sikwate in Sikatuna with the Roadies
We stopped by an eatery in Sikatuna which is a popular rest-stop among cyclists. Lo and behold, we met a posse of roadies who were there for a quick break. It's was good meeting members of the cycling community. We took off ahead, but they caught up with us along the way before leaving us in their dust.
Corella's Tarsier Sanctuary
It didn't take long for us to get to the sanctuary. Unlike the one in Bilar, this sanctuary is in a forested natural habitat of the tarsier. It's headed by no other than the Tarsier Man himself, Carlito Pizarras, who spent years studying and protecting the tarsiers. So much so, that when the tarsier received its own recognition as a genus, the genus was named Carlito (Species: Carlito syrichta).
Unfortunately, Juan and I didn't bring our bike locks with us. Juan stayed to look after the bikes while I made a quick inside-out of the place and meeting Carlito himself. I was star-struck meeting him. I have to make a dedicated trip to this place again. I need unhurried time to walk around the place, talk some more with Carlito and spend time observing the tarsiers.
When I visited the Tarsier sanctuary in Bilar back in 2015, the most I saw was a hand of a Tarsier. Odd, but in this particular visit, I didn't see any Tarsier at all.
Drinking with Juan's Friends in Lindaville
Juan's longtime friend, Rudy, was supposed to cycle and meet us in Sikatuna but couldn't. Instead, he invited us to see him in Lindaville (Tagbilaran) instead. True to tradition, it couldn't possibly be just a simple hi-and-hello. We went to the market to buy pork, fish and tuba for some good eats. One guy prepared the raw fish (kinilaw) with the sought-after-but-hard-to-find tabon. Juan took care of grilling the pork. Together, pork and fish were combined for the ultimate pulutan dish, Sinuglaw (sinugba + kinilaw). With fermented coconut sap (tuba or bahal) to wash it down, it was the perfect dish for their buddy-bantering anecdotes along memory lane. Of course I didn't understand a word they were saying, but I laughed along just the same.
Ride Back Home...on a truck
Tipsy, riding back home by bike wasn't an option. Rudy had our bikes loaded up on his truck and off we went back to Loboc. Home sweet home.
Increasingly, my mountain bike ride isn't just about the ride itself, but also a tour of interesting attractions. It's a triple header - I get my bike ride, I get to explore unique offerings of a place and I get to bond with my ride buddy.
I take perspective that in this particular ride, I get a glimpse of the day-to-day small town life - something I yearn but somehow remains elusive. I enjoy riding with Juan and having long talks while pedaling with our bikes. With Juan tagging me along, I was bundled-in with his friends - long time friends who don't get to see each other too often. The spontaneous trip to the market for sugba and kinilaw stuff, everyone doing their thing to prepare the food, the drinking, talking about the good old times, all that laughter and camaraderie, is all the priceless stuff that validates a good life. Yes, it's not just about the ride.
Next stop: Loboc River Cruise on a Stand-Up Paddle
Loboc, Bohol, Philippines
Bohol FYI / Tips
- the tourist area where most of the hotels, restaurants, ticket offices, tour operators are, is located within the Alona Beach area
- the tourist attractions in Bohol are far apart and spread-out. It would be difficult to visit them all using public mass transit. Better hire a van (P3500/day) if in a big group, or rent a motorcycle (P400/day + gas)
- Bohol relies on its tourism for revenue. As expected, everything they can capitalize on from tourism is extensively used and developed
Tagbilaran Port to PanglaoYou can charter any tricycle from the port all the way to Panglao (~P300), but if you want to do it on the cheap,
- don't take the tricycles lined-up inside the port. Walk past the port gate and immediately outside, you'll see many tricycles. Take one to the bus terminal in Dao (~P15)
- in Dao, take the jeep that plies the Panglao route (~P20)
Tagbilaran (Bohol) to Cebu City by boat** schedules and rates keep changing, call for latest schedule
- Weesam Express - departs 6:15 AM, 11:30 AM, 4:00 PM
one way: Economy (aircon) P500.00, Economy (non-aircon) P400.00, First Class P600.00
round trip promo (at least 2 days advance booking): Economy (aircon) P600, Economy(non-aircon) P500, First Class P1200
round trip promo (1 day or on the day booking): Economy (aircon) P800, Economy (non-aircon) P700, First Class P1200
- Ocean Jet - departs 6-7:05-8:20-9:20-11:40AM, 1-2-3:30-4:20-5:30-6:30PM, 2 hours, arrives Pier 1 in Cebu
Open Air / Tourist Class P800, Business Class P1000
+63(32)255 7560 / +63 (32) 255 0115 / 0917 638 0000
- SuperCat (2GO) - departs 5:50-11AM, 3:45-5:25-8:15PM, arrives Pier 1 in Cebu
+63 32 233 7000
Things to do, Places to go in Bohol
- Chocolate Hills - this is a clustering of more than 1200 hills within a 50km2 area. They range in height from 30-50 meters. What's unusual is their near-perfect conical shape resembling an individual chocolate chip. No one knows how they were formed. Entrance is P50/pax.
- Tarsier Conservation Area - located Upper Bonbon, Loboc. The tarsiers are no longer being played at by tourists as circus props, but instead, visitors now view them in cordoned-off areas in their natural 6ha habitat. As they are territorial and nocturnal, they are predictable on where they can be viewed. P50/pax.
- Alona Beach (Panglao) - Alona Beach is the tourist hub of Bohol. It has 1.5 kms of white sand beach lined-up by bars, hotels and restos. Alona is also the jump-off point for Balicasag Island, a world class dive destination.
- Danao Adventure Park - located in Barangay Magtangtang, 72 kms (2 hours ride) from Tagbilaran. Adventure activities include river trekking, tyrolean traverse, rappelling, bouldering, rock climbing and ziplining.
Carlos P. Garcia Island
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