Sponsorship Program

2 week program

The 2 WEEK volunteer program is created for visitors, local or foreign, who can spare their 2 week  for helping out Philippine Tarsier Foundation.

DAY 1: Arrival

DAY 2: Basic Needs Orientation/City Tour

DAY 3: In depth orientation about Philippine Tarsier Foundation and Tarsier Viewing

DAY 4: Day trekking to the view point of 167 hectares

DAY 5: Day off

DAY 6: Day Off

DAY 7: Night Trekking/Camping

DAY 8: Write a post for Facebook and website for Philippine Tarsier Foundation

DAY 9: Experience tour guiding

DAY 10: Experience tour guiding

DAY 11: Day off

DAY 12: Day off

DAY 13: Farewell Dinner/Beach

DAY 14: Departure


  • Pick-up Vehicle for Arrival and Departure
  • A volunteer’s room complete with electricity and water
  • A kitchen (Complete with utensils. Cook with Firewood)
  • Camping Dinner (Welcoming)
  • Beach Dinner (Farewell)
  • A coordinator
  • Assistance of Carlito Pizarras, the tarsier man


  • Mattress and sleeping and bath essentials
  • outdoor essentials like sleeping bag, trekking footwear, and pants, flashlight
  • Food (You will purchase your food. We will assist you in shopping at the mall and wet market. We take care of lunch, just pay P50.00)
  • Personal Necessities


  1. Go to Facebook and like our facebook page www.facebook.com/tarsierfoundation
  2. Send us a message or a letter of intent at joanniemaryc@yahoo.com. Place in the subject 2WV and Attach a scanned copy of your passport
  3. Pay during arrival the amount of 6,000 for the accommodation, services and a donation to the foundation
  4. Wait for our confirmation message.

NOTE: Inquiry to volunteer should be made atleast 2 weeks before arrival date.

1 week vol prog

1 week program

The 1 WEEK volunteer program is created for visitors, local or foreign, who can spare their 1 week  for helping out Philippine Tarsier Foundation.

DAY 1: Arrival and Basic Needs Orientation

DAY 2: In depth orientation about Philippine Tarsier Foundation. This includes day trekking to the view point of 167 hectares and Tarsier Viewing

DAY 3: Tour Guiding Experience

DAY 4: Day off

DAY 5: Day off

DAY 6: Farewell Dinner (Forest Camping/Beach)

DAY 7: Day off/ Departure

THE FOUNDATION WILL PROVIDE:Pick-up Vehicle for Arrival and Departure

  • Pick-up Vehicle for Arrival and Departure
  • A volunteer’s room complete with electricity and water
  • A kitchen (Complete with utensils. Cook with Firewood)
  • Camping Dinner (Welcoming)
  • Beach Dinner (Farewell)
  • A coordinator
  • Assistance of Carlito Pizarras, the tarsier man


  • Mattress, sleeping and bath essentials
  • outdoor essentials like sleeping bag, trekking footwear, and pants, flashlight
  • Food (We will assist you in shopping at the mall and wet market)
  • Personal Necessities


  1. Go to Facebook and like our facebook page www.facebook.com/tarsierfoundation
  2. Send us a message or a letter of intent at joanniemaryc@yahoo.com. Place in the subject 1WV and Attach a scanned copy of your passport
  3. Pay during arrival the amount of 3,000 for the 7 day accommodation, services and a donation to the foundation
  4. Wait for our confirmation message.

NOTE: Inquiry to volunteer should be made atleast 2 weeks before arrival date.


Tarsier Man

To commemorate the Philippine Tarsier Foundation’s anniversary last April 17, I submitted an article to FilAm Star, a newspaper based in San Francisco.

Below is a copy of the full article with the permission of the editor Jun M. Ilagan.


Along the trails of a forest sanctuary in Bohol, Philippines, 59-year-old Carlito Pizarras dug another hole in the ground to plant one of his tree seedlings. “Soon there will be more food for insects. More insects means more food for the tarsiers,” he remarked, his face beaming with joy and satisfaction. He had personally selected the trees as field supervisor of the Philippine Tarsier Foundation, a non-stock, non-profit organization that supports the conservation of the Philippine Tarsier and its habitat.

Yesterday, 17th of April, the Philippine Tarsier Foundation had just celebrated its 18th anniversary, a significant day when it was officially registered with the Security and Exchange Commission.
It is just fitting to pay tribute to our fellow Filipino, Carlito Pizarras, who was the source of inspiration for setting up this reservation.

So, how did it all start? Carlito’s story goes way back to his early teens. At 12, he already had a reputation for being an expert at capturing tarsiers, one of the smallest primates, prized for their cuteness. He gave the tarsiers to his father, a taxidermist who sold them for pets or stuffed animals to augment their family income. Among all the animals his father stuffed and sold to tourists, the tarsier was the bestseller. With its eyes like saucers, bat-like ears, furry hair, it resembles a lovable alien. Anybody could have thought George Lucas had the tarsier in mind when he created the character Yoda, the Jedi master in the Star Wars movies. Other endearing features are its size and weight. Barely 5 inches tall and weighing only 4-5 ounces, it can fit in one’s palm like a quarter-pound hamburger. And it doesn’t stop there. This miniature cousin of monkeys has more remarkable traits – swivels its head 180 degree, hops like a kangaroo, leaps like a frog, and jumps backwards with precision.

One day, Carlito couldn’t resist having his own pet tarsier. Since he didn’t know how he could keep this creature alive, he searched for information at the town library. The only book he found said that tarsiers ate charcoal. He fed his pet an ample supply of charcoal, but it soon died. After losing two more pet tarsiers to the charcoal diet, he decided to hike into the forest at night and closely observe their eating habits.

After weeks of observation, Carlito found out what tarsiers really ate. It was actually the insects buried inside the charcoal. He fed his next pet a rich diet of crickets, beetles, and other small insects. However, day after day, the tarsier became feeble and eventually died.

“It took me almost a year to realize that they can’t be kept as pets,” Carlito concedes. He painfully discovered that tarsiers were very sensitive, fragile creatures. They were extremely shy and easily agitated. Solitary by nature, they dislike being stroked or cuddled. If kept in a cage, they become suicidal. Some want to get out so badly that they bang their soft skulls on their cages.

Despite his escalating concern for the tarsiers, Carlito kept hunting tarsiers for his father until he was in his 20s. He was keenly aware that he could no longer easily snatch them at the side of the roads. The tarsiers were becoming so scarce that he had to search deeper and deeper into the forest to spot them.

Carlito thought that other than habitat destruction and predatory house cats, hunters like him and his father were the contributors to their dwindling numbers. He knew he was partly to blame so he made a life-changing decision to give up his air rifle, formaldehyde, and other hunting tools.

“My father was angry when I told him that I didn’t want to kill tarsiers anymore,” Carlito says. “I was concerned about my children not being able to see them.”

Carlito devoted his time to becoming an advocate of tarsier conservation. He planted crops on flat land to show others that they didn’t have to cut or burn the forested slopes to create space for farming. He also repaired people’s air guns only if they promised to stop hunting tarsiers. Even before the existence of wildlife protection laws, he invented them to warn neighbors from trapping tarsiers.

Carlito worked on his farm all day and tended tarsiers at night. At his backyard he built a cage measuring 20 meters by 20 meters with trees inside to simulate their natural habitat. Over time, he learned how to successfully keep them alive and to enable them to breed despite their abhorrence to captivity. When the young ones matured, he released them into the wild.

“I wasn’t able to keep a tarsier pet, but I bred dozens of tarsiers in captivity,” he says. Initially, he earned the derogatory title of “Tarsier Man” for creeping in the forest every night. Rumors were afloat in the village that he was part monkey. But soon enough, he did not mind being called this honorable nickname.

Researchers from faraway countries visited the Philippines to learn more about tarsiers. Inspired by “The Tarsier Man”, a group of businessmen, with the support of the government, started Bohol’s Philippine Tarsier Foundation in 1996.

As field supervisor of the foundation, Carlito looks after the tarsiers. “They’re free to leap from tree to tree in an 8.4-hectare net enclosure,” he says. He starts his day checking that all of the tarsiers are home safe. At night, they hop over the fence to hunt for food and before daybreak, they come back to the safety of the enclosure. However, some do not come back. “They are territorial creatures, but if they get disturbed during the day, they choose not to come back anymore,” he says.

He makes sure visitors do not touch or feed the tarsiers, make loud noises, or use flash cameras. “Tarsiers are naturally wild. They may bite whenever they feel threatened.” he warns.

At night, Carlito patrols the area to safeguard the tarsiers from stray cats. “I also hunt for insects to take back to the reservation,” he adds. He further explains that hunting at night ensuresthat he catches fresh insects that have not been contaminated by pesticides.

His more than 40 years of devotion to the tarsiers has made him a world-renowned expert. Aside from his incredible skill of breeding tarsiers in captivity, he has developed the knack for hunting by scent and summoning the tarsiers with his high-pitch whistle. He is so adept at hunting for his wards that he even knows what time of the month the insects mate and give birth to new offsprings. His native knowledge and special bond with the tarsiers have been featured in National Geographic television, nature films such as “The Little Alien”, Reader’s Digest magazine and other international publications.

One of his most memorable experiences was in 1997, when Carlito was invited to make a symbolic presentation of a pair of tarsiers to Britain’s Prince Charles at the Presidential palace. He said he was very honored to be recognized as a conservationist like the Royal Highness, but the recognition he holds more valuable was when the Philippine tarsier was officially named after him. Now he is immortalized in the archives of scientific literature.

Though long ago Carlito was one of the tarsier’s fiercest enemies, he is currently the staunchest protector of these near threatened species. “I hope businessmen will stop putting them in cages for the tourists. Tarsiers are freedom-loving animals that should be treated with gentleness and love,” he says.



* Go to this link  http://www.filamstar.net/images/stories/pdf/269.pd if you want to get a copy of the newspaper. Scroll down to B7 and you’ll see the full article.



Hero of the Tarsiers

I am so delighted that finally my article Hero of the Tarsiers, featuring the tarsier man Carlito Pizarras, has been published in Highlights, a children’s magazine, last March 2014.  It was a very long wait since I submitted  it early 2011, but I can tell you it was worth it!

If you are here in the States, you can find the magazine at any public library. Just recently, I tried to google it and I found out that you can read the full article. Isn’t that so cool? Everything is at your fingertips as long as you have an internet connection.

Here’s the link – http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Hero+of+the+Tarsiers%3A+carlito+Pizarras+stopped+hunting+them+and…-a0360205878

Now you can share this article to any child you know.  I think even children should be educated about the tarsiers and how Carlito Pizarras have played a vital role in saving them.




Tarsier Life and Times

by Tom Lumapas

We know that humans usually have a life span that varies depending on the conditions of life. During the Hellenistic period of Ancient Greece, a man reaching the age of 40 would be considered old. Now, it is not surprising to see people aged 70 to 80 years old. Sometimes it is even expected and anything else to be unfortunate.

This got me thinking, how long do Tarsiers live? Considering that they’re wild animals a great many are unfamiliar with, I asked Mr. Carlito Pizarras, the “Tarsier man” for answers on how long these animals live for and what factors affect their life span.

Now Tarsiers, like all living things, have a life span. This life span varies, like us humans, as the conditions of each individual life vary. It is obvious that if we keep animals placed in very small cages where they are unable to move freely to get the proper exercise, most especially if they are wild animals, their life span will be drastically shorter.

In the wild, the Philippine Tarsier can live for as long as 20 to 25 years. Female tarsiers typically live longer than their male counterparts due to their less aggressive nature as compared to their male counterparts. Adult males usually attack other males for territory and marked females, often biting and clawing each other to establish dominance that might result in death. Thus, males often do not last as long as the females. Given that younger, stronger male seeking to usurp territory could very well cause life threatening damage, it is not surprising that males do not reach the maximum expected age that some females might possibly reach.

The Philippine Tarsier has been a recorded life span of 12 years at most in captivity. However, a great many of these Tarsiers die only after a day or at most a few days if kept unhealthily in small cages and/or put under great strain while in captivity. If their places of confinement are not well designed to mimic their ideal habitat, the tarsiers might feel unhealthily, stressed. This does not affect them only in mental terms but also physically as some research has shown that the physical characteristics of Tarsiers kept in captivity mirrors those of much older Tarsiers in the wild.

Ideally, Tarsiers kept in captivity must have an abundance of shrubs, bushes and bamboo, the latter being important as a source of water for Tarsiers. These plants are important to the Tarsier since during periods of rain, the leaves of these plants serve a dual purpose. One of these is to catch the water that Tarsiers use as a source to cool down and to find a refreshing drink while another use for these leaves are a natural roofing from getting directly hit by rain water, which they hate.

In captivity though, they must have a varied diet if they hope to live longer than their projected few days at life. Thus, they require a varied diet of live insects in order to keep them healthy and enough space to chase them around the area. Without such movement and exercise of the hunt, they become lethargic and tired. Like a person who refuses to exercise, the risks of an early death rise dramatically. Considering that for a Tarsier to be healthy it must consume 1/10th of its own body weight, it is not surprising that, given the difficulty in acquiring live insects, captive Tarsiers may be underfed.


Now on the important life moments of the Philippine Tarsier, Sir Carlito Pizarras, explained that the female after mating returns to her own territory and gives birth after six months. She uses another six months to take care of her child. During these six months of growing up, the eyes of the juvenile Philippine Tarsier change from Green/Blue to Brown. The coat also changes from Greyish brown to reddish brown. After six months, the juvenile leaves the mother to find her own territory or fight for one. At reaching one year of age the Philippine Tarsier, if male has visible testicles and gain more male like facial features. However, the male like the female will not reach sexual maturity until around 3 years of age. At which point the Philippine Tarsier is ready to find mates and bear children. The males start to become more aggressive at this age while the females to signal adolescence start to have vaginal swellings with bloody discharge much like menstruation. The age of 5 can be described as the peak age for both genders as they gain their maximum size, growing to four or five inches. They also acquire permanent dentition around this time.

The Philippine Tarsier may have a short life by human standards, however the moments that it lives can, in some way, be found very relatable to us. Thus, we should try not to make their lives any shorter than they already are.


wet baby tarsier

Tarsier Territorialism

By Tom Lumapas

If you have a chance to visit the Tarsier Sanctuary located in the town of Corella, Bohol and decide to see the Philippine Tarsier (C. Syrichta) for yourself, please don’t fret if you only see a few Tarsiers in the enclosure. There is a very good reason for this and one should not be disappointed if one finds the furry prosimian (it’s not a monkey!) few and far between. Information gleaned from the Carlito Pizarras, the “Tarsier Man”, adds light to this frustrating mystery.

2011-07-08 15.33.55

The Philippine Tarsier is, unlike some of its Southern cousins, is a very territorial animal that prefers its isolation. Unlike other primates, such as humans that prefer to socialize with other individuals, the Philippine Tarsier loves its personal space. At a whopping 1 hectare per individual it’s no small wonder why these Tarsiers are so difficult to find and pretty alone to boot.

Of course, one might ask how such a small animal could claim a whole hectare as its personal living ground. Well for the most part the Philippine Tarsier, despite having the biggest eye to body ratio of any animal in existence, cannot personally monitor every tiny inch of the whole one area so it is highly likely that the 1 hectare of Tarsier A and the 1 hectare of Tarsier 2 are overlapping. Since the Tarsier takes nightly hunts for food and mates it is not surprising that some intrusions are never noticed and Tarsier A and Tarsier B are only vaguely aware of the existence of the other. If a chance meeting does occur then one tarsier will be forced out of the immediate vicinity at risk of death.

The male Philippine Tarsier is the more solitary of the two sexes as he will attack any male he finds in his territory during his nightly patrols. If he can’t chase the rivals away, he’ll resort to killing his rivals with a quick bite to the neck after wearing them down. The male might even ungentlemanly attack females in his territory if he finds them unattractive or unable to mate with him. The male will mark his territory with a variety of actions ranging from the classic poo droppings to urine sprays. However, the male has a special scent gland located near the stomach called the epigastric gland that it rubs on surfaces to mark its territory.

The female, being the fairer sex, is probably less aggressive and willing to share right? Well, yes and no. It is true that the female is less likely to attack other females she finds in her territory, however this is true only if the environment is abundant with insects. So having satisfied her nutritional requirement and sure that there is more food from where that came from, she will allow other females to enter her territory as long as they return to their respective territory before she sleeps in her area. If resources are not abundant enough, then these females will be just as aggressive as the males, attacking intruders she finds during her roaming in the territory. Similar to the male, the female will mark her territory with fecal droppings and urine. Interestingly though, the mother unleashes a strong scent to mark her territory when she is caring for her toddler and she parks him somewhere to hunt. This serves a dual purpose of directing the toddler back to his mother’s area when the toddler wanders off and warning other tarsiers off the area.

So, don’t be surprised to see two or fewer tarsiers on your visit. You are seeing these animals living peacefully and happily in isolation away from each other, knowing that no other rival will disturb them as they sleep the daylight hours away. After all forcing other tarsiers into a tarsier’s territory where they shouldn’t be in is like forcing another family to live in your family’s living room. You wouldn’t like that at all would you?

enrique and team


As part of GLOBE TELECOM’s TREE GROWING PROGRAM, Philippine Tarsier Foundation Staff and volunteers every other morning plant seedlings along trails and barren areas of the forest.

The trees specially selected by Carlito Pizarras, more famous for the alias “Tarsier man” which serves the purpose as host for INSECTS (Staple food for tarsiers) and as host trees for animals.

The volunteers are from European Union , hosted by YSDA (Marianne), a Spanish long term volunteer (Enrique) and a short term French Volunteer (Quentin) of the Foundation.

This is just one of he series tree plating which totals to 300 host trees! Good for insects, Good for TARSIERS and of curse great for the various species of birds having their home in the forest of the Philippine Tarsier Foundation

For more photos see:https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.658690487503775.1073741829.167450733294422&type=1

1 (1)


It’s a sad but true story… Approximately three weeks ago we’ve discovered that one of our Tarsiers looks a bit different and is nlacking i one eye! Quite fast gained a new name – Pirate. At the beginning we weren’t sure if it will survive in a natural environment. A little tarsier has to hunt for most of the night thus it needs to be in a perfect shape. Tarsier has to be a great hunter in order to catch a big amount of insects. Apparently our pirate is doing well enough, has survived those past weeks and is getting better now.

 A ‘huggable looking’  tarsier at day time, is a great predator at night time! What is surprising, tarsiers can fight with each other, first of all – for the territory, second of all – for the females! And mating season is on now… The two males while fighting in order to charm a female can even kill each other! Cruel but real natural environment is not for the weak ones… But our pirate doesn’t have any other scars or injuries which rather occur right after the fight. Which leads to another theory, it could be just a bad accident or a big beetle bite.

But whatever that was, the good news is he is alive and is doing fine in the natural habitat. Which proves he is in deed one tough tarsier. Animals do do well in their natural environment.

by Kamila Fy

See more photo at https://www.facebook.com/tarsierfoundation


Jungle rulez!

I live and work in Philippine Tarsier Foundation which is basically placed in the jungle.
Just behind the main building of the foundation where all the volunteers stay, there is a sanctuary where our precious tarsiers live. We are in a close touch with jungle and everything which lives there. It basically means that we share our accommodation with all the insects, lizards, snakes and creatures which feel invited to our building ;p
I’m here three months and I can already recognize most of the noises coming from the jungle, especially during the night time when all the animals are easily hearable by us – a real jungle music! I really enjoy living close to the nature and wildlife… To be honest, every time I come back to the jungle from the city I feel like home! 😉
The closest civilization is 15 km far from our foundation, it’s a quite a big city called Tagbilaran. Once per 2-3 days we go there by jeepney or hitch-hiking to use Internet and buy some food in a supermarket or street market.
Living in the jungle has its advantages, as long as you enjoy nature, wildlife and you don’t mind to get really dirty;p

Regards, Kamila

kamila (1)


Diving masters (well… almost)

So it happened…

Coming to the Philippines, I was sure that I’d love to take diving course. Now, when two months of our stay as volunteers have passed, finally, a perfect moment to do so appeared.

 All together: the volunteers from Bohol and some extra active ones from Manila ;)) plus our great mentor Joannie, we went to a little paradisiac island called Pamilacan to take a four-day-long course. The weather was perfect, the instructors were experienced and the group was fun – nothing could be any better!

After four days of
diving, sunbathing, reef watching and learning, we passed our exam for Open Water Divers and now all the great diving spots are waiting for us!

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