Category Archives: Bohol

Philippine Tarsier – world’s cutest primate?

Philippine Tarsier – for a moment I thought I met real Gremlins!  Introducing the extremely rare Philippine Tarsier, one of the smallest primates on earth.  Tarsiers have enormous sized eyes, which are as large as their brains. Some call them the cutest “monkey” on earth. What do you think?

Philippine Tarsier in Bohol, Philippines

Other fun facts about these cute primates:  Tarsiers are very shy nocturnal animals, but I managed to get a few photos for you. Look at those eyes!

Philippine Tarsier wrapped up in a bed of leaves, in Bohol, Philippines
Tarsier wrapped up in a bed of leaves

Photos taken by Todd L. Cohen in Bohol, Philippines!

Philippine Tarsier have little tiny hands and feet | Photo taken in Bohol, Philippines
Philippine Tarsier have little tiny hands and feet

The Philippine Tarsier diet is nearly exclusively insects, which they catch by jumping at them (on occasion these little guys also eat birds, snakes, bats, lizards). They’re quick jumpers. Tarsiers look asleep at one moment, and then jump to another branch the next.

Philippine Tarsier are really small | Bohol, Philippines
Tarsiers are really tiny

As you can see, they’re is really tiny – they fit in my hands!  Just 4-6 inches.

Sleeping tarsiers - they're nocturnal primates | Bohol, Philippines | Photo by Todd Cohen | 50and50by50.com
The Philippine Tarsier is a nocturnal primate. Very sleepy!

They say a visit to Bohol is not complete without seeing the famous Philippine Tarsier, and I’d have to agree. They’re unlike anything I’ve ever seen (besides Gizmo from the Gremlins!).

Tarsiers have little tiny fingers and toes | Bohol, Philippines | Photo by Todd Cohen | 50and50by50.com
Tarsiers have little tiny fingers and toes to hug the tree branch

Tarsier eyes are too big to move in their sockets, so they rotate their head 180 degrees.

Philippine Tarsier in Bohol, Philippines | Photo by Todd Cohen | 50and50by50.com

The Philippine Tarsier (Tarsius syrichta or Carlito syrichta) is an endangered species endemic to the Philippines.  The tarsier species is believed to be 45 million years old.

My Tarsier friend in Bohol, Philippines
Tarsiers are so little!

Tarsiers are indigenous to Southeast Asia; Bohol is one of just a few islands where the Philippine Tarsier can be found.

Video of a Tarsier eating a cricket: http://www.youtube.com/embed/nuH48JW8XrU

More info on Wikipedia , Bohol.ph, and here.

It wasn’t the first time seeing cute wildlife in my trip – the baby orangutans, baby elephants, and baby monkeys in Borneo were adorable!  I also saw other types of animals up close – macaquesproboscis monkeyssharks, camelspythons, and more!

Mighty Python!

Snakes! Most of my photography is from my adventures in the wild, but this was a departure from that style to play with Pythons in Bohol, in the Philippines.

Python in Bohol, Philippines
Portrait with a python in Bohol, Philippines

It wasn’t the first time I was seeing wildlife in my trip – the baby orangutans, baby elephants, and baby monkeys in Borneo were adorable!  I also saw other types of animals in the wild – tarsiersmacaquesproboscis monkeyssharks, and more!

Jumping over the Chocolate Hills

The Chocolate Hills were a great spot for my trademark jumping pics!  In these photos, I’m leaping right over the Chocolate Hills.

Jumping over Bohol's Chocolate Hills in the Philippines -3
We have lift-off
Jumping over Bohol's Chocolate Hills in the Philippines -5
I'm flying! - airborne over the Chocolate Hills

Wondering why they call them “Chocolate Hills” if they’re green?  In the dry season they look like perfectly formed little Hershey Kisses. Explained here, with more photos.

Chocolate Hills on the island of Bohol, Philippines

Chocolate Hills?

Bohol, Philippines — They call this area the Chocolate Hills, and while the name sounds like something out of Willie Wonka, it’s actually a collection of more than a thousand (1,247-1,776, depending on who’s count you go by) limestone haycock hills spread over 20 miles on the island of Bohol, Philippines. During the dry season, the green grass turns brown and looks like endless rows of Hershey Kisses, hence the name Chocolate Hills. I guess Muddy Hills just doesn’t have the same ring to it – or tourist draw.

Bohol Chocolate Hills - Philippines
The Chocolate Hills are cone-shaped or dome-shaped hills and are actually made of grass-covered limestone. The domes vary in sizes from 100-160 feet, with the largest ones going to nearly 400 feet. Trees grow on the base of the hills but the rest of them are bare, filled only with grass (which turns to dirt in the dry season).

Bohol Chocolate Hills - Philippines

The legend on how the Chocolate Hills formed is a bit more fun.  There’s a romantic story of a giant named Arogo who was extremely powerful. Arogo fell in love with Aloya, who was a simple mortal. Aloya’s death caused Arogo much pain and misery, and in his sorrow he could not stop crying. When his tears dried, the Chocolate Hills were formed. Full story of the legend can be found here.

Bohol Chocolate Hills - Philippines

See photos of us jumping over the Chocolate Hills on the island of Bohol, Philippines.

Bohol Chocolate Hills in Bohol, Philippines - me, Victor, Grace

I didn’t think the Chocolate Hills were quite as impressive as the hype, but they were certainly interesting and would be more intriguing if they were actually chocolate (or we’d settle for chocolate-colored).

Wikipedia does a good job summarizing the science behind Chocolate Hills.

5 other good websites with facts, photos, and info on the Chocolate Hills: Bohol.ph, Bohol-PhilippinesPhilippines Travel Guide, TripAdvisor, and Bohol Chocolate Hills.

My 1st cockfight

I went to my first cockfight, or “Sabong” as they call it (“tupada” if it’s an illegal cock fight), on the island of Bohol, in the Philippines. It’s as brutal as you might imagine – truly inhumane. Two roosters battle until death, or can’t fight anymore. These gamecocks are specifically bred their entire life for these fights. Each cock has a razor sharp blade (“gaff”) that’s 2-3″ long attached to their left leg. They’re fenced in a cockpit, and there’s a referee that seems to have exclusive authority on when to call a winner.

Cockfight - the aftermath. This is all that's left of this rooster. | Bohol, Philippines
Spoiler alert – this isn’t going to end well for one of the gamecocks. After this cockfight this is all that’s left of this rooster

People gather around the fenced cockpit cheer the cock that they’ve just bet on. And as you’ll notice from the below video clip, the betting is frantic!

Cockfight - betting and prefight sizing up | Cockfight in Bohol, Philippines
The predominantly male crowd frantically hustling to get their pre-fight bet in for the upcoming cockfight. There’s also kids in the crowd too. 

A guy standing next to us during the fight was telling us how the next fight on the card would be a good one, since both owners are known to raise birds that are tormented into significant aggression. He was visibly excited as he mentioned this. Umm…awesome (sarcasm).

The fight ends when one rooster dies, or is too weak or exhausted to fight (or in the case of the video above, runs away!).

Gamecock battle scars -- Rooster with gaff slices across its body | Cockfight in Bohol, Philippines

Gamecock battle scars — Rooster with gaff slices across its body

You stay classy, Philippines!