RFI – Philippines ground operators

I’m going to the Philippines next month for work but will have a weekend or two to look for mammals (hopefully Tarsiers and Tamaraws)

Can anyone recommend any local operators/guides who can help me figure out my plans and make arrangements?




  • vdinets

    You don’t need guides to look for tarsiers as there are no staked-out den trees AFAIK. The choice is between easy, but questionably countable ones at Bohol Tarsier Sanctuary and fully wild, but difficult to find ones in nearby Raja Sikatuna. I spent 2 nights at RS many years ago and saw 1 tarsier and tons of other stuff (Phili colugos are easy there).

    For endemic rodents, go to Mt. Data and/or Mt. Amuyao in Luzon and to Mt. Katanglad in Mindanao and bring all your traps. I’ll email you a paper about trapping there. I’d recommend taking tissue samples in addition to photos of everything you trap: undescribed or long-lost species there are so numerous that it’s hard not to step on one. Mt. Data was excellent for spotlighting when I visited, but the forest has been badly degraded lately.

    You can also try Angat Watershed for larger Luzon mammals, and Subic Bay for bats (birding websites should have up-to-date info on getting there).

    And be sure to try driving in Manila: the city officially has the worst traffic in the world; everything else will be a picnic afterwards.

  • tomeslice

    Hey Jon,

    I don’t know much about the Philippines, but I did some research about the island of Palawan recently, which not only has AMAZING snorkeling/scuba diving places, but also has an endemic Pangolin (Yeah!), and some other potentially interesting stuff:


  • mikehoit

    Hi Jon
    I saw very few mammals on a birding trip there a few years ago, but the mixed roost of Large and Golden-crowned Flying Foxes at Subic Bay is worth a look. The site is only a couple of hours north of Manila but unfortunately I can’t remember exactly where the colony is! It’s probably worth getting in touch with Rob Hutchinson of Birdtour Asia – he’s based in the Manila area and is usually pretty clued up on mammals. Again I don’t think they encounter many mammals on their tours but will, at the very least, know who the reliable travel agencies are.

  • vnsankar123

    It seems like Mt Iglit is the place to go for Tamaraws. From what I can find, they see them pretty frequently on the trek up the mountain – not sure how long that takes though. Maybe something to look into.

  • John Fox

    I’ll second Birdtour Asia for mammal help. I did a birding trip in Vietnam with James Eaton and he was on top all the mammals. A troop of Buff-cheeked Gibbons swinging through the canopy at dawn, screaming like a bunch of, well…monkeys, was a top five mammal watching experience for me.

    Their trip reports are excellent and include mammals, we could probably suss out a lot of good info with the time to go through them and organize it.

    IIRC, Eaton is one or two primates away from a clean sweep of SE Asia!

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