Tarsiers, traditions and tourism all in one trip to Tupi

I started falling for the beauty of Linan, the next TarsierLand in the Philippines, when I was given the chance to join the Endangered Species International (ESI) in establishing the Philippine Tarsier (Carlito syrichtasanctury there. I helped particularly in mapping the community and their resources within the target area. As a matter of perspective, I looked beyond my task and began to marvel into the great potentials of this community in eco-tourism, cultural preservation and environmental conservation. 
Here's my little contribution (shorter text) to the promotion of Tupi town and South Cotabato province as excellent Eco-cultural tourism destinations in the south. It was published in BusinessWorld's Weekender Edition last Friday (With two photos taken during my recent visits there).


Environment
TEXT AND PHOTOS BY LOUIE O. PACARDOCorrespondent
Tarsiers, traditions and tourism all in one trip to Tupi
TUPI, SOUTH COTABATO -- What about a short trek into the forests to observe tarsiers living in their preserved natural habitat and learning about an indigenous group’s culture and tradition, all in a visit to one small village? This is what California-based conservation group Endangered Species International (ESI) and local groups are working on to boost eco-tourism in the mountainous village of Barangay Linan.
The landscape that welcomes the tourists going to Linan in Tupi, South Cotabato. Dominating the landscape are the famous Mt Matutum (extreme right), Tampad Peak (center) and Landayaw Peak (extreme left).
Dr. Pierre Fidenci, ESI president and founder, told BusinessWorld a tarsier sanctuary would be established within the community.
The tarsier project will not only focus on the conservation of these endangered small primates but also in capacitating the local B’laan tribe.
In particular, the project aims to take care of the environment and introduce cultural preservation measures, as well as provide alternative livelihood for tribes.
Mr. Fidenci said a B’laan cultural museum is under construction in Purok Bagong Silang, an area with dense tarsier population.
Part of the project is to put up a tarsier trail to make sure a safe distance between visitors and the animals is maintained.
Interaction with the tarsiers would not be similar to what is done in Bohol province where tourists are allowed to get near these fist-sized creatures, Mr. Fidenci said. 
Culture will be integrated as part of the empowerment program for the indigenous tribe.

CALIFORNIA-BASED conservation group Endangered Species International plans to implement a project aimed at protecting the endangered tarsiers of South Cotabato.South Cotabato Culture and Arts Foundation, Inc., ESI’s partner in the cultural aspect of the project is working hand-in-hand with the B’laans in developing the museum and in reviving their centuries-old traditions. 

South Cotabato Culture and Arts Foundation, Inc., ESI’s partner in the cultural aspect of the project is working hand-in-hand with the B’laans in developing the museum and in reviving their centuries-old traditions.
Foundation president Juanito L. Ferrer said “culture is responsible for (the B’laan community’s) natural environment.”
Mr. Fidenci said every concerned tourism office in South Cotabato would be promoting Tupi once the tarsier project has moved forward.
That’s the spirit of the project, convergence of international and local resources to encompass all that is necessary for the survival of the endangered tarsiers, the environment and the B’laan culture,” he said.

Read full text here.

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