Volunteering experience

Do you want to volunteer for the Tarsius project? Read experiences of Maarten who stayed with us for a couple of weeks.

“My name is Maarten Storm, I’m a 33 year old aquarium technician who loves to travel. In late 2015 I was left with a couple weeks of vacation. Normally I’d take this opportunity to take my backpack and head for some place that cought my attention. However, this time I decided I wanted to give volunteering a try.

When I was on Borneo a couple of years ago I got fascinated by tarsiers. I found out that there were a number of species of tarsiers, one of them being Tarsius syrichta which is endemic to a few islands of the Philipines. I started looking for a volunteer job which specifically involved tarsiers and so I found and read all about “The Tarsius Project” in Bilar Bohol.

I realise I’ve been very lucky I could get involved in the Project since they don’t normally accept short term volunteers. Due to a temporary shortage of staff I got the opportunity to work at the Project.

When I arrived at the project site I immediately got to know a couple of the local people I was going to work with for the next couple of weeks. There is no better way to that than trough karaoke and a couple of beers.

During my time at the project I’ve been involved cricket and superworm breeding and since I have a technical background I’ve also been carrying out electrical work. On most nights I’d be out catching bugs in the field. On all occasions I’ve been working together closely with local employees, which is great beacause you actually get a sense of what life is like to them. After a while a lot of these colleagues had become friends.

The location of the project is remote which takes a little getting used to at first. There is a small selection of products available in a couple of tiny “sari sari stores” in the closeby Subayon village. And I soon found out that the only real reason to take the trip to the market is to get fresh vegetables. The project house is basic but has everything one needs to stay happy. I often found myself on the porch after a days work, enjoying a beer and listening to the creatures of the night.

This experience has not only thought me a lot about the Philippine tarsier. It also brought me new friends and a lot of appreciation for the Philippines and its people. The Tarsius Project is a great place to spend time if you’re interested in tropical flora and fauna and I’d definitely recommend volunteering here if you get the chance!”

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