My husband and I stayed 2 nights at Hotel La Roca, in the city of Tagbilaran. Our goal was to use a day to see the famous Chocolate Hills and the tarsier (strange little primates who can only be found on Bohol) and then move on to another island. Since our ferry arrived late in the afternoon, we had no time to shop around in town for guided tours and decided to use the small travel agency of La Roca. Bad choice!
In the first place, the driver/guide arrived one hour late, and offered no excuse or explanation for his delay. More importantly, he did not take us to the official tarsier sanctuary, but to a construction of cages alongside the road, were the animals are kept in terrible conditions. Tarsiers are an endangered species and die when they're held in captivity. Another unpleasant sight was a monkey chained by his neck, held on very short leash.
When we protested, the driver said that the sanctuary was too far away, but he gave in when we made it clear we would not pay to visit this horrible place. He then reached the real sanctuary after a 15 minute drive. The guy there said that these faux ‘sanctuaries’ are indeed illegal and a big threat to the tarsier population, because the animals die so fast and new ones are taken out of the wild all the time. He also explained that some tourist guides are tempted to bring their clients there, because they receive a commission.
When I complained to the hotel, the girl at the front desk (who spoke English very well) pretended she did not understand the words ‘illegal’ or ‘animal unfriendly’. She did say we should have told the driver immediately we wanted to visit the sanctuary, because of the planning of the itinerary. She also said we could have booked a more expensive tour, which apparently automatically includes the sanctuary.
For the rooms: be very careful when you check in, and ask to see them before paying. The room we had booked (the cheapest) had hundreds of ants on the walls (and no, we don’t like animals thát much!). Another more expensive room was more or less clean, but very basic.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- This Economy class hotel has 26 rooms, and is located in Graham Avenue, Tagbilaran City. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Hotel La Roca Bohol Province, Philippines