They may look hideous and symbolize darkness in the movies, but bats are tourist attractions here in Mambukal Resort in Murcia, Negros Occidental.
The province has three species of bats –the Philippine Flying Fox (Philippine Giant Fruit Bat), the Negros Naked-Back Fruit Bat, which is critically endangered, and the Little Golden Mantled Flying Fox, which is already endangered.
These nocturnal creatures just hang upside down from branches of tall trees here in the resort during the day and hunting for food at night.
Visitors are busy taking snapshot of them as they fly and hover around the trees.
Bats play a vital role in the ecosystem because they help in seed dispersal.
“Fruit eating bats spread seeds through their manure and thus, help in the regeneration of our forests,” said City Environment and Natural Resources Officer Joan Nathaniel Gerangaya.
They also produce a nitrogen-rich organic fertilizer known as guano.
There are over 25 fruit bat species in the Philippines, more than half of which are found nowhere else in the world.
However, many are seriously facing extinction as they are hunted extensively and their habitat is being destroyed by humans.
“That is why we are protecting them here in the resort and we discourage people from throwing stones at them,” said Gerangaya.
Bats are included in the list of animals protected by Republic Act 9147 or the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act which ensures their survival.