Tandag is a sleepy and quiet capital of the province of Surigao del Sur in the Northeastern coast of Mindanao Island in the Philippines, where it faces the Philippine Sea. It is a 4th class city in the Philippines, but it is my home and it is still one of my favorite places in the world because most of the people I love are living there. I love its serenity that’s why every year I look forward to going back there.
If you wish to visit Tandag, here are some little ideas on a few things to do:
- Boulevard is a beautiful coastal walkway in Tandag where locals usually hang-out. It is a good place where to take a walk early in the morning as you watch the glowing sphere rises slowly into the dull morning sky, when it begins to illuminate the small town, or to take a stroll in the late afternoon when the sun falls below the horizon and catch the breathtaking sunset. It is a top destination for an afternoon walk but it is best liked at night time because of the colourful lamp posts, windy sea air and various stalls that offer good Filipino street food such as fish balls and many more. There are many barbecue stalls where you could experience mouthwatering BBQ and an open space for people to walk, watch the outdoor free video at night and for children to play around. When we visited my hometown Tandag, we had delicious BBQ dinner with my family. We sat, talked, walked, relaxed, had a beer, loved the moment of being together as a family and enjoyed seeing people passing by. I would say that Boulevard depicts Tandag’s charm.
- Mabua Beach is the most famous beach resort in Tandag. It is very accessible, which is why many locals flock there especially during the summer. The soothing wind which blows softly against your dust-powdered face and the fine black sand will surely mesmerize you. The sea water is clear and blue which urges the people to take a good swim. Personally, I think the best time to visit the place is during the weekdays, as it is quieter then than at weekends. But, if you wish to experience how Filipinos or Tandaganons in particular celebrate life in spite of the many adversities in life, I recommend weekends as the karaoke’s are full. There are lots of beach huts, many karaokes and many small shops where you can buy drinks and other stuff. If you wish to go there, bring some food with you as there is no restaurant inside.
- Shrine of the Our Lady of Lourdes at Bongtud which is known as Tandag Grotto is located at the summit of a mountain where you can have a full 360 view of the city. It is a tranquil place and it is perfect for meditation. It provides a good climb, good walk, good views and a good seascape around. When you are on top, you can see on one side the pier and the blue-green water. Then on the other side you can spot the fishermen’s boats lined up like colorful toys. Both are very attractive when seen from afar.
- BBQ Restaurants are located in the Boulevard and along the main road between Telaje and Osmena Street, Bag-ong Lungsod. They sell barbeque chicken, pork and fish. If you wish to visit Tandag, don’t try to miss a BBQ meal. It is a meal with BBQ and puso (rice wrapped and boiled in a triangular casing made of woven coconut leaves) with a sauce paired with a cold bottle of Coca-Cola. It is very tasty and cheap. To sum it up, Tandaganons know their barbecues.
- Villa Maria Luisa Hotel is located approximately 10 minutes from the city center. It is a good place to relax and refresh. It has big clean outdoor swimming pools both for adult and children where you can have a good swim. It has also a beautiful garden and there is a pristine beach behind the hotel where you can enjoy sightseeing and strolling around. In the garden and near the pool, there are big picnic huts. Many locals go there for a picnic and relax during the weekend. Every time we visit my family in Tandag, we bring my son there and take a good plunge into the pool.
- Aya Moira Beach Resort and Island Park are located in Buenavista, Tandag. It is about 30 minutes by tricycle (public transportation). It is one of the cleanest, simplest and most comforting beach I have been to. I like this place because it is not crowded, serene and quiet. There are only few beach huts, only one small shops enough to get a beer and a soft drink but there is no restaurant. It has also an island park where you can stay overnight, read a book, have a beer and relax peacefully while enjoying the breeze of the Pacific Ocean.
7. Nico’s Grill is a place for lively night out. Many locals flock there for a great night out with friends and family.
Little Lilly Travel Tip:
- The food is good and the people are friendly and hospitable.
- Bring enough cash with you as there are only four banks there which would accept both local and international cards.
- The accommodation is good in Tandag, but do not expect a 5 star hotel.
- The internet in Tandag is on and off.
Have you ever been to Tandag? Do share your stories.