Tandag (Photo: Lester Ledesma)

Where to stay

  • Haguisan Inn, Osmena St corner Rizal St; +63 86 211 5002. While the inn may not look all that attractive on the outside, it offers rooms that are clean and well-maintained.
  • Shacene Pension House, Brgy. Bagong Lungsod; +63 86 211 3204. Simple budget accommodation that’s located in the heart of the city, within walking distance of the boulevard.
  • Villa Azarcon Mountain Resort, Cabangahan, Tago; +63 86 211 3492. Enjoy the crisp mountain air at this inland resort that’s surrounded by verdant greenery.
  • Villa Maria Luisa Hotel, National Highway, San Agustin Sur; +63 86 211 5488. A comfortable hotel with courteous staff, and great views of the Philippine Sea.

Where to eat

  • Cafe Lajara, Osmena St. This quaint coffee shop serves up Filipino comfort food, such as fried chicken and pancit (stir-fried noodles).
  • Clej Bar & Restaurant, Balilahan, Mabul; +63 929 954 2689; facebook.com/clejrestobar. This restaurant offers a boodle fight (where food is spread on banana leaves and eaten with bare hands) package that includes deep-fried pusit (squid), lumpia shanghai (spring rolls), kinilaw (ceviche), pancit (noodles), shrimp, chopsuey (stir-frid meat, eggs and vegetables in a starch-thickened sauce), plain rice, and a pitcher of iced tea.
  • Cortesanon Grill and RestaurantBongtud; +63 86 211 3673. Nosh on dishes like sautéed shrimp, crabs and grilled fish at this casual restaurant. Make sure to get a table by the water, so you can enjoy the amazing view of the river.
  • GoldBar Restaurant, Tandag Blvd; +63 86 211 3175. Feast on Filipino favorites like bulalo (beef shank soup) and halo-halo (shaved ice dessert). The restaurant boasts a great ambience, thanks to its seaside location.
  • Jakah’s Mega Café, Rizal St. Recommmended for its lechon manok (roast chicken).
  • Jeddz Tacos Mexican Grill and RestobarMabua; +63 86 211 5706. Be sure to order the steak fajitas and grilled chicken burritos.
  • Mi Amore Restobar & Family KTV, +63 86 211 4383. Feast on pizzas and finger food while singing the evening away.
  • Oriental Lechon Manok, Surigao-Davao Coastal Rd, Dagodoc Pob. Serves up what is possibly the best lechon manok (roast chicken) in the city.

What to do

  • Britania Islands. Comprises more than a dozen islets with beautiful white sand beaches. Bring snorkeling or scuba gear to see beautiful fishes and corals up close.
  • Cagwait Beach, Cagwait. Known locally as the Waikiki Beach of Surigao del Sur, and for good reason — it boasts fine white sand and crystal-clear waters. It’s a 30- to 45-minute drive from Tandag City.
  • Danakit Cave, Linungao, Bongtud. Go spelunking and marvel at the cave’s amazing rock formations.
  • Dayao Cave, Sitio Nilungao, Bongtud. A private cave owned by Mr Dodong Dayao. Contact him at +63 909 685 0625 to make tour arrangements.
  • Diwatahan Festival. A colorful festival held every third Sunday of January in honor of Sto. Niño. Watch neighboring municipalities compete in the cultural dance competition.
  • Lanuza. Head to the adjacent town of Lanuza for a whole day of surfing. You can even get your own customized surfboard made by surfing guru Ramram Laudes himself at Laudes Surf Designs.
  • Laswitan Lagoon, Cortes. Marvel at seawater “waterfalls”, which are formed when high waves from the Pacific Ocean crash and spill across the lagoon’s rock formations.
  • Libtong’s Blue Lagoon, General Island, Cantilan. This picture-perfect lagoon is framed by limestone rocks and lush green vegetation.
  • Mangkagangi Island. Also known as Bat Island (thanks to its bat population), this remote getaway is ideal for scuba diving. Do note that it is only accessible during low tide.
  • San Nicolas de Tolentino Cathedral Parish, intersection of Bag-ong Lungsod and Dagocdoc. This 60-year-old cathedral is the oldest church in the city.
  • Tandag Boulevard. Stroll along the boulevard in the morning for a fantastic view of the sunrise. At night, you’ll get to see the boulevard’s lampposts light up in myriad colors. There are also food stalls where you can grab your favorite local snacks.
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