Have you ever been to Tandag City in Surigao del Sur lately? You might want to have a look again and see what changes have happened since the last time you were there.
It is always nice to enjoy a road trip on six-lane concrete roads with less traffic and commune with nature. The trip to this place facing the Pacific Ocean on the northern tip of Mindanao is much shorter than it was a decade ago.
Tandag City in Surigao del Sur is rich in Spanish history. This place was once a military outpost of the Spaniards in 1609 when they came to convert the inhabitants to Christianity, baptized the indigenous Filipinos and radically changed their way of life. The Augustinian Recollects were responsible for the spiritual upbringing, construction of parishes and baptism of inhabitants during those early years until they gave Tandag and other colonized places in Mindanao to the Jesuit priests in 1864 by a royal decree. The Jesuits then started to introduce innovative and newer ideas.
A few years back I was fortunate to hear mass at the San Nicolas de Tolentino Catholic Cathedral in the heart of downtown Tandag City. It was an old 1950 wooden church which probably witnessed a lot of historical and unrecorded events. Today, this historical landmark is now dilapidated.
Cracks have appeared in the structural columns, flooring has risen in some parts and even carpentry ceilings have either been repaired or in disarray. Even the signage of the church has fallen. This may have been the effects of previous earthquakes and typhoons that have made this cathedral seem unfit for use.
But a new Catholic church has risen along the national highway facing the Pacific Ocean, made of concrete and steel, more stable and bigger but still incomplete.
Tandag is a city with no high-rise structures, only mid-rise buildings. A Gaisano store exists, which is the closest to a standard mall.
There is a modern baywalk along the shore line facing the Pacific Ocean, complete with decorative lighting and signage of Tandag for Instagram-worthy pictures.
You will be surprised that almost all of the indoor restaurants do not cater to dine-in customers but accept take-out orders only, while eateries with al fresco dining are allowed by the city government in compliance with strict IATF protocols.
Business has surely been affected by the pandemic.
One of Tandag’s residents, Dennis Tan, confirmed that indeed business everywhere in Tandag City and its surrounding towns and cities have dipped tremendously since the pandemic struck.
One place that remains full of people and thriving is the Pa Playa. It has converted indoor dining to outdoor dining beside the shoreline, complete with various food stalls selling a wide array of dishes.
Tandag City indeed is worth a second look. Many bypass concrete roads with four to six lanes going to this coastal town have been developed.
There are also a lot of farm-to-market concrete roads completed since 2020, making agricultural and fishery products still the main sources of income.
Tandag City is now a developing city. And this is why investors should have the initiative to strike while the iron is hot, specifically in property development and in the farm and fish industries, especially during this pandemic and in preparation for better days ahead. Tandag City is accessible by air, land and sea, something that is very important for businesses, especially where deliveries are concerned.
There are staycation boutique hotels available during this pandemic and one quaint hotel facing the Pacific Ocean is The Pacific View Hotel, a three-storey building with a panoramic view of the boulevard. It is also close to the eateries along the coastline.
Tandag City is quite a peaceful place with a population of approximately 70,000.
Tourist road trips from Davao to Tinuy-an Falls, then to the Enchanted River and all the way to Tandag City and Butuan City also has a rich Spanish heritage, which includes its claim of being the site of the First Mass in the Philippines.