Wednesday, March 21, 2012

6 things to do in the off-the-beaten town called Cantilan

For a traveler who lacks local information, it is easy to skip Cantilan in favor of other known towns in Caraga Region.

an idyllic seaside fishing village | late in the morning in Cantilan

Cantilan, at first, may seem to look the part of a typical beach town in the Philippines but a closer look reveals that the town's charm actually lies in its beautiful secrets.

Join me as I take you to its hidden charms like the deserted 8-kilometer stretch of beach, delectable seafood dishes, sleepy fishing villages and more!

1. beachcombing | I have a secret beach somewhere in town. Just me and the sea with swaying palm leaves in the background. No crowd. Not even a house in sight. The best part, the deserted beach stretches to as far as the eyes can see. The only way to get there from town is through a wooden bridge.

I was on my way back to town (from my secret beach) when this scene presented itself. I just had to freeze the moment.

2. surfing | The best surfing area for beginners is in Cantilan. The swell comes with a 12-kilometer stretch of beach from Barangay Consuelo until the towns of Madrid and Lanuza. Compared to its big brother Cloud 9 in Siargao Island where the rocks are sharp, Cantilan is sandy. Just perfect.

surf's up, let's go!

2. local life | The locals of this idyllic seaside town, up to this day, still practice a bayanihan system called baling wherein people from the community help in pulling the fish net to shore every morning. Whatever they  get, they divide among themselves. The extra catch goes to the market.

3. eat | chilli crab. My two friends and I were quiet the whole time while wolfing on the ginormous chilli crab serving. No words can ever give justice to how delicious it was. Seriously. Food porn at its best!

4. eat | dahontubo This local dried fish is way tastier than danggit. The secret is in the preparation. The fish is sliced thin, washed in seawater and left to dry under the sun. Once fried, it's crunchy and not salty at all. I could eat a kilo in one sitting. I planned to bring 2-kilos as pasalubong. It turned out all stores ran out of supply the day I was scheduled to leave. Grrrr.

5. dine by the river | There's a restaurant on stilts near the mouth of Cantilan River. The seafood is fresh and the price is a steal (Php99.00/dish). My personal favorites are the saang (spider shellfish) adobo and tajum kinilaw (sea urchin sashimi). Yummiest gajud!

6. drive around town | You'll never know what you will stumble upon. As for me, I reached the far north side in the barangay called Consuelo. I cross this long stretch of one-lane wooden bridge. It creaked which made the drive all the more interesting.

There are other attractions like General Island but due to lack of time, I wasn't able to explore it. Sige, next time!

Now, where in Mindanao is Cantilan?

How to get to Cantilan: 
  • from Surigao City, take the Tandag-bound bus or v-hire. Bus terminal is right across the airport and just beside Gaisano Mall. 
  • from Siargao, take the Socorro-bound boat. Then in Socorro, transfer to a Hayanggabon-bound banca. From Hayanggabon, take the bus or v-hire bound for Tandag.  
  • depending on the weather and availability, there's also a direct boat from Socorro to Cantilan
Where to sleep:
There are resorts in town (Torpedo and Solar Beach Resorts among others). But if you prefer to stay near the town center, there's Hillary's Pension. Rates start at Php150.00 for a non-aircon room and Php500 for aircon room. 

Tip: If you run out of cash, don't fret. There's an ATM or cash machine in town, at Cantilan Bank, Inc.

Cathe and Harry made my stay in Cantilan awesome! Thank you guys! Cheers!

Thank you a million times over to my awesome friend Cathe Duero for hosting my stay!


  1. So nice site i could really remember my hometown my beloved Cantilan.I would love to visit one day and start rounding up all these beautiful places in Cantilan.I want to link this site in my website here in and of course I wann invite you guys to listen to me everyday here in pinoyhomeradio80.9 thru this link everyday 2 to 5 PM Pilipinas time. Thank you very much guys.

  2. cantilanbank: Thanks for the mention RV!

  3. I love the features in your My Cantilan thnx a lot nakkamiss tuloy


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