Tandag City is the capital of Surigao del Sur yet it has nothing much to offer when it comes to tourist spots. Enough efforts are being exerted though as of the moment to develop some within the city. Whenever you ask locals any good tourist spot near the city, most likely they would direct you to Cortes, a neighboring town of Tandag City.
Cortes is the home of good beaches – it is the home of the famous Laswitan. According to locals, “Laswitan” comes from the word “laswit” which means “splash of waves”. If you are up for a water adventure, Laswitan is a must-visit place. It is important to note though that it is not year-round that the splash of waves are good. There are specific months in which the locals suggest the tourists to visit.
My first visit to Laswitan was back then in 2010 when it wasn’t still officially open to the public and were just accessible at your own risk. Back then, it wasn’t still developed as it is right now – no proper trail, no cottages, and no management yet that runs the place. It was just around 2013-2014 when Laswitan was developed by the local government and was opened to the public.
To get to Laswitan, go to Tandag City Bus Terminal and find where the jeepneys bound for Cortes are parked – fare is 40 PHP per head. The travel time from Tandag City to Cortes is about 45 minutes. The jeepney’s last stop would be in the terminal. From the Cortes terminal, there are motorcycles (habal-habal) waiting there bound to Laswitan – fare is 30 PHP per head with 3 passengers per unit. The travel time from Cortes terminal to Laswitan is about 30 minutes with long rough roads ahead.
Upon reaching Laswitan, it is important to talk with the habal-habal drivers about your ride going back to the terminal as there are no habal-habal units in the area that wait for the tourists, and there is also no cellular signal. The fare rate going back to terminal really depends on how much you have agreed on as you would have to pay their travel en route to Laswitan since they wouldn’t have passengers going there.
The entrance fee for Laswitan is priced at 30 PHP per head, and the cottages are priced 200 PHP each. There are no stores near the area so it is important to bring enough food and drink when going there.
I and my friends did try to check the swell forecast for the day of our visit but got no luck of finding one so we just went there without the assurance that there would really be big waves.
As assumed, there weren’t big waves during our visit. Instead of being sad, we took the chance of hiking up the big rocks and enjoying the calm blue sea (thus my title haha) on the other side instead as they wouldn’t be accessible too when there would be waves (tip: wear a good aqua shoes or just a 20 PHP worth of slippers [nothing in between] to avoid getting hurt by the rocks and crying over a destroyed pricey slippers haha).
If you still want to experience the strength of the waves in Laswitan, you may go to the right utmost side of the place in front of an island. It was nearing lunch when we went down there and the waves were starting to swell. It may have been small compared to what the place really is known for but it was already enough to push us against the rocks.The management suggests that if one really wants to experience the “laswit”, the best time to visit is during typhoon season (months of June, December, and January). As for the rest of year, the visitors may just enjoy the view the place offers.
Our visit was brief yet definitely one for the books. Cliche as may sound, sometimes it’s really the company that makes the trip memorable – and I’m blessed to have spent it with my college friends whom who knows when will I see again.
Travel guide by Marla Arreza
Photos by Marla Arreza and Neil John Sumalinog