Hougang, who recorded their highest ever league finish of seventh last season, drew first blood in the 23rd minute thanks to diminutive forward Jordan Webb but Japanese midfielder Takaya Kawanabe leveled proceedings for the Jaguars just five minutes later.
Tanjong Pagar coach Terry Pathmanathan hailed his side's character after fighting back from a goal down to claim their maiden point of the new campaign.
"We conceded the first goal, but we didn't collapse, and within (five minutes), we got one back," Pathmanathan was quoted as saying by The New Paper after the encounter.
"Unlike last year, we didn't get hammered in our opening game, and our players will grow in confidence."
Cheetahs tactician Nenad Bacina was disappointed that his charges failed to pick up a victory.
"I think we controlled the game, especially in the first half, and deserved more than one point," Bacina commented to The New Paper.
"We will go out to win our next game against the Young Lions."