Visit General Santos City: Tuna Capital of the Philippines

#THROWBACKTRAVEL | General Santos City is an independent city that lacks the usual tourist destinations despite being a melting pot of business industries in Mindanao. But GenSan is still worthy of exploration given its noteworthy background. The ‘Tuna Capital of the Philippines' (famous for its yellow-fin tuna), which hosts the annual Tuna Festival every September is also proud of being chosen as one of Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao’s homes. The world champion professional boxer calls his residence in General Santos City as Mansion II.

An upcoming city in the Philippines, GenSan is the ideal gateway when traveling to nearby municipalities such as Maasim, and T'Boli in South Cotabato. Furthermore, General Santos City is geographically located in the province of South Cotabato, which is part of the amazing SOCCSKSARGEN region (composed of South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, and General Santos City). 


Our hotel was just a short tricycle ride to several attractions in the city such as the City Hall, Plaza Heneral Santos, General Paulino Santos Monument, Pacquiao’s Wild Card Gym (near SM Mall), Tiongson Arcade and General Santos City Fish Port Complex (amongst other sites).

City Hall

One of the places that you can visit in General Santos City (formerly known as Dadiangas) is the City Hall. A photo exhibit was on display during our visit, so we were able to read up on the city’s historical background. We were briefed that GenSan was first established as a municipality on August 18, 1947, before it was integrated as a city in 1968.

NOTE: Don’t hesitate to approach any of the people on duty at the City Hall, as they’re very accommodating.

Plaza Heneral Santos and General Paulino Santos Monument (situated across the City Hall)

The Plaza Heneral Santos is an ideal meeting place for people, as it has a picturesque landscape, whilst surrounded by a lovely fountain and lagoon, and a pleasant rock garden. It’s also where General Paulino Santos’ monument can be found, as it stands as a beautiful center attraction. The monument is also the gravesite of the former military officer, which was unveiled on September 5, 1981.

Pacquiao's Wild Card Gym 

Pacquiao's Wild Card Gym is equipped with topnotch wellness facilities that cater to specific training that consists of Cardio, Weights, Boxing, and Aerobics. The fitness center, which is near SM mall, is located at San Miguel Street.

Tiongson Arcade 

Tiongson Arcade is famous for its long strip of open-air eateries, where local cuisines are served fresh. When you drop by, make sure to order some grilled tuna and catfish, and lots of rice! 

General Santos City Fish Port Complex

The General Santos City Fish Port Complex is where the renowned yellow-fin tuna can be seen. Drop-by if you have plenty of time and extra money to spare, as it can be quite costly to commute to the port. Also, take note that you need to be there very early to see the day’s catch.

Important reminders when going around the city

My travel buddy and I didn’t have a hard time going from one place to another, as public transportation is very accessible in the area, especially tricycles. Just make sure to ride the ones that are legal to operate in the city. Now, there are several ways for you to identify these vehicles, and that’s by checking the color of their plates and their corresponding numbers. You’ll be able to spot the ones that are operating illegally (those who haven’t acquired a proper franchise) because the legal tricycles have yellow-printed numbers on them, along with a green plate.

How to reach General Santos City

The best way to travel to General Santos City is via plane. Several domestic airlines from Manila fly to the city in just under two hours (the flight time is approximately 1.5 hours). GenSan can also be reached via nearby Davao City (3 hours by bus) and Lake Sebu, South Cotabato (2 hours by bus).

You can also ride buses that ply several destinations from General Santos City via the Eusebio Bulaong Terminal and Yellow Bus Line Terminal.

Where to stay in General Santos City

There are plenty of nice accommodations in General Santos City. But the one that we enjoyed immensely was Microtel by Wyndham. Its location was perfect, as it was just 25 to 30 minutes away from the airport (via private vehicle). It was also near several specialty restaurants, cafes, medical and wellness centers --- all of which are nestled inside the Valley High complex (great hang-out place). There’s also a pharmacy and a bank close by, as well as fast-food eateries like McDonald's and Jollibee. A hospital (St. Elizabeth Hospital) can also be easily reached, as it’s just across the hotel. Talk about an ideal location, right? 

Explore & Be Free!

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