General Santos City: All the Way Down South

A mini guide to the tuna capital of the Philippines.

General Santos City is best known for yellow fin tuna trade, and more recently, for being the home of world-famous boxer, Manny Pacquiao.

But the city all the way down south of Metro Manila has so much more in store for travelers.

How to Get There

You’ll find the South Cotabato municipality of Polomolok and the Sarangani Province Municipality of Malungon on its north, the Sarangani Province of Alabel on its east, the municipality of T’Boli on its west and Maasim on its south.

GenSan is a flight away from Manila, Cebu or Iloilo. Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific Air regularly fly to the city.

Accommodations

If you’re looking into a plush, relaxed stay, Sarangani Highlands offers world-class accommodations and a breathtaking view of the Sarangani Bay, downtown General Santos and the majestic Mount Parker and Mount Matutum.

Divers and water sports enthusiasts may opt to stay at the Lemlunay Resort, which is conveniently located right by the Sarangani Bay.

Things to Do

Mountain lovers will enjoy climbing Sanchez Peak, which is known to be the highest peak in the province, rising 800 feet above sea level.

For those who are fascinated with waterfalls, visit Lake Sebu. An hour drive from the city will bring you to Lake Sabu’s seven falls (although only falls one and two are currently the only safe and easily reachable ones). Lake Sebu also boasts of having the country’s longest, highest and most scenic zipline ride.

If you prefer a sojourn surrounded by white sand and a blue sea, consider going to Gumasa Beach in Glan, Sarangani. Locals have dubbed this crescent-shaped stretch as the Little Boracay of the South. During the month of May, beachcombers can look forward to the annual SarBay Festival Summer Beach Party.

Another interesting destination is the Dole Plantation in Polomolok. Make sure, though, that an employee has personally invited you and will act as your tour guide, so you can thoroughly experience the giant plantation. Otherwise, you may waste two hours of travel time getting there.

If going out of your way is not your thing, the Olaer Cold Spring Resort is only 10-15 minutes away from the city proper. You can also take a stroll down Plaza Heneral Santos (perfect for an early morning walk), the city’s largest and busiest park. Moreover, shopping and dining should be perfect at the newly opened Veranza Mall, the city’s first “Green Mall.”

The Food

You can’t leave GenSan without sampling its local cuisine. Dining is more than a pleasure at the Tiongson Arcade for delicious barbecue and seafood galore. There’s also Roland’s Steakhouse in Lagao where you can find the best steak in the city. For affordable yet delectable eats, try Chicken Hauz for the best grilled chicken in town. Finally, you must try balbacua, which is a meat dish that’s a cross between kare-kare and pochero; you can get it at Aweng’s Balbacua for only PHP25 a bowl.

Finally, GenSan is the tuna capital of the Philippines, so don’t leave without seeing the tuna trade at the General Santos port yourself. Trades start as early as five in the morning. You can get fresh tuna products for lunch and pasalubong like panga (jaw) and belly at RDEX Foods International (for relatively cheap)!

What do you love about GenSan?

All videos from gensan.gov.ph.