Dubbed as the Tuna Capital of the Philippines, General Santos City was once a backwater town that was famous only for its fish. But when it became known that the country’s most well-known professional boxer hailed from General Santos, the little town soon woke up its potential. Gen San, as it is colloquially called, finally found its spot in the proverbial tourist map.
The Philippines became a major player in the tuna market thanks to the bountiful catch of fishermen in Gen San. It was only 30 years ago that the abundant aquatic resources of Sarangani Bay were first discovered and put to good use. Here it is common to see dock workers hauling fish as big as a human being or bearing these marine beasts upon their backs.
Yellowfin tuna is the most common tuna variety that you can find here, although there are also other species that frequent the waters of the Sarangani Bay. Tuna has paved the way for a multimillion dollar enterprise to take root in Gen San and slowly bring the city out of its destitute background.
Today Gen San is an important economic and financial hub in Mindanao, especially in what is called the SOCCKSARGEN (South Cotabato, North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, and Gen San) region.
The True Flavor of Gen San
Gen San’s heart and soul is in its tuna industry, and rightly so. The freshest tuna catch of the day find themselves served up thousands of miles away in the posh restaurants of Beverly Hills or Tokyo—all within 24 hours upon reaching the fish port complex at Gen San.
The fish port may not be your ideal site to see in the Philippines, but paying a visit just might make you realize how big a thing tuna is for the people of Gen San. The place is a bustling hive of activity 24/7, and because Gen San is not buffeted by rainstorms like other parts of the country, the fishing is never seasonal. Don’t miss out trying that delicious fish and see for yourself what the fuss is all about.
Detour for the true tourist
Tuna isn’t the only thing that you can savor in this small city. Tucked into the mountains and bordered by the sea, Gen San is an alluring vacation spot that boasts of many an alluring beachscape that cannot be matched anywhere else in the country. Lake Sebu and Mt. Matutum are only two of the places of interest that you should see in Gen San. And of course, try to nose around the Pacquiao mansion(s), home of the Philippines’ most popular pro boxer today and one of the country’s legislators back in Manila.
Mindanao may not be as famous as the two other major island groups in terms of tourist activity, but if you should ever find yourself down there, make sure to include Gen San in your itinerary. You will certainly be glad that you made the stop.