GENERAL SANTOS CITY is a 1st class city located in the Southern area of the Philippines, South Cotabato province. The city generates and annual average income of 250 million pesos and above and is known as “Tuna Capital of the Philippines”. General Santos is bounded by Sarangani province, municipalities of Alabel, Malungon, Maasim, Polomolok and T’boli. The Philippines boxing champion, Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao hails from Barangay Labangal, General Santos City.
General Paulino Santos led the first and largest batch of 62 settlers in the shores of Sarangani Bay on February 27, 1939. These settlers came from Luzon and tilled Cotabato’s fertile land and a few years later more settlers migrated into Buayan District then. In 1948, Buayan District became a municipality and its’ territorial boundaries which includes the present municipalities of Sarangani and South Cotabato Provinces by virtue of Republic Act No. 82.
Then in June 1954 by virtue of Republic Act No. 1107, the Municipality of Buayan was changed to General Santos as a tribute to its great pioneer. From 1963 to 1967, the economy of General Santos surged and several industries expanded in the area. The municipality became a city on July 8, 1968 upon approval of Republic Act No. 5412. Then in 1988, the city was declared as a highly urbanized city.
The total land area of General Santos City is 53,606 hectares with land use based on built-up areas such as commercial, institutional, industrial, livestock at 5,843.81 hectares of the total land area; special land uses such as agro-industrial, parks and recreation, pastureland and vacant lots in 23,320.95 hectares of the total land area; agriculture lands at 17,489 hectares or 32.63% of the total land area. Other land uses are based on forest areas and bodies of water in the city.
General Santos City has a population of 411,822 with a growth rate of 5.05% in 84,045 households, making General Santos as one of the most populous cities in the Philippines.
The predominant language used is Ilonggo, a Hiligaynon dialect, followed by the Cebuano and Ilocano dialects.
COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY
The city's economy is primarily agro-industrial emerging as the country's leading producer of major commodities due to its fertile soil, good rainfall and typhoon-free climate. General Santos City is the largest producer of corn, coconuts, copra, pineapples, asparagus and rice and it also produces other high value crops such as exotic fruits, potatoes, vegetables, cut flowers and okra. The city also has the largest total daily fish landings in the Philippines and is the leading producer of sashimi grade tuna.
Additional economic factor in the City is the presence of major economic infrastructure support facilities which has a standard comparable to international benchmarks. There is also the current International Standard Airport with a 3,200-meter runway capable of handling wide-bodied jets like Airbus 300 series and Boeing 747, catering direct flights and connecting flights to various cities in the Philippines.
General Santos also boast of its world class Fishport Complex which has a 750-meter quay, 300-meter wharf for 2,000 GT reefer carriers, refrigeration facilities with 1,500 cold storage capacity, 60 tons/day ice plant, brine, air blast and contact freezers. The Makar Wharf is one of the most important ports in Mindanao and has now expanded.
The City has 59 banks operating. There are also 49 pawnshops providing emergency loan assistance and 48 lending institutions. Since the year 2000, General Santos City registered 1,505 new medium to large enterprises businesses. The total investments were based on social and personal services, wholesale/retail trade business, manufacturing and mining & quarrying.
The City climate is favorable. The area comprises of low plain areas and with evenly distributed rainfall suitable for agricultural-based industries. Annual temperature ranges to 27.07 °C. Warm temperature occurs in the months of April and October, and the coolest weather from December to January. Tropical depressions rarely affect the city due to the presence of mountain ranges.
ARTS & CULTURE
General Santos City celebrates Kalilangan or Jubilee Festival annually during. This is a gathering that showcases exchanging of amenities among traditional leaders, elders, allies and subordinates. It has a broader perspective of social interaction that takes place in any occasion or celebration. This festivity also showcases a pageantry of unique and colorful ethnic rites, rituals and traditions like marriage celebrations, religious ceremonies, anniversaries, funerals, and enthronement of royal dignitaries, thanksgiving and other forms of social, political and economic activities.
Aside from Kalilangan Festival, Tuna Festival is also celebrated every since the city is known as the Tuna Capital of the Philippines. Tuna Float is showcased with sumptuous tuna treats during the Tuna Culinary Contest.
General Santos City is famous for its canning factories, deep sea fishing, prawn hatchery, fresh pineapples and banana.
Topping the list of must-eats in General Santos are tuna and Opah or Dayana, top two food best sellers which come served as the exciting “Sutukil” or “Sugba” a charcoal-boiled in special sauce, dipped in Toyomansi. A special soup called Tula with ingredients of ginger, onion, lemon grass, pechay and tomatoes; and Kinilaw,fresh cuts in vinegar, shallots, cucumber and pepper.
LIST OF “BARANGAYS” (or communities)
General Santos City is politically subdivided into 26 barangays:
Dadiangas East (Pob.)
Lagao (1st & 3rd)
San Isidro (Lagao 2nd)
Family Beach Resort
Lagare Spring Resort
LondonBeach Resort (Cabo) – a 25 minute ride from the city proper.
Maharlika Beach Resort
Olaer Spring Resort - free-flowing natural swimming pool which water flows/bubbles underneath huge boulders and stream into varying depths of connecting areas or pools for children and adults.
Raja Beach Resort (Cabo, Tambler)
Siguel Beach Resort
Springfield Garden Resort
T’Boli Beach Resort
Tropicana Resort Hotel (Cabo, Tambler)
Villa Aurora Swimming Pool
Anchor Roof Top Grill (Santiago Boulevard)
Babes (East Asia Royal, National Highway)
Barrio Gaisano (Gaisano Shopping Mall Compound) – Perfect place to hear folk or country songs.
Casado - Professional Billard Tables and a Wine Bar are offered here.
Daniel’s Pizza and Folk House
La Bocana (National Highway)
Mamagaya (Santiago Boulevard) - Features CAGAYAN and General Santos Band performing a repertoire of POP, R&B, RETRO and Alternative music.
Sydney’s Roof Top Grill (Sydney Hotel corner Pendatun and Pioneer Avenue) – Listen to favorite folk songs while eating fresh seafoods.
Tokyo’s Sounds and Taste (Magsaysay Avenue) - Offering fresh seafoods foods in a fastfood layout.
The GSC International Standard Airport can be reached direct from Manila, Cebu, and Iloilo or via Zamboanga, Cagayan de Oro and Davao through any Mindanao based flights. Though there are still no direct international flights in the area, Philippine Airlines Air Philippines and Cebu Pacific operate in GenSan, setting links to a wide range of destinations.
Daily flights: Manila to General Santos City; General Santos City via Cebu and Davao City.
Inbound and around SOCSKSARGEN land travel is a fast and convenient ride. With more than 400 passenger buses and jeepneys wielding routes within, to and from the growth region, getting to your place of destination is a comfort. Air-conditioned taxis and rent-a-cars are also readily available. The Pan-Philippine Highway links GenSan to other Major cities in Mindanao and to the rest of the country.
GenSan's Makar Wharf connects the City to destinations within and outside the Philippines. Negros Navigation, WG&A and Sulpicio Lines provide the route while Indonesian shipping lines contribute their GenSan-Indonesian route for passenger and cargo traffic.
Manila to General Santos City through WG&A Superferry, via Iloilo-Davao (Twice Weekly), through Negros Navigation via Iloilo-Zamboanga (Once Weekly) and through Sulpicio Lines (Twice Weekly).