GENERAL SANTOS CITY, Philippines, also known Gensan and “Tuna Capital of the Philippines“, is highly urbanized city located at the southern tip of the Philippines. It is located between 125°1′ and 125°17′ east longitude and between 5°58′ and 6°20′ north latitude. The city is southeast of Manila, southeast of Cebu and southwest of Davao. It is surrounded by the municipalities of Alabel, Malungon and Maasim of Sarangani Province and the municipalities of Polomolok and T’boli of South Cotabato. The pound-for-pound boxing champion of the Philippines, Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao is from Barangay Labangal, General Santos 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. The city generates an annual average income of 894 million pesos.
General Paulino Santos led the first and largest batch of 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 upon approval of Republic Act No. 5412. on July 8, 1968. In 1988, the city was declared as a highly urbanized city.
General Santos City has a population of 529,542 with a growth rate of 5.05% due to influx of migrants from its neighboring towns and provinces. With a total of about 111,718 households, General Santos City is one of the most populous cities in the Philippines. Predominant language is English, Tagalog, Ilonggo, Cebuano and Ilocano dialects.
CULTURE & ARTS
General Santos City celebrates Kalilangan Festival every last week of February. 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. Tuna Festival is also celebrated every since the city is known as the Tuna Capital of the Philippines. Sumptuous tuna treats are showcased during the Tuna Culinary Contest.
Grilled 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 soy sauce and calamansi. Other value added products from Tuna are also a must “pasalubong”.
Tuna sashimi from the city has one of the highest grade of its class, being exported to Japan, United State and Europe.
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. The city has the largest total daily fish landings in the Philippines and is the leading producer of sashimi grade tuna. It is also the largest producer ofcoconut, corn, pineapple, asparagus, rice and other high value crops such as fruits, potatoes, vegetables and cut flowers.
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.
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.
Since the year 2000, General Santos City registered 1,505 new medium to large enterprises businesses. The city has 59 banks operating. There are also 49 pawnshops providing emergency loan assistance and 48 lending institutions. The total investments were based on social and personal services, wholesale/retail trade business, manufacturing and mining & quarrying.
General Santos City is politically subdivided into 26 barangays namely Apopong, Baluan, Batomelong, Buayan, Bula, Calumpang, City Heights, Conel, Dadiangas East, Dadiangas North, Dadiangas South, Dadiangas West, Fatima, Katangawan, Lagao, Labangal, Ligaya, Mabuhay, Olympog, San Isidro, San Jose, Sinawal, Siguel, Tambler, Tinagacan and Upper Labay.
The city’s climate is favorable whole year round. 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. The city is virtually typhoon free.