Cotabato Chronicle: Gensan by Day


Sarangani Bay shot from Sarangani Highlands, General Santos City.

Sarangani Bay shot from Sarangani Highlands, General Santos City.

Having explored Cotabato City and Lake Sebu, my next destination was Gensan, shortened name for General Santos City which is also known as Dadiangas in indigenous B’laan who are the original settlers in the area displaced by Luzon settlers.

Carabao and Cart at Sarangani Highlands, General Santos City.

Carabao and Cart at Sarangani Highlands, General Santos City.

Given the title Tuna Capital of the Philippines, the first thing I would want to see here was the giant tuna. I got a laugh from my friend who lives here and who kindly toured me around. It is not possible then because the port area is only open to workers and official business transactions. I learned too that tuna and other fish collected in the port for processing are actually not from our own Sarangani Bay but from Indonesia. Gensan was just set-up by Americans and Japanese investors to be the receiver and distributor of sea raw produce. Moreover, it is an open secret that the United States has a submarine base in Sarangani Bay. Once US soldiers go out of their base, they disguise as tourists. It is not quite obvious but sadly, flesh trade does exist here.

Mount Sabrina Restaurant  and Party/Wedding Place at General Santos City.

Mount Sabrina Restaurant and Party/Wedding Place at General Santos City.

Gensan is a bourgeoning city with a population that triples each year due to migration pushed by contractual employment in factories. Pres. Benigno Cojuangco Aquino’s own Microtel is the newest addition to establishments here. Generally, structures in Gensan cannot go sky high though as it lies in earthquake fault-line. Besides, it has a backward electric service with seven to eight hours of brownout a day. I asked whether this is some of kind election rehearsal. Locals said yes and not only that. There are overkill alibis like lack of supply, energy-saving and putting pressures to businessmen.

Mosque at General Santos Cit

Mosque at General Santos City.

Besides exploring the wet market, mosque and commercial establishments, we visited Mount Sabrina and Sarangani Highlands for fresh air and food tasting. There are entrances to these sites (PHP50-100/pax). These properties are as just so big that I wondered how much they cost and what it entailed to acquire them.

Sarangani Highlands Sizzling Fish Egg.

Sarangani Highlands Sizzling Fish Egg.

Meanwhile, I still feel guilty having enjoyed sizzling fish egg. And for dinner, we headed to grilling station Tiongson Arcade where we stuffed ourselves with grilled fish, clam soup and chicharong tilapia. This last one is quite salty. Still, it is healthier than chicharong pork.

Sizzling Fish Egg at Sarangani Highlands Gensan.

Chicharong Tilapia at Tiongson Arcade, Gensan.

Grilling Station at Tiongson Arcade, General Santos City.

Grilling Station at Tiongson Arcade, General Santos City.

The ultimate way to enjoy one’s stay here besides the delicacy is the beach. The Gumasa white sand and Kamanga Maasim are one hour away from the city proper.#

From Surallah Integrated Public Terminal, the Yellow Bus Line (YBL) travels to Marbel Terminal in Koronadal City for 30 minutes (PHP24 no student fare discount) where you can take a one hour connecting bus to Gensan (PHP65 no student fare discount). I took the last trip at 9PM. YBL parks in the Old Terminal near T’boli Hotel (PHP750/night for single room).

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About Joanna Lerio

cultural journalist, multidisciplinary artist, educator, traveller, dreamer, yogini, vegetarian, advocate Facebook.com/JoannaLerioOfficial Youtube.com/juanalily Juanalily.wordpress.com/ Juanalilytravels.dreamtrips.com/refer Twitter.com/JoannaLerio Facebook.com/linanganng.kulturangpilipino Artistswelfare.org/join-us/
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2 Responses to Cotabato Chronicle: Gensan by Day

  1. Pingback: Cotabato Chronicle: Cultural Exchange with T’boli Indigenous People at Lake Sebu | ISLANG MALAYA

  2. Pingback: Cotabato from the Sky | ISLANG MALAYA

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