General Santos City, also known as GenSan, is a bustling urban center located in the southern part of the Philippines, specifically in the province of South Cotabato, Mindanao. It is the regional center of the SOCCSKSARGEN region and is known for being the Tuna Capital of the Philippines.
Travelers visiting General Santos City will be pleased to know that there are plenty of things to do in the area. From exploring nature and parks, visiting historical landmarks, shopping, and indulging in local cuisine, there is something for everyone. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, General Santos City has something to offer that will surely make your trip worthwhile.
General Santos City is located in the southern part of the Philippines, making it accessible by plane and land transportation.
The General Santos International Airport (GES) is the city’s main gateway. Major airlines such as Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific, and AirAsia offer daily flights from Manila, Davao City, and Cagayan de Oro.
The flight to General Santos City from Manila takes approximately 1 hour and 50 minutes. From Davao City, the flight takes around 45 minutes, while from Cagayan de Oro, the flight takes approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes.
General Santos City is also accessible by land transportation. Buses and vans are available from nearby cities such as Davao City, Koronadal, and Cotabato City.
From Davao City, the travel time to General Santos City is approximately 3-4 hours, while from Koronadal and Cotabato City, the travel time is around 1-2 hours.
How to Get There
Travelers can book their flights or land transportation through various online travel agencies or directly from airlines and bus companies. It is recommended to book in advance to secure seats and avoid any inconvenience.
Upon arrival at the General Santos International Airport, travelers can take a taxi or a tricycle to reach their desired destination in the city. Negotiating the fare before boarding the taxi or tricycle is advisable to avoid overcharging.
Where to Stay
General Santos City offers a variety of accommodations to suit different preferences and budgets. From luxury hotels to budget-friendly inns, visitors have plenty of options.
One of the most popular hotels in the city is the Greenleaf Hotel, which boasts modern amenities and a convenient location. It offers spacious rooms with comfortable beds, flat-screen TVs, and free Wi-Fi. The hotel also has a restaurant, a fitness center, and a rooftop pool with stunning views of the city.
Another great option is the Sun City Suites, located in the city’s heart. It features elegant rooms with plush beds, air conditioning, and a private bathroom. The hotel also has a restaurant, a coffee shop, and a spa where guests can relax and rejuvenate.
For travelers on a budget, the Microtel by Wyndham General Santos is a great choice. It offers clean and comfortable rooms with basic amenities such as air conditioning, cable TV, and free Wi-Fi. The hotel also has a restaurant and a business center.
Casa Rafael is another budget-friendly option that offers cozy rooms with air conditioning and cable TV. It also has a restaurant and a garden where guests can relax and enjoy the fresh air.
For those who prefer a more intimate atmosphere, the 3G Garden Hotel is a great choice. It offers spacious rooms with a garden view, air conditioning, and free Wi-Fi. The hotel also has a restaurant and a garden where guests can relax and enjoy the peaceful surroundings.
Exploring the City
General Santos City offers a unique blend of modern and traditional experiences. From exploring its rich history to indulging in its culinary delights, there’s something for everyone in this bustling city.
Tuna Capital of the Philippines
General Santos City is known as the “Tuna Capital of the Philippines” due to its thriving tuna industry. Visitors can take a tour of the General Santos City Fish Port Complex, the largest fish port in the country, to learn about the tuna industry and witness the bustling activity of the port.
Manny Pacquiao’s Legacy
As the hometown of boxing legend Manny Pacquiao, General Santos City has become a popular destination for boxing enthusiasts. Visitors can take a tour of the Wildcard Gym, where Pacquiao trained for his fights, and even meet the boxing champion himself. The Pacman Tour is a must-do for any boxing fan, taking visitors to the different landmarks associated with Pacquiao’s life and career.
Shopping at SM
SM City General Santos is the largest shopping mall in the city and offers a wide range of shopping, dining, and entertainment options. Visitors can explore the mall’s numerous shops and restaurants or catch a movie at its state-of-the-art cinema.
Visiting the Parks
General Santos City has several parks, including Plaza Heneral Santos and Queen Tuna Park. These parks offer a peaceful respite from the hustle and bustle of the city and are perfect for picnics, strolls, and relaxation. Visitors can also take a tour of the different tourist spots in the city, such as Boombil’s Peak, which offers a breathtaking view of the city and Sarangani Bay.
Touring the Fish Port Complex
The General Santos City Fish Port Complex is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in the tuna industry. Visitors can take a tour of the port to learn about the tuna industry and witness the bustling activity of the port. The port also offers fresh seafood that visitors can purchase and enjoy.
General Santos City is a great destination for adventure seekers. Its diverse landscape allows travelers to enjoy various outdoor activities such as trekking, hiking, and water sports.
Trekking at Sanchez Peak
Sanchez Peak is a popular destination for trekking enthusiasts. The peak is located in the heart of General Santos City and offers a challenging but rewarding trekking experience. The trail is steep and rocky, but the stunning views of the city and the surrounding mountains make it all worth it. Travelers are advised to bring enough water and wear proper trekking shoes.
Water Activities in Sarangani Bay
Sarangani Bay is a must-visit destination for water sports enthusiasts. The bay is known for its crystal-clear waters and diverse marine life. Travelers can enjoy activities such as snorkeling, diving, and island hopping. The bay is also home to several beach resorts that offer water sports equipment rentals and guided tours.
Hiking Mount Matutum
Mount Matutum is a popular hiking destination for travelers who want to experience the beauty of General Santos City’s natural landscape. The mountain is located in the nearby province of South Cotabato and offers a challenging but rewarding hiking experience. The trail is steep and rocky, but the stunning views of the surrounding mountains and forests make it all worth it. Travelers are advised to bring enough water and wear proper hiking shoes.
General Santos City is surrounded by many beautiful destinations that are worth exploring. Here are some of the nearby excursions that visitors can take from General Santos City:
Lake Sebu and 7 Falls
Lake Sebu is a popular destination for nature lovers and adventure seekers. It is a natural lake located in the municipality of Lake Sebu, South Cotabato. Visitors can enjoy a boat ride on the lake, go fishing, or take a dip in the cool waters. The lake is also surrounded by lush forests and hills, making it a perfect spot for trekking and hiking.
One of the main attractions in Lake Sebu is the 7 Falls. As the name suggests, it is a series of seven waterfalls located in different parts of the area. Visitors can hike to each of the falls and enjoy the stunning views of the cascading waters. The most famous waterfall is the Hikong Alo, the highest among the seven.
Exploring South Cotabato
South Cotabato is a province located in the southern part of Mindanao. It is known for its natural beauty and rich cultural heritage. Visitors can explore the area by taking a road trip and visiting its many attractions.
One of the must-visit destinations in South Cotabato is the T’boli Museum in Lake Sebu. The museum showcases the culture and traditions of the T’boli tribe, one of the indigenous groups in the area. Visitors can learn about their way of life, see their traditional clothing and accessories, and even watch a cultural performance.
Other attractions in South Cotabato include the Allah Valley Landscape, the Seven Falls Zipline, and the Mount Matutum Protected Landscape.
Visiting Polomolok and Koronadal
Polomolok and Koronadal are two municipalities located near General Santos City. Visitors can take a day trip to these towns and explore their many attractions.
In Polomolok, visitors can visit the Dole Pineapple Plantation and see how pineapples are grown and harvested. They can also visit the Sarangani Highlands and enjoy the stunning countryside views.
In Koronadal, visitors can visit the Provincial Capitol Park and see the beautiful gardens and fountains. They can also go to the South Cotabato Sports Complex and watch a game of basketball or volleyball.
Balut Island Adventure
Balut Island is a small island located off the coast of Sarangani Province. It is known for its pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and abundant marine life. Visitors can take a boat ride to the island and enjoy a day of swimming, snorkeling, and sunbathing.
One of the main attractions in Balut Island is the Balut Volcano. Visitors can hike to the top of the volcano and enjoy the stunning views of the island and the surrounding sea. They can also go fishing and catch some of the fresh seafood that the island is known for.
General Santos City is known for its fresh tuna, but its local cuisine offers much more than just seafood. Visitors can explore the city’s food scene and discover a range of flavors that are unique to the area.
One of the best places to sample local cuisine is Tiongson Arcade. Located in Lagao, this bustling area is popular for seafood boodle fights, and barbecue. The prices are low, and the food offerings are plenty. Visitors can find a variety of dishes, including balbacua, a hearty beef stew that is a local favorite.
For a fancier dining experience, visitors can head to Sarangani Highlands. This garden restaurant offers stunning city views and serves various Filipino and seafood dishes. Visitors can indulge in fresh tuna, grilled to perfection, or try the restaurant’s signature dish, the Sarangani Bay Platter, which features a selection of seafood.
Local Barbecue Spots
General Santos City is also home to a variety of local barbecue spots. Visitors can find stalls and restaurants selling grilled meats throughout the city. Some of the best spots include Nadie’s Chicken House, which serves up delicious chicken barbecue, and the Cotton Bowl Grill & Steak, which offers a range of grilled meats and seafood.
General Santos City is a beautiful destination with plenty of things to do and see. Here are some travel tips to help you make the most of your trip:
Before traveling to General Santos City, it’s important to do some research. Look up the top tourist spots and activities to plan your itinerary. You can also check out travel blogs and forums for insider tips and recommendations.
Where to Stay
There are plenty of accommodation options in General Santos City, ranging from budget-friendly to luxurious. Some popular choices include Green Leaf Hotel, East Asia Royale Hotel, and Sun City Suites Hotel. Make sure to book your accommodation in advance, especially during peak season.
General Santos City is a great place for leisure activities. You can swim at Sarangani Island, hike up to Boombil’s Peak or Malyango Peak for stunning views, or explore the Buntod Campground. There are also plenty of parks and gardens, such as Leyson Park and Gethsemane View & Restaurant, where you can relax and enjoy the scenery.
General Santos City is known for its delicious seafood, particularly tuna. Make sure to try out the local delicacies at the Tuna Market in the Fish Port Complex. You can also check out the city’s many restaurants and cafes, serving local and international cuisine.
If you’re visiting General Santos City in September, make sure to check out the Tuna Festival. This annual event celebrates the city’s fishing industry and features a variety of activities and events, including a tuna cooking contest, street dancing, and a grand parade.
Here are some additional travel tips to keep in mind:
- Make sure to bring sunscreen and insect repellent, as the weather can be hot and humid.
- Be respectful of the local culture and customs.
- Always carry some cash with you, as some establishments may not accept credit cards.
- Be aware of your surroundings and keep your belongings safe.
- Bring a raincoat or umbrella if you’re traveling during the rainy season.