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Wednesday, 9 December 2015

GENERAL SANTOS CITY, PHILIPPINES

by:  MisS VictoriA DaviD

GO GENSAN GO!

I spent 67% of my life in the Southern part of the Philippines on the island of Mindanao- General Santos City (GenSan). It is a city where I attained my educational degree and offered opportunities that sharpened me as an individual before entering the world of professionalism.

There are recorded 7,107 islands in the Republic of the Philippines. General Santos City (GenSan) is bounded by three municipalities of Sarangani Province, namely Alabel, South Cotabato and Davao del Sur; 2 municipalities of South Cotabato, Koronadal City and Sultan Kudarat and is subdivided into 25 barangays (local councils). The closest neighbour of GenSan is Davao, one of the most extensive cities in the world and known as " The Durian Capital of the Philippines", as it is a large grower of the Durian fruit. And, Cebu city, the capital of the island Cebu and known as “The Queen city of the south” due to its importance and role in trade, shipping and tourism in the country. They are both popular destinations in the Southern Philippines.

The city is recognised by the world as the “Tuna Capital of the Philippines” as it supplies a large quantity of fish, particularly in Asia. The fish industries have cultured a variety of fish to be used in the processing and making of canned goods for consumers and for exports to the rest of world.

The developing cities in the Philippines are keen competitors and as a mark of their success they love to celebrate. General Santos City has its own two major celebrations each year; the Kalilangan and the Tuna Festival.

 The Kalilangan is derived from the Maguinadao word “Kalilang” which means celebration. It projects a positive and dynamic meaning of rich cultural heritage that has endured from generation to generation. It is a week-long event each year from February 16-27 to commemorate and give due respect to the city’s founder, General Paulino Santos, and to the first settlers from Luzon, who lived on the shores of Sarangani Bay. A colourful fireworks display treats the children which brings joy & excitement to their faces. Amongst other activites, a street-dancing competition is held to cheer-up the crowd.

The other major event is the fertile Tuna festival, celebrated every year and falls on the month of September. It celebrates the Tuna industries of the city that contributes as much as 60% to the economy. The event’s highlight is the extravagant Tuna float parade on the street that is attended by the local officials. A Street-dancing competition is held for all different school levels (elementary and secondary) showcasing unique performances. Each school competes keenly for that year’s trophy and a cash prize. This is presented on stage in the form of a giant cheque. There is also a big and colourful fireworks display on the opening night which starts the festivities and is a sign of thanksgiving.

Moreover, the two major celebrations are also considered as a bazaar. Souvenirs, tokens, and refreshment are sold. And local products are promoted and sold to the locals. The tourists find these items especially interesting. At nightfall, different kinds of fairground-rides brighten the city’s milieu for family and friends to enjoy and more importantly, for the kids to experience the giant toys. On the ultimate night of the celebrations there is a pageant called Beauty to Brain. The selected gorgeous candidates will compete and vie for a crown that uplifts their ego as it represents not just a beautiful face and a sexy body, but more importantly, intelligence.

Furthermore, the city’s growth depends on the developing and improving infrastructures. Of particular importance to GenSan is the new (Robinson) and the existing (Gaisano, KCC, Fitmart) state of the art shopping malls, which are exclusive pedestrian streets that allow shoppers to walk around and buy the things they need and want. Also, beach resorts are important and ideal places to relax the mind and body in the water. There are also hotels and inns, for holiday makers and business use offering varied accommodation.

Generally, the city is not just admirable for the promotion of its festivals and for supplying tuna fish to the world. It is also, in fact, one of the least expensive cities in the Philippines, perhaps in the world, that will blissfully delight you and won’t cost you a king’s ransom.


*Photos courtesy of Jo- Paul Arthur Tan

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