The City of General Santos (Filipino: Lungsod ng General Santos, Cebuano: Dakbayan sa General Santos, also known asDadiangás, and abbreviated G.S.C. or GenSan) is the southernmost city in the Philippines. Classified as a highly-urbanized first class city, General Santos is the 15th most populous city in the country with 538,086 inhabitants as per census data of 2010.The city is bounded by municipalities of Sarangani Province namely Alabel in the east, and Maasim in the south. General Santos is likewise bounded by the South Cotabato municipality of Polomolok and Sarangani Province municipality of Malungon in the north, and the municipality of T’boli in the west. General Santos City is part of the SOCCSKSARGEN region.
Organized under the National Land Settlement Administration (NLSA) of the Commonwealth Government headed by President Manuel L. Quezon, General Paulino Santos led the relocation of 62 Christian settlers from Luzon to the shores of Sarangani Bay aboard the steam ship “Basilan” of Compania Maritima on February 27, 1939. The 62 pioneers (mostly agricultural and trade graduates) were the first big batch of settlers to land in GenSan with the mission to industriously cultivate GenSan’s fertile expanse of land. After this first influx of pioneers, thousands more from Luzon and the Visayas have subsequently migrated into the area. This started the displacement of some native B’laan tribe to the mountains and lost their livelihood.
The Blaan people are the original settlers of GenSan which they called Dadiangas during the time. The B’laans live a nomadic way of life in and around GenSan. Evidence of their early occupancy are the names of the places in the city which were derived from their native terms. One significant name is Dadiangas (Ziziphus spina-christi), their native call for a tree which has thorns on its trunk and stems that abundantly thrive in GenSan during the time. Under Indigenous Peoples Right Act IPRA law RA 8371, theseDadiangas trees are now protected and it is proven under the Philippine jurisprudence of the Supreme Court. In the present time, the B’laan tribe live side by side in harmony with the new generation of settlers and other immigrants.
In March 1939, the first formal settlement in the city was established in ’’Alagao’’ which is now known as Barangay Lagao. Lagao district was known then as the “Municipal District of Buayan” under the jurisdiction of the deputy governor of the Municipal District of Glan. Until it officially became an independent Municipal District of Buayan on October 1, 1940 appointing Datu Sharif Zainal Abedin—an Arab mestizo married to a daughter of a very influential datu of lower Buayan—as the first district municipal mayor.
One year after the mark of Philippine Independence from the Americans on July 4, 1946, the Municipality of Buayan became a 4th class regular municipality by virtue of the Executive Order Number 82, dated August 18, 1947 by President Manuel Roxas, absorbing the Municipal District of Glan whose low income bracket at the time disqualified it for the honor. Dadiangas was the seat of government for the Municipality of Buayan electing Irineo Santiago as its first Municipal Mayor on a local election that was held on November 11, 1947. Mayor Santiago was formally inducted on January 1, 1948.
Six years later, in June 1954, the Municipality of Buayan was renamed General Santos as a tribute to its great pioneer. This was made possible by Republic Act No. 1107authored by Congressman Luminog Mangelen of Cotabato Province.
From 1963 to 1967, during the incumbency of Mayor Lucio A. Velayo, an upsurge in the municipality’s economy was experienced as several large agri-based and multi-national corporations such as Dole Philippines, General Milling Corporation and UDAGRI have expanded into the area. Although it was then qualified to become a fourth class city from being a municipality, the residents rejected a move by Congressman Salipada Pendatun to convert the Municipality of Buayan into a city and to rename it ’’Rajah Buayan’’.
Finally, on July 8, 1968, upon the approval of Republic Act No. 5412, which was authored by the late Congressman James L. Chiongbian, the Municipality of General Santos was converted into a city while keeping its name. It was inaugurated on September 5 of that year. Antonio C. Acharon became its first city mayor. In 1988, two decades after its inauguration, it was declared as a highly urbanized city of South Cotabato
General Santos City lies at the southern part of the Philippines. It is located at 6°7’N 125°10’E latitude. The city is southeast of Manila, southeast of Cebu and southwest of Davao.
General Santos City is located in Region XI or Southern Mindanao, at the southernmost tip of the archipelago, with bearings 530′ to 640′ North Latitude and 12415′ to 12545′ East Latitude.
The area has no pronounced wet or dry seasons although it can get as cool 21C and as hot as 36C. The average temperature keeps at 28C. The cooler months are expected from November to February while March to May provide the summer heat. The area, protected by the vast mountain ranges surrounding it, is typhoon free.
General Santos City is politically subdivided into 26 barangays.
- City Heights
- Dadiangas East
- Dadiangas North
- Dadiangas South
- Dadiangas West
- Lagao (1st & 3rd)
- San Isidro (Lagao 2nd)
- San Jose
- Upper Labay
Infrastructure and accessibility
Airliners disembarking at General Santos City International Airport
The city is the gateway to the opportunities, sights, sounds and culture of SOCCSKSARGEN region. Backed with world class infrastructure today,GenSan and the whole of SOCCSKSARGEN region can be reached by air, land, or sea.
Modern and state-of-the-art communication facilities at par with global standards are readily available and are provided in General Santos City by major telecommunication companies in the country. These include voice, data, internet and network solutions, among others, in both wired and mobile forms.
- Air Transportation
The General Santos International Airport is the largest airport in Mindanao.It has a 3,227-metre concrete runway capable of handling wide-bodied jets like Airbus A340 and Boeing 747-400. Flights to and from Manila, Iloilo and Cebu cities are currently being operated in the airport, by Philippine Airlines, Airphil Express and Cebu Pacific Air, servicing an ever increasing demand in the volume of both passenger and cargo traffic to and from the city and SOCCSKSARGEN region.
Port of General Santos is also known as Makar Port.
- Sea Transportation
The Makar Wharf is the main international sea port of the city and is one of the finest sea ports in the country. It is located approximately 2 km away from the central business district. With a 740 metres (2,430 ft) docking length and a 19 metres (62 ft) width, the wharf can accommodate up to nine (9) ship berthing positions all at the same time. The port is complete with modern facilities like container yards, storage and weighing bridges to name a few.Several shipping companies operate regular inter-island ferry service to and from other major ports in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. Negros Navigation, SuperFerry and Sulpicio Lines provide these inter-island shipping routes while numerous Indonesian shipping lines operate international ferry service between General Santos City and neighboring ports inIndonesia carrying both passenger and cargo loads.
- Land Transportation
Commuting in and around General Santos City is a fast and convenient ride. More than 400 passenger buses and jeepneys wield routes within the city and neighboring provinces. Three-wheeled motorized cabs known as tricycles are the city’s main mode of public transport and have been on the road since the pioneering times. Air-conditioned taxis also ply the city streets offering commuters a choice of a more comfortable mode of transportation.
Maintained by the City Engineers’ Office, the city’s major road networks are paved and endowed with safety road marks, signs and signals to ensure a secure and efficient traffic flow within the city. The Pan-Philippine Highway links the city by land to other major cities in Mindanao and to the rest of the country. The construction for the General Santos Circumferencial (or Diversion) Road has now begun and is progressing rapidly.
The General Santos City Terminal—popularly known as Bulaong Terminal—located in Barangay Dadiangas North is the city’s main integrated land transport terminal. The terminal serves as the city’s gateway for land travelers. Buses and other forms of public mass transportation—to and from various parts of Mindanao and the country—are being stationed at the said terminal.
Economy and industry
The city’s major economic activity is primarily anchored in two sectors namely the agro-industry and fishing industry.
From top, left to right: Aerial view of GenSan, SM City General Santos, General Santos City International Airport, Fishing Port Complex, Pioneer Ave. downtown
Endowed with rich volcanic soil, ample and well distributed rainfall all throughout the year and a typhoon-free climate, General Santos City produces export quality high valued crops such as corn, coconut, pineapple, asparagus, banana and rice. It also yields quality exotic fruits, vegetables and cut flowers. The city is also a top producer and exporter of quality livestock such as poultry, hogs, andcattle. But with the continuing growth in population and economy in the passing of time, a number of the city’s agricultural lands have gradually been converted into built up areas in order to address the relatively growing need of dwelling and viable spaces.
Tuna Export in General Santos City
General Santos City Fishing Port Complex
- Fishing industry
General Santos City is the largest producer of sashimi-grade tuna in the Philippines.Thus in as early as 1970, the title “Tuna Capital of the Philippines” has become a tag to it. GenSan also accounts for the second largest daily total catch of fish in the country after Navotas City in the National Capital Region. Locals in the city boast that fishes and seafoods do not come fresher than what is found in their locality. The fishing industry in GenSan yields a total daily capacity of 750 metric tons of fish catch alone and employs about 7,800 workers. Which is why General Santos City is home to seven (7) tuna processing plants in the country. The Fishport Complex in Barangay Tambler has a 750 metres (2,460 ft) quay and a 300 metres (980 ft) wharf for 2,000 GT reefer carriers. The fishport is equipped with modern facilities that comply with international standards on fish catch handling.
Being a component city and centre of commerce and trade in Region XII known as the SOCCSKSARGEN region and owing to its strategic location and world class infrastructure and support facilities, General Santos City plays a very important role in the emergence of SOCCSKSARGEN region as the country’s leading producer of export-quality major commodities.
Majority of the city’s power supply is being serviced by the second district of South Cotabato Electric Cooperative (SOCOTECO-II). The said power distributor acquires the majority of its power needs for the city’s consumption from the National Transmission Corporation (TransCo) while other sources are drawn from various Independent Power Producers (IPP) from nearby power plants and barges.
Majority of the households and other entities in the city are provided and serviced with clean, safe and potable water supply from deep well sources by General Santos City Water District (GSCWD). Potable water sources in other far flung and remote parts of the city where cannot be reached by the local water utility service are being served by their individual Barangay Water And Sanitation systems.
- Waste management
In a bid to achieve an efficient and sustainable management of non-hazardous waste the city produces every single day, the finalization and construction of the city’s waste water treatment facility is currently underway at the corner of P. Acharon and I. Santiago Boulevards.The said location is adjacent to the city public market and is the former site of the city’s Fish Landing. The facility will include settling ponds and anaerobic reactors, among others.
Likewise is the finalization stage for the construction of a multi-million peso solid waste management and disposal system in Barangay Sinawal. The new and modern solid waste management facility will replace the existing city dumpsite in Barangay Siguel.
General Santos City has registered 1,365 new medium to large enterprises in 2011. An aggregate investment involved is estimated PHP 1.202 billion. Top industry for new investment in 2011 are as follows: Hotel and Restaurant-31%; Wholesale & Retail Trade-20%; Repair of Motor Vehicles, Motorcycles and Personal & Household Goods, Real Estate & Renting Business Activities-17%; Other Community, Social & Personal Services-8%; Financial Intermediation-5%; Manufacturing-5%; Fishing-3%; ICT-3 % and others.
- Banking and Finance
As of 2000, there are 59 banks serving the city. This composed of 46 commercial banks, 5 savings banks, 7 rural banks and 1 cooperative bank. Aside from this, there are 48 lending institutions as well as 49 pawnshops providing emergency loan assistance.
General Santos City is the shopping capital of the SOCCSKSARGEN region. Residents from nearby towns and provinces visit the city to do shopping and enjoy life and leisure activities. There are several huge shopping malls in the city, notable ones are KCC Mall of Gensan, SM City General Santos, Robinsons Place GenSan, Gaisano Mall of GenSan, RD Plaza (Fitmart), and Veranza Mall. These malls are home to both national and international brands of retail merchandises as well as restaurants and cafes.
Aside from 47 Private Schools and 102 public schools, General Santos City hosts three universities. These are theMindanao State University – General Santos, Notre Dame of Dadiangas University, New Era University – General Santos Campus.
Soon the General Santos campus of the country’s oldest academic institution, University of Santo Tomas, will rise in Brgy. Katangawan.
Down the southern tip of Mindanao, expanding from the basin of Sarangani Bay, lies the City of General Santos. The bustling metropolis is a fortress of modern amenities that is endowed with the gift of nature’s beauty and diverse cultures abound. It is a gateway in discovering the boundless beauty of SOCCSKSARGEN Growth Region.
Food and Dishes
The Tuna City pampers its guests with wide array of tuna dishes and other fish delights. A wide range of dining establishments have popped up elsewhere in the city offering local and continental cuisines to fill your cravings and appetites with satisfaction. Fresh-from-the-catch seafood and right-from-the-harvest agricultural produce are perfectly matched to make a savoury and sumptuous array of dishes in its various food outlets and restaurants.
Festivals and Cultures
The colourful and lively Kadsagayan Parade during Kalilangan
General Santos City celebrates the Kalilangan every month of February. “Kalilangan” means festival, festivity or jubilation. It is a social gathering marked by exchanging of amenities among traditional leaders, elders, allies and subordinates in varying tones. In a broader perspective, Kalilangan projects a positive and dynamic meaning for it engulfs the artistic, humane and altruistic aspects of social interaction that takes place in any occasion or celebration. Kalilangan is a noble tradition. It is a complete work of art nourished and nurtured by rich cultural heritage that has withstand the test of time from generation to generation.
Thanksgiving and festivities are being celebrated annually through its Tuna Festival during the Last week of August and the first week of September highlighting on its main industry which is the Tuna fishing. This is also in line with the celebration of the city’s charter anniversary which falls every 5th of September and is also being set as the culmination day for the Tuna Festival. Aside from parades and showcases, numerous culinary competitions are being held to promote sumptuous tuna based cuisines and other delectable meals made from fresh sea foods.
Klaja Ecopark and Tourist Spots
Is an ecological preservation park located 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) off the central business district on the north-east side of city in Barangay Conel. Klaja Karsts Land derived its name from “Kalaha” or frying pot as it looked like one due to the surrounding towers of karsts formation naturally formed millions of years ago. It produced natural waterfalls and caves. Opposite to this area is the Ranch and camping ground of Nopol Hills which borders Barangays Conel and Mabuhay. Nopol hills offer visitors a wide scenic overview of the entire city, as well as the Sarangani Bay and parts of South Cotabato and Sarangani Province. The view of the city is even more breath-taking at night time where colourful bright lights of the bustling metropolis are visible from the top.
World War 2
During World War II, General Santos City become one of the last frontiers between the American, Filipino and Japanese forces. Japanese retreating forces made Klaja Karsts Landas their last ground for defense, constructing round cemented bunkers and tunnels. Today, one can still see bunkers at Sitio Guadalupe but unfortunately for the tunnels, most were deformed and even destroyed by treasure hunters and land developers.
The largest religious group in the city is the Roman Catholic, comprising about 80 percent of the population. Other Protestant Christian groups comprise eight percent of the population. The remaining twelve percent belong to non-Christian faiths such as Islam and Buddhism.
Source : http://gensan.freehomepage.com/