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My First Trip to General Santos City

As mentioned in my article about meeting Evelyn, a Filipina from General Santos City, and her invitation to Elena and me, we went to see her, her friends and her city on Thursday.

Evelyn had a whole day planned for us and wanted us to arrive by 8 am. I set the alarm on my cell phone for 4 am, but for some reason it never went off. So Elena woke me at 4:50 and we rushed to get done and get on the road. We hit the road about 6 am and started our drive south.
This was my first experience driving to General Santos City and enjoyed the beautiful scenery along the way. I saw open fdscn1982ields, rice paddies, Mountains in the distance and clean open areas of green.

Traffic was not too bad and we arrived in GenSan about 8:30. I sent a text to Evelyn and she told us were to meet her. About 10 minutes later Evelyn, her friend Glynda, her daughter-in-law Elke, and a new friend for us to meet, Gilda.

One of the things that caught my eye there was their tricycles. They were so much smaller than the ones you see in Davao. There were mainly 2 styles, one where the passenger compartment roof is lower than the drivers head with a little seating area and a newer style where the driver is under the roof of the compartment.

We followed them in our car to the other side of GenSan to a place called Sarangani Highlands. The dscn1981location overlooks Sarangani Bay, which is a beautifudscn2044l site with the glistening blue waters and the view of Sarangani Bay. Their flowers and plants are arraigned around the property with paths to different covered seating areas. We met the owner and I apologize for forgetting his name. He was a nice man and told us about how he acquired the location and how it started out as a garden. Then they developed it into the current restaurant. The views of the gardens and the bay in the distance are just amazing. We dined on mushroom soup, a Shrimp, pamalo and mango salad, steamed pompano with rice and behon noodles. It was a nice and relaxing breakfast where we could talk and get to know each other.

From there we drove to the General Santos City Fish Port Complex. General Santos, which is known as the “Tuna Capital of the Philippines” has a large complex where many fishing boats can dock to unload and sell their catch.

First we went to the Administration Building and met Mike Lambarte, the facility manager. He was very informative and gracious to allow us into his office where we talked about the facility and the fishing industry. He then walked out with us and called one of the security personnel to escort us to the different wharfs where to boats are unloaded and sold to the different vendors.dscn2069

Because of the over fishing, most of the ships have to travel 15 days to the fishing grounds in International Waters near Indonesia. Even though there were many boats still docked, we were too late to see the large Tuna being unloaded and prepared. We did see smaller tunas and other fish processed there.

After our visit to the Fish Complex we got back into our cars and we followed Evelyn and her crew to the Dole Pineapple Farm to have lunch at their golf course County Club. The farm is huge, 10,000 hectares and we drove for a while through miles, or should I say kilometers of pineapple fields. We finally arrived at the country club after stopping at a Guard post to give our names. The Country Club had a nice open air restaurant overlooking beautiful green landscape. We took some photos of 2 cute statues of a pineapple and banana and then sat down for a steak lunch. On the table were 2 pitchers of their “4 Seasons” juice which is a mixture of pineapple, mango, orange and guava juices.dscn2083

After we left Dole, we went on a tour of downtown General Santos City. After over a year in Davao and trip to Kidapawan last Christmas, I was pleasantly surprised of the wide 4 and 6 lane roads separated with nice clean greenways separating thetraffic in opposite directions, the clean and orderly stores and the modern buildings and malls. The only traffic congestion was when we came to an area of 2 shopping malls and there were many tricycles there to pick up and discharge passengers. At many intersections and traffic circles there were nice parks.

As we drove around town out in the more residential areas you would see open land, farms and just green open spaces. Also everywhere there was a viedscn2118w of Mount Matutum, a majestic mountain that is also a dormant volcano.

There is a new mall being built too. Unfortunately with only Elena with me in the car and Evelyn and her friends in their big pickup truck, I was unable to get the names of the places we passed.

We also passed a beach area where there is plenty of room from the fence to the water and concession stands to buy food and drinks.

We then were told we had one more stop to make and to just follow them. We drove for a little while and then noticed an overhead sign stating we were entering Sarangani Provence. We passed the Capital building and then arrived at Isla Parilla Resort. As we drove in we saw many lakes set up as a Bangus Farm. Bangus is a favorite fish here in the Philippines, also known as Milk Fish. Then we saw pretty little cottages on concrete stilts with walkways from the main building. We parked and walked around a little to see the lakes and the views.
Then we all sat at their restaurant for cappuccinos and some more jokes and talks about our day. It was then getting late and we needed to startdscn2150 back. As we were walking to our cars Evelyn told us we had to make one more stop at the Provincial Capital to take a few more photos.

As we left the Capital, we followed their vehicle until they brought us to where we were able to get on the road to head back home. As the light was getting dim with evening approaching a light rain started. By the time we reached the winding road over the mountains it very dark with a constant rain. This slowed our trip but we kept on. By the time we passed Digos the rain stopped and the roads were dry. With the slower traffic it took us about 3 ½ hours to get home. Once we arrived we went right to bed for a much needed rest.

I have to tell Evelyn, thank you so very much for a wonderful day and her gracious friendship and showing us the city she loves so much. Elena and I am Blessed with her kindness and it is another proof of the kindness of the Filipino people. I am amazed such a friendship has become from a lady who one day found my site, left a few comments and then wanted to meet me when she came home for her 2 month vacation before she returns to California to resumes her position as a Caregiver. From her sweet personality and caring and kind ways I know the man she is employed by is truly blessed having her in his home to take care of her.

We have many photos, too many to place on view in this article, so please look at the slide show video.


Also visit Evelyn’s site “Ferns thoughts” where she is a new blogger. http://www.coolfern.blogspot.com/

Also you can see Evelyn’s Photos clicking here

14 Responses to “My First Trip to General Santos City”

  1. The road down to General Santos i wonderful with nice views. I have done it times by now. All trips by bus. I like the scenic part over the mountains. The people of Gensan are lovely. This time I had the nerve to walk inside the public market in Gensan. I know that it might sound a little ridiculous but there have been more than a few bombs there. I usually stay by the highway at the T’boli hotel where I love the people managing it.

    I just want to repeat what you say about friendship. In all over Asia I haven’t found as much friendship from total strangers as I have in Mindanao. It really makes you warm at heart, when it happens. The memories are unforgettable, that is why I am hoping I will make it to live there soon. For now, let’s hope that Manny wins tonight!

    • Bruce says:

      Stefan,
      The scenery of the trip and the open green areas of General Santos City is the most beautiful area in the Philippines I have seen so far and the friendship and hospitality is wonderful. One thing I forgot to mention in the article is Evelyn paid for everything and never would let me take my money out. She is a sweet and wonderful lady.

  2. Bruce, wonderful pictures! Nice car you have too!

  3. I have experienced this kind of generosity too, that is why I get so bit angry when I hear from people here in the west, that people in countries like the Philippines only want one’s money. Usually without even left the country of Sweden themselves!

    One area that I want you to see too is the area around Surigao city. The road is very scenic from Butuan to Surigao, but it is quite far from Davao, it is not a daytrip.

    You had a fantastic day there. I must go to that place overlooking Sarangani bay next time! This time when I was in Gensan I went to Glan for a daytrip, I met very nice people on Gumasa beach, one older filipino couple, owners of one of the resorts there. Had a chat with them for a few hours, and they had so much to teach me about the area. But the weather was really strange when I was in the Philippines this year, it was cloudy almost every day. Except for that it was really a dream vacation for me!

    • Bruce says:

      Stefan,
      Yes, the generosity and hospitality shown in the Philippines is wonderful. About other places on Mindanao, I hope over time I can see more. Maybe your next trip you can be my tour guide.

      • julie davao city says:

        hi bruce….its so glad you been in gensan hot place .. Last year im always in gensan fishport my boss purchase tunas to ship out in thailand and vietnam…Maybe we purchased 11 containers in total…But i now were focusing in davao fishport …

        • Bruce says:

          Julie,
          As I mentioned, Gensan is such a clean and modern city. I wish Davao could have been developed and designed like them. I hope for you Davao Fish Port will be as nice and well run as the one in Gensan

          • julieanne says:

            hi bruce..

            davao fishport is not so wide the same as gensan…..A very big yard because majority of canning factories are there..And also not so modern ..

          • Bruce says:

            Julie,
            Width I guess I understand and canning facilities. But to attract more customers, modernization can always be done and there is always land around to use for more facilities if needed and wanted.

  4. Tom Ramberg says:

    Hi Bruce,

    Thanks for the nice photo collection. My wife and I have a home and farm outside of GenSan. Right now we are in the US looking forward to returning home. I really like the GenSan area because it is not too overpopulated and busy like some larger cities. I agree with Stefan that the people have always been friendly and helpful; except for a baggage guy at the airport that tried and failed to exact a bribe from us. We will have a Swede living in our barrio near us in a few years when he retires. The only people after my money in the Philippines are the street vendors. They always want to sell me oranges or x-rated movies. I started feeling a bit insecure that maybe I look like a pervert with scurvy. (joking) Your pictures remind me why I am so eager to return home. Thanks!

    • Bruce says:

      Tom,
      I am glad you enjoyed my article and photos of GenSan. It was a wonderful day and I hope I have the oppertunity to visit there again and get to learn more of the city. It is not the perversion or scurvy, it is the bright white foreigner skin that send out a beacon that is misunderstood to say “Rich man” hahaha

  5. Luisa says:

    Glad to hear such nice words from foreign nationals on the wonderful places in the Philippines,the food, the warm and good treatment of filipino people and also those not so good, still you coming back..there are places like the fantastic beaches in coron,binudac and cagayancillo island in palawan which remains as prestine sanctuaries of endangeried species ..in a scenic beauty of chocolate hills in bohol, drive from tagaytay city to batangas city, the perfect cone of mayon volcano, the colorful clothes of ifugao in banaue, baguio and benguet.. not to mention the century old catholic churches…one of the breath taking places and WOW experience. I myself promise to visit these places again and again…but careful..snakes are found not only in forested areas they are also in acquarium in urban areas..(joke)

    • Bruce says:

      Luisa,
      I do, and try to find enjoyment here and would like to visit more places. Unfortunately my wife and somewhat I are cautious driving into areas where there might be trouble. I know of many expts that have no fear, but I prefer to listen to my wife.

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