GenSan Punches Above Its Weight

SOUTHERN Philippines may have long been known for its fishing and agriculture, but of late, its claim to fame rests with two global names.

General Santos (GenSan, as it is referred to) is the hometown of champion boxer and Senator, Manny Pacquiao and President Rodrigo Duterte, another tough man, hails from Davao City, also from Mindanao.

While Mindanao has been the site of some unrest, GenSan has quietly been building a name for itself, in keeping with the indomitable pioneering spirit of it early settlers.

In 1939, General Paulino Santos formerly of the Philippine Army led 62 pioneers to settle in what is today the southern most city on the Mindanao Island of the Philippines. The city was later named after its “founder” in 1954.

Much like the early pioneers who went searching for opportunities anew, General Santos City is now set to welcome a new sort of pioneer.

New Opportunities

Part of the rapidly growing Soccsksargen region, General Santos City is cultivating a new investor friendly ecosystem hungry for pioneering investors, business partners, and economic collaborators.

Fish is one of General Santos City’s main exports. Thor Jorgen Udvang /

Already rich in the agricultural and fishery sectors, the city is primed for the next wave of development to satiate the strong demand for produce from the region.

With increasing markets in China and the Middle East, banana production is also primed for expansion in General Santos. Lertwit Sasipreyajun /

Bananas, a common cash crop in the area, are already in high demand in markets in China and the Middle East. So is abaca — a variety of hemp with commercial, industrial, and consumer applications — in high demand worldwide to make everything from ropes to teabags.

Known as the tuna capital of the Philippines, tuna fished in the region is exported to markets in Asia and Europe via the city’s fish ports. Already a PHP30billon (S$834million) industry, the fishing sector still offers expansion opportunities. Aquaculture is also on the rise, with increased demand for shrimp and whitefish varieties.

General Santos’ fist port is already lauded as the tuna capital of the Philippines as export of local fish reaches as far as Europe. Tony Magdaraog /

The seaside city, blessed with scenic natural landscapes, is also primed for ecotourism with seaside resorts and marine parks. Tourism, still in its early stages in the region, offers a fresh and dynamic opportunity to get into a uncongested and flourishing space.

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Main Image: Thor Jorgen Udvang /

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