General Santos Mindanao

general-santos-007General Santos – Mindanao

General Santos or “Gen San” is positioned on the edge of Sarangani Bay in southern Mindanao southwest of Davao. It is a world famous fish port where a majority of yellowfin tuna are auctioned off. It’s worth an experience to watch that sale but I didn’t make it this trip.

This picture is at the entrance to the city beach.

scuba-dive-mindanao-0201One of the main draws for tourists is to scuba dive Sarangani and experience something different from the dive factories of Cebu and Bohol.

scuba-dive-mindanao-011Cambridge Dive – formerly Tuna City Dive and Partridges further down the coast are the only two dive shops that I am familiar with.

I am not really an active diver but did make two quick dives at Maharlika beach where there are sometimes some rare rhinopias hanging around the sponges.

general-santos-008There is a small expat community that has chosen to live in Gen San for various reasons, most have spouses from the area. Some just prefer a smaller city to Davao where there is a fast growing group of immigrant settlers.  The Philippines has a lot to offer to a retiree.

general-santos-010Gen San has a mix of Muslim and Catholic groups and peace seems to be a priority for both of them.  Most foreigners would feel quite comfortable in this small but growing small city.

general-santos-005 general-santos-003

general-santos-004I found it particularly interesting to see banners hanging on a local mosque pushing non violence and a political solution to things rather than the violence you can find around Cotobato City.

general-santos-009Notre Dame.

scuba-dive-mindanao-0021Cambridge Dive formerly Tuna City Scuba Center

General Santos is easily reached by bus from Davao, Cagayan de Oro, or Surigao using Rural Transit Bus lines. The T’Boli Hotel is located right next to the bus terminal.

Cambridge Farms Hotel and Restaurant, where scuba divers often stay, is in Purok Malakas. It’s a short tricycle ride of maybe 2 kilometers.


The Super Ferry does a run to Zamboanga every week. The promo fare is 980 pesos right now. It’s the easiest way to get between the two cities.

The drive from Gen San to Surigao is long (around 600k) but it’s really a beautiful run.

Lake Sebu is a day trip from Gen San. Mt Apo can be climbed from Kidapawan. Its a good weekend climb.

gen-san-min-001The pig waves good bye as you leave town towards Digos.

gen-san-min-004These blue USAID signs are a common sight in southern Mindanao. The USA, for whatever reason, has done a huge amount of projects in the area. Dams, footbridges, airports, roads, market buildings etc – someone familiar with the project told me that there were aprox 800 aid projects completed.

general-santos-006General Santos isn’t everybody’s cup of tea but I rather like the place. If you are not into scuba diving you might prefer Davao.

Climbing Mount Apo

dutchpickle logoGeneral Santos

Jul 22, 2009

16 responses to “General Santos Mindanao”

  1. Another informative page DP sounds like this could be our next trip. Always wanted to get down there for some diving and also climb Mount Apo. I checked out the web site for Cambridge Farms and looks very impressive.

    Apparently the owner is involved in conservation work and spent a fortune for reconstructing some of the reefs there. I admire his drive and determination.

    Would be interested in knowing how big is his operation as I read he is also retailing gear, sound like quite a big shop. Does one need to book in for a dive?

    We would probably come from Dapitan so thats quite a long drive.

  2. Hi DP, have you dived at this artificial reef? I’ve heard about this dome project as early as 2005 happening around there and I’m assuming it must have be teeming with life right now. I’d like to check it out at some point. If only we can persuade many people to do this for the other over-fished parts of the country.Sigh.

  3. where can i buy tuna and dried fish in gensan?

  4. i need a supplier of tuna and dried fish

  5. DP any tips on finding the cambridge farms after reaching gen san

  6. Hello Everyone,

    I have been going to the Philippines for many years now and love it. I spent most of my time in Dumaguete, Negros but on the recommendation of a friend who lives there, I first visited General Santos, 3 years ago and fell in love with the city and the area.

    As a keen cyclist, I really enjoy cycling along the coast to Ladol (a fishing village) and further on to Malapatan, as the road is good and mainly flat. When down there, I have a daily routine of cycling to Ladol and swimming there. The locals are really friendly and it is fascinating watching the boats, chatting with the people, etc.

    I am retiring in June, this year and intend to go down to Gen San to live, in peace and quiet but with all of the conveniences of a modern city.

    I thoroughly recommend both Gen San and the surrounding area. The absence of girly bars and sex tourism, makes it such a nice place to pass ones senior years and I can’t wait to get back there.


  7. google search of Sarangani Bay depth on

    It is a fairly deep body of water. The southern half is about 1,800 m deep. The deepest part is near the mouth at 2,800 m. Only a thin strip near the shoreline is shallow, with a depth of less than 100 m, where mangroves, seagrasses, and coral reefs may still exist.

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