Top Spots in Mindanao: Sarangani Province

Sarangani is a province of the Philippines located in the Soccksargen  region in Mindanao. Its capital is Alabel and borders South Cotabato to the north and Davao del Sur to the east. This province is part of the South Cotabato-Sultan Kudarat-Sarangani-Gen. Santos City (Soccsksargen) development cluster, and is linked by paved roads to the international airport and world-class fish port of Gen. Santos City.

photo: Cocoy Sexcion

It is situated as the country’s major gateway to the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-the Philippines - East Asean Growth Area. With its proximity to its regional counterparts, Sarangani is in a unique position to marshal its resources, entice tourists and investors, and compete in an international market under a borderlines trade regime.

Strategically located at the southernmost tip of Mindanao, the province is protected by the resource-rich Sarangani Bay. Beyond this is the Celebes Sea, which is the province’s access to the rest of the world.
Bordered by over 230 km of unspoiled coastline, Sarangani offers more than 4,400 sq. km. of typhoon-free land and marine resources, largely untapped tourism potentials, and vast investment possibilities.
The province is divided into two parts, separated by the Sarangani Bay and General Santos City, and it used to be part of South Cotabato until it was made an independent province in 1992.

Getting There

The nearby city General Santos has one of the Philippine’s oldest airport and is linked by paved roads to Sarangani Province. An hour ride by car or PUV from general Santos City will take you to this dazzling province. This is an estimated time if you’re heading to the Province’s heart which is in Alabel and approximately the same time for its other part which is located in Maasim.

The Best of Sarangani

A visit to Sarangani will never be complete without stepping into the most talk about beach resorts here in Mindanao.

Gumasa in Glan Saranggani. (Photo from: nomadicpinoy.com)

Gumasa is located in the western part of Sarangani Province. Gumasa Beach is found in Glan, Sarangani less than an hour drive from the province capital, ALABEL. This side of the province is gifted with powder like white sand that embeds the crystal clear blue waters. Recently the government is helping private resort owners to enhance their facilities to attract tourists. The beaches around SARANGANI Province are ideal for Scuba Diving and other water sports activities.Tuka Marine Sanctuary in Maasim is great for snorkeling and diving. On a sunny day, one can marvel from corals and coral fishes just around the water surface and as you go deeper you’ll be amazed by the clarity of many unfamiliar sea creatures. Tuka Marine Sanctuary has four coves of pinkish sand and naturally shaped rocks that add to the beauty of the seascape during low tide.

What You Shouldn't Miss
Not only it is gifted with alluring ocean pace, Sarangani Province is also surrounded by white rivers. I say it’s white because in here you’ll see one of Mindanao’s cleanest rivers. And is famous now for it’s so called “White Water Tubing”. This river is found in the eastern part of Sarangani; in a town called Maitum you’ll find Pangi River. It has this vast water current that adds excitement to adventurers as they hop in to the buoy and sway through water rapids. Lately this site is known to be “Sarangani's Water Tubing Capital”. This is the only town in the province which has exciting water adventure, fully equipped with water tubing facilities and well trained crews.

Where to Stay? 

A- Montana Resort (former Isla Parilla) in Sarangani is an excellent getaway for tourist venturing around the province. This was once an exclusive resort for some elite people in General Santos City. Now it has evolved into an AA rating resort. Some unique features such as cottages that stand on stilts in the middle of a man-made lake, thus making it one of the Province’s finest resort and hotel. With its close proximity of around 15 minutes from General Santos City downtown district, this is a certified irresistible getaway. It is situated in Brgy. Ladol, Alabel, Sarangani. 


Top Mindanao Spots: General Santos City

GenSan is what we call the city pride of South Cotabato. It is a highly urbanized city in the Southern part of Mindanao and is home of fresh and luxurious tuna. Not only is this the cradle of the best seafoods, it also prides itself with its home grown talents like Manny Pacquiao, Gerald Anderson and Melai Cantiveros. If you have plans in exploring Mindanao, include this one – there is no doubt you would come to appreciate its beauty.

If you’re coming from places farther than Mindanao, you may get to GenSan by plane. General Santos has its own airport, in fact the second largest in the country. Or may get here by sea travel, GenSan seaport accommodates boat trips to and from Cebu, Manila and Iloilo. If you wish to travel by land, there are buses available from Davao City to General Santos. It will take about 3 hours travel and will cost you P250.00.

Getting around General Santos wouldn’t be hard. Mulitcabs, jeepneys and tricycle are available downtown to take you anywhere in the area.

General Santos is best known for its production of fresh and expensive tuna. Try to visit the General Santos Fishport Complex, a 11 hectare complex located at Tambler, General Santos City. It is 32 kilometers south of the city proper. It provided about a hundred thousand jobs for Gensan locals.

General Santos Highlights 

image: foodandculturemix.blogspot.com

Never miss the Kalilangan Festival. This is the season wherein the folks of General Santos commemorate the festivity of giving and sharing by the Maguinadanaoan tribe. It also showcases different arts and culture showing off different rites, rituals and traditions. Among the most anticipated activity during this season are:

The Fireworks Display. Citizens and tourists anticipate in awe the grand display of fireworks at the Oval Plaza. This is usually done before and after the festival.

GenSan Eco Karera.  “Karera” means “Race”, therefore this event is more like that of an Amazing Race. They have to hurdle over obstacles for about 100 kilometers.

Kadsayagan. A parade of street dancing and competition. The participants showcase the tradition of the T’boli tribe in South Cotabato. Usually, the parade starts at the prestigious Lion’s Beach to the Oval Plaza, where the participants show off their tribal dances.

What festival would best showcase what General Santos is made of? The Tuna Festival is what most tourists come after General Santos. It is an annual a week-long celebration in honour of General Santos City’s pride – Tuna.  This festival is probably one of the most sought after festivals in the Philippines. A parade of street dancing usually is performed during the kick off of the festival. There will also be a parade of floats featuring the giant replicas of Tuna along with other sea elements. During the entire week, there are a lot of activities in store for the GenSan folks and tourists which you will surely indulge yourselves into. And of course, do not miss its native delicacy – tuna. The tuna of General Santos is one that is mouth watering and the sea foods are simply the best!

Where to Eat
Piyesta KTV and Restobar
Piyesta Restobar – this restaurant have a fiesta like ambiance, just as what their restaurant implies. General Santos locals and tourists are thumbs up to the dishes they offer. Located at Alfresco Strip, Robinson’s Place General Santos City, this restobar has sashimi and jelly o shots as their best to offer. Other best selling dishes are Crispy Tuna Buntot, Kura Stick, Binusog na Pusit. They also have KTV’s for you and your friends to sing out. Definitely a must try!

Ranchero Gensan – After a day’s tour around Gensan, dine in at one of the luxurious restaurants in General Santos City, Ranchero Grill. Home of grilled dishes, Ranchero offers its customers the best tasting baby back ribs in town. Also included in their list of best sellers are sizzling tuna belly, grilled tuna jaw, fried quail egg and pochero. Located at the National Highway, it is accessible to tourists and locals.

Chicken Hauz – famous for their specialty garlic chicken, Chicken Hauz has well established its name in the streets of General Santos City. Tourists and locals who have come to this restaurant would always crave for this dish over and over again. Located at South Osmena Street.

Where to Stay:

Sun City Suites.  Whether you are for business trip or on a vacation, Sun City Suites would be the best place to stay in General Santos City. This 42-room hotel is packaged with a 32 inch LCD tv, free internet access, and a telephone system for both IDD and NDD calls. This hotel lies in the business district of General Santos City and is accessible to both leisure (near a golf course) and health care. It is also a 30-minute ride from the General Santos Airport.

Sonly Suites. Located at Mateo Road, Lagao, General Santos City, Sonly Suites offer its guests with different theme rooms you can choose from. With its location, it provides its guests easy access to the tourist destinations and business centers in General Santos. This 21-room hotel has their own shower and internet access.

Florotel. A hotel perfect for both business and leisure, Florotel hotel has 31 furnished rooms and these rooms are of modern touch, equipped with facilities like Hot and Cold shower, Cable TV and free internet access with complimentary breakfast. This hotel also caters functions.  It is located at North Laurel Avenue, General Santos City.