General Santos City

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About Area

From Dadiangas to Buayan to now General Santos City, the city built on skilled Ilonggo and Cebuano migrants and the tuna industry has since grown as one of the formidable centers of the processing industry in Mindanao. The country's tuna capital continues to attract migrants and small to medium-scale business establishments, serving as the gateway to the Soccsksargen Region and the rest of South Central Mindanao. From decades of conflict, GenSan is showing signs of unstoppable growth.

From fishing town to regional business hub
While General Santos City has never been designated as a regional center nor a provincial capital, nearby Koronadal and Cotabato City were, its strategic location at the terminus of the Sarangani Bay has made it the natural destination for skilled migrants and businesses. From the Dadiangas Poblacion core area, it now includes areas bounded by Polomolok in the north and sandwiched between the western and eastern wings of the Province of Sarangani.

Though acting as a wedge separating two sides of Sarangani, General Santos City statistically belongs to South Cotabato and its congressional representation still belongs there. However, with GenSan growing as the biggest city in this side of Mindanao, second only to Davao, major businesses and government offices are situated here. Even the official regional center of Koronadal is connected to General Santos 24/7 with buses and public utility vehicles plying in between cities.

Growing retail businesses and still expanding
Until three decades ago, GenSan served as the natural expansion destination of Davao business but overtime, local businesses like KCC took over the scene. In fact, the city's oldest malls, Gaisano (now rebranded as GMall) and KCC Mall of GenSan continue to be the dominant retail player in the city, despite the expansion of Robinsons Retail and SMDC into the city through their respective malls located in Lagao District and Santiago Boulevard respectively.

Recently, Ayala Land and Vista Land expanded into the city with latter showing the most active progress through its entry-level Camella projects. Traditional businesses in the city like the Public Market located in Brgy. Bula, the GenSan Fishport which supplies tuna primarily to Japan, and the Makar Wharf continue to serve the commercial needs of the city, with Makar Wharf's passenger shipping services revived lately due to the reopening of the Manila-Zamboanga-GenSan-Davao route.

Education and the expansion northward
General Santos hosts two major universities, Notre Dame of Dadiangas University and the Mindanao State University in General Santos, and recently, the Iglesia ni Cristo-run New Era University opened a campus here. Meanwhile, in Brgy. Ligaya, the University of Santo Tomas is building its first campus outside of Metro Manila, owing to the city's prior Dominican mission roots and the prodding of its current mayor, Ronnel C. Rivera, an alumnus of the university.

Meanwhile, nearby Koronadal City also hosts to the Notre Dame of Marbel University, the extension campus of the University of the Philippines and the Soccsksargen campus of the Philippine Science High School. Aside from Manila and Cebu, owing to its Ilonggo roots, the city's B-graded international airport serves flights from Iloilo as well, with flights to the City of Bacolod also pushed. Bus and public utility vans connect the city to all points of Mindanao, passing through Koronadal and Tacurong.

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