Silent auction for the best tuna in GenSan is an interesting experience for travelers

Photo by Kenneth M. del Rosario

The silent auction for the best tuna in town happens every day in a fishing port in General Santos, which happens to be the “Tuna Capital of the Philippines.”

It’s an ordinary activity for the folks living there. But for travelers, observing the hustle and bustle is a one-of-a-kind experience.

Tuna auctions starts early in the morning (6 am or earlier). For some reason, the auctioneers prefer to make bids through hand gestures (instead of talking or raising a signboard), which makes the experience all the more interesting.

Photo by Kenneth M. del Rosario

Tourists are welcome to observe the tuna auction, so long as they don’t disrupt the procedure. All they need to do is rent a pair of white boots (this is mandatory).

But while the auction is pretty cool to watch, the stars of the show remain the huge, gigantic tuna
themselves. Many of the tuna here weighs over 50 kilos and each measures about a meter, which is heavier and longer than many toddlers.

GenSan, as it is more commonly known, deserves its nickname, as it is the largest producer of
sashimi-grade tuna in the Philippines. The fishing industry in GenSan yields a total daily capacity of 750 metric tons of fish catch, and employs about 7,800 workers.

Photo by Kenneth M. del Rosario

GenSan is a first class city in Soccsksargen, an administrative region in south-central Mindanao. Highly urbanized, the city has a population of more than 600,000 people.

If silent tuna auctions aren’t your thing, the marketplace is still a very busy place where you can simply take great photos and talk to some of the locals there to know more about their everyday lives.

Aside from its titanic-sized tuna fishes, the city also boasts of many cultural attractions. Not far from
GenSan, travelers can visit and experience the indigenous tribe of the T’boli and Ubo community.

Photo by Kenneth M. del Rosario

Travelers can either take a day trip and spend lunch with the community or even stay for a few nights to explore and get to know the tribe.

GenSan is bounded by municipalities of Sarangani Province—Alabel in the east, and Maasim in
the south. GenSan is likewise bounded by the South Cotabato municipality of Polomolok, and Sarangani Province, municipality of Malungon in the north, and the municipality of T’boli in the west.

All of this is to say that GenSan is a worthwhile addition to anyone’s “must visit places” list.

Kenneth M. del Rosario
Kenneth has been writing for the Philippine Daily Inquirer for more than 17 years, covering travel, food, motoring, technology, real estate, and business, among others.