A definitive travel guide to General Santos city

Visiting the country’s southernmost city, but don’t know what to do in General Santos? Wondering where to eat in General Santos? From places to sleep to things to do in General Santos, we’ve got a load of detailed travel tips that will surely make your trip unforgettable and memorable. Here’s how you can have an epic adventure in the Tuna Capital of the Philippines.

1. 5th Mountan of Balakayo Adventure Park

General Santos City, Philippines

Adrenaline rush guaranteed! My wife and I visited this park on our getaway, and were totally blown away by its three thrilling zipline routes – the Yankee Line, X-Zipline and Extreme Zip. My favorite among the three is the Extreme Zip. Although it’s just 650-meters long, it takes adventurers on a rather fast-paced ride that measures around 90 kilometers per hour. Heart-pumping thrills aside, the zipline rides also offer a breathtaking view of the lush mountains of General Santos.

2. Plaza Heneral Santos

Fiscal Gregorio Daproza Avenue, General Santos City, Philippines

Need a break after the non-stop outdoor adventures and sightseeing in General Santos? Why not spend a couple of hours soaking up the laid-back and fresh atmosphere of Plaza Heneral Santos? With its lovely green space and towering trees, it’s a nice little oasis to unwind at the heart of the city. Truthfully, nothing screams spectacular or must-see in Plaza Heneral Santos. Still, it makes a great spot to unwind and experience the local life in General Santos.

3. Mt. Matutum

MARBEL-MAKAR ROAD, General Santos, Philippines

A can’t-miss experience for outdoor enthusiasts visiting General Santos! Not only is it a challenging hike up, but it also has some gorgeous panoramic views. Plus, the mountain is home to a wide array of flora and fauna. As a matter of fact, I even saw a real-life Philippine eagle as we were hiking our way up to the summit.

A great place to end a perfect day of sightseeing in General Santos! After our tour in GenSan, my friends and I dropped by this place, to enjoy a couple of drinks and to listen to live local music. And, it was absolutely great! Beers were ice-cold, and they also had a variety of Western and Filipino appetizers in their menu, such as pork sisig and chicken wings. To make things even better, music was played at a rather comfortable level, meaning you can still have a fun conversation with your squad at the table.

5. Taps & Mix

Pendatun Avenue, General Santos City, Philippines

I love Taps & Mix! Not only do they serve great food round-the-clock, but it’s a great place to hang out as well. Usually, people come here to eat delicious breakfast meals as well as use their free Wi-Fi and charging stations. For a great pit stop, I suggest that you order their garlic malasugue, Hungarian sausage, salmon sinigang and lechon kawali.

6. Penong's Barbecue

Pan-Philippine Highway, General Santos City, Philippines

My wife and I just can’t get enough of their pork and chicken barbecue. In fact, their taste is a little bit sweeter, compared to other barbecue varieties I’ve savored in the Philippines. And, it comes with unlimited rice, and is so affordable. A word of advice, make sure to order their cucumber lemonade, to make your dining experience even more pleasant.

A nice and peaceful place to spend a couple of hours in Gensan! I, normally, go there to take a break, jog or have a chat with the locals. Additionally, the plaza serves as the official venue for a variety of special events in General Santos, such as the Tuna Festival.

8. General Santos City Fish Port Complex

General Santos, Mindanao, Philippines

To me, no list of the best things to do in General Santos is complete without a visit to the General Santos City Fish Port Complex. Believe me, there’s nothing quite like seeing gigantic fish early in the morning in the Tuna Capital of the Philippines. Colorful, clean and organized, you’ll see a plethora of freshly caught and humungous tunas at this fish market. When we visited it, we even saw tunas that were a lot heavier than a human. Of course, it’s the best place to catch fresh tunas at bargained rates in General Santos city.

9. KCC Mall of Gensan

General Santos City, Philippines

It’s, hands down, my favorite mall in Gensan. From basic grocery to guitars and souvenirs, this one-stop shop offers a wide range of products and items to its visitors. Furthermore, it’s home to the fashionable and trendy Veranza, a place where you’ll see tons of classy and excellent restaurants. A must see for shopaholics, as far as I’m concerned!

10. Music City Family KTV Bar

Pan-Philippine Highway, General Santos City, Philippines

Overall, it’s a wondrous place to spend an evening in Gensan, if you’re into karaoke. Here, my friends and I sang our hearts out with a medley of classic songs using their state-of-the-art microphone, tablet and television. To make things even better, their service is top-notch, and their food is decent, especially the delightful tapa.

One of my favorite cafes in General Santos! With its laid-back and sophisticated ambiance, Caffé Firenzo is definitely a great place to chill and have a conversation with your buddies. Not to mention, the café serves an array of delicious food and sweet treats, such as the tuna sashimi, dark chocolate cookies and mocha caramel.

12. Bigby's Cafe & Restaurant

AH 26, General Santos City, Philippines

As far as I can remember, we dined at Bigby’s three times during our Gensan expedition. And, guess what? It didn’t disappoint us at all! Here, we got our palate appeased with a mishmash of delectable and hearty meals, including baby back ribs, midnight cake, and spaghetti. And, we love their great portions for food as well, making it a great choice for foodies visiting General Santos.

13. Ranchero's Grill & Restaurant

General Santos City, Philippines

They don’t call Ranchero's as one of the top restaurants in General Santos for nothing. The way I see it, Ranchero is a remarkable cushy restaurant with an impressive selection of food. Moreover, the price is pretty reasonable for a very appetizing, satisfying and delicious meal. For a pleasurable dining experience, I suggest that you order their lumpiang hubad, baby back ribs and beef pochero.

14. Cafe France

San Miguel Street | Santiago Boulevard, Unit 1105 G/F Sm Mall, General Santos, Mindanao, Philippines

Cafe France has a host of excellent dishes. For one, it has tons of amazing sandwiches, with excellent and filling bread, all containing generous portions of fish, meat or chicken. As far as sandwiches, my favorites here are the especially good California sandwich and tuna onion sandwich. Of course, the restaurant has plenty of other noteworthy goodies, like the seafood marinara, seafood soup, cheesy beef lasagna and mango locca frappe.

Their food was nothing short of amazing. We ordered the pure pineapple juice, pinakbet rice, imbao soup and baked salt-encrusted Pompano. And, guess what? They all taste delicious! Not only were they mouthwatering, but each dish had the proper balance of flavors as well. As for their prices, it’s a little steep, compared to other restaurants in General Santos. But, on the bright side, it has tons of great dishes and boasts an efficient service.

16. East Asia Royale Hotel

National Highway | Barangay Lagao, General Santos, Mindanao 9500, Philippines

All in all, we had a snug and wondrous 3-day stay at this Gensan hotel. Although there were certain things that need improvement, I find the hotel fairly impressive. For starters, our room was spacious, well-maintained and comfortable. In fact, there was no noise disturbance at all during our stay. In addition, the staff was so accommodating, warm and friendly, making sure that everything was a breeze. To top it all off, their food was so delicious and flavorful.

17. Amandari Cove

Mabuhay Road, Barangay City Heights, General Santos, Mindanao, Philippines

Such a fabulous, eye-catching and underrated resort in General Santos! For a very affordable price, you get access to a beautiful lake, a trio of pools and an atmospheric place to unwind. As with most premier hotels in General Santos, the resort also offers comfortable and spacious accommodations for the whole family. The only downside to this resort is its not-so friendly staff.

Looking for a family-friendly resort in General Santos? Why not book a stay at Gensan View Resort? Here, my family and I had a wonderful time enjoying the clean and well-maintained pools as well as fantastic slides. Moreover, it has a beautiful nature view and super comfortable accommodations. To top it all off, I love the resort’s consistently friendly and hospitable staff.

19. Sydney Hotel

Corner Pioneer Ave. and Pendatum Ave., General Santos, Mindanao, Philippines

Everything was perfect, from the moment we entered Sydney Hotel. Even though it’s a little old, everything was working properly and functional at this hotel. Additionally, the rooms at Sydney Hotel are fairly quiet, spacious and rather comfy. Even better, the hotel is set right at the heart of the city, offering easy access to a bunch of banks and restaurants in General Santos.

20. Ice Castle Experience Hotel

Glex Business Center | 12 Ambassador Provodo Village, City Heights, General Santos, Mindanao 9500, Philippines

Although it’s somewhat isolated, I did like the hotel’s location and peaceful atmosphere. As a matter of fact, I overslept at this hotel because it was so quiet and the room was pretty comfortable. As an added plus, the hotel had a fast internet access and a rather accommodating and courteous staff. Price-wise, it’s more affordable, compared to the top hotels in General Santos.

21. Dolores Hotel

Santiago Boulevard, General Santos, Mindanao, Philippines

We stayed at Dolores Hotel for 3 days, and were satisfied with everything they gave us. Their rooms were spacious, clean, and newly renovated, giving us comfy and relaxing accommodations. Another thing I really like about this hotel is its location. Here, you’ll find plenty of public tricycles, a parlor and a small grocery store. Even better, their staff was pretty courteous and welcoming, especially Karen. And best of all, they offer complimentary airport transfers and free breakfast to all guests.

22. Bob Nowong

Purok Rosas Lake Sebu | South Cotabato, Mindanao, Philippines

Simply irresistible! After days of eating tilapia in Lake Sebu, I was craving for something different. Luckily for us, we found this inn and restaurant on our Lake Sebu getaway. Here, we indulged of a delicious mixture of Asian and Western food, giving us a delightful culinary experience. Then, we chilled at the outdoor bar at night, soaking up its stunning ambiance. As for the accommodations, it was fairly decent and comfortable, making it a great option for those who are looking for a place to stay in Lake Sebu.

23. Pizza Hut

KCC Mall, General Santos, Mindanao, Philippines

When it comes to pizzas, you can’t go wrong with this well-known restaurant chain. And, in my opinion, it’s arguably the best place to savor meaty and delicious pizza in General Santos. On our visit to this Pizza Hut outlet, we ordered our favorites, Hawaiian Supreme pizza and Bacon Margherita. Of course, it was just as tasty and meaty as the pizzas served at any Pizza Hut outlet. I was impressed by their quick turnaround time and efficient service.

24. Kee's Cafe and Restaurant

Aparente St., Corner Block 0, General Santos, Mindanao, Philippines

A great restaurant to drop by in Gensan! Truthfully, I wasn’t expecting much from this restaurant, when we visited it on our Gensan getaway. But, it turned out to be a wondrous surprise, thanks to its delicious burger. I ordered their Pound For Pound burger, and had a hard time finishing it because it was so huge. Besides the great food, I also like their attentive staff, good ambiance and the exciting Manny Pacquiao videos.

25. Mandarin Tea Garden

Pan-Philippine Highway, General Santos City, Philippines

One of my go-to restaurants in General Santos for Chinese food! Every time I visit Mandarin Tea Garden, I always make sure to order their extremely tasty rice topping, simoai as well as thick noodles. From time to time, I also order their luscious halo-halo, especially when I’m craving for sweets. And, did I mention that their service is quick and impressive?

Last updated at Oct 30, 2018