The Tuna Fishport of General Santos City, Mindanao, The Philippines: More than the usual (Part 1 of Series)

One of the marked tuna at the GenSan Fishport

General Santos City or GenSan in South Cotabato, Mindanao is well-known among Filipinos as the hometown of the best pound for pound boxer in the world, Manny Pacquiao. However, before Manny became the legendary boxer that he is now, GenSan has been known for its most popular local commodity, the tuna. Hence the tag, Tuna Capital of the Philippines.

Lots of huge tuna!

When I went on a 2 month backpacking journey across Mindanao way back December 2008, I made a mental note not to miss the GenSan Tuna Fishport. Of course it’s not as huge or as busy as the Tsukiji Fish Market in Japan. Still it’s a place worth visiting while in GenSan.

Weighing the tuna. Some of it were around 70 kilos.

We were at the Tuna Fishport before 7am as suggested by GenSan locals. All tourists need to log in at the Administration Office, get a written permit to take photos and wear white rubber boots provided.

The tuna is bigger than me! Not as heavy I suppose.

While inside the Fishport, I can’t help to take a lot of photos as I’ve never seen so much huge tuna in my life! Some are even bigger than me! Most of these tuna are for export overseas. The lower grade tuna are of course, for local consumption.

Not your usual tuktuk passenger!

I feel pitiful looking at these men. Imagine carrying 70kg on one shoulder, from the boat to the fishport! I discreetly took photos since I know carrying those huge tuna is not an easy task.

A thin metal tube was inserted to check the quality grade of the tuna meat. Some of the tuna were cleaned, gutted and placed on iced containers. Ready for selling at the market.

Unfortunately, fresh sashimi is not available at the Fishport. If you want to have some, you have to buy the whole fish! Maybe in the market, which I wasn’t able to visit. The next time I visit GenSan, I’ll make sure to go during the Tuna Festival. Don’t forget to bring wasabi and soy sauce!