General Santos City or GenSan: Manny Pacquiao's Home Town.

I only got to stay for a few hours during my first visit to General Santos City.  The trip was so short that I wasn't even able to eat tuna, which the place is so famous for.  But last week, I got to stay overnight.  Yipee!  Took the opportunity to explore the nearby areas and of course, eat tuna.

"General Santos City, located in the deep south of the Philippines, has long been known as the “Tuna Capital of the Philippines” due to its bountiful fishing industry, which contributes more than 50% to the city’s economy. However, it is becoming better known worldwide as the hometown of boxing champion Manny Pacquiao, the unprecedented holder of 7 title belts in 7 different weight divisions. Pacquiao has made it to the cover of Time Magazine and maybe declared Sportsman of the Year by Sports Illustrated."

Day 1

It takes approximately 2 hours to fly from Manila to General Santos City. I took the 12:30 p.m. Cebu Pacific flight and arrived at Gensan at around 2:45 p.m.  The shuttle was already there when I got out of the airport.

I stayed at East Asia Royale Hotel which I believe is the best hotel in area.  During my stay, I saw former President Joseph Estrada, former Senator Maceda, and other politicians also booked here.

After freshening up, I didn't waste any time exploring the city.  My first stop was Manny Pacquiao's own specialty store located in Robinson's Mall.

There are lots of shirts, shorts, and jackets for men, women, and even kids.  There are also towels and souvenir items such as keychains, mugs, cups and planners all bearing the Pacquiao logo.


Aside from merchandise, the store is also a tourist spot because some of the items displayed are Manny Pacquiao's personal boxing apparel.


Two pairs of signed Manny Pacquiao boxing gloves were offered for sale a few days back.  Unfortunately, I came a day late because someone came in and purchased them both.

I want this pair of gloves signed by Muhammad Ali.

After buying Pacquiao shirts for T, I went to the coffee shop beside the store.  It turns out that Pacquiao and his wife own the General Santos franchise of BluGre Coffee (pronounced as bloo-gray). 
Image credit: Landco

The cafe is cute and cozy.  I never thought the colors blue and gray would be a good combination for a restaurant or a coffee shop but they managed to make it work.  I also love their chairs and wouldn't mind sharing a table with these 'gimme-some-privacy' furniture.

Now on to the food... there are so many goodies to choose from! Cakes, pastries, sandwiches, pasta, you name it.

I settled for a cup of Hot White Chocolate Mocha and Durian de Leche Cheesecake.  I'm not really a fan of durian but since that that's their specialty, I might as well try it.  It was surprisingly good.

Blugre also has cups and mugs for sale  but I thought they were kind of expensive for a coffee shop in the province.  A medium size cup costs around P495/$12.   I found it cute how they made showbiz personalities sign the cups and mugs on display.  But of course, this aren't for sale.


My next stop is Jinkee's Fashion World which made headlines just recently.  The store is located in the JMP building, about 5 to 10 minutes drive from Robinson's Mall.

Jinkee's Fashion World is owned by Manny Pacquiao's wife, Jinkee.  At the middle of the store is a huge portrait of hers.  Can't miss it.

The store sells high-end clothes, bags and shoes personally picked by Jinkee during her shopping sprees in the US.  even saw a hermes dress being sold for only P5,800/$140.  So cheap!  Reason for selling?  It doesn't fit her.  There are also  accessories from Chanel, Fendi and Juicy Couture, different kinds of toywatches, and various bottles of perfume. 


Surprisingly, Manny Pacquiao had his own corner in the store as well.

By the time I was done browsing through her stuff, it was already dinnertime.  I went back to Robinson's Mall to have dinner at Sunset Bistro.



As i've mentioned earlier, I wasn't able to eat tuna during my first visit to General Santos City.  So, I wasn't going to let this trip pass without me eating it!

As soon as I took a bite out of the Seared Tuna Sashimi that we ordered, I know why people call General Santos City the tuna capital. 


For the main course, I got the platters instead of single orders so it'd be easier to try all of their specialties. The Mixed Grill Combo Platter consists of chicken, pork and tuna while the Seafood Platter consists of calamari, fish and sashimi.

As if these weren't enough, there's still dessert.  I ordered the Apple Pie ala Mode while the others got the Mango Crepe.  Yes, there were other people with me.  What did you think?  All these food just for me? ;)


After dinner, I went back to the hotel room to get a good night's rest because tomorrow's a busy day and my last Gensan hurrah.

Day 2

I was busy with work the whole morning but come lunch, it was chow time again!  Headed over to this place called Grab-a-Crab before going to the airport to catch my flight back home.

It was hot that day so I got a tall glass of Ripe Mango Shake instead.  It was delish.  Very sweet.


Funny, their menu was almost half my size.  No kidding.  That's why i couldn't take a picture of it because it wouldn't fit.

Started lunch off with Tinola Soup.  A must-try because it doesn't taste like your usual tinola.  Upon mixing the big bowl, I found the secret --- a couple of lemongrass twigs all tied up. 

Another must-try is the Grab-a-Crab Special Rice.  Although it was a bit disappointing because they told us that there's a single crab on top of the dish.  When it came, there was only a little crab leg.  Nevertheless, the rice is still worth ordering.

The Pompano is really fresh.  There's an aquarium where they get the ones they'll cook for you.  It was because of this that I couldn't eat it.  I felt bad for the little dude.
And the rest was history.  Chow, chow, chow.  Munch, munch, munch.  We ordered so much food! 



Obviously, there was no more room for dessert after this.  All i had was coffee to go at Coffee Club.  So that ends my General Santos City experience.  Until my next trip!


  1. I only have one comment: TAKAW MO! :))

    haha joeijoei!! hiiiii :> -kymmy :)

  2. What did you get at Jinkee's store pala? :D

  3. kym. hi!!! finally, you got to visit my blog. why don't you join us again? ;)

    anyway, i was actually looking for a tory burch bag that was already discontinued. thought she might have that in her store. but there wasn't any! nothing else caught my eye so i just bought a preview magazine with her on the cover :))

  4. Sounds like you had a fun trip! :)

  5. I would be surprised if Manny doesn't have a Manny place there and if Jinkee does not have a Jinkee place in Gen San. Teritoryo nila yan e, hehe.

  6. hi joei, thank you so much for visiting my blog. that's a very fun story of yours, and nice pictures of the meals, esp. the desserts! yumm!

    ok, i'll now add you to my blogroll :) check my blogs under the 'cool blogs' section.
    keep in touch! :)

  7. gen san i really pacquiao country. :)

    ginutom ako sa food pictures. i loved it :D

  8. leia. it was a fun FOOD trip ;) tiring though.

    russ. go team jinkee! :))

  9. vinda sonata. i added your link as well :)

    jennie. super! it's pacman everywhere. BUT ironically, he didn't win last elections ;)

  10. Ang ganda pala sa gensan.. :) and sarap nung food :) Thanks for the visit earlier

  11. nagutom ako sa post mo sis. how was the durian cheesecake pala? did you get anything from jinkee's shop?

  12. Ooh...sounds like fun!

    If you get the chance, I'd be delighted if you'd enter my lingerie giveaway! :-)

    Confessions of Lingerie Addict

  13. mommy judy. actually, i still want to visit the bay. maybe on my next trip.

    erlyn. i don't eat durian actually but it was surprisingly good! i didn't get anything from jinkee's shop though. just the january issue of preview magazine with her on the cover ;)

  14. treacle. i'd love to join your giveaway. visiting your site now :)

  15. Twitter id is stockingsaddict. Just let me know if you can't find me. :-)

  16. treacle. ok, following you now :)

  17. Ohh all the food looks really good! Love the cheesecake's looks too :) I didn't know about the "Tuna capital of the Phillippines" before. And even though I'mnot that much into tuna (I'm a salmon girl), I would love to visit and have tuna there. And god, do I love the chairs!! Apperently, I'm a big chair appreciator hehe

  18. i heard a lot of good things about GenSan. Sad to say that's one part of the Phils, i haven't visited... hopefully soon.

  19. julia. i like salmon better, too. it's le boyfriend who's the tuna guy ;) on the topic of chairs, i want the philippe starck ghost chair!

    sassy mom. cebu pacific has great deals! you should check it out :)

  20. wow! thasnk you for taking us there! Gen San pala is also an interesting place. i want to buy those MP shirts for hubby too. he's a big fan.

    Lucky T! =)

  21. omg, you had me at durian cheesecake! I've had durian puffs before but not cheesecakes:P

  22. You seem to get some awesome opportunities to travel - so lucky!

  23. sounds like fun - such a cute blog =]

    Thanks so much for your wonderful comment, i'm so glad you like the blog i hope you'll visit again soon, sorry for the late reply =]

    Stay safe and chic darling,
    English Rose x

  24. Hermes for 5,800??? for real? wow, I'm amazed! Looks like you had a fun time. =)


  25. My favorite part of traveling is trying out new java joints!

  26. kero. then he'd like it there. lots of mp shirts that aren't available elsewhere :)

    sher. durian puffs?! i've never see one of those. interesting! ;)

  27. mj. its a new year's resolution: travel more!

    english rose. no problem! thanks for visiting, too :)

  28. lue. short, but fun :)

    betz. i know right?!?! if only it were my size!

  29. kristin. honestly, i was surprised to see a java joint in gensan! thanks for visiting :)

  30. Wow! Manny's town talaga!!! :) Grabe ang influence!

  31. Oh, I quite love this post! I'm so glad you had a wonderful time! I would love a slice of that cheesecake myself - yum!! :)

  32. miles. super! question is, will he win the congressional seat this time?

  33. seems like a great place to visit !
    those are great photos .
    thanks for sharing it with us..

    thx for the comment on my blog
    michelle . @ GLISTERS&BLISTERS

  34. cafe fashionista. thanks for visiting. ill visit your blog in a bit :)

  35. michelle. thanks for visiting :)

  36. I'm in GenSan several times a year. Actually, the neighboring town of Polomolok but I've stayed in East Asia a few times already. It's a nice city.


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I enjoy meeting fellow bloggers and readers from all over so feel free to comment and I'll get back to you as soon as I can :)

♥ joei