My friends and I have stopped by General Santos City in Southern Philippines for an early lunch of bulalo in all our recent trips to South Cotabato. I have previously said that I find this rather unusual since GenSan is known for tuna more than the favorite Filipino beef broth. This city is also associated with the Pacquiaos, dance groups that have conquered the Showtime stage and Ms. Shamcey Supsup, the stunning architect who represented the Philippines in the 2011 Miss Universe pageant.
Aside from these famous local personalities, General Paulino Santos perhaps is the most popular figure in Dadiangas or the old name of General Santos. It was then called as such due to abundance of the Dadiangas plant in the area. But it was renamed in 1954 to ‘General Santos’ to honor this exceptional military officer who was instrumental in establishing settlements in the region. His remains and that of his wife are now enshrined in Plaza Heneral Santos, the city’s central park where a statue is also erected his honor.
I wonder where the statue of the Gen. Paulino is pointing to. Why is he pointing towards the south or to the sea, and not towards the north where there are more lands to conquer? Perhaps it was just a random aesthetic decision by its sculptor or that there is no significant meaning as to why his arm was raised in the first place. I have no acceptable answer yet to this curiosity, but perhaps Ms. Shamcey has a two-sentence explanation for a question that is better raised in a local pop quiz show and not on a beauty pageant.
But what is clear to me though is that despite the brief aggregated hours I spent in General Santos City, I could still say that it is clearly headed to the right direction in terms of tourism potential and economic progress. I do wish though I could spend a full day there someday to visit its fish port, indulge in its local delicacies and explore the other areas we have not passed by before. I might be able to find the answer to my question too by asking its tourism officer, a local blogger or just someone who knows the history of this city.
I leave this question unanswered for the time being. But your wild theories or scholarly comments are most welcome below.