Sarangani: Surging toward township

On a road trip to Lake Sebu in South Cotabato years back, I noticed a change in language intonation when I was in GenSan or General Santos.

It sounded like Cebuano/Bisaya but there was a significant rise and fall of the voice. It was Hiligaynon, widely spoken in Iloilo and Negros Occidental.

Why it is spoken in the southernmost city in the Philippines is because South Cotabato is a land of migration.

Formerly called Dadiangas, GenSan was named after Paulino Santos, former commanding general of the Philippine Army, governor of Lanao, and director of Bureau of Prisons. Most of all, General Santos led the first group of migrants in Koronadal made up of 62 pioneers who were mostly agricultural and trade graduates with the objectives of industrially cultivating the region. More migrants from Luzon, Visayas, and other provinces in Mindanao followed after the World War II. The original settlers, the Blaan and Tboli, and the migrants have made South Cotabato a melting pot of different cultures.

Tuna Capital

Nowadays, GenSan is known as the Tuna Capital of the Philippines. A trip to GenSan is not complete without a visit to the Fishport Complex. This is done very early in the morning when fishing boats unload their fish catch. Tuna canneries surround this area making it the second largest canned and processed tuna manufacturer in Asia.

In case you missed the early morning event, you can still indulge in a tuna feast at one of the restaurants on Tiongson Arcade Night Market. Every part of the tuna is used and whether it is prepared “kinilaw,” “inihaw,” or “prito,” each morsel is a gustatory delight especially with ice-cold beer.

GenSan is the most populous city in South Cotabato and Soccsksargen (South Cotabato-Cotabato-Sultan Kudarat-Sarangani-Gen. Santos) region. It is governed independently from the province. Koronadal remains the capital of South Cotabato. GenSan has many educational institutions such as Notre Dame and soon the oldest existing university in Asia – the University of Santo Tomas.

GenSan is also identified with the pugilist-senator Manny Pacquiao whose family dominates the political scene in GenSan and Sarangani.

Sarangani’s capital, Alabel, is less than an hour’s drive from GenSan. Sarangani used to be the third district of South Cotabato until it declared its independence in 1992. Historically, Sarangani used to be part of the Sultanate of Maguindanao. History buffs remember Sarangani as the location of the anthropomorphic pots in Maitum Cave.

The people and culture of GenSan and Alabel are, in particular, intertwined. Soccsksargen Region is linked by paved roads to the international airport and harbor of GenSan. It is the southernmost tip of Mindanao island which it shares with Davao Occidental. Further south is Balut Island which shares a maritime boundary with Sulawesi, Indonesia.

Growth Potential

It is the potential for growth and development which attracted Alsons Development and Investment Corp.(Alsons Dev) to expand its property development operations in Sarangani with the launch of its newest project, Avia Estate.

Alsons Dev has the solid reputation of developing top-notch residential and commercial projects in Davao City. One of its latest projects is the Poblacion Market Central in Davao City which is a new venue for shopping, dining, and lifestyle experiences.

It is a subsidiary of the Alcantara Group, one of the largest Filipino-owned conglomerates with over 60 years of experience and 20 major companies in various industries.

Avia Estate

Avia Estate is a mixed-use township located in Alabel, Sarangani that offers master-planned and high-quality  living and commercial spaces for residents in the region.

Avia Estate is composed of wide retail and commercial offerings, reputable educational institutions, government support facilities, and prime residential communities with first-class leisure amenities—all in one address.

Renowned environmental planner and landscape architect Paulo Alcazaren of Iloilo Esplanade and Ayala Pedestrianization fame among many others, is behind the project. The 121-hectare project is strategically located in Barangay Maribulan, Alabel. It is 1.3 kilometers from Sarangani Provincial Capitol and 1.4 kilometers from the Provincial Hospital. The 1.2-kilometer frontage is reserved for commercial establishments.

Narra Residences

The first development within the new township is the Narra Park Residences. It offers the best countryside living with modern conveniences and a conducive environment for starting a family. To ensure quality education, Alsons Dev has forged a partnership with Abba Orchard, an accredited Montessori school.

For higher education, there is Alabel National Science High School and universities in GenSan. Duplicating its efforts in Davao City,  Alsons Dev is building a Public Safety and Security Complex within the estate. It will house a police station, fire station, and an operations center for emergency response.

Narra Avia offers bungalow and two-storey units for young families seeking security, comfort, and convenience. Open lots are also available for those looking to build their own future homes.

There are now model units for viewing. A bungalow (45.31 square meters floor area, 120-150 sqm lot) and a two-storey house (63.22 sqm floor area, 120-150 sqm lot) are among the options for buyers.

Mindanao has always been called The Land of Promise. The vast open lands have been a magnet for migrants.

With peace reigning in most parts of  Mindanao, Sarangani offers a fresh option. Make your choice. Choose Sarangani!

Alsons Development and Industrial Corp. is at 329 Bonifacio St. Davao City  082 (222-3281), 227-2152 lic 296, 207  [email protected]

* * *

JP Ordoña (Manilakad) leads Manilakad Walks in Intramuros, Binondo, Quiapo and more. Let him guide you to several walking destinations in Manila. Manilakad (JP Ordoña) can be reached on Facebook Messenger or through text at 0916-3597888.