Every September 5 of each year, General Santos City commemorates its cityhood with a week long Tuna Festival. It became a city on September 1958 and its people celebrate the day by paying homage to the industry that brought General Santos into spotlight. For this reason, the city earned the monicker “Tuna Capital of the Philippines” Most facilities that can and process tuna are located here generating jobs for people and earning millions annually. It was the tuna industry that turned GenSan into an industrial giant.
The Tuna Festival celebrates the hardwork and determination to develop of the city’s flagship industry. The celebration is marked with illuminated tuna float replicas parading the streets with music, dancing, and the art during the annual celebration. People converge in the main avenue to watch the parade and for some merrymaking.
The Tuna Festival started as a spontaneous event organized by the Tourism Association in 1998 until it evolved into an annual tradition. In celebration of Gen San’s 30th anniversary as a city, they decided to celebrate the event with a tuna cuisine through contests and exhibits. AIt marked the beginning of the annual celebration of the Tuna Festival.
During the week long Tuna Festival, various activities, programs, events, and shows are held scattered throughout the whole week. One of the highlights of the occasion is a colorful parade of floats as well as street dancing by students wearing beautiful costumes. Other events worth watching are fireworks display, carnival presentation complete with fire-eaters, fish dance competition, beauty pageant, culinary skills competitions, modeling contest, sashimi night, and a Tuna Congress.
Held in late August to early September, the Tuna Festival also features an awarding ceremony called Karagatan Awards honoring the unsung heroes of GenSan’s fishing industry.
Planning to take part in the Tuna Festival? Then make your way to General Santos City. During this time of the year, you can still find some relatively cheap accommodations. Dining will not be a problem as well since several establishments offer cheap local cuisines especially during the Tuna Festival. However, if you plan to participate in the festivities, it is best to make advanced booking as most of the hotels and inns are probably already full booked during the Festival week.