GENSAN’S TUNA FESTIVAL
In 1998, during the 30th City Charter anniversary of General Santos City, the General Santos City Tourism Association – a consortium of hotels, resorts, restaurants, travel agencies, and other tourism-related establishments, then chaired by Mrs. Liwanag Ferrer – staged an event at the Halieus Mall (now RD Plaza), that showcased tuna cuisine through culinary competitions, exhibits, and other activities dubbed as the “Tuna Revolution”. Then Mayor Adelbert W. Antonio thought that the theme could actually be the basis for a festival, thus Tuna Festival was born.
Tuna Festival is the only festival that successfully coined the tagline for Gensan as the “Tuna Capital of the Philippines”. To live up to the name, activities to honor the prime industry (fishing) of the city, remained an annual challenge for festival stakeholders and event organizers.
Through the years, the challenge to level up and introduce improvements in the celebration and sustain its promotion and marketing remained in our search for continuous uniqueness . Foremost among the changes, is the step to institutionalize Gensan Festivals. Second, the creation of a Festival Board, the body that approves the events included in the festival. Bottomline is to differentiate the Kalilangan from Tuna Festival events, and no duplication of activities therein.
The week-long celebration features different events and activities focusing on the tuna industry and the bounty of the sea.. Among these are the annual Tuna Congress, the Tuna Culinary Skills Competition, the Sashimi Night, the Fish Dance Competition, Miss Tourism GenSan Pageant, the Fishfest sa Fishport and the Tuna Float Light Parade. Aside from food exhibitions and several other competitions, the festival also highlights the annual Karagatan Awards. This event, organized by the local government, honors “the unsung heroes of the fishing industry” by giving them awards.
The spectacular Tuna Float is another awesome sight during the Festival. Gensan’s main thoroughfares are flooded with huge Tuna Floats in our desire to magnify the world class blessings that the city is endowed with.