Share your thoughts.

Your email address will not be published.

Traveloka needs your voice. We welcome your on-topic commentary, criticism and expertise. Comments are moderated for civility.

Tuna Festival: First-timer’s Guide to General Santos’ Yummy Feast

Tuna Festival is the biggest fiesta in General Santos City that started in 1998. Fondly called GenSan, the largest producer of sashimi-grade tuna in the Philippines celebrates all things tuna during the first week of September with this colorful festival.

Here’s a quick guide to what to expect and activities you can enjoy when you attend this amazing festival in the Philippines.

How to Go to the Tuna Festival

By Air

General Santos, the Tuna Capital of the Philippines, is less than two hours away by plane from Manila. Book a direct flight to General Santos via local airlines like Philippine Airlines and AirAsia.

By Land

If you’re from neighboring cities such as Cagayan De Oro, Cotabato, Davao, and Pagadian, there are buses, vans, and jeepneys that go to and from GenSan.

By Sea

There are inter-island ferry routes to and from GenSan and major ports in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

What to Expect: Tuna Festival Schedule

colorful Tuna Festival
Editorial credit: Thor Jorgen Udvang /

Some of the events you can look forward to during the Tuna Festival include:

  • Tuna Float Parade. This parade marks the beginning of the Tuna Festival. Locals showcase the province’s bountiful catch with colorful, ocean-themed floats.
  • Sugbahan sa Dalan. A long line of grills is set up on the street and hundreds of kilos of tuna are grilled on the spot. These delicious food is free for everyone.

Editorial credit: Thor Jorgen Udvang /

  • Dragon Boat Race/Bancarera. Different water sports are some of the highlights during the celebration. There’s a dragon boat race, a skimboarding competition, a motorized banca race, and a jet ski challenge.
  • Parada sa Dagat. No festival is complete without a vibrant street dancing competition.
  • Grand Fish Fest sa Fish Port. See GenSan’s world-renowned tuna in all their glory.
  • Where to stay

    Single Bed Hotel

    Looking for a place to stay when you attend the Tuna Festival? Here are our top choices in and around the area where you can have a relaxing time after joining and checking out the activities:

    1. Zanrock MicroHotel

    Located along Tiongson Street, guests laud this for its small, yet clean rooms. It offers standard and family deluxe rooms. Check the latest rates here.

    2. Have Pension Hauz

    Get a room for less than PHP1,000 with free breakfast when you book this accommodation. Enjoy convenience too as it is nearby malls and restaurants. Check the latest rates here.

    3. Columbus Plaza Hotel

    A few minutes away on foot to the Tuna festival’s major venues, booking your stay in Columbus Plaza Hotel is a good choice for budget travelers. Check the latest rates here.

    4. Roadhaus Hotel – The Manny Pacquiao Hotel

    Owned by the world-famous boxing champion Manny Pacquiao, enjoy spacious and well-appointed rooms without breaking the bank. Check the latest rates here.

    5. Casa Rafael

    Less than 30 minutes from the airport, Casa Rafael has 26 fully appointed rooms to make your stay comfortable and convenient. Check the latest rates here.

    Tips While Attending Tuna Festival

    Tuna Festival parade
    Editorial credit: Thor Jorgen Udvang /

    1. Plan your itinerary. Tuna Festival is packed solid with events at different venues; shortlist the events you want to take part in so as not to feel overwhelmed.
    2. Bring home the tuna. Frozen tuna is arguably the best pasalubong from your festival adventure.
    3. Go on a food trip. After satisfying your tuna fix, Aweng’s Balbacuahan, Chicken Hauz, and Ranchero’s Grill & Seafood Restaurant have more delicious dishes for your inner foodie.

    Other Things to Do

    There are many tourist spots you can visit when in General Santos. Make sure to include these attractions to your itinerary:

    • Queen Tuna Park. Relax in one of its beachside cabanas and take in the views of Sarangani Bay.
    • General Santos Fish Port Complex. This is the second largest fish port in the Philippines next to the Navotas Fish Port Complex. Watch tons of tuna being loaded and processed right before your eyes.
    • Mindanao State University Museum. It is home to various traditional household objects and clothing from the Maguindanao, B’laan, and T’boli tribes of the pre-settlement era.
    • Sanchez Point. At 243.84 meters, it is GenSan’s highest peak.

    While you’re here, do the Pacman Adventour. This will give you a glimpse into the life of GenSan’s beloved son, boxing legend Manny Pacquiao. The tour will take you to his family’s mansions, gym, sports stadium, beach resort, farm, and hotel.

    In addition, venturing out of GenSan is just as exciting, too. You can explore neighboring towns if you have some extra time.

    Sarangani is less than an hour’s drive from the city. You can try white water river tubing at Maiyum River, soak up the sun at Gumasa Beach, or go diving in Sarangani Bay.

    Got more energy, how about chasing some waterfalls? Koronadal, which is an hour away, has several amazing waterfalls you should explore including Kawa, Matimus, Siok, Cabillon, and Sarabia.

    Go ahead and plan your trip to General Santos City! Book flights and hotels here for a convenient stay.

    Related Articles

    8 Spectacular Flower Festivals Around the World

    These festivities boast fantastic and spectacular flower displays!

    Siam Songkran Music Festival: Guide to a World-class Festival

    Be among the first to experience this festivity.

    VOLO Festival 2019: A Guide to Southeast Asia’s Biggest Hip Hop Festival

    Go wild at one of the biggest music festivals in SEA!

    First-timer’s Guide to the Songkran Water Festival

    Join the biggest water party in the world!

    Turumba Festival: Everything a Traveler Needs to Know

    To honor the seven sorrows of the Blessed Virgin of Turumba, the people of Pakil,...

    Bangus Festival: Ultimate Guide to Dagupan’s Celebration

    Every April, Dagupan City honors its rich milkfish industry by celebrating the Bangus Festival.

    Kadayawan Festival: Guide to Davao’s Thanksgiving Feast

    Davao City’s Kadayawan Festival, held every third week of August, is a thanksgiving celebration for...