Mangdang Gen San Experience!

It was my first time in Mindanao last weekend. I went to the Land of the Champions and Land of Tuna, General Santos City, Philippines. It was an amazing experience!

Day 1 - Magandang GenSan!

Jomar, Mam Chelle, and I left Makati around 6:00am for our flight at 7:20am. After rushing through the airport and paying the terminal fee, the plane took off at around 7:45 and we arrived the General Santos City International Airport at around 9:30am. Upon deplaning, we met with Ms. Aileen and her son, Miggy, and Vincent. All of us rode the van waiting for us from the East Asia Royale Hotel. We left our things and rest for a while in our rooms. After a few minutes, we left for lunch at Ranchero's Grill and Restaurant.

The food were amazing. We even saw Gerald Anderson (famous local actor) and have our pictures taken. We, then, have a courtesy call to the Office of the Mayor in General Santos city and I must say, they truly deserve the Magandang Gen San slogan because they have the Magandang Mayor, Darlene Antonino-Custodio. We went to STI GenSan college next because it will be the venue for the Google Map Maker summit the following day. Our last stop for the afternoon is the store of Manny Pacquiao, "Team Pacquiao" and the coffee shop operated by Jinkee Paquiao, "Blugre Coffee", located in Robinson's Place General Santos. Later that evening we went to Sarangani Highlands to have dinner. It's located in a higher part of the city and you can actually see the other side of the bay, which is pretty cool. The place has lots of trees, flowers, and amazing landscape.

The food is pretty good too. We couldn't stop munching on the Chicharon Bulaklak and was really amaze with the carrots that covered the lapu-lapu. After this, we went back to the Royal Lounge (cafe in the hotel) to meet about the program flow for the Mapping Party. We all went up to our rooms exhausted.

I have to say that Gen San is not only the Land of the Champions but is a city full of the nicest people. Almost all hotel staff were all smile and would greet, "welcome", "good morning", or "good afternoon." The food is spot on. The city has the perfect mixture of province feel and the busyness of a progressive city.

Day 2 - Google Map Maker Summit

The mapping summit on the 22nd is spectacular. I am saying this because it's my first mapping summit (I wasn't able to witness the Bacolod and Baguio mapping summits). We arrived there at 8am and participants were already inside the room. I was in the registration with Miguel and somehow we managed. We were also responsible for food distribution for morning snacks, lunch, and afternoon snacks.

Everyone is energetic and eager to learn. If the Bacolod and Baguio mapping showed the same enthusiasm I would say that no one will really get lost in the Philippines cause everyone will do their share in putting buildings, roads, and different establishments in provinces, cities, and neighborhood in Google Maps. I also hope that with the efforts shown by the participants and organizer we would be able to use the maps to prepare for disasters later on. After the mapping summit and cleaning up, we went to Grab a Crab to have dinner then back to the hotel to rest.

Day 3 - Huge Tuna

On our last day, we went to the GenSan Fish Port Complex. I've never seen fishes these big my entire life.

After that we went pasalubong shopping in Pacific Seas Seafood Market, KCC Mall of GenSan, and lunch at Giacomino's.

I hope to visit GenSan again. With the warm and hospitable people and delicious food, there's no reason not to come back. Next time, I am sure that I won't get lost because all roads and establishments will be in Google Maps not only in GenSan but also Mindanao, and hopefully the rest of the Philippines.

For more photo at our weekend in GenSan, check out this Google Photo album.

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