The highlight of most visits to General Santos City is the one that gets you to the Fish Port Tuna Traders Market. We were advised to come early as the activities start very early in the morning. We didn’t make it so we opted for what’s left for the rest of the morning activities at the still very busy market.
Upon arrival, we were received at the GMP-SSOP Training Room to change our foot wears into those white boots that we see from all the people doing businesses inside the port area. It is also where we wait for our turn to tour around. After a while, a short orientation was provided by the guide at the Fish Port Tourism Information Center where a miniature of the whole complex is used as tool in orienting us after which the actual tour starts.
The City of General Santos’ economy’s steady ascent is attributable to the fishing industry, mainly with tuna export. Different processed Tuna products and food menus are made in the province and are featured in its much celebrated Tuna Festival every first week of September. These and more give the city a prominent mark in the global economic landscape.
The Tuna industry’s humble beginnings go way back to when the catch used to go through the old market/bagsakan. In 1989, foreign investments/assistance to Tuna players/chamber improved the fishport including the road network, to today’s existing six Tuna canneries in the city.
Visiting the market is interactive as most of the workers will oblige to your questions just as you respectfully ask them in a non-disturbing way. Instinct will tell you if someone's job will not be hindered by your photographing and questioning. You don’t do that to those lifting heavy fishes, carts or washing/cleaning big sizes of Tuna. This Manong willingly demonstrated how quality of Tuna meat is classified using this tool.
Another worthy activity is the packing of whole fresh chilled Tuna for export. From the sea to freezer vans to the importing country of destination is the itinerary of Tunas packed in this kind of box packaging.
Aside from Tuna, other fishes are also available in this market. We were directed to the still busier part of the market where smaller varieties of seafood are located but we retreated as it was really really very busy given the already late morning but with people negotiating, washing and loading fish for delivery vans.
The Fish Port is a must visit to get a glimpse of our fishing industry. After all, it is worth getting to know the food we eat on the table!