Southwest of Davao on Sarangani Bay, GENERAL SANTOS – or "Gensan" – is the Philippines' southernmost city, a dense, noisy metropolis that isn't a significant tourist destination, but is the jump-off point for the agricultural province of Sarangani and idyllic Lake Sebu. The vast hinterlands of central Mindanao to the west of General Santos – the provinces of North Cotaboto, Maguindinao, South Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat – are rarely explored by tourists because of occasional violence associated with the fight for Muslim autonomy.
The busy centre of General Santos, sometimes referred to as "Tuna City" because of its profitable tuna-fishing and canning industry, is bounded to the north by the National Highway, to the south by Sarangani Bay and to the west by the Silway River. At the city's heart are two parks – Freedom Park, to the east, and Carlos P. Garcia Park, to the west – with City Hall between them. From City Hall it's a ten-minute walk north to the National Highway and about the same distance south to P. Acharon Boulevard, which runs along the seafront. As for things to do in General Santos, you can while away a few hours strolling through the two parks before walking south to a third park, Magsaysay, right on the seafront. On the east of this park is a photogenic mosque. For shopping, head to Gaisano mall, east of the city along Catolico Avenue.