Emmanuel ‘Manny the PACMAN’ Pacquiao has been the the ‘real-life’ hero in the Philippines and in the professional boxing nowadays. His stardom was donned by the seven (7) world titles in seven (7) different weight categories or divisions. Most importantly, ‘The PACMAN’ has been the reason why the city of General Santos in Mindanao, Philippines has resurfaced in the limelight.
The Tuna Capital of the Philippines
I love tuna! I remember when my siblings and I were just a bunch of kids concern only with their toys, my mom usually described foods or meals she had to serve in order for us to eat them. When she cooked a certain kind of dish (it was tuna), I remembered her getting a piece of our toy fish and giving us some description of our dish. It was effective, and since then I love eating tuna.
I then realized that my mom’s description was a bit ‘short’ when I started my formal schooling. Based on the pictures and images I saw in my books, tunas are caught and were carried by fishermen over their shoulders. That means they were usually colossal in terms of size! I immediately confronted my mom about it, and she just laughed. Actually we both had a good laugh.
Encountering the Big Fish
We had a sort of team building planned by one of our superior at the office. I remembered him saying that it would be held somewhere in Mindanao. We were all excited and since Manny Pacquiao had been hitting the headlines, I thought his hometown: General Santos City. The day before our flight to Mindanao, my superior gave us a sort of documentation regarding his plans for the team building and lo and behold, we were on our way to General Santos City. When we arrived at the place; we were surprised to see and encounter our ‘big bosses’ offshore and gave us warm welcome. These guys were the ones we usually encounter through video phone or live chatting for meeting. It was good to know they were very accommodating. One of them actually admitted that he funded the team building at GenSan (another moniker of the city) because of the number one (1) pound-for-pound boxer in the world today: Manny Pacquiao. He advised us to enjoy and relax for us to be prepared of his culminating activity for the team building.
After a hefty lunch, we went to the Kalaja Eco-Tourism Destination. Kalaja Karsts Land was one of the best sights I was able to see in my entire life. Karsts are terrain formation molded by the dissolution of layers of soluble rock layer. It was called as ‘Kalaha’ after the name given by the natives because it resembles a cooking ware, particularly of a frying pot. The place was very relaxing because of scenery.
We continued our tour at GenSan and before we arrived in a fish port, one of the big bosses stood up and shouted, ‘are you ready for the challenge?’ Clueless of what we were about to do, in unison, we just replied ‘Yes!’ and the boss quipped ‘you better be ready guys!’ and laughed, since he was the boss we laughed with him as well.
When we entered the post vicinity, we were pleased to see a banner welcoming us. What made us wonder was the settings of the place seemed to suggest a sort of an activity. The host greeted us and gave us instructions of what would be happening after we change clothes and put on some gears. We were geared up for a game involving tunas, not just tunas, they were big tunas! We have had a relay game of transferring of tuna from one station to another. Tunas’ weight was no joke considering the fact that we had to carry them from one point to another. It was a fun-filled and very memorable experience for us. To be exact, it was a humbling experience. As for me, it made me more respectful of the fishermen who would do the activity over and over again to earn for a living. It made me realized as well the value of my present job.
General Santo City or GenSan had been blessed with tons and tons of tuna production the whole year long. This industry made them competitive in terms of economic growth amongst progressive cities in the Philippines. As a sort of thanksgiving, the locals celebrate the ‘Kalilangan Festival’ to showcase their talents and efforts as a sense of gratitude for an abundant harvest. For me, GenSan is one of the most memorable places in terms of natural resources.