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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Neptune’s Bounty

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General Santos City, which was previously known as Dadiangas and is now popularly known as GenSan, is the southernmost city in Mindanao.  It is the center for commerce and industry of Region XII or SOCCSKSARGEN, the acronym of four provinces and a city – South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and General Santos City.

Neptune must have plunged his trident deep into the seas in this region as it now produces the largest amount of sashimi-grade tuna in the country, giving GenSan the bragging rights to the tag, “Tuna Capital of the Philippines.”

The Moro Gulf, Sulu Sea, Mindanao Sea and the nearby Celebes Sea are teeming with tuna, and they are all within easy reach from the city. The area is also rarely in the path of typhoons that normally visit our country, making the weather always ideal for fishing. Also, the presence of modern ports, processing plants and an airport further add to GenSan’s lure as an ideal base of operation for commercial tuna.

Yellowfin tuna from the waters of GenSan (photo courtesy of Gregg Yan, WWF).

The tuna is a member of the mackerel family and is a saltwater fish. Its size can range from the Bullet tuna (about 1.5 feet long) to the Atlantic Bluefin (15 feet long). The fish has a sleek, streamlined body, and is known to swim the fastest.  In fact, the Yellowfin, which is common in GenSan, is capable of speeds of up to 75 kilometers per hour. 

Our tuna is sold to major markets like Japan, which has preference for raw tuna, and the United States, which goes for processed tuna, to sell it as the popular grocery item, canned tuna, “chunked” or “flaked” either in oil, brine, water or with various sauces. This favorite supermarket item is used for sandwiches, salads, casseroles or dried, packaged meal mixes.  What makes tuna a popular meal among diet-watchers is its Omega 3 DHA content, which is good for the heart, as it is low in cholesterol.

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Workers at the GenTuna processing plant.

Employing about 120,000 workers and fishermen, GenSan’s fishing industry yields an average daily unload of around 1,000 metric tons. This figure includes those caught from foreign waters and those caught by foreign-flagged vessels.  

GenSan is home to seven tuna processing plants. The biggest of these is GenTuna, owned by Century Pacific Food Inc., makers of Century Tuna, the leading canned tuna brand in the country. The company prides itself with processing tuna without the use of preservatives, thus making it healthier than that of its competitors, proclaimed its marketing manager Angela Pecson.

GenSan’s biggest tuna processing plant proudly declares its Vision Statement.

Not too long ago, the officers of the company gathered some friends to introduce their new television commercial (TVC) highlighting a healthy lifestyle made possible by a combination of 70 percent diet and 30 percent exercise. Thanks to its star, “hunk-about-town” Derek Ramsay, the TVC is now very popular among the country’s younger population and the diet-conscious, further strengthening the brand’s edge over its rivals.

Big name stars have dominated Century Tuna’s many TVCs in the past, but Century Pacific Food Inc. vice president and general manager Greg Banzon pointed out the significant spike in sales when an earlier TVC starred Derek, thus their decision to get his services once again. The new 30-seconder shows everyone that the brand certainly made the right move, as no other personality could get the “healthy lifestyle” message across as adroitly and admirably as Derek – he with the perennial six-pack abs and lean, “0-fat” musculature.

At the launch of their latest TVC are Greg Banzon, Derek Ramsay, and Angela Pecson.

So Neptune continues to happily wield his trident over the seas near GenSan because the Skipjacks, Yellowfins and the Big Eyes (varieties of tuna) still fill the waters in the area. 

But sometime in the past, one prong of the trident must have malfunctioned.  Instead of a sleek, streamlined aquatic creature, a dark mass of muscle came to life. It grew an extremely confused fist, which takes incoherent jabs at sports, entrepreneurship, gaming, politics, religion, show business, and whatever else it stumbles upon. And, horrors of all horrors, it’s now setting its sights on a national post! Yikes! Should we throw it back to the sea? Nah! Let’s leave it alone to wise up. Instead, let’s heap praises on and give thanks to Neptune, for having showered our southern seas with his bounty.

Hunk of the Hour Derek Ramsay pointing out the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.


Three drunk guys entered a taxi. The taxi driver knew that they were drunk, so he started the engine and turned it off immediately, then said, “We’ve reached your destination.” The first guy paid him the fare, the second guy said “Thank you,” but the third guy slapped the driver. Shocked, thinking the third drunk knew what he did, the driver asked “What was that for?” The third guy replied, “Control your speed next time, you nearly killed us!”


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