Last Friday, Feyma, the kids and I all took a drive down south to General Santos City. For anybody who has been following this site, you will know that we lived in GenSan, as it is affectionately called, back from 2000 until 2002. We still go back from time to time, but not too often – maybe a couple of times per year. Actually, I think it has been almost exactly a year since our last visit to the City.
In my two years of living in General Santos City, I had gotten to the point where I didn’t care for the place all that much by the time we moved. Over the 6 years that we’ve lived in Davao, though, obvious improvements have been made in the City. It is much smaller than Davao, and thus offers fewer amenities, but the improvements that are visible in the City are quite good, I must say.
The reason for our trip to GenSan was that it is the time of year when foreigners need to check in at the Bureau of Immigration office. While we live in Davao, we are still registered in GenSan, and we like doing business there with the Immigration office, as it is less crowded, and very fast in handling our needs. So, we take the trip down every January or February for check-in. The check-in process only took 20 minutes or so for our entire family, and we had the rest of the day free.
On our ride down to GenSan, I called our friend Cathy on the phone to see if she had plans for lunch. You see, last year Cathy did a project with a local Doctor in setting up a new Restaurant in GenSan called “Sarangani Highlands.” I’ve been wanting to try Sarangani Highlands, but since I didn’t know where it was, we thought we’d ask Cathy to come along! Besides, it was a good excuse to see Cathy, as both Feyma and I really enjoy her company. She is a very smart, business minded lady, and I always feel like I learn something from just talking with her (don’t be shy, Cathy, I know you are reading this). So, after completing our business at the Immigration office, we picked up Cathy and headed to Sarangani Highlands.
I can understand why Sarangani Highlands has gotten such good reviews. I keep hearing about the place all the time! Now, I know why. It’s beautiful! The restaurant sits up on a hill, overlooking Sarangani Bay. On top of that, the owner of Sarangani Highlands is an avid gardener, according to Cathy. The flowers and gardens on site are very ornamental! What a beautiful scene to accompany a great meal!
For lunch, we ordered a variety of dishes so that we could give the place a try. We started out with two salads:
- Highlands Dadiangas Salad – Dadiangas is the name of a Barangay in GenSan, and the entire town used to be called Dadiangas before it was chartered as a City. The Dadiangas Salad is basically a fruit salad, featuring the wonderful fruits of General Santos. Pineapple, banana, mango, avacado, pomelo. Maybe there were other fruits too, I don’t recall. Delicious!
- Shrimp & Mango Salad – This is not the proper name, but I’ve forgotten what they named this salad! Basically, it was shrimp, mango and pomelo. It was simply magnificent! I loved it. I have to say that although both salads were great, this was my favorite. I’m a shrimp lover, what can I say?
Our next course was the main course, and we sampled these dishes:
- Butterflied Shrimp – This shrimp was butterflied, and broccoli was inserted into it, then it was deep fried. Cathy recommended this one, and she was right! It was excellent.
- Sweet& Sour Lapu Lapu – This was very good, although I really love this dish at Paradise Island on Samal, and the Highlands did not stand up to what they have at Paradise. I would eat it again, but it was not “special” – if you know what I mean. It was good, not great, though.
- Fried chicken – I didn’t eat any of the fried Chicken, although the kids said it was great! It did look good. I was busy enjoying the Shrimp and fish, though!
- Shanghai Fried Rice – I’m not a big eater of rice, but this was good. No complaints!
Overall, I’d give the food a rating of 7 out of 10, the ambiance of the place a 10 out of 10 with an overall rating of 9 out of 10. I’ll be returning here, you can bet on that!
After leaving Sarangani Highlands, I was telling Feyma that on this trip, my feelings for GenSan really returned. I went from a big lover of the place to not particularly caring for the place after living there. On this trip, I found myself kind of missing the place, though. The improvements are nice to see, and the small town atmosphere has something to say for it too. I must say, though, I love Davao, and can’t see myself leaving this area.
By 5pm we were back in Davao City. It felt good to be home! A good roadtrip is always fun, but getting home is great too!