In the mid-1990s, the General Santos City experienced boom in investments, most especially in infrastructure. Foreign-aid multi-million dollar projects such as the road network, a world class container port and fish port were just some of the infrastructures that were given to the southernmost city of the Philippines. General Santos City International Airport has been one of the largest projects that were made in south-central Mindanao. It has the longest runway in entire Mindanao, third longest in the country—with a span of 3.2 kilometers. It can accommodate large aircraft such as Boeing 747 or Airbus A380.
It was opened in 1996, replacing the smaller and older Buayan Airport, located at the east of the city center–which hadonly accommodate turboprops and doesn’t have a direct link to Manila. General Santos City International Airport is located in a high altitude terrain at Barangay Fatima, some 14-15 kilometers away from downtown Dadiangas. There were allegations that the airport was built to reestablish a US military base in the Philippines, since the construction was funded by the US government.
General Santos City International Airport is the primary gateway of General Santos City, South Cotabato, Sarangani and Sultan Kudarat province of the Soccsksargen region. It serves as a transit point for Gensan’s major export–tuna, being exported to Japan and to the rest of the world.
Given that General Santos City Airport is far from Dadiangas proper, here are some tips on how to get out of there and get in.
How to get out?
Getting out of General Santos Airport is easy as pie. Choose from these:
- Of course, taxi is the most convenient option, albeit very expensive. Usually, it reaches P300 in order for you to reach the airport. Yet it is best for people who travel in groups—got to share the pie of expense.
- Hotel shuttle service. That is if you have a hotel reservation with airport shuttle service.
- I’ve tried this one, taking airport multicab all the way to the city. For P50, you can reach downtown on door-to-door basis. Unfortunately, as of Friday (03 June 2011), the drivers are having a meeting with CAAP regarding this mode of public transportation. Added to it is the issue that they don’t have a terminal at the city’s downtown area, hence…unlikely (as of the time of writing) that the multicab service has a return route. I hope that their petition would push through, as this would be a very affordable option for those who don’t have the budget for taxi.
- [UPDATE] GOOD NEWS TO VISITORS AND DADIANGASNONS/SOCCSKSARGEN RESIDENTS: There is a van shuttle service available for those who seek affordable ways on how to get in or out of Gensan Airport. For P150 per passenger, you can get to the airport with an air-conditioned van in less than 30 minutes.
Now, how to get in here?
As I’ve mentioned earlier, the multicab service hasn’t gone full yet (as of the time of writing). Getting here with a meager budget was a challenge for me, personally. It was raining hard and has tried my luck by using this:
- Take the Airport-bound multicabs at Bulaong Bus Terminal. It is still P50 as of the time of writing.
- Take a Jeepney bound for Uhaw-Fatima (bound either Centro or Labus) area at Papaya Street corner Acharon Boulevard. From downtown to Uhaw, that would be P20. However, the jeepney cannot enter the airport area. Either you take the tricycle or habal-habal which you have to pay P100 (negotiable) just to reach the airport terminal building. In my experience, I have been to the airport through habal-habal and tricycle, and both are available in Uhaw-Fatima area.
- And of course, taxi service is the most convenient yet expensive mode.
- And hotel shuttle service is only available for those who have hotel accommodations.
Location of the Airport Shuttle van in General Santos City:
View Gensan Airport Shuttle Terminal in a larger map
Location of General Santos City Airport:
View Gensan Airport in a larger map