General Santos City, a booming city in the South, is famous for two things – the yellow fin tuna and of course Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao. But GenSan isn’t all about just a breeding ground of world-class fishes and boxers; there’s actually a secret paradise within the city that you just might fall in love with.
On an impulse, I just booked a ticket for GenSan for my birthday. The weather in Manila was crazy and gloomy for the past week. I want some sunshine and it didn’t take me long to choose Sarangani Highlands, a charming and rustic country bed and breakfast, to spend my special day.
The four-hectare garden resort sitting atop a hill was developed and opened to public in 2007 by two doctors and longtime friends, Drs. Anabelle Abella and Tranquilino Ruiz, who have mutual passion for gardening and landscaping. It is relatively near GenSan International Airport and about 30 minutes away from GenSan city proper via taxi, jeepney or habal-habal. Walk-in guests are expected to pay an entrance fee of P100, which is consumable.
Once you enter the gate, you know you’ve come home to paradise.
Hotel lobby and reception area
What I really love about this place is its beautifully landscaped and well-manicured garden. The colorful sight of driftwoods, bougainvillea tree, hibiscus, morning glory, golden trumpet, Christmas palm, firecracker plant, purple allamanda, cactus, bonsais, and variety of plants and flowers is such a soothing spectacle that reminds me of several B&Bs in San Pablo and Tagaytay. There are wooden benches and couple swing in every corner. With such relaxing and romantic ambience, this place is indeed a perfect hideaway to surprise loved ones.
The 21-room two-story hotel was opened in 2010 to allow guests, some honeymooners, for an extended stay to laze around or simply commune with nature. What I found amazing with the hotel is the room doors – all hand painted with different kinds of flowers, mostly growing in the resort. Upper floor rooms have veranda that offers panoramic view of the sea, mountains, and cows grazing in the field. With a starting rate of P1,800+, inclusive of breakfast good for two, this place is already a keeper. In fact, several local celebrities including Pacman, enjoyed their vacation here.
The main hotel
Aside from room accommodations, there are function rooms to cater to private meetings, seminars and conferences, and special events and occasions, including sunrise wedding. But the major attraction of the resort is the open-air restaurant, specializing in Filipino and Asian foods which are really so lami. If you want to impress your date, nothing beats a romantic dinner in a garden setting.
Mango pomelo shrimp salad
Celebrity dedication plates wall
Impressive artwork of Dr. Ruiz
The natural surroundings of the resort are breathtaking. Everywhere you look, you will be mesmerized with greeneries, tranquility and such unspoiled beauty.
My life may not be perfect but I am blessed. It seems that the older I get, the less I care about what people think of me. Therefore the older I get, the more I appreciate and enjoy life.
Purok Wal, Tambler
General Santos City
Tel. No.: (083) 554-3336, 0922-8590043