Philippines: Ambassador visits General Santos and South Cotabato
Ambassador Nyamande-Pitso of South Africa in Philippines visited GENSA and South Cotabato in Mindanao from 5-9 September 2013. The Mindanao Province is known as the bread basket of the Philippines as they supply food to most parts of the country. The city of General Santos is known as the “Tuna Capital of the Philippines”; the city’s main income is derived from exporting fresh and canned Tuna to several countries, including South Africa. The processed tuna brand that South Africa imports is the Century Tuna which is found on the shelves of some of our supermarkets.
Awarding the winner of the biggest Tuna competition (106 kg)
Discussions with the GenSan Chamber of business on 5 September 2013 touched on possible mutually beneficial trade in complementary goods. The current trading scenario in GenSan is characterized by top five exports, i.e. Canned Tuna, Canned Pineapple, Crude coconut oil, Frozen Tuna and Fresh pineapples. However, their top imports include products that can be sourced from South Africa, i.e. Tin plates/tin free steel and hybrid corn seeds. During the visit, the Ambassador also attended the Tuna Festival and the Tuna Congress which occurs every year in Gen San. This is a huge event that the locals and people from neighbouring countries attend. During the Tuna Festival, the Ambassador was told that one of the fishermen caught a Tuna Fish that was of South African origin. This information was subsequently reported to the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) so that the information can contribute towards the study of fish migration.
(L-R): Ambassador Agnes Nyamande-Pitso giving a present to the President of the General Santos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr. Raymund Salangsang
The South Cotabato area is endowed with pineapples, papaya and bananas and consequently they export processed pineapple to South Africa. The managers for Research & Development of Dole Philippines, a company that processes canned pineapples and also sells to South Africa is a South African national. The area of Lake Sebu, on the other hand, is a beautiful tourist spot with seven waterfalls and has the longest zipped line in Southeast Asia which is a good place for adventure seekers. The Ambassador also visited the area of the T’boli people known for its rich culture and T’nalak cloth weaving where she met Lang Dulay, who earned the National Commission for Culture and the Arts’ Gawad sa Manlilikha ng Bayan (National Living Treasure Award) in 1998.
(L-R): Ms. Ellen Vega of the South African Embassy and Ms. Bench Tacumba of the General Santos Chamber of Commerce and Industry enjoying the longest zipped line at Lake Sebu, South Cotabato.
SA Embassy Manila, Philippines