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Pioneer Avenue’s old Clock Tower and memories of its past glory

The clock tower along Pioneer Avenue is one of the oldest standing structures in downtown Gensan. Strategically located at the center island right across the Ramon Magsaysay Memorial College, it was built and donated ages ago by either the Mt. Matutum Lions Club or the General Santos City Lions Club, am not actually sure.

Unfortunately, I also couldn’t even remember a time when there was actually a functioning clock 30 feet up there giving the right time for the people traversing along Pioneer Avenue. If I can recall it correctly, it had more downtimes due to the numerous electrical blackouts before, and repairing it took a bit too much of the budget of the donor.  Eventually, it was abandoned and from the looks of it, forgotten for good.

A few months back, I heard from Rotary GenSan Prexy Bing Royeca that their club wants to rehabilitate the clock themselves but I guess nothing came out of it.

Actually, the solution is really just simple.

Why don’t someone just ask manufacturers of watches like TIMEX, SEIKO, SWATCH, ROLEX, TAGHAUER, etc to sponsor the whole thing and donate a giant clock themselves?   That’s free advertisement for at least a decade for them, or until their clock conks out.   Has nobody ever thought about that?

In the meantime, the old clock tower just stands there proudly, but is actually just a skeleton of its old self, a reminder of the times when Pioneer Avenue used to be the city’s premier business and entertainment district and home to the likes of Ram’s Bombay Bazaar, The Terrace Restaurant, Eskimo, Pioneer Hotel, Capitol Theater, Pioneer Theater, State Theater, Cotton Bowl Grill, Bajunaid Department Store, Avelmans Tailoring, Conlu Department Store, Talion Restaurant, Crown Bookstore, Sacred Heart Pharmacy, Universal Grocery, Marietta’s Barbecue, Aliwalas Store, Albores Radio Shop, a Bowling Alley, and others whose names now escape my mind.

pioneer avenue

Oh Gawd!  How I miss the old downtown Pioneer Avenue…. 🙁

About Avel Manansala

Avel Manansala aka Bariles, is a native of a bustling city down south of Mindanao Island. He is a consultant on Blogging, Social Media, and Marketing . He is co-founder and head of the SoCCSkSarGen Bloggers and manager of Google Business Group (GBG)- General Santos. You may add him to your circles on G+ - If you need more info on any of these fields, please leave him a message.

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  1. Nate Marx says:

    I wish I could catch a glimpse of old Gensan. Andami palang theaters nun..hehehe.. Sana maayos nga ulit ung clock natin.

    Nate Marxs last blog post..Heads Up!

  2. bariles says:

    Originally Posted By Nate Marx
    I wish I could catch a glimpse of old Gensan. Andami palang theaters nun..hehehe.. Sana maayos nga ulit ung clock natin.

    Nate Marxs last blog post..Heads Up!

    Nate Marx, yeah, we had 3 theaters along Pioneer plus Pacita Theater pa at the junction along Acharon Boulevard (formerly known as Morrow Boulevard). Super busy tlaga ang street na yan before… di pa sementado ang sidewalks ha?

    Uy, ikaw first commenter dito ha? Thanks. Gising ka pa pala?

  3. Kritiko says:

    Ayoooonnnn… naging dagat din sawakas ang pioneer… ur IDEA Sir avel is so clever…hmmm….npaka blue na ng pioneer…

  4. Kritiko says:

    PERO ALA JAPUN TONG…. stolen shots sa viva hotbabes????

  5. blackmeat says:

    Yang Crown Bookstore ngayon sa pioneer, footstep dati yan.. Sa harap nyan, dyan ang pwesto ng mga magician na may ahas na dala.. Kung hindi man malapit sa pwesto ni paulino santos sa plaza sila.. pero, wala pang statue dyan noon.. makapal pa ang bermuda grass dyan.. makatuslok ug lubot.. Ahehe! nasira lang dahil sa el niño..

    Ang Sydney Hotel ngayon, dennis’ place dati.. White sand pa gamit nila sa playground.. Dira man gud ko cge dula ug swing and slide.. Ahehe! na close lang yong place kasi parang may binaril-patay doon.. kaya lahat kami ng mga klasmeyts ko ayaw ng mag punta doon.. kay may multo daw.. Ahehe!

    May comic stand sa tabi ng RMMC-pioneer matagal na rin yan.. grade 1 pa ako andyan na yan.. landmark dapat yan.. Ahehe!

  6. jinky borela says:

    wow, those good old days. . . nakaka miss ah. . .

    during my early teenage days, by group talaga kami pag namamasyal sa pioneer avenue, pila pila rin sa capitol and pioneer pag nanonood sine, after 4 or 5 hours sa loob, pag labas para kang galing sa gym or sa spa ha ha ha. . .then there was that kiosk sa labas ng pioneer theater na nag se serve ng masarap na hamburger and spag. .

    Then, wala pa yung mga dyip, multicab, etc. na nagbubuga ng usok ngaun sa kahabaan ng mga kalsada natin sa gensan. . .

    It’s worth remembering talaga, sir vel. . .

  7. francis says:

    i hope it won’t take long now to rehabilitate the old clock (thanks at napansin natin un). its a nice spot along pioneer. its something that i am proud of becoz it reminds us to be greatful and to honnor the people of the past who started dreaming of this place (gensan). the years it has stood along pioneer avenue also reminds us that through the years, gensan stood up against all impossibilities. LAYAG GENSAN: one pulse, one force, one pulse!

  8. archmykel says:


    The donor of the clock tower is Sarangani Lions Club which is not in existence na yata. We tried to contact the old members to get their approval before doing the rehabilitation pero di yata ma trace.
    The attractions before at Pioneer avenue other than the cinema houses were the Marieta’s Barbeque and the Magnet Komiks/ newspaper store. The Terrace located near the current Sydney Hotel served the best Halo halu in town as I can remember, later ko lang nalaman it was owned by Gingging Gonzales. Then we have the Fong’s store at the abandoned chow king location. They sell the best champoy in town. Going a bit dowm P. Acharon is Paulines, where we can buy Magnolia Ice Cream.
    Hehhe puro food ang nasa isip. Well, pioneer avenue was once the safest street in town pero lately dami na nangyaring crimes sa junction ng pioneer and acharon. Sana Ma reinforced and security measures doon para safe ulit and pioneer ave as a place to “stroll” ( familiar ba sa inyo yung term? hehhe

  9. m1k3 says:

    unta suportahan na lang sa gobyerno ang pag ayos sa clock.

  10. gensanite says:

    very good idea on the the rehabilitation of the old clock… i also saw that working before… busy gyud kaayo ang pioneer avenue sa una… before gaisano and kcc; back then, there was just kimball and pioneer avenue…

    i remember these places from way back; Ram’s Bombay Bazaar (still there), Pioneer Hotel (this is with GoldenState College, right?), Capitol Theater (an abandoned building and alot that can be put to good use), Pioneer Theater (beside the former STI College building noh?), State Theater (now Novo), Cotton Bowl Grill (photocopy center/internet cafe i guess), Conlu Department Store (still there), Crown Bookstore (still there), Sacred Heart Pharmacy (now a photo shop/photo studio), Universal Grocery (very small), Marietta’s Barbecue (now at magsaysay avenue – never tasted better barbecue back then), and Aliwalas Store (cheesy)…

    BLACKMEAT is also correct when there was formerly dennis’ place where the sydney hotel is at… i remembered the shooting back then… the ghost at dennis’ place is an urban legend, just like the big snake at kimball plaza before… 🙂 although, before dennis’ place was there, there was a resto/eatery between oregon bookstore and sydney hotel… anybody remember red & white? we used to go there before… dili pa sikat ang jollibee sa una… hehehe… 🙂 i also remember footstep… that was the time then when mighty kid, robertson’s, and kaypee were the best shoes ever… way before nike cemented it’s brand in our beloved city’s youth… 🙂

    anybody remember peter pan? their cakes were best-sellers… we loved to eat palabok du’n before… 🙂

    much has changed… pioneer avenue has become bigger… this will always be our beloved “downtown”… if ever you’re in dadiangas, just tell the tricycle driver, “downtown, boss!!!”, and he’ll take you to where the action was, back in the day…

    thanks for this trip down memory lane, BARILES… 🙂

    cheers!!! 🙂

  11. Jas says:

    Indeed the clock tower must be restored. for decades it has stood the test of time and it has once become an eminent landmark of Dadiangas. Calling calling sponsors!! 😉 sana sa ibaba ng clock mayroon ding electronic display systems parang time square sa NY.

  12. elvie albano says:

    Kuya Avel,

    I miss the Pioneer Avenue you missed. Your suggestion is good.

  13. jo mirabueno says:

    Kuya Avel,

    Mabuhay ka! Si Joyce Kho Mirabueno ito.

    For about 10 years now,kung sino-sino na sa City Hall ang kinukulit ko about the clock.Kasama ng mga alaala ng kabataan ko ang clock. May fishpond pa sa ilalim ng clock.

    I grew up along Pioneer Avenue, circa Jo-Ann Annex beside RCBC. Ate Letty Du’s Kristan was Jo-Ann Annex in the 1970s…ang walang-kamatayang siopao & chiffon cake. There was a small alley leading towards the back of Piltel, and ending along Biatiles Street.

    Katabi namin ang Lavender Beauty Box.

    Sa Pioneer Theatre ko pinanood ang Kampanerang Kuba ni Ate Vi & Bobot.

    Yung clock sa Luneta, Bulova man siguro ang sponsor…

    More power to you, Kuya. At, maaari mo ba akong ipasubcribe dito sa site mo?

  14. Meg Santos says:

    Guys, here is a comment from Councilor Meggie Santos. Read on and reminisce.

    hi everyone,
    i miss the good old pioneer ave days talaga. araw araw ko kaya yan binabaybay going to my alma mater nDDFG. for ten years (from grade 1 to fourth year high)we’d walk from our house at the back of the (now) west barangay hall passing thru the old cornelio.leyva compound which housed a some little commercial establishments.
    so lets start from the corner where it used to house the record bar owned by the aguilars. it gave me an early love for music and titles of songs which i fairly recalled dahil nga everyday ako dumadaan dun.. at everytime i pass by they i would hear them play the hit song”Killing me soflty” sung by roberta flack.. (hay sobra sa memories). then after that is the gift shop of the Totesoras and later became the Rosver jewelry shop.then the famous City Bookstore owned by tito rading and tita esther mendoza which remained in that site after it got burned downed in the late 80s. then on the corner was the silangan coffee shop where most of the students from RMMC would make tambay watching whoever passes by…
    of course nandyan yun first store site ng Mamas gift shop.. popular kaya yun cos they were the sole distributor of stork sandals (equivalent yan ng HAVS theses days)kahit sino notre damean from the girls dept would love to buy that sandal/slip-on..
    sympre who would ever forget the Terrace.. owned by the Jimenez.. sikat gyud ka kaayo if maka merienda ka dyan.. (diba len..and tale’) yan din ang usual dating place ng mga famous love teams ng notre dame boys and girls… haha..
    so far dyan lang muna yun further stretch ng pionner ill have to ask my brother bong whos keen memory would detail the shops. stores in the area where our rich childhood memories holds…
    basta ang alam ko rin po the Phil. Councilors League headed by Kag Odjok Acharon plans to revive that clock and if plans pushed thru it will be a legacy of the city councilors for the people of gensan especially those who walked along the pioneer ave…
    kudos vel for making the generals feel that indeed memories will last even more than a lifetime…
    god bless
    ‘te meg

  15. guiper says:

    yup youre right. a landmark clock? that doesnt work. young people nowadays may not even know that a clock is attached to the said tall structure. the city should have a long term plan for the pioneer avenue. i’ve been in gensan since the 80’s (hindi pako matanda ha)and since then developments of pioneer avenue were not consistent. well maybe because of the ever changing times.

    well if i can remember, from many acacia trees along the sides of the road (during the theater times), to cutting all of it for the beautification of parking areas, from bogamvilla (pardon the spelling) and indian tree at the center to palm trees(?) due to widening of road and installation of traffic sign.

    it could be noted that pioneer looks good only during special occasions like yaman gensan, kalilangan, tuna festival and even during december. i hope it should look good all year long.

    list are sore eyes along pioneer avenue:
    1. street children begging and sniffing rugby
    2. dilapidated concrete tiles on parking area. It used to be nice with painting during the completion long time ago.
    3. unattractive building structures. particularly those well known short time inns.
    4. there may be others….

    the plaza in front of the city should also be develop.

    this is just an observation. tnx

  16. purple24 says:

    it feels good to reminisce our memory lane kuya avel..

    i think i was in grade 1 or younger pa when our whole family for our bonding time used to watched movies at night sa Pioneer and Capitol Theater..Naging Jackie Chan and Jet Li fanatic ako courtesy of those long gone theaters..double2 pa jud ang palabas ato..i just dunno tagpila bayad ug tama igang jud kaayo..hehehe..and then we would stroll along the plaza now Paulino Santos was fun doing that in the past with my family..

    I missed Dennis’Place..i missed their Dennis’ burger..i used to be there with my mama and my siblings almost everyday waiting for our papa who would fetched us there coming from his former office in Polomolok. And yeap the Palabok and Spag at Peter Pan was yummy and my fave not to mention their cakes na pinipilahan tlga pag madami pang ibang stores which me and mama frequently visit in the past..

    hay, i miss the good old and simple days kuya..thanks for refreshing my memory! it was worth the trip!

    Happy 10th Tuna Festival and 40th City Charter Anniversary!

  17. I remember a joke that circulated here when the statue of Gen. Santos was installed in the plaza. Tinuturo daw ng general ang clock tower at ang sabi: nangangawit na ako sa katatayo dito pero yung relo di pa rin nyo pinapa-repair. 😀

    @Archmykel – that’s why i didn’t vote for re-election then Kag. Mariano and the other kagawads behind the “beautification” of pioneer avenue. their project took away from the generals the pleasures of strolling along pioneer avenue. How can anyone take a stroll there now without worrying na baka masagasaan sila ng cars, tricycles at habal-habal (pati speeding skateboards at nite)? After the protests raised by environmentalists, these kagawads gave assurances over the radio that the sturdy trees that were uprooted would be replaced by better trees. palmeras were planted instead. Maganda lang tignan ang palmeras pero wala itong silbi in terms of shade from the sun and shelter from the rain. On schooldays now, nakakaawa ang mga bata who walk from the waiting sheds to their schools and vice versa.

    Question: i remember the project also included the installation of parking meters. What happened to this plan?

    @Avel – yes, nakaka-miss ang old downtown area. Every sunday after masses are over, mabibilang mo na lang ang mga tao sa pioneer ave.

    gilbertyaptans last blog post..Dolphy’s memory of Mindanao & Gensan

  18. Nate Marx says:

    @bariles – Hehehehe..Yup gising lagi ako..Usual sleeping time ko is 4 a.m. Nocturnal Person kung baga. From time to time before I go to sleep I never forget to open your site Sir Avel para at least malaman ko mga events dito sa gensan para at least lam ko san ako pede magpolish ng mentalism at street magic ko depende kung san mas madami tao… Sana may weekly meetings mga bloggers ng gensan para mas close ang community ng mga blog people..hehehe..

    I’ve been also waiting for the picture ng viva hot babes..hahaha.. Tagal na ata nun..hehehe..

    Sana may pics din dito ng old gensan…especially the pioneer ave..I’m a bit interested on it…

    Magically yours,


    Nate Marxs last blog post..Mentalidad III Cancelled.

  19. bernie Allen says:

    There are things that I think must not be commercialized and this land mark is one of them

    When the Manila City hall konked out, it was fixed by the City hall itself to restore not just the clock but also it’s heritage.

  20. glengonz says:

    taga lagao man gud ko vel, really don’t have that much memories about pioneer avenue, like ate meg. imagine mo if i daily walk from lagao to pioneer avenue? hindi ko carry… char lang, but seriously.. the clock tower must be repaired and used as it was before.. il try to bring this up with madam bebe-i gonzales of the MT. MATUTUM LIONS CLUB.

  21. Butch Acharon says:

    Hi Meg,

    Good to hear from you. But why can’t you just ask the City Government to buy the clock? Gaano ba kamahal yan? Or better slice it from your salaries? You have budget surplus, right? Millions, di ba?
    Just a suggestion!

    Regards and more power to you, Councilor. . . .


  22. jokmira says:

    @archmykel – hi! aside from magnolia ice cream, Pauline’s had all sorts of magazines, newspapers, komiks, and happy feet bakya! ayaw akong bilhan ng happy feet ng nanay ko, kasi mahal daw. ngayong nanay na ako, ayaw ko ring bumili ng happy feet na bakya para sa anak ko, kasi mahal! bilog nga pala ang mundo!

  23. sea_urchin says:

    the clock tower in pioneer avenue is suppose to be one of the landmark of gensan but sad to know that nobody wants to rehabilitate it ….. the clock tower stands right in front of the gensan city hall but even our local government seem not to see it ….. calling all non government agencies, pls do something about it !

  24. daxi weida says:


    Kung anong meron sa Pioneer Avenue noon depende sa kung gaano ka na katagal sa mundong ito (read: edad) 🙂

    Bago mag Dennis Place at Red and White, andyan ang The Terrace. Before dumating ang Zenco Footstep, ang Ker Shoe muna. Parang lahat yata ng sapatos naming magkakapatid hanggang high school sa Ker Shoe binili. Meron ding Shoe Earth sa may tabi ng Capitol Theatre (was Capitol theatre the one which was bombed?), na halos walang bumibili ng kanilang sapatos kasi parang sobrang mahal yata. Yung barber shop dyan sa may kanto ng Magsaysay Ave, nakailang palit na ng pangalan — Rendezvous, Ric’s, Aladin, etc — pero andyan pa rin. Ilan sa mga barbero ko noon, buhay pa.

    Hindi ko alam kung tama mga alala ko. Mahirap din kung matagal ka na sa mundo (read: may edad) nagiging makakalimutin. 🙂

    Ang masakit na nawala sa Pioneer ay yung mga naglalakihang puno ng acacia lining the two sides. Sana nagawan ng paraan na pwedeng hindi putulin despite the construction of parking spaces. E di sana hindi ganun ka init dyan ngayon sa Pioneer lalo na sa tanghali.

    I believe after this (the tackling of the issue about the clock at Pioneer), mabibilang na ang araw at maaayos na yan. Maganda ang ideya na yung mga watch brands ang mag-sponsor, lalo na’t sa ngayon bihira na lang bumibili ng relo. Pwede nilang isama sa isang advertising blitz to promote the wearing of the wristwatch once again.

    To Joyce Kho, yung sa Luneta yata is RADO (?).

    Regards to everyone.

    daxi weidas last blog post..BJE: Bangsamoro Jambo-Jumbo Encore

  25. Liza Conlu Hiltscher says:

    Conlu Department moved to her original location in Lagao last year 2008

  26. blue seagull says:

    you are correct about your suggestion.this way,the city government would be hitting two birds with one stone.the restoration of the clock and saving some taxpayers money.
    btw,although we had numerous brownout then to keep that old clock running,still it tells the time precisely correct twice in a day without any human intervention.:)
    .-= blue seagull´s last blog ..Informace pro návšt?vníky =-.

  27. bsit_mark says:

    Hi. Sir Vel, congrats and thank you for making this site possible.. It really inspires us the younger generations of ‘Generals’ for it reminisce the old yet inspiring and beautiful of our and my beloved city. I am really proud and honoured to live in this blooming city and soon wish to be the finest, rich, and most advanced and most competitive city in the Philippines and will compete the international regime.

    All of the new happenings and new developments in the city makes us proud that indeed despite of the conflicts that happens long2x time ago, yet many opportunities and investments continue to arise and makes the city glow on its finest way.

    I salute the Local Government Unit headed by our beloved city mayor, our very own Cong. Darlene Custodio – Antonino and to all the people who created and furnish good projects for the city.

    Now at 20, hope that General Santos City will turly brings out the best of it and will always be proud to called Magandang Gensan! (^_^)

  28. […] 1 times Almost three years ago, Bariles blogged about the old and dilapidated Pioneer Avenue Clock Tower wherein he waxed nostalgic about its once mighty dominance over General Santos City’s former […]

  29. […] was planning its zoning. TRIVIA:  From above, downtown central looks like a giant chalice with Pedro Acharon Sr. Boulevardserving as its base, Pioneer Avenue as the node and both Pendatun and Roxas Avenues as the […]

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