Lately, there have been attempts from some quarters to awaken the seemingly dead (economically speaking), Pioneer Avenue in General Santos City. Once the center of trade and commerce in the Tuna Capital, what it had to offer in the past two decades are only a few banks, a hardware store, barber shops, old lodging houses, a damaged clock tower, honky tonk joints passing off as carenderias, vocational schools, and single-story rickety buildings plus remnants and ghosts of years past like the skeletal remains of the once classy moviehouses.
It is a far cry from the old, old days when it was the place to go when one wants to eat (The Terrace, Eskimo Ice Cream Parlor, Cotton Bowl Grill, Joanne’s Bakeshop, Peter Pan, Ceballo’s Panciteria, You & I Barbecue, etc.), or shop (Ram’s Bombay Bazaar, Conlu’s Department Store, Bajunaid Department Store, Eric Commercial & Kimball at the adjacent Pedro Acharon Boulevard, etc.) or watch a movie (Pioneer, Capitol, State and Virgie Theaters).
But that is starting to change now with some visible developments going now, not major but nonetheless good enough for one to declare that Pioneer Avenue, which was named after the “first settlers” of this once barren land in the 1930s, is starting to wake up.
Starting with this article, Bariles Republic is featuring some notable transformation along Pioneer Avenue.
First on the list is the newly-expanded and renovated Dunkin’ Donuts outlet owned by the Cuqueco’s which reopened wo months back. What used to be a dimly-lit, barely visible DD outlet is now a bigger store with a front signage so bright that it actually illuminates a third of the Pioneer Avenue.
Across the store at night, you can find teen-agers hanging out, some still in their school uniforms just sitting on the parking area concrete dividers while some are playing with their skateboards.
Inside the store, the ambience is even better than their Santiago Boulevard outlet.
I have visited this outlet a couple of times already and I must say that it is a good place for a nightcap after a heavy dinner elsewhere. Their coffee may not be as good as the ones at the more pricey coffeeshops uptown, but nothing beats DD brewed with a piece of Bavarian donut on the side.
The last time that I was there at around 10:30pm, there was still a steady stream of people coming in, some buying for takeout while the rest opting to stay at the tables outside al fresco style, entertained by the group of skateboarders practicing their craft on the sidewalks.
This is surely a far cry from its former self when there is barely any traffic inside the store because people could have forgotten that there is a Dunkin’ Donuts outlet along the equally unexciting Pioneer Avenue.