Cotabato City: Stone Fortress City

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Southern Philippines has always been negatively portrayed and typecast to be an unsafe place. Admittedly Mindanao may time and time again beset with insurgency problems, but peace and order is thriving in most of the Land of Promise.

Palasyo ng MasaOne such place is the colorful and historical city of Cotabato, formerly part of the vast Cotabato Kingdom. Cotabato City has since become the center of commerce and trade and industry of Central Mindanao.

Sultan Dipatuan Kudarat At the foot of PC Hill is the imposing statue of Sultan Dipatuan Kudarat. The legendary warrior unified the Muslim chiefs and allied with the Sultan of Sulu. At the height of his power, his kingdom consisted most of Mindanao.

Kutawato Cave The Kutawato Cave is one of the unique cave systems in the country. Its length passes through the heart of the city and terminates itself to Illana Bay of the Moro Gulf. The city’s name derived from this cave.

Palasyo ng Masa The New City Hall or the Palasyo ng Masa (People’s Palace) along the National Highway was built solely on the local people’s taxes, a testament of the forward-thinking city leadership.

Old Cotabato City HallNow the headquarters of the 31st Company of the Philippine Marines, the Old City Hall is still a proud reminder of the rich Maguindanaoan art.

Regional Government CenterAlthough an exclave of the SOCCSKSARGEN region, Cotabato City hosts the Regional Government Center of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao. At the main gate is the barter trade center where a wide array of interesting merchandises can be had.

Grand Mosque In the city outskirts is the Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Masjid. Built in honor of the Brunei monarch, the intricately designed Grand Mosque is the largest and most beautiful in the country. Going there you can see Rio Grande de Mindanao, the country’s second largest river system.

PastilWhile roaming around the city plaza, I chanced upon pastil. Wrapped in a banana leaf, the steamed rice is topped with ground chicken.

Cotabato City PlazaNegative publicity and consequently wrong notions may put the city into bad light. But the leadership and the people of the city are very conscious in maintaining and promoting peace and order. In fact, night time is vibrant and full of zest and life. Definitely, Cotabato City is a must-see destination for every tourist and adventurer.

Cotabato City Plaza At Night

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