“Tell her too, I’m glad I did!”
It’s not my first time in Cotabato City. But my last stay in this place wasn’t to give me a good glimpse of this city. Since then, my perception of Cotabato was all dependent and shaped by what media is sensationalizing about this place. Sadly though, it’s these same kind of news that put this iconic city in a bad light.
I needed a trip down this once fortress city to calm my curiosity. A trip about confronting negative perceptions about the place and its people, communing with cotabatenos and scouring the place for positives/potentials that might one day put back glory to the first and proud city of Kutang Bato.
So off I went to Cotabato City with Sox Bloggers. This trip won many firsts for me this time.
Here are some (Soon with links to individual posts):
- Watched a theatrical play of Mamalu and Tabuwanay, brothers who were great tribal forefathers in Mindanao, their conversion to Islam by the arrival of Shariff Kabunsuan and the epic story of Mindanao Sultanates. It was prior to the start of this play that I heard and felt the most nationalistic Lupang Hinirang I’ve heard my entire life so far. And it was here in Cotabato City.
- Saw my first ever fluvial parade, the colorful and unique Guinakit Fluvial Parade and Competition, which is part of the Shariff Kabunsuan Festival celebrations. Guess what, such huge and colorful boats are just really small boats ingeniously tied up together! Amazing!
- Witnessed and saw with my own eyes, the last remaining artistic and manual method of forging Islamic metalwares, gongs and metal craft. “designed in wax, melted by fire and forged in the calm hands of an artist”.
- Gazed at the grandiose “Grand Mosque“, perhaps the biggest in Asia and probably one of the best pieces of architecture we have here in the Philippines.
- Ate at a Grand Kanduli– the traditional dining and hospitality shown by our muslim brothers to their guests and anyone they accept in their home.
- Learned more of my newfound idol, Sultan Dipatuan Kudarat, a regional hero and unconquered ruler of three great sultanates of Mindanao during the Spanish colonization. The unveiling of Kudarat’s life size gold statue (in the area where he once ruled) recognized a one true regional hero most mindanaons can identify with. I’m a christian by the way, but knowing this fact made me feel I belong to a heritage I can identify with and say “this is the story of one great forefathers of this island”.
- Last but not the least, gazing at an emerging business center of Cotabato City. Yes, Cotabato is unlike what all the news is telling us about. You have to be here to even say a bit of Cotabato!