Fanfare and pageantry marks the 59th founding anniversary of Cotabato City, the center of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), up until the end of June.
Located in Maguindanao, Cotabato City came under more international influences compared to other parts of Mindanao. Hindu traders settled in Maguidanao and shared their practices with the various ethno-linguistic groups. In the 15th century, Arab missionary Shariff Kabunsuan landed in Mindanao and introduced Islam. Muslim missionaries meanwhile taught the arts and sciences; they then consequently established a community life that resulted in the Sultanate of Maguindanao. Under Sultan Daputian Qudarat in the 17th century, Cotabato City became the capital of Maguindanao and became an affluent society.
By the early 19th century, roads and ports laid the foundation for modern infrastructure. The Spaniards eventually established a Christian settlement and a military post. Cotabato City became Pueblo de Cotabato. The reign was short-lived when Datu Piang led the attack against the Spaniards and massacred Christians at the turn of the 20th century.
During the American Regime, Datu Piang became the first governor of the Empire Province of Cotabato or “Moroland.” Although Japanese forces invaded Mindanao during World War 2, the Muslim Maguindanaon troops and the Philippine Commonwealth soldiers were successful in repelling them.
After the war, Cotabato City became a first-class municipality and one of Mindanao’s most progressive communities. It was proclaimed a chartered city on June 20, 1959 under Republic Act No. 2364.
The 2018 celebration kicked off during the Philippine Independence Day with daily cultural presentations. Organized by the Department of Education, it will be held at the City Plaza and will run through June 19. The Cotabato Toy Fair at the City Mall will run from June 14-17.
Sports competitions taekwondo, table tennis, jiu jitsu, super fights, and lawn tennis will be held on June 15 in different venues. On June 16, Mayor Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi’s Culinary Competition will be held at the People’s Palace while the Sayaw, Cotabato dance workshop and dance competition will be staged at the CCSPC Gym.
More sports events will happen on June 17: Padyak Takbo Para sa Turismo at the People’s Palace and a boxing tournament at City Mall. Between sporting events on that day are entertainments such as the Cosplay Competition at City Mall and Pa-Bingo sa Plaza at the City Plaza. A city celebration is incomplete without a beauty and brains pageant such as the Mutya ng Cotabato Talent Competition at South Seas Mall. This is a preliminary event to the finals.
On June 18, there will be a whole-day boat race, Pagkuya ng Awang, at the Tamontaka River. Tinig Cotabato Choral Competition will be held at the City Mall.
Free legal services will be offered at the People’s Palace on June 19. Meanwhile the two-day competition of the best flower horn fish, titled Clash of the Kings, will be shown at the City Mall. The 2018 Mutya ng Cotabato Pageant will have its main event at the Shariff Kabunsuan Cultural Complex
The founding day celebration on June 20 will begin with a military parade in the morning and the formal launch of Sayaw, Cotabato – the annual indigenous dance festival, showcasing the diversity of the city’s ethno-linguistic groups as well as modern influences. The Davao-based Day Break Band will perform at the City Plaza. There will be a Halal Industry Development Forum at the Alnor Convention Center.
Just recently, officials and residents here rejoiced as no less than the Philippine National Police declared Cotabato as the SECOND safest city in the whole Philippines.