FANFARE and pageantry marked the 59th founding anniversary of Cotabato City, the center of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, the celebration of which ran throughout June.
Located in Maguindanao, Cotabato came under more international influences than 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 taught the arts and sciences and 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 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 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 occupation, Datu Piang became the first governor of the Empire Province of Cotabato, or “Moroland.” Although the Japanese forces invaded Mindanao during World War II, the Muslim Maguindanaon troops and the Philippine Commonwealth soldiers drove away the Japanese. 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 2364.
The 2018 celebration kicked off on Philippine Independence Day, marked by daily cultural presentations organized by the Department of Education at the City Plaza. The Cotabato Toy Fair at the City Mall was staged from June 14 to 17. Sports competitions (taekwondo, table tennis, jiu jitsu, super fights and lawn tennis) were also staged.
On June 16 Mayor Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi’s culinary competition was held at the People’s Palace while the “Sayaw, Cotabato” dance workshop and dance competition was staged at the Cotabato City State Polytechnic College Gym.
More sports events happened on June 17: Padyak Takbo Para sa Turismo at the People’s Palace and a boxing tournament at City Mall. Between the sporting events that day was entertainment fare, including a cosplay competition at City Mall and the PaBingo sa Plaza at the City Plaza. A city celebration is never complete without a beauty-and-brains pageant, ans this year the Mutya ng Cotabato Talent Competition was staged at Southseas Mall as a preliminary event to the finals, which was held on June 19 at the Shariff Kabunsuan Cultural Complex.
The founding day celebration on June 20 began 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 DayBreak Band performed at the City Plaza, and there was a Halal Industry Development Forum held at the Alnor Convention Center.