Fanfare and pageantry will mark the 59th founding anniversary of Cotabato City, the center of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, with activities running until the end of June.
The 2018 celebration kicked off during the Philippine Independence Day with daily cultural presentations, organized by the Department of Education, at the City Plaza that run through June 19. The Cotabato Toy Fair at the City Mall will run from June 14 to 17.
Sports competitions in taekwondo, table tennis, jiujitsu, 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.
On June 17, the Padyak Takbo Para sa Turismo at the People’s Palace and a boxing tournament at City Mall are slated. Between those events are entertainment numbers such as the Cosplay Competition at City Mall and PaBingo 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 Southseas Mall, in a preliminary event ahead of the finals.
On June 18, a whole-day boat race, Pagkuya ng Awang, is slated at the Tamontaka River, and a Tinig Cotabato Choral Competition will be at the City Mall.
Free legal services will be offered at the People’s Palace on June 19. A two-day competition of the best flowerhorn fish, titled Clash of the Kings, will also be shown at the City Mall. The 2018 Mutya ng Cotabato Pageant will be the climax of the festival 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 DayBreak Band will perform at the City Plaza along with a Halal Industry Development Forum at the Alnor Convention Center.
Located in Maguindanao, Cotabato came under more international influences than other parts of Mindanao, as Hindu traders settled in the province 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 the seat of 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, and 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 drove away the invaders.
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.