Cotabato City

Here, you’ll find the Grand Mosque. Resting by the Tamontaka River and Moro gulf, the structure is a surreal site that juts out the coastal village of Inawan. The largest and most exquisitely designed mosque in the country was built through generous donations from Filipinos and through the aid of Masjid Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, Sultan of Brunei. The sultanates of the Philippines and Brunei have a long history of friendship and brotherhood withstanding the test of time. It’s ethereal—very much so. With its golden top and minarets rising as high as a 15-storey building, it looks like a storybook structure.

To see more of city’s architectural wonders, you can also visit the Old City Hall and the New City Hall, dubbed as “People’s Palace.”

The Philippines is renowned for its weaving tradition, and this can clearly be seen in Cotabato’s Inaul. Finely crafted and worn by men and women as malong and head pieces, the Inaul comes in all colors and designs such as makabimban and sinukimpan. If you like the “Royal” look, pick orange and yellow. Meanwhile, green signifies peace.

There are several textile markets in the city such as the Cotabato Mega Square, Cotabato Mega Market and Barter Trade Center where you can find pretty much everything Maguindanaon.

For premium metalwork, visit the brass craftsmen in Barangay Kalanglangan. Using an ancient brass casting method, they create the finest urns, gongs, and kulintang.

How about spelunking in the middle of the city? The Kutawato Cave Complex has veins throughout the city. Although there are several entrances, Barangay Bagua is your best bet.  History writes that the natives hid and fought here during World War II.

You must not leave the city without paying respects to Sultan Kudarat himself. One of the greatest leaders in Philippine history, his monument stands on Pedro Colina Hill.