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Kabunsuan Festival All about Muslim religion and culture
Source: Manila Bulletin
Author: -
Date: 2005-11-20
OTABATO CITY – All is set for the holding of Shariff Kabunsuan Festival, a significant event commemorating the arrival of an Arab-Malay missionary from Malaysia who spread Islam civilization in Mindanao.

The festival, which will be held from Dec. 15 to 19, will feature SK trade fairs, battle of the bands, Mindanao business forums, cultural presentations, street dancing competitions, and Kanduli (thanksgiving banquent).

Almost coinciding with the holiday season, the city government, the tourism sector and the private sector will work hand-in-hand for the success of the most colorful traditional festival.

Bai Sandra Ampatuan Sema said Cotabato City had witnessed more history than any other place in Mindanao. Its history dates back to the 15th century when Shariff Kabunsuan, an Arab missionary, landed along banks of the Rio Grande de Mindanao and introduced Islam to the natives.

Aside from the above-mentioned various activities, other highlights for the week-long festivity is the "Inaul Fashion" which will showcase classic Maranao and Maguindanao malongs in various designs and colors, and the Sipa sa Manguis.

Shariff Kabunsuan, an Arab missionary from Johore landed along the banks of the Masla Pulangi, now known as Rio Grande de Mindanao and introduced Islam to the natives. It was faith that led to the establishment of the Sultanates of Maguindanao, Rajah Buayan and Kabuntalan. With its golden age ushered in by Sultan Dipatuan Qudarat during 17th century, Cotabato developed as the first capital of Mindanao.

The introduction of the Christian faith in 1870 by the Jesuits and the ruling of Sultan Makakua gave rise to the birth of the modern-day Cotabato with the construction of roads and bridges and wharves.

Today, Cotabato City, the only Tagalog speaking city in Mindanao, the only place where both seeds of Islam and Christianity grew and flourished is host to three regional administrations, namely Region 12, ARMM and SPCPD.

Cotabato boasts of historical sites where tourists can visit namely, the Takumi Butai Shrine, Kutwato Cave, Shariff Kabunsuan marker, Old Capital Building at PC Hill, City Hall, Immaculate Conception Church at Tamontaka, Rio Grande de Mindanao, Maguindanao Motif, PC Hill and Timako Hill.

Kutawato Caves, is a network of caves and tunnels found at the foot of Tantawan. The only caves in the entire country located in the heart of the city with four major entrances offering various natural attractions like rock formations, salt water ponds, and underground river.

Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto Tamantoka Church is situated in a site considered as the first area of the Jesuits in 1871 during the conversion days. It is a living witness to the harmony that exists among Muslims and Christians. The statue of the Lady of Lourdes Grotto is a replica of the original in France and is believed to be miraculous.

Takumi Butai Memorial Shrine was named after Takumi provincial Commander of the Japanese Imperial Army for the Empire Province of Cobatao during the World War II.

One cannot forget that the longest river is found in Cobatao, estimated to be 182 kilometers long and 96 meters wide. It is not only of aesthetic value but also of economic importance. This is where the Feast of Our Lady of Peñafrancia, Shariff Kabunsuan Festival and the annual Guinakit or river festival is held.

Local tourists usually troop to Cotabato City, also dubbed as the Land of the Crabs, to get their best buys of crabs and prawns in the market at a low price.

[ Rio Grande de Mindanao Wiki | Pulangi River Wiki ]

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