The Mindanao Saga Reminisced

Kulintang--distinctly Mindanao (from MSU-Gensan Museum)

I grew up in Greater Manila for most of my childhood life. Eat, sleep, talk and think as a city boy. Although I frequently visit the provinces because my parents are provincianos and my dad has a lot of out-of-town projects, which is a nature of his work. However, when I stepped into college, have chosen myself as Ilonggo and hometown at Iloilo, it was the time that I was reintroduced and reoriented with my parent’s birthplace…the “Land of Promise” down south, Mindanao. The fascination and the sojourns have changed my life forever.

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In the News: Buluan and Shariff Aguak Maguindanao

Maguindanao, Philippines | Map Courtesy of Wikipedia

Maguindanao, Philippines | Map Courtesy of Wikipedia

Given the degree of the events that happened in Cotabato (Maguindanao to be exact) region, would like to give you a bit of glimpse on the towns now mentioned in the news. Personally, I’ve been to these towns in 2005-2006 as part of my thesis and bears hold personally.

Two of Maguindanao’s towns have been mentioned in the news…and yes, these are the baluartes or strongholds of the warring political clans. These are Buluan, a southern town in Maguindanao almost sandwiched by Christian-dominated towns; and Shariff Aguak, the capital town of the province of Maguindanao.

Continue reading In the News: Buluan and Shariff Aguak Maguindanao

The Road Less Traveled: Passing by Maguindanao

Originally posted at on 21 May 2022

Ampatuan Residence, Sharrif Aguak, Maguindanao

Ampatuan Residence, Sharrif Aguak, Maguindanao

Two years ago, I couldn’t believe that I crossed for what they say, one of the most treacherous highways in the country. Only a few years ago, during the Estrada Administration, the only thing that you see here are bombshells, mortars, evacuating people and guns, guns and more guns. Crossfire was everywhere, and media blows it all up in Manila.

That was several years ago. The waring factions agreed upon a ceasefire while two bodies of negotiators tried to resolve this centuries-old conflict. Me, I’m busy with my thesis, and will trace the path that most of my thesis respondents’ took to the Land of Promise, and it was through that path that they took the road, or maybe a way less traveled.

And now, on the headlines again, this side of this tropical state in the Philippines has a lot of potential when it comes to resources and tourism. A lot of things that are still untapped because of unreliable peace and order and poltical suitation in Maguindanao.

I believe that this highway is one of the most well-paved in the country. The shuttle van zoomed effortlessly through the fields and the hills of Sultan Kudarat, then to Maguindanao all the way to Cotabato City within just less than 2 hours.

One October morning, it was Ramadan for our Muslim brethen. I’ve been wanting to see the entrepot of my subjects in my thesis: Cotabato City, almost a hundred kilometers away from Tacurong City in Sultan Kudarat Province. And boy the van in Tacurong terminal was waiting to be filled up. I have to be there early, or else I’ll be stranded in Cotabato City without any idea where to sleep over. So, I went up to Isulan, the capital of the province, passing through palm oil plantations that are owned by Negrense hacienderos. Isulan is where most of Cotabato bound buses and vans pass by. One of the largest Christian settlements in Central Cotabato.

Continue reading The Road Less Traveled: Passing by Maguindanao

Stone Fortress: My First Encounter of Cotabato City

Old Cotabato City Hall

Old Cotabato City Hall

It was estrangely alluring to me to go to Cotabato City…a place evade[book id='' /]d by many people who have no business with the place or even paranoid tourists and travelers. And speaking of paranoia, whenever this place is mentioned, fear and pessimism occupies everyone outside of Mindanao. Its a no-man’s land, or in this case, a city. Negative impressions were imprinted in this city of more than 100,000. It was the capital of the Empire Province of Cotabato, once the largest province in the counrty. A city with rich history and pride. The Stone Fortress of Mindanao. Continue reading Stone Fortress: My First Encounter of Cotabato City

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