Cotabato City

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Independent Component City
City of Cotabato
Cotabato City Hall
Official seal of Cotabato
Nickname(s): Stone Fortress of Mindanao
Map of Maguindanao highlighting Cotabato City
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Coordinates: Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 609: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
Country [[{{safesubst:#property:P17}}]]
Region Soccsksargen (Region XII)
Province Maguindanao (geographically only)
District 1st District of Maguindanao
During Manobo Period 13th Century
Founded as capital of Maguindanao Sultanate 1520
Founding of Pueblo de Cotabato 1862
Cityhood June 20, 1959
Founded by Apo Mamalu and Apo Tabunaway
Barangays 37
 • Mayor Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi (NPC)
  1. p {{#property:P988}} ]
 • Total {{safesubst:#property:P2,046}} km2 (Formatting error: invalid input when rounding sq mi)
Population (Error: Invalid time. lua error in module:wikidata at line 879: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).)
 • Total {{safesubst:#property:P1,082}}
Time zone PST (UTC+8)
ZIP code {{safesubst:#property:P281}}
IDD : area code +63 (0){{safesubst:#property:P473}}
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Website {{#property:P856}}

Cotabato City, officially the City of Cotabato (Malay: Kota Batu; Maguindanaoan: Kuta Wato; Cebuano: Dakbayan sa Cotabato; Hiligaynon: Dakbanwa/Syudad sang Cotabato; Filipino: Lungsod ng Cotabato; Spanish: Ciudad de Cotabato), is a city in the Philippines located in Mindanao, Philippines. According to the Error: Invalid time. lua error in module:wikidata at line 879: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value)., it has a population of {{safesubst:#property:P1082}}.

Although Cotabato City is the regional center of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) but the city is administratively part of the Soccsksargen region, which is composed of the provinces of South Cotabato, (North) Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, and Sarangani, as well as the highly urbanized city of General Santos. Cotabato City is an independent component city, not subject to regulation from the Provincial Government of Maguindanao where it is geographically located. The Philippine Statistics Authority also list Cotabato City as statistically independent. For geographical and legislative purposes, it is grouped with the province of Maguindanao but still does not belong to the ARMM.

Cotabato City is distinct from and should not be confused with the province of Cotabato.


The Spanish fortress in Cotabato, El Fuerte Reina Regente, 1896

The name Cotabato was derived from the Maguindanao word kuta wato and the Malay Bruneian word of Kota Batu, or City of Stone; kota mean city or fortress, and batu mean rock or stone.

Cotabato City had witnessed more history than any other place in Mindanao. Its history dates back to the 15th century when Shariff Kabunsuan, a Johore-born missionary of Malay and Arab descent, landed along the banks of the Rio Grande de Mindanao and introduced Islam to the natives. Islam was the faith that moved the early settlers to communal life, and to establish the Sultanate of Maguindanao with its golden age ushered in by Sultan Dipatuan Qudarat during the 17th century the time when Cotabato City developed as the capital town of Maguindanao.

In the nineteenth century, when Sultan Makakua ruled, roads and wharfs were constructed which gave rise to the birth of modern-day Cotabato. However, the then Municipality of Cotabato was first organized at the later part of the 19th century when the Spaniards established a military post at what is now Barangay Tamontaka, one of the earliest Christian settlements founded south of the Philippines. The Spaniards already took with them, the Chavacanos and Chavacano-speaking Muslims (from Zamboanga City and Isabela, Basilan) and Visayans (mainly Cebuanos and Ilonggos). Chavacano speakers being brought by Spaniards are the reason of the existing Chavacano dialect in Cotabato City called Cotabateño, which evolved from Zamboangueño. Cotabato was then officially founded in 1862 when the Pueblo de Cotabato was established; Christianity was introduced in the area in around the year 1870.

Datu Piang, fourth from the left, with American officers circa 1899. He was the first governor of the Empire Province of Cotabato; Cotabato City was once the capital of the province from 1920 to 1967.

Following the Spanish evacuation in Jan. 1899, Datu Piang led the Moro's in a massacre of the remaining Christian community, enslaving those they did not kill.[1]:529–530 Americans arrived in Mindanao in 1900 after the Spanish–American War ended in 1898. Cotabato town was part of Moro Province and of Department of Mindanao and Sulu from 1903 to 1920, when the Empire Province of Cotabato, referred to as "Moroland" by the Americans, was founded with the town as the capital, with Datu Piang, known as the Grand Old Man of Cotabato, as its first governor.

Several towns were carved off from Cotabato town beginning in the year 1936, with Dulawan (now Datu Piang, Maguindanao) and Midsayap being the first ones which were incorporated as regular municipalities.

In 1942, at the beginning of the Pacific Front of World War II, the Japanese Imperial forces entered what is now Maguindanao province. In 1945, Maguindanao was liberated by allied Philippine Commonwealth troops and Muslim Maguindanaoan guerrilla units after defeating the Japanese Imperial forces in the Battle of Maguindanao during the Second World War.

Several towns were carved off from Cotabato town since the year 1913, with Pikit being the first one founded by Cebuano Christian colonists. Dulawan (now Datu Piang, Maguindanao) and Midsayap were incorporated as towns in 1936. In August 18, 1947, just two years after the Second World War and a year after the official inauguration of Philippine independence, the number of towns in the gigantic Cotabato province were multiplied by Executive Order No. 82 signed by President Manuel Roxas, namely: Kidapawan, Pagalungan, Buayan, Marbel, Parang, Nuling, Dinaig, Salaman, Buluan, Kiamba, and Cabacan, a total of eleven (11) towns added to the previous four towns; the newly founded towns of Kabuntalan, Pikit (conversion as regular municipality), and Glan added up in September 30, 1949. More and more newly created towns added up in the province's number of towns as the province entered the second half of the 20th century.

On July 1, 1950, the then Municipality of Cotabato was made first class municipality under Executive Order No. 466. Nine years later, it became a city on July 10, 1959, and on June 20, 1959 it was officially created into a chartered city by virtue of Republic Act No. 2364.

During the beginning of the 1950s up to the mid-1970s, Cotabato City was by far the second largest and most progressive city in Mindanao, after Davao City, with its population of more than 200,000 people residing in the city that time. However, mass insurgencies and much disorder between Christians and local Muslims in the region, began in the mid-1960 during the Marcos administration, capitulated into the city's economic decline, so the provincial government moved its provisional capital to Pagalungan in 1967 to avoid internal strife in the city. This made the city mostly isolated to other important economic centers in Mindanao.

The city used to be part of the original Province of Cotabato and was its capital from 1920 until 1967, a year after the separation of South Cotabato; since then the city was the administrative center of the ARMM when Maguindanao was carved out in 1973. However, the city broke off administratively from Maguindanao as it rejoined SOCCSKSARGEN in the 1990s. Now many sources consider the city as part of the present Cotabato province, although geographically it is still considered part of Maguindanao.


Cotabato is approximately 698.9 nautical miles (1,294.4 kilometres) from Manila, the country's capital, and is bounded by the municipalities of Sultan Kudarat to the north—with Rio Grande de Mindanao separating the two—Kabuntalan to the east, and Datu Odin Sinsuat to the south. The city faces Illana Bay, part of the Moro Gulf, to the west.

Cotabato City has a total land area of 176.0 square kilometers, located at the mouth of the Rio Grande de Mindanao and Pulangi River.[2]


Cotabato City is politically subdivided into 37 barangays.

  • Bagua Proper
  • Bagua I
  • Bagua II
  • Bagua III
  • Kalanganan
  • Kalanganan I
  • Kalanganan II
  • Poblacion Proper
  • Poblacion I ( Sultan Kudarat Mopak )
  • Poblacion II ( Sultan Depatuan Kudarat )
  • Poblacion III ( Sultan Wadaullah Bolkiah )
  • Poblacion IV ( Sultan Ali Molay Mopak )
  • Poblacion V ( Sultan Shariff Baguilan )
  • Poblacion VI ( Shariff Kabunsuan )
  • Poblacion VII ( Shariff Abdullaziz )
  • Poblacion VIII ( Shariff Kansay )
  • Poblacion IX ( Shariff Al Nayan )
  • Rosary Heights Proper
  • Rosary Heights I
  • Rosary Heights II
  • Rosary Heights III
  • Rosary Heights IV
  • Rosary Heights V
  • Rosary Heights VI
  • Rosary Heights VII
  • Rosary Heights VIII
  • Rosary Heights IX
  • Rosary Heights X
  • Rosary Heights XI
  • Rosary Heights XII
  • Rosary Heights XIII
  • Tamontaka Proper
  • Tamontaka I
  • Tamontaka II
  • Tamontaka III
  • Tamontaka IV
  • Tamontaka V


Under the Köppen climate classification system, Cotabato City features a tropical rainforest climate (Af), falling just short of a tropical monsoon climate (Am).

Climate data for Cotabato City
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 32
Average low °C (°F) 21
Average precipitation mm (inches) 60


Downtown Cotabato City
Population census of Cotabato City
Year Pop. ±% p.a.
1990 127,065 —    
1995 146,779 +2.74%
2000 163,849 +2.39%
2007 259,153 +6.53%
2010 271,786 +1.75%
Source: Philippine Statistics Authority[4][5][6]

The majority of the inhabitants of Cotabato City are Maguindanaoan, comprising about 66% of the city's population. There are sizable ethnic populations of Maranaos (8%), Tagalog (9%), Cebuano (8%) and Ilonggo (6%). The remainder of the population belongs to other ethnicities (e.g. Iranon, Binisaya, Tausug, Chavacano).

The main language is Maguindanao. Other languages spoken in Cotabato City are Cebuano, Ilonggo and Chavacano, spoken by both Christians and Muslims as well as Tagalog, Maranao, English and Arabic. The dialect evolved from Chavacano native to Cotabato City is called Cotabateño.


Today, the majority of the city's population is Muslim, comprising about 80% of the population. The majority of Muslims in Cotabato City are Sunnites. The majority of Christians in Cotabato City are Roman Catholics, most of whom are Cebuanos, Ilonggos and Chavacanos. The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cotabato is headed by Orlando Cardinal Quivedo.


Cotabato City, historically, during its heyday as the capital of the Maguindanao Sultanate, has been the most economically prosperous city in the island of Mindanao. Its prosperity has been taken away by civil internal strife beginning in the 1970s. However, once it became part of Soccsksargen region in the 1990s, its economy began a radical economic recovery.

As of now, the city currently serves as the center for economic support activities, trade and finance, education and other support services such as social, physical, cultural and other basic services of Central Mindanao. It is now struggling to gain its lost glory.

Landmark and parks

Rio Grande de Mindanao at Cotabato City



Cotabato City can be reached via Awang Airport in neighboring Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao. Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines maintains connecting the city to Manila and Cebu.

Sister cities


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  2. Disaster Preparedness of Schools by Abdul Raffi A. Abas
  3. "Historical Weather for Cotabato, Soccsksargen, Philippines". Retrieved 2011-08-15.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Highlights of the Philippine Population 2015 Census of Population". Philippine Statistics Authority. May 19, 2016. Retrieved 20 May 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay: as of May 1, 2010" (PDF). 2010 Census of Population and Housing. National Statistics Office. Retrieved 1 April 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Population and Annual Growth Rates by Province, City and Municipality: Central Visayas: 1995, 2000 and 2007" (PDF). National Statistics Office. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-06-24.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Cotabato City in Sisterhood with Sultan Kudarat Municipality". Retrieved 2016-12-09.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "Malaysian investors in Cotabato City". Retrieved 2016-12-09.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Mindanao LGUs emulate best Indonesian city – The Standard". 2016-08-15. Retrieved 2016-12-09.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links