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Sultan Kudarat

Capital: Isulan

No. of towns: 11

Location. Bounded on the north by North Cotabato and Maguindanao, on the west by Moro Gulf, South Cotabato on east, and Mindanao Sea on the south.

Overview. Sultan Kudarat is named after the great ruler of Mindanao and Sulu in the 17th century. It is but a path of strong typhoons and destructive floods, but rainfall is evenly distributed throughout the year.

Sultan Kudarat was formerly a part of the old but sprawling province of Cotabato. During the Spanish period, it was heavily forested and undeveloped. Not until the American colonization period did the Visayan settlers come in droves to live in the province, especially in the town of Isulan and the barrios of Tacurong and Lebak.

Sultan Kudarat is considered a "green thumb" due to its numerous vegetables and fruits. It has also made a name for itself as a big food producer and a leader in rural development.

Sultan Kudarat was created from Cotabato on November 12, 1973 by virtue of Presidential Decree No. 341.

Climate. The climate in Sultan Kudarat is characterized by a more or less even distribution of rainfall throughout the year. The annual average rainfall in this province is 34.45 inches.

The temperature is comfortable, the heat being tempered by cooling breezes and rain. The average temperature ranges from 16.9 Centigrade to 27 Centigrade. The hottest months are from March to June and the coldest are the months of December and January.

People. The area now occupied by Sultan Kudarat was well established settlement before the arrival of the Spaniards in the Philippines. It is home to the Muslim Maguindanaos or "People of the Foot Plains"; so called because of the rich fertile river valley where it settled. Other major tribes which have settled in the area are the Muslim Iranons, the animistic Tirurays, and the Manobos.

Islam came to the Maguindanaons and the Iranuns through the Muslim missionary and military efforts of the Sharif Mohammed Kabungsuan, who founded the Sultanate of Maguindanao at the end of the 15th century.

The most famous and perhaps the greatest ruler to rise among the Maguindanaons was Sultan Mohammed Dipatuan Kudarat. Sultan Kudarat, after whom the highest decoration bestowed by the Republic of the Philippines has been named, assumed power over the Maguindanao in 1619. By 1627, Sultan Kudarat had accumulated enough strength and power to command a combined force of Maguindanao and Sulu warriors to control most of Mindanao and some areas in the Visayan islands.

Sultan Kudarat had many bloody clashes with the Spaniards who were then extending their rule to the Visayas and Mindanao from Luzon. He registered many victories over the Spaniards and although he also suffered defeats his Sultanate was never conquered. It was Sultan Kudarat who forced the Spaniards to abandon the newly established Christian settlements in Sibugay, Basilan and Simuay in 1644. in 1645 the Spaniards sued for peace and Sultan Kudarat forged a peace treaty with the Spaniards.

At the height of his power in the mid-seventeenth century, Sultan Kudarat not only ruled over most of Mindanao but also extended his power and influence up to the northern coast of Borneo.

Today, the Maguindanaons numbering more than 55,000 constitute one of the largest groups among the Muslims. Most of them live in the area now occupied by the three provinces of the old Cotabato. Although still in great number, the Maguindanaons and other minorities like the Iranons, Tirurays, and Manobos are now outnumbered by Christian migrants from the Visayas and from Luzon.

Language / dialect. Maguindanaon, Hiligaynon, Ilocano, Cebuano, and Tiruray are the five major languages / dialects prevailing in Sultan Kudarat in their respective ranking order.

Political subdivisions. The province of Sultan Kudarat comprises the old municipalities of Tacurong, Isulan, Lutayan, Bagumbaran, Kalamansig, Lebak, Columbia, Palimbang, and the new towns of President Quirino, Mariano Marcos, and Esperanza.

Major industries. The soil in Sultan Kudarat is one of the richest and most fertile in the Philippines. The rich river basins of the area have made it a top producer of rice, corn, peanuts, vegetables and fruits. It is also one of the few producers of Irish potato in the country. The major commercial crops grown are coconut, sugarcane, abaca, coffe, cotton, tobacco (native and Virginia), and the ramie of which the region is the top producer in the Philippines. There are also a number of rubber plantations operating in the area. Different kinds of orchids, specially the rare Waling-Waling, are found in the forests.

Rubber manufacturing, poultry, hog raising and commercial fishing are also major industries of the province.

No commerical extraction of metallic minerals is done in the area. Surveys have shown that the only metallic mineral found int the province of Sultan Kudarat is copper. The non-metallic reserves of Sultan Kudarat consist of sand, gravel, stones, cobbles, boulders, crushed coral rocks and clay.

Most of the manufacturing firms operating in the province are engaged in the manufacture and processing of agricultural products. Aside from veneer and plywood factories, there are corn starch mills, rice and corn mills, and the rubber plantations which operate a processing plant turning raw rubber into latex.

Points of interest

Buluan Lake. The principal tourist attraction is Sultan Kudarat.

Waling-Waling. The Philippines is in possession of all kinds of orchids. At one time, more than 900 species, representing about 100 genera have been found all over the islands. Of these all, one stands out. Like a queen. The most beautifful in the Philippines, the pride of Mindanao, is Waling-Waling or Vanda Sanderiana, Reicho. f. l.

Discovered in 1882 in Mindanao, the Waling-Waling is one of the most sought after, considered a rare and prized specimen for its beauty, by avid collectors from all over the world. Naturally, its stature makes this Philippine orchid command a steep price.

An entry in the Encyclopedia Americana states that"the richest assortment of orchids comes from the tropical Asia, which includes Malaysia and the Philippines, here the bulk of such great genera as ... and Vanda are the most important...".

Of the Cattleya tribe, there is a statement that further mentions that .... "and the so-called queen of orchids, V. sanderiana from the Philippines have been the basis for large and colorful hybrids. The Waling-Waling has the largest flower among Philippine species".

Midpandan Falls (Palimbang).

Columbia Hot Spring (Columbia).

White Beach (Palimbang).

Alidama Island (Palimbang).

Buruing Mountain of Kalunan Valley (Palimbang).

Pitot Range (Bagumbayan).

Pitot Cave (Bagumbayan).

Bamban Falls (Bagumbayan)

Sinsiman Hot Spring (Kalamansig).

Margues Hot Spring (Esperanza).

Liguasan Marsh (Mariano Marcos).

How to get there. By air, Philippine Airlines flies from Manila to Cotabato City daily. From there island transportation services connect Cotabato City to Isulan, the capital of the province Sultan Kudarat.
Traveling by land is the only mode of travel from Sultan Kudarat to any accessible point in Mindanao by road.