Overnight Adventure to Sultan Kudarat

Had the opportunity to be invited to a youth leadership conference in Isulan, Sultan Kudarat. To the many, Sultan Kudarat is known to be part of the province of Maguindanao that’s always on the news.  And by that, I mean most of the stories of army encounters with rebels usually occur in an area in this province.  I’ll be honest and that, upon accepting the invitation to speak at this place, I was a little worried but the love for youth leadership in Nation Building was stronger than the fear.  And through this trip, I saw a different Mindanao, a different place, that broke through all of the pre-conceived notions. This place is simple and beautiful.

To get to my destination, I had to take an airplane ride from the Manila Airport to the General Santos City Airport. The flight duration is about  two hours from the nation’s capital. Local airlines that have this route are Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines.

Right Outside the General Santos Airport. SOX or the official tourism branding for  SOCCKSKARGEN, or Region XII

My Destination, Isulan is the Capital for the Maguindanao Province. The drive took about 2 hours from the General Santos Airport.

There you will be met by a beautiful compound in which the provincial capitol building can be seen together with the monument of Sultan Kudarat.

Beautiful Provincial Capitol Compound of Sultan Kudarat
Provincial Capitol Building

Interesting fact, there are 3 Capitol buildings in Sultan Kudarat. 2 of them are unused. Depending on which political family wins the current Philippine Election, everybody moves office.

Close up shot of the Majestic Sultan Kudarat Monument

Interstingly Sultan Kudarat was turned into a National Hero under the Presidency of the Late Ferdinand Marcos.

Sultan Kudarat (1581 -1671) of Cotabato, the Muslim brave Hero, the greatest Sultan of Maguindanao and the most powerful Sultan of Mindanao. Relentless, sagacious, cunning Sultan who ravaged and conquered many parts of the Philippines from the authority of Spain and persecuted many Spanish friars.

Yep, he wasn’t a fan of the Spaniards. He was pretty bad-ass. He was one of the few that successfully challenged the Spanish invasion.

It was too bad that I only had a few hours to enjoy this place. The locals we’re very friendly and speak the Hiligaynon dialect. I enjoyed eating balut with them at midnight.

There are other places that are beautiful in Mindanao which I hope to see in future visits.

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