Cotabato Shariff Kabunsuan Festival
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Shariff Kabunsuan Festival: Celebrating Cultural Diversity

Colorful and elaborately decorated boats navigate along Rio Grande de Mindanao every December to commemorate the entry of Islamic missionary Shariff Kabunsuan to spread Islam in the southern Philippines centuries ago.

Cotabato Shariff Kabunsuan Festival
Cotabato Shariff Kabunsuan Festival

The celebration, called “Ginakit,” is expected once again to brighten the usually murky and now heavily silted waterways as the Muslims celebrate the start of the Islamization of Mindanao called Shariff Kabunsuan Festival.

The Ginakit fluvial parade will have cash prize waiting for the champion and the runners-up. Every year, an average of 20 well-decorated and very colorful boats joins the fluvial parade.

This city’s Shariff Kabunsuan Festival was adjudged as Best Tourism Event in the Philippines (city category) during the 7th ATOP (Association of Tourism Officers of the Philippines) Convention in Koronadal City.

ATOP recognized the historicity of the Shariff Kabunsuan Festival as its distinctive feature against all the major festivals in the country.

It has features that are not shared by other festivals in the country.

Cotabato City also hosts the largest mosque in the Philippines, the Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Masjid which can accommodate approximately 15,000 worshippers. It is also the seat of the Archdiocese of Cotabato which serves its Roman Catholic population. The city also hosts the historic Church of the Immaculate Concepcion Tamontaka.

Festivals religious of origin are also held in the city annually such the Shariff Kabunsuan Festival which is dedicated to Sharif Kabungsuwan, a Muslim missionary which introduced Islam in the area. The Feast of the Immaculate Conception, since the Mary, mother of Jesus as the Immaculate Conception, is regarded by the patron saint of the city by its Catholic population.

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Written by Melo Villareal

Melo Villareal is the Online Publisher of He is an Accountant by profession who left the corporate world at the age of 23 to explore his beautiful country and the rest of the world. Today, Melo works as a part-time Social Media Manager for local and international clients. His full-time work focuses on discovering interesting culture, explore different cuisines and take memorable photos from local and international destinations he's visiting.

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