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Cotabato (city)

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Cotabato (city)

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Travel Warning WARNING: Although the city itself is quite safe (despite its bad reputation), surrounding towns and villages can be problematic, as well as some of the roads, due to the conflicts between the rebels and government forces in the past few years. Check the latest updates before going to this city, and avoid traveling by road after 5 PM


Cotabato City is one of the largest cities in Mindanao region in the Philippines. It is regional center of ARMM (Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao) and a part of Maguindanao province.


The city has notorious reputation due to several murder and kidnapping cases several years ago. However, the situation has improved a lot in 2015. Police controls and checkpoints are everywhere, and helmets are not allowed for all the motorcycle drivers. There are no many foreigners in the city, and local people are very curious and friendly towards new visitors. To avoid problems, use common sense, and don't walk alone after dark. Avoid going to nearby towns like Sultan Kudarat and especially Marawi in Lanao Del Sur province. If you are coming in or leaving the city, the safest road is the one which passes through Kabacan city.

See[edit][add listing]

  • Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Masjid - the largest mosque in the Philippines, donated by the Sultan of Brunei. Minarets are 43 meters tall, and domes painted in gold.
  • Church of the Immaculate Conception of Tamontaka - the oldest church in the city, built in 1872.
  • Old Cotabato City Hall - beautiful hundred year old building, located in the main plaza, which houses a city museum.
  • People's Palace (New Cotabato City Hall) - long building housing the new city hall, with mixture of Muslim and Christian architectural styles. In front of the building is a park, with occasional exhibitions.
  • Rio Grande - the longest river in Mindanao, passing through different points in the city. There are occasional boat races.
  • San Pedro Hill - Great place for panoramic view of the city, surroundings and the Rio Grande of Mindanao. At the foot of the hill is Tantawan park with a golden statue of Sultan Kudarat, local hero.
  • Loudres Grotto - Large park with a replica of Our Lady of Loudres Grotto in France. There's a mini zoo inside the park, with large collection of birds.

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Cusiong Beach - The nearest gateway from the city, half an hour drive, perfect for swimming, relaxing and picnics. The beach has facilities for camping, and there are cottages (tree-houses) for rent. There's a nice view panoramic over the bay of Cotabato, with the largest mosque in the distance.
  • Malls - There are several malls in the city, built mostly in the last few years: City Mall, Gaisano Grand Mall and South Seas Complex.