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MAGUINDANAO: The Province on the Rise

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•  As early as the 11th century, chronicles from Chinese traders already attest to the presence of dance forms in the coastal areas of Cotabato and the settlements nearby

•  Sagayan is one of the ancient (unchoreographed) dance forms in the world that still exist to the present; one of the proofs is its mentioned in the Darangen, one of the oldest epics in the world

•  Sagayan is performed in the kuyog procession; the sagayan dalkat is an exhibition of a dancer’s virtuosity characterized by rapid movements of the head, the hand holding the klung and wooden (or metal) sword, the sprinting, jumping and leaping in synchronicity with the beating of the kulintang or drums; and another sagayan form called sambuyog a malna is ritual in nature, performed in the kapagipat, whose movements are graceful, calculated and possess certain meanings (apad) that’s why only those who are well versed can interpret the meanings that are conveyed by the movements of this type of sagayan because the sagayan dancers (there are two of them engaged in an artistic duel) are thought to be in a trance, possessed by the tonongs in the Darangen for instance the rival brothers Balatamay Lumena and Alongan Pidsayana.

•  Sagayan is not just a war dance as other scholars would reduce it; it symbolically represents the slaying of evil, a purification of the inner self and the environment in which man exists (for instance, a sagayan dancer is always placed at the start of a kuyog procession, not in the middle, because the act of sword playing and noise making of the shells of the klung wards off evil)

•  Like any other art form, the sagayan has gone through an evolution (in the costuming, for example). Photographic evidence shows that in the late Spanish and American period, sagayan dancers donned upper vestments of a warrior’s metal armory. The skirting and the headgear or kapasiti were embellished with gunting ornaments like that of the traditional ulol design

•  The sagayan is part of the famous Bayanihan Dance Troupe’s official dance repertoire gaining recognition the world over; its high time that we reclaim it, nourish it and be truly proud of it as our own heritage.



Maguindanao Province bags Festival Float Championship in 2011 Aliwan

Every third week of April, the biggest festivals in the Philippines gather in Manila for the Aliwan Fiesta, dubbed as the “Mother of All Fiestas”, where visitors and spectators can experience the best of Philippine cultural festivals in one place. The highlights of the event are the Street Dance Competition, Parade of Floats and the Reyna ng Aliwan Beauty Pageant.






Biday a Pinangasturian (A Royal Voyage of Maguindanao Sultanate) crafted by the Buluan, Maguindanao townsfolk, emerged as the Festival Float Champion in Aliwan Fiesta 2011.

In 2010, Maguindanao’s official entry for the same competition “Kagkawing sa Maguindanao” garnered the 3rd place among the participating contenders coming from the different regions in the country.

Tourist spots…

Explore the awe-inspiring, bountiful and historic countryside sceneries…
The Province of Maguindanao has all the potential tourism sites just waiting to be rediscovered and tapped.

In some days when you crave for a great swimming adventure or you simply want to spend the day out in a beach waiting for a setting sun to paint the horizon and spark the air with a sense of tranquility,  pick the beaches and resorts of Maguindanao Province among your options. It has  beaches in Parang such as Punta , Making and Zone  and Kusiong Beach in Datu Odin Sinsuat. All of which will charm you with splendid experience that may never satisfy a once visit.

While this sight revitalizes and soothes your body, the Marine Sanctuary in Parang, Maguindanao has a totally different and relaxing escapade where exotic and multicolored fishes, corals and other aquatic species are best for scuba diving.

Be astonished with the sacred spaces and beautiful interiors of Blue Mosque (Masjid), a place of worship for the followers of Islam that will surely captivate you with awe for its marvelous architecture. Accentuated by its color, the Mosque is a famous attraction and landmark in Parang that lies along Narciso Highway.

Bask in history as you visit Camp General Salipada K. Pendatun, a barracks named after the great Filipino Muslim statesman, lawyer and soldier. Located at Parang, Maguindanao, it has been the sanctuary of many Filipino noble gentlemen-in-arms.

If in search of golfing challenge, bring out the sportsman in you by playing in the picturesque view of golf course inside the camp.

One of the Philippine Army’s Infantry units in Central Mindanao, the 6th Infantry Division also known as the Kampilan Division is housed in Camp B. Gen. Gonzalo H. Siongco located at Awang, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao. It has a momentary housing facility  that is accessible, decent, convenient and affordable to all military officers, enlisted personnel, civilian employees and their dependents while on official or personal travel.


Indulge and feel the peace and solitude emanating from Retreat-Shrine Ministry located at Tamontaka, Datu Odin, Sinsuat, Maguindanao. It presents an ideal getaway for people seeking spiritual healing and relaxation of both body and mind. The beautiful forest park with its cool trees, quiet grounds and outdoor benches which surrounds the area makes it a favorable place for prayer, reflection and meditation.






Also situated at Tamontaka, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao, Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto strives to provide a welcoming presence and a scenic environment conducive to spiritual healing and recreation. With its Children’s Park, Retreat House and Mini-zoo designed for the joy and leisure of the visitors, the Grotto is indeed an inviting destination for all.








Be astonished with the charm of the still unexploited Ligawasan Marsh that lies in the Mindanao River basin between two provinces of Maguindanao and North Cotabato. With its rich-bound natural resources, the marsh serves as sanctuary of a great variety of aquatic wildlife.

If yearning for a great expedition, try mountaineering to enjoy the wonderful vista on top of Mount Biarong that overlooks the panoramic view of Upi municipality, known as “the Little Baguio” of the Province.

Landmark Fountain in Upi, Maguindanao

One of the things that best exemplifies Upi’s standing as a prosperous municipality is their eye-catching Landmark Fountain with a unique corn structure on the center. It has become one of Upi’s top attractions along with many other tourist spots within the area.



Lake Buluan, a large freshwater lake and associated marshes in the upper basin of the Mindanao River

Witness the beauty and richness of nature in the sixth largest lake in the Philippines, the Lake Buluan located at Buluan, Maguindanao. It is also the third largest lake in Mindanao after Lake Lanao and Lake Mainitand with an estimated surface area of 61.34 square kilometers. A number of fish species, including climbing gurami, snakehead murrell, walking catfish and spotted barb can be found in the lake.

If you’re longing for an adventure with a different setting, then Lake Buluan is a place to go.  After all the hectic and fast-pace urban life, it is a perfect getaway where you can relax luxuriously – take a boat ride, go fishing, explore the surrounding vicinity or simply take a moment to enjoy the cool breeze and the setting sun.

Minabay & Piers in Buldon, Maguindanao

Visit Buldon, Maguindanao  traversing the 40-meter concrete footbridge that serves as the main road across the Kaduongan River. The residents of Barangays Karim, Minabay and Piers are now enjoying safer and more convenient route.


Fly across the Southern sky through Awang Airport, the sole airfield in the Province located at Barangay Awang, Datu Odin Sinsuat. The Airport is classified as Class 1 principal (major domestic) airport by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines. It caters Philippine Airlines. Air Philippines and Cebu Pacific flights that provide its finest and excellent services to ensure passengers’ safety and cargoes’ security.

If you wish to experience a different delight while traveling, sea voyage is also highly recommended. Sail in thru Polloc Port, the major seaport in the Province located at Parang, Maguindanao, just roughly 40 kilometers away from the airport. It accommodates major vessels such as Sulpicio Lines, RORO Lines and Super Ferry that carry passengers and cargoes to and from Zamboanga City, Ilo-ilo and Manila.


The Products


Maguindanao is basically an agricultural province. Corn, rice and coconut are its major crops.

It has substantial timber reserves, especially in Buldon in the north and Upi in the south. The Mindanao River with its swampy delta and the many brackish-water fishponds in the area supply the province with fish and other aquatic products.

Traditionally, the Maguindanaons are rice farmers who live in the valley. Those near the coast have  become fishermen and traders. They also produce fine handicrafts such as brassware, hand-woven malongs, mats, and baskets.

Woven products made from stalks of water hyacinths

Be amazed with the power of creativity of Maguindanao people through handicraft products made out of disregarded resources such as water hyacinth – a plant once thought as a worthless crop but is now paving its way to the business venture.

One added feature that makes up the rich cultural heritage of the province is the production of INAUL – a hand woven fabric used as malong, sarong and many other purposes signifying prestige and sophistication.

Maguindanao Kris (Sundang), a weapon used by the brave Bangsamoro warriors during their battle against the Japanese, Americans, and the Spaniards to defend the Bangsamoro homeland, now adds up to the rich cultural heritage of Maguindanao.


Experience the unique taste of native delicacies. Maguindanao offers an array of local cuisines such as DUDOL, PANIALAM, PUTLI MANDI, BULWA, KUMUKUNSI, TINADTAG, BALB’D, PANGANANG SISING, etc. that capture a traditional and native palate that will surely entice one’s appetite in a distinctive way.


Don’t miss the delight in having your meal with PASTIL, steamed rice with kagikit (flaked chicken) filling wrapped in a banana leaf.


La Frutera Banana Plantation in Datu Paglas, Maguindanao

Navigate the luscious green landscape of La Frutera Banana Plantation, the Philippines’ largest banana exporter located at Datu Paglas, Maguindanao. It is the first large-scale banana plantation in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. The company did not only succeed in building gainful businesses; foremost, it has promoted community welfare, serving itself as an indication that lasting peace can also be attained thru sustainable economic development. The La Frutera Banana Plantation has presented huge employment opportunities for the people of Datu Paglas municipality.





If you want to make the best out of your tour in Maguindanao, have a taste of delectable fishes cultured within the locality such as Tilapia and Taruk. The massive production of these aquatic species can be found especially in Lake Buluan.


Delve into the wide range of Maguindanao agricultural products that are potential for both local and global market.

Coco Nurseries at Sitio Leneba, Sibuto, and Brgy.Semba, all in Datu Odin Sinsuat,Maguindanao

COCONUT (scientifically called Cocos nucifera) is one of the major crops in the province, it is widely-grown in the municipalities of Sultan Sumagka, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Buldon, Barira, Matanog, Talayan, Guindulungan, Sultan Kudarat, Sultan Mastura, Upi, Kabuntalan, Datu Saudi, Datu Piang and Parang. It is a tropical plant from the palm family grown primarily for its fruit, coconuts. Cited by the University of Florida Extension website, the fruit is the most utilized nut in the world and the tree itself is the most important member of the palm family. Known for its worth, where all its parts have uses, many of the Maguindanaons would not exchange their interest in coconut growing to any other crop. For them, it is the crop preferred by their ancestors; thus, giving them the idea that there is life in coconut growing more so that it is popularly known as a “Tree of Life.” It is even made easier for them to grow this crop since the province has Agricultural Technologists (ATs) and Municipal Agricultural Officers (MAOs) in place in the municipalities who are readily available to render technical assistance. whenever necessary and the technical support of the Philippine Coconut Authority operating in the province.

Corn (scientifically called Zea Maize) is the 2nd staple food in the Philippines. In Maguindanao, farmers grow corn for its market demand. Its agronomic characteristics suit many of our agricultural lands in the municipalities. Both small and large-scale farmers engage in this crop due to its high market demand. The marketability may be credited to its usefulness, to mention its syrup being an added ingredient in many other foods we consume in our daily diet to include the health benefits for being a good source of vitamins and minerals. Besides, it is widely used as feeds for animal production. Recently, the town of Upi which is popularly considered “Little Baguio” was declared as the “Corn capital” of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao after obtaining the high level of production in 

terms of yield every year.

RICE (Oriza Sativa) is the major crop and staple food not only in Maguindanao but the entire country. It is widely-grown in the municipalities of Ampatuan, Mamasapano, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Shariff Aguak, Datu Piang, Datu Saudi, Datu Unsay, Datu Abdullah Sangki, Sultan Kudarat, Sultan Mastura, Talayan, Sultan Sumagka, Pagalungan, Montawal, Buldon, North Upi, Upi, Salipada K. Pendatun Kabuntalan and Northern Kabuntalan. This being the major crop provides livelihood for the people in Maguindanao.

OIL PALM is a plant that belongs to a family of more than 3,000 species, among which are the coconut tree, the date palm, and other decorative palms. Among these entire palm, oil palm is the most productive and of economic importance. Compared to the coconut we are accustomed to that produce oil, oil palm produces at least 10 times more.

There are two species of oil palm, one originating in Africa, the “Elaeis Guineesis” also known as the “African Palm”. Hence, locally, the palm being grown commercially is referred to as “African”. In the Province of Maguindanao, presently, oil palm becomes the face of the Province, since one may visually observe the recent push of the Maguindanaons in engaging into oil palm planting. Looking down via aircraft, there is a great difference on the number of areas planted with oil palm as compared to the previous years. Now, previously barren fields are planted with oil palm. This is widely grown in the towns of Mamasapano, Datu Unsay, Guindulungan, Shariff Aguak, Datu Salibo, Rajah Buayan, Sultan sa Barongis, Buluan, Mangudadatu, Paglat, Pandag, Datu Paglas, Gen. Salipada K. Pendatun, Montawal, Pagalungan, Shariff Saidona, Datu Hoffer, Talayan, Sultan Sumagka, North Upi, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Northern Kabuntalan, Sultan Kudarat, Sultan Mastura, Parang, Datu Abdullah Sangki, Datu Piang, Datu Saudi, and Ampatuan. This venture gives hope to the province, the hope for better living of its constituents in the succeeding years.

RUBBER tree is a perennial crop and the source of a natural rubber. It is considered a major industry, providing livelihood and income for many people. Natural rubber is a raw material used in the manufacture of industrial products (conveyor belts, rubber rollers, etc.), automotive products (fan belts, radiator hoses, etc.), latex products (rubber gloves, toys hygienic products, etc) and adhesives. These are evident drives that motivate rubber farmers to dwell in this crop. In the Province of Maguindanao, rubber farmers increase in number as shown by the demands of its seedlings in the nurseries. This crop is widely grown in the municipalities of Datu Blah Sinsuat, North & South Upi, Parang, Matanog, Buldon, Barira, and Sultan Kudarat. Farmers see opportunities for rubber in the local and international markets.



Come visit Maguindanao to experience the still unexplored nature’s grandeur!


Last modified on Tuesday, 31 July 2012 13:42