Shariff Kabunsuan Festival: A Fluvial Parade in the Longest River in Mindanao


Ida Damo
Ida Damo | Nov 25, 2015
Shariff Kabunsuan Festival: A Fluvial Parade in the Longest River in Mindanao

Every December 15 to 19, Central Mindanao celebrates the religious festival to commemorate the coming of the Arab missionary Shariff Kabunsuan in the 16th century. 

Shariff Kabunsuan was an Arab missionary from Johore and is credited to have spread the Islam religion in Mindanao.

The introduction of Islam led to the establishment of the Sultanates of Maguindanao, Rajah Buayan and Kabuntalan.

One of the highlights of the festival is the Guinakit (bancas) fluvial parade at the mouth of Rio Grande de Mindanao where a reenactment of the landing is done. The Rio Grande de Mindanao is the second longest river in the country running 373 kilometers.


Guinakits are colorfully decorated with Muslim cloth in vivid colors of yellow, red and green. A dance interpretation accompanied by traditional music is also done during the celebration. 

Other activities of the Shariff Kabunsuan festival are: alimango festival, banca race, street parade, cultural presentations, trade fair and culinary contests.

So if you want to witness this side of Mindanao, why not visit Cotabato City during the Shariff Kabunsuan festival?

Photos by Nanardxz Navarro

Cotabato City is part of the province of Cotabato where the uniquely beautiful Asik-Asik waterfalls belongs. The grandest mosque in the Philippines is also found in the city. 

How to get there:

Majopr airlines have flights from Manila, Cebu and Zamboanga to Cotabato City.  Travel time is an hour and 30 minutes from Manila, 45 minutes from Cebu and 25 minutes from Zamboanga.

Buses and vans travel daily to Cotabato City from Davao and GenSan.  Travel time from Davao and Gensan is 4 hours.

Related link:

During the Eid'l Ftir or the end of the holy month of Ramadan for our Muslim brothers and sisters, Cotabato City comes alive with drums and chantings and a halal culinary feast.



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