History and Culture

South Cotabato's T'Nalak Festival

South Cotabato

Ida Damo
Ida Damo | May 23, 2013

The Philippines is one big archipelago of fiestas and festivals. Each province, city, municipality, town, barangay has festivals to commemorate an event, a patron saint, culture, product or in the case of

South Cotabato, its woven cloth, the T’Nalak.

T’Nalak symbolizes the culture, tradition and art of the people of South Cotabato. Each fiber of the abaca represents its diversity and yet when woven, becomes a beautiful tapestry.

The T’Nalak Festival showcases South Cotabato’s bounty and culture and commemorates its Founding Anniversary.

The province’s rich harvest of corn, vegetables, fruits and fish were displayed in the different bahay kubo (native huts) representing its different towns.

The contingents from the different towns of the Province in its street dancing tell stories of how the abaca fiber is woven into T’Nalak, the history of the province, the religious rites, and the merrymaking that goes with celebrations like marriage and harvests.

The Festival Queens representing each town were dressed in T’Nalak splendor also danced on the streets.

Set to a joyful beat, South Cotabateños joined in the fun as a performer or spectator.

It is a colorful treat for the eyes as each contingent’s costumes carry the T’Nalak’s basic colors of red, brown, white and black interspersed in yellow, orange, violet, blue and all the colors of fun and merrymaking.

The streetdancing may have been a competition but it also showed how the people of South Cotabato came together to celebrate its unity as a people and how proudly they proclaim their heritage. Like the T’Nalak cloth, out of fibers they become one to form a beautiful piece of art.


Major airlines have daily flights from Manila to General Santos City. Koronadal, South Cotabato is an hour away by land from General Santos City.

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