South Cotabato

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South Cotabato
Timog Kotabato
Flag of South Cotabato
Official seal of South Cotabato
Nickname(s): Vegetable and Fruit Basket of Mindanao, Land of Famous Highlands, The Crown and Jewel Province of the Philippines
Motto: It's More Fun in South Cotabato, Kanami! Timog Kotabato!
Location in the Philippines
Location in the Philippines
Coordinates: 06°10′N 125°00′E / 6.167°N 125.000°E / 6.167; 125.000Coordinates: 06°10′N 125°00′E / 6.167°N 125.000°E / 6.167; 125.000
Country Philippines
Founded June 18, 1966
Capital Koronadal City
 • Type Province of the Philippines
 • Governor Daisy Avance-Fuentes (NPC)
 • Vice Governor Inday Diel (UNA)
 • Total 3,935.95 km2 (1,519.68 sq mi)
Area rank 32nd out of 81
  Excluding General Santos
Population (2010)[2]
 • Total 827,200
 • Rank 29th out of 81
 • Density 210/km2 (540/sq mi)
 • Density rank 41st out of 81
  Excluding General Santos
 • Independent cities 1
 • Component cities 1
 • Municipalities 10
 • Barangays 199
including independent cities: 225
 • Districts 1st and 2nd districts of South Cotabato (shared with General Santos City)
Time zone PHT (UTC+8)
ZIP code 9500 to 9513
Dialing code 83
ISO 3166 code PH-SCO
Spoken languages Cebuano, Ilonggo, Tagalog, English, Spanish, T'boli

South Cotabato (Filipino:Timog Kotabato) is a province in the Philippines located in the SOCCSKSARGEN region in Mindanao. Its capital is Koronadal City, and it borders Sultan Kudarat to the north and west, Sarangani to the south and east, and Davao del Sur to the east. To the southeast lies Sarangani Bay.

General Santos, located on the shores of Sarangani Bay, is the largest city in the region, but is governed independently from the province. The province of Sarangani used to be part of South Cotabato until it was made an independent province in 1992.


Centuries ago, the area that would be the South Cotabato was sparsely inhabited by Malay pioneers which later evolved into various ethnic groupings that still exist in the province today. The Spaniards launched expeditions to subdue the area throughout the colonial era but they never gained control of the region until the middle of the 19th century after the Spaniards established a military post at what is now Barangay Tamontaka, one of the earliest Christian settlements founded south of the Philippines, in present-day Cotabato City. Spaniards already took with them Chabacanos and Chabacano-speaking Muslims from Zamboanga and Basilan and Cebuanos.

South Cotabato and Sarangani provinces as part of Davao province, ca. 1902, American era

The area of what is now South Cotabato and Sarangani provinces used to be part of Davao province until 1914, when the reorganization of the districts in Mindanao took place, thus it became part of the then-undivided Cotabato province. Settlers, who would lay the foundation of what would become a progressive province, started trooping down 1914.

The significant thrust occurred during the term of President Quezon in late 1930s. General Paulino Santos led the first of wave of settlers that time. After World War II, the final exodus of settler from Luzon and Visayas poured into the area's virgin land.

In the early 1960s as population, trade and industries grew in southern part of Cotabato, a clamor of local self-governance arose. Thus, on July 18, 1966, South Cotabato was separated from Cotabato as an independent province.[3] At that time, the province consisted of 11 municipalities, namely: Banga, South Cotabato, General Santos (now a city), Glan, Kiamba, Koronadal, Maitum, Norala, Polomolok, Surallah, Tantangan, and Tupi. These municipalities were established long before the creation of the province. Other component municipalities were formed after it fully functioned as a province.

With the creation of regions under Pres. Ferdinand Marcos, South Cotabato was grouped with Region XI, also known as Southern Mindanao, in 1975.[4]

In 1992, the province of Sarangani was formed out of South Cotabato. Seven towns in southern and coastal section of the province (Malungon, Alabel, Malapatan, Glan, Maasim, Kiamba and Maitum) became part of the new province, leaving South Cotabato with 11 remaining municipalities.[5]

Regional offices were relocated to South Cotabato in accordance with EO 429 dated October 12, 1990, issued by President Corazon C. Aquino during the expansion of the newly-created Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao,[6] and EO No. 36 dated September 19, 2001, issued by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo which says South Cotabato is to be transferred from Southern Mindanao region to Region XII and having the city of Koronadal as the regional center of Region XII.[7]

On August 16, 2000, Republic Act No. 8803 was approved, that converted the municipality of Koronadal into a component city of South Cotabato.[8]

In 2015, the National Competitiveness Council declared the province as the 4th most competitive province in the country.


South Cotabato is located on the southern part of the Island of Mindanao, bounded by the province of Sultan Kudarat in the north and west, province of Sarangani in the east and south.

South Cotabato has a total land area of 3,935.95 square kilometres (1,519.68 sq mi). When General Santos City is included for geographical purposes, the province's land area is 4,428.81 square kilometres (1,709.97 sq mi).[1]

It is generally flat dotted with some hills and mountains.


South Cotabato belongs to the fourth type of climate, that is rainfall is more or less evenly distributed throughout the year. The average number of rainy days for the year 2004 is recorded between 122 to 180 days with the months of May, June, July, August and October having the most occurrence.

Air humidity generally follows closely the rainfall pattern. Humidity is highest during the period of June to October with 88% being recorded at the Tupi seed farm. The months of February and April have the lowest air humidity recorded at about 72%.

Maximum daytime temperature throughout the province is in the range of 36 to 38 °C (97 to 100 °F), falling to 23 to 32 °C (73 to 90 °F) during the night depending on the elevation. The hottest period is January to April while July to December being the coolest.

South Cotabato enjoys a mild, pleasant climate with no pronounced dry or wet season, and is practically typhoon-free.

Administrative divisions[edit]

South Cotabato is subdivided into 10 municipalities and 1 component city. The highly urbanized city of General Santos is traditionally grouped with, but administratively independent from, the province.

City or
District[9] Area[9] Population
Density No. of

Banga 2nd 240.35 km2
(92.80 sq mi)
76,343 317.6/km2
(823/sq mi)
22 9511 1st 6°25′25″N 124°46′24″E / 6.4235°N 124.7734°E / 6.4235; 124.7734 (Banga)
General Santos (Dadiangas) 1st 492.86 km2
(190.29 sq mi)
538,086 1,091.8/km2
(2,828/sq mi)
26 9500 1st 6°06′50″N 125°10′18″E / 6.1139°N 125.1717°E / 6.1139; 125.1717 (General Santos)
2nd 277 km2
(107 sq mi)
158,273 571.4/km2
(1,480/sq mi)
27 9506 3rd 6°30′01″N 124°50′37″E / 6.5003°N 124.8435°E / 6.5003; 124.8435 (Koronadal)
Lake Sebu 2nd 702 km2
(271 sq mi)
76,170 108.5/km2
(281/sq mi)
19 9512 1st 6°13′29″N 124°42′42″E / 6.2248°N 124.7118°E / 6.2248; 124.7118 (Lake Sebu)
Norala 2nd 123.2 km2
(47.6 sq mi)
44,635 362.3/km2
(938/sq mi)
14 9508 3rd 6°31′08″N 124°39′24″E / 6.5188°N 124.6567°E / 6.5188; 124.6567 (Norala)
Polomolok 1st 339.97 km2
(131.26 sq mi)
138,273 406.7/km2
(1,053/sq mi)
23 9504 1st 6°12′51″N 125°03′52″E / 6.2142°N 125.0644°E / 6.2142; 125.0644 (Polomolok)
Santo Niño 2nd 86.2 km2
(33.3 sq mi)
39,738 461/km2
(1,190/sq mi)
10 9509 3rd 6°26′17″N 124°40′24″E / 6.4380°N 124.6734°E / 6.4380; 124.6734 (Santo Niño)
Surallah 2nd 540.3 km2
(208.6 sq mi)
76,035 140.7/km2
(364/sq mi)
17 9512 1st 6°22′32″N 124°44′50″E / 6.3756°N 124.7472°E / 6.3756; 124.7472 (Surallah)
T'Boli 2nd 895.83 km2
(345.88 sq mi)
79,175 88.4/km2
(229/sq mi)
25 9513 1st 6°12′49″N 124°49′21″E / 6.2136°N 124.8226°E / 6.2136; 124.8226 (T'boli)
Tampakan 1st 390 km2
(150 sq mi)
36,254 93/km2
(240/sq mi)
14 9507 2nd 6°26′38″N 124°55′38″E / 6.4439°N 124.9272°E / 6.4439; 124.9272 (Tampakan)
Tantangan 2nd 113.1 km2
(43.7 sq mi)
40,461 357.7/km2
(926/sq mi)
13 9510 3rd 6°33′48″N 124°46′06″E / 6.5632°N 124.7682°E / 6.5632; 124.7682 (Tantangan)
Tupi 1st 228 km2
(88 sq mi)
61,843 271.2/km2
(702/sq mi)
15 9505 1st 6°19′52″N 124°57′03″E / 6.3310°N 124.9508°E / 6.3310; 124.9508 (Tupi)
 †  Provincial capital and component city      Municipality
     Highly urbanized city (geographically within but independent from the province)
South Cotabato Labelled Map.png


Population census of
South Cotabato
Year Pop. ±% p.a.
1990 539,458 —    
1995 621,155 +2.68%
2000 690,728 +2.30%
2007 767,254 +1.46%
2010 827,200 +2.78%
Excluding General Santos City
Source: National Statistics Office[2]

The population of South Cotabato (excluding General Santos City) was 827,200 in the 2010 census,[2] making it the country's 29th most populous province. The population density is 210 inhabitants per square kilometre (540/sq mi).

When General Santos City is included for geographical purposes, the province's population is 1,365,286 people,[2] with a density of 308 inhabitants per square kilometre (800/sq mi).


The people of South Cotabato have diverse heritages. Ilonggos from Panay and Negros in the Visayas settled the municipalities of Norala, Banga, Surallah, Sto. Niño and the province's capital, Koronadal, The province's major communication media is Filipino, English or Hiligaynon. On the other hand, people from the Ilocano speaking regions of Luzon settled in Tampakan, Tantangan and Tupi, and the Ilocano language may still be heard spoken in these towns. The Visayan language, Cebuano is also the main ethnic ethnolinguistic group of the municipality of Polomolok and is one of the main ethnolinguistic groups of Tupi (along with Ilonggo and Tagalog, which slightly differs from Manila Tagalog). Both towns are near to Cebuano-speaking General Santos City. Chavacanos are even found in some areas of the province.


As a result of several decades of migration from Visayas and Luzon, South Cotabato became a Roman Catholic predominated province with 77% adherence while Islam is a significant minority religion. Other minorities are various Christian Churches which can be found in some urban parts of the province.

The Maguindanao tribe is the major Muslim Filipino tribe in the province. Although many of them still wear their traditional costumes and practice their native customs, others have come to adapt the more liberal practices of their Christian neighbors such as wearing shorts and sleeveless shirts, eschewing the use of the headscarf, and attending dances/mixed gatherings. Other indigenous Filipino tribes are the T'boli and B'laan tribes in Lake Sebu and T'boli municipalities, famous for their brassworks, beadwork and t'nalak weave. The people of these tribes wear colorful embroidered native costumes and beadwork accessories. The women of these tribes, particularly, wear heavy brass belts with brass 'tassels' ending in tiny brass bells that herald their approach even when they are a long way off.

The people of South Cotabato still retain many of the practices and traditions of their particular tribal heritages, although infused with a flavor that is distinctly Mindanaoan and the product of cultural interaction between the immigrants and the indigenous peoples of the area. One vivid example of this is the predominant use of the native 'malong', the colorful, tubelike garment used as a skirt by the indigenous tribes, in place of a blanket or sleeping bag.


The people of South Cotabato are multilingual, able to communicate in Hiligaynon and/or Cebuano, as well as in both Tagalog and English. Other languages spoken are Ilocano and Maguindanao. The indigenous tribes, in addition, use their own tribal languages. A situation wherein several people, each speaking solely in his own language and are still able to communicate with the others, is not unheard of.


  • Governor: Daisy Avance-Fuentes
  • Vice Governor: Cecil Diel
Provincial capital

The Local Provincial Government holds its official functions in the City of Koronadal. The Provincial Capitol, Provincial Hospital, and all related offices are found in the city.

Legislative districts
District City Municipality Population (2010)
1st General Santos City Polomolok, Tupi, Tampakan 737,086
2nd Koronadal City Banga, Lake Sebu, Norala, Sto. Niño, Surallah, T'Boli, Tantangan 546,074
  • 1st District Representative: Pedro B. Acharon Jr.
  • 2nd District Representative: Ferdinand L. Hernandez

In January 2011, South Cotabato officials began pushing for the separation of General Santos city into a separate legislative district before the May 2013 midterm national and local elections. The province's first district will be reshaped into the towns of Polomolok, Tupi, Tampakan and T’boli. Koronadal City and the six remaining towns will compose the province’s second district.[11]

Musical heritage[edit]

The native Maguindanaon of South Cotabato have a fascinating culture that revolves around kulintang music, a specific type of gong music, found among both Muslim and non-Muslim groups of the Southern Philippines.

Sister province[edit]

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ a b "List of Provinces". PSGC Interactive. Makati City, Philippines: National Statistical Coordination Board. Retrieved 14 May 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Population and Annual Growth Rates for The Philippines and Its Regions, Provinces, and Highly Urbanized Cities" (PDF). 2010 Census and Housing Population. National Statistics Office. Retrieved 14 May 2014. 
  3. ^ "Republic Act No. 4849 - An Act Creating the Province of South Cotabato". Chan Robles Virtual Law Library. Retrieved 8 January 2016. 
  4. ^ "Presidential Decree No. 742; Restructuring the Regional Organization of Mindanao, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi". The LawPhil Project. 7 July 1975. Retrieved 8 January 2016. 
  5. ^ "An Act Creating the Province of Sarangani" (PDF). House of Representatives of the Philippines. 16 March 1992. Retrieved 8 January 2016. 
  6. ^ "Executive Order No. 429; Providing for the Reorganization of the Administrative Regions in Mindanao, And for Other Purposes". The LawPhil Project. 12 October 1990. Retrieved 8 January 2016. 
  7. ^ "Executive Order No. 36; Providing for the Reorganization of the Administrative Regions in Mindanao and for Other Purposes". The LawPhil Project. 19 September 2001. Retrieved 8 January 2016. 
  8. ^ "Republic Act No. 8803; An Act Converting the Municipality of Koronadal, South Cotabato Province, Into a Component City to Be Known As the City of Koronadal" (PDF). House of Representatives of the Philippines. Retrieved 8 January 2016. 
  9. ^ a b c d "Province: South Cotabato". PSGC Interactive. Makati City, Philippines: Philippine Statistics Authority - National Statistical Coordination Board. Retrieved 8 January 2016. 
  10. ^ "Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay: as of May 1, 2010 (SOCCSKSARGEN)" (PDF). 2010 Census of Population and Housing. National Statistics Office. Retrieved 8 January 2016. 
  11. ^ "House Bill 6038". 2012-05-07. Retrieved 2013-02-06. 

External links[edit]