By Ali G. Macabalang
COTABATO CITY – Workforces of this city and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) are set for the yearly commemoration of Arab-Malay preacher Shariff Kabunsuan’s landing in Maguindanao to spread Islam in the 16th century.
The city administration and the BARMM government lined up festive activities for the event peaking on December 19, a day declared as non-working holiday here and across the region for decades.
The festival will commence on Dec. 15 an opening program by ethnic attires-clad revelers converging at the Cotabato State University ground here, preceding a colorful parade, a street dance completion, and an Agro-Trade Fair at the city plaza, the BARMM’s Bangsamoro Information Office (BIO) said.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Agrarian Reform (MAFAR) and Ministry of Trade, Investment and Tourism (MTIT) of the BARMM governance lead the opening activities, the BIO said.
On the Festival Day, the BIO said, workers of the BARMM and city administrations will stage a reenactment along the Tamontaka River of the “Guinakit sa Bubong.” Guinakit is a Maguindanaon term for the colorful boat which shuttled Shariff Kabunsuan towards Maguindanao.
A pagana sa dulang or traditional dinner on footed trays will follow the fluvial boat parade at the Plaza ground of the city government ground where revelers and guests are expected to share foods in thanksgiving, organizers said.
Between Dec. 15 and Dec. 19, city and regional officials led by BARMM Chief Minister Ahod Balawag “Hadji Murad” Ebrahim and Mayor Mohammad-Ali “Bruce” Matabalao will spearhead various intervening activities including oral and narration about the arrival of Shariff Kabunsuan and his Islamic preaching across mainland Mindanao, it was learned.
The legislature of the defunct Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) established in 2006 a province named after the Islamic preachers. But the Supreme Court had later declared the creation of the province on account of the defunct legislature’s lack of power to create a component Congressional district. (AGM)