NorCot’s centennial anniversary kicks off Print
Sunday, 12 January 2014 14:10

The local communities in North Cotabato launched Friday the commemoration of the September 1, 2014 centennial founding anniversary of the province through the “Halad Festival” in Midsayap town in the province.

The municipality of Midsayap in the first district of North Cotabato is an old settlement, whose residents have survived through all the conflicts and calamities that hit the province in decades past.

Halad means “offering” in both the Cebuano and Ilonggo dialects.

The Halad Festival is a yearly event in Midsayap that jibes with the celebration by local folks of the Feast of Sto. Niño. The 2014 festival, however, is unique with its being the “salvo” for a series of events meant to highlight the commemoration of North Cotabato’s 100th founding anniversary.

The festival is traditionally capped with street dancing parades to show the originality and uniqueness of the cultures and tradition of the local Moro and Christian communities.

Provincial officials, led by North Cotabato Gov. Emmylou Taliño-Mendoza, graced Friday’s launching of the Halad Festival, which will culminate on January 19.

Mendoza’s office oversees all activities meant to drumbeat this year’s centennial founding anniversary of North Cotabato.

Mendoza said she is thankful to local officials in North Cotabato’s 17 towns, and in Kidapawan City, which is the provincial capital, for supporting the efforts of her administration to showcase how the province evolved into a major investment, eco-tourism, and agricultural hub in Central Mindanao in recent years.

Employees of the provincial government will wear during Mondays starting this month traditional Filipino clothes to highlight their commemoration this year of the 100th founding anniversary of the province.

Mendoza told reporters their dress code during Mondays will keep them reminded of the relevance of the provincial centennial celebration.

North Cotabato retained the September 1, 1914 founding anniversary of the “Empire Cotabato Province,” known then as the largest province in the Philippines, whose territory once spanned from South Cotabato and Dadiangas town, which is now Gen. Santos City, to Cotabato City, up to the border of Makilala town in the province, and Bansalan, Davao del Sur.

The Empire Cotabato Province was divided into what are now North Cotabato, South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, and Maguindanao province in 1974 through a decree by then President Ferdinand Marcos. From the territory of South Cotabato emerged Sarangani province, also under Region 12.

North Cotabato is administratively known only as “Cotabato,” but it is always being referred to as “North Cotabato” to highlight its proximity and geographical connectivity with the neighboring South Cotabato province, and Cotabato City.