Shariff Kabunsuan Festival 2011: Guinakit Fluvial Parade
AFTER EXPERIENCING a devastating flood in June this year, Cotabato City portrays an image of hope as it celebrates its 13th Shariff Kabunsuan Festival from December 3-19, 2011.
Enveloped by a shadow of fear, Cotabato City has always had the difficulty in attracting tourists. When I visited Cotabato City for the second time this year, however, there is a promise of hope that one day soon, Cotabato City will be on the rise, given its rich and colorful cultural heritage and improving economic status.
One of the trappings of its cultural wealth is the Guinakit. According to historical records, Arab missionay Shariff Muhammad Kabunsuan arrived in Cotabato on a guinakit to introduce Islamic faith in Mindanao. During the Shariff Kabunsuan Festival, the people of Cotabato City re-enact the arrival of Shariff Kabunsuan by setting up colorful guinakits at the Rio Grande de Mindanao, the Philippines second largest river system.
Cotabato City’s Guinakit Fluvial Parade is one of the most colorful festival events I have attended. It is one that I could say is very unique to Cotabato City.
I hope the local tourism office can make it bigger next year and create a bigger buzz about it to make it one of the country’s major festivals.
In addition, aside from showcasing the guinakit only during the Shariff Kabunsuan Festival, reviving the guinakit as an active means of transportation from and to Cotabato City or offering tours on board a guinakit can draw more tourists to the city.
Congratulations, Cotabato City and Happy Shariff Kabunsuan Festival!