Isulan, Sultan Kudarat: The Capital Of Kings
Those who threaten his domain and his beloved people will suffer the might of his kampilan, He is a fierce warrior defiant of foreign aggressors, a leader committed to his belief and duty to his sovereignty. His name echoed across the archipelago, even overseas. His stories of valiance passed on to generations. He is a great Sultan who united the Moro clans of Mindanao, he is an exceptional figure in Philippine history. His name, Sultan Mohammad Dipatuan Kudarat. Today, his unprecedented feats are remembered by naming a province in honor of this great Filipino – the province of Sultan Kudarat.
Every sultan has his own palace. Sultan Kudarat has one we could certainly call “grand” and the marvelous government edifice is built at the heart of the province, Isulan. The modern-Moorish facade of Sultan Kudarat Provincial Capitol glimmers in white over an immense open ground blanketed in green. In front of the three-storey complex stands a bronze statue of the great Sultan, adjacent to another added attraction, a fountain. Be captivated even more when the sun goes out, and its lights go up.
If you find the monumental building and open grounds fascinating, you’ll be overwhelmed by what’s inside Sultan Kudarat Provincial Capitol. Luxurious chandeliers, top-of-the-line furniture forming a star-and-crescent figure, spacious halls – the interiors is undeniably touched by elegance fit for a royalty. Sultan Kudarat Provincial Capitol, as a whole, is grand that I almost forgot it’s home to most local government offices.
I happen to stay close by Sultan Kudarat’s main hub of trade, the Isulan Public Market. Here you’ll find almost everything from basic needs to one of Sultan Kudarat’s major product – coffee. And like in most dry good sections of public markets found in SOCCSKSARGEN (and probably in most markets in Mindanao), you’ll find someone who sells textiles such as a malong. I bought one because my next destination is situated high above the mountains, and temperature drops very low at night.
Five Philippine provinces derived their current names from the names of significant Filipinos in our history. We have, first and foremost, our national hero Jose Rizal, Presidents Elpidio Quirino and Manuel Quezon, Pres. Quezon’s first lady, Aurora Aragon, and we have Sultan Kudarat. These names have immense contributions to what we are today – our identity as Filipinos, and our independence as a free country. Their unparalleled achievements for the Filipino people are more than enough to rightfully name a province after them.
Would you like to share the same honor?
1. Directions to Isulan: There are vans bound for Isulan/Tacurong City coming from Cotabato City, Marbel, Surallah (P50.00), and General Santos City. In my case, I came from Kalamansig. which also have direct vans to Isulan at P350.00.
2. I stayed at the oldest inn in Isulan, the Sultanate Lodge, for P300/ night fan room. It’s nothing fancy, but perfect for backpackers on tight budgets. In addition, Sultanate Lodge is along the highway, close to the market, and vans bound for Surallah (if you’re going to Lake Sebu) are just in front.
3. Directions to Provincial Capitol: You could take a tricycle which costs around roughly P10.00-P15.00 or take a jeepney bound for Tacurong which cost P10.00 at most. Or you could walk. It’s only about 2 kilometers from Isulan roundball.
4. The provincial capitol gladly provide tours for visitors. It’s free, so don’t hesitate to ask.
5. Malongs in the public market costs around P300.00 (Rosalinda fabric), I’m not sure though about other markets. I bought one because I’m going to Lake Sebu and according to locals I met, it really gets cold up there.
6. Coffee at the market range from P10.00 (small plastic) to P60.00 (big plastic). Coffee is really good I still drink it as of this writing, it’s been a month ago since I bought it in Isulan. I sealed it inside a Ziploc bag, removing air.
8. More destinations in Sultan Kudarat
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11. Be safe and happy travels.