MAGUINDANAO: TRAVEL GUIDE, ITINERARY, HOW TO GET HERE, AND A PLACE TO STAY

Maguindanao Travel Guide
The province of Maguindanao and the independent city of Cotabato holds the gigantic and the stunning mosques in the Philippines. These structures were built as a place of worship but its breathtaking beauty and spectacular architectural design captured the eyes of the travelers, regardless of religion. With that in mind, these two mosques are on top of the list of the tourist destinations in the province.

I thought traveling to Maguindanao and Cotabato City is difficult because of the transportation. I didn't expect that Mindanao, in general, has a lot of integrated terminals connecting the different provinces; making it easier for the locals and the tourists, like me, to travel to the different spots in the region.

tourist spots in Maguindanao
My first destination was the Pink Mosque or the Masjid Dimaukom situated by the highway of Datu Saudi Ampatuan. It's available  on Google Maps, so traveling to this spot will not be difficult. The mosque is painted with a stunning pink to symbolize peace and love. Also, pink symbolizes unity and brotherhood and to fulfill its meaning, the structure was built by the combined hands of Muslims and Christians. Very unusual because mosques are built solely by the Muslims.

tourist destinations in Maguindanao
My next destination was the enormous Grand Mosque or the Masjid Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah in Cotabato City - the biggest mosque in the Philippines. The towering minarets are 43 meters, which is equivalent to a 15-storey building, topped with pilot's light to avoid aerial accidents. The walls are painted with white while the gigantic domes are covered with gold with crescent moons on top. Though I was just outside the compound, I still felt the Arabian ambiance in the area.

tourist attractions in Maguindanao
My Mandatory selfie.

HOW TO GET TO COTABATO CITY, MAGUINDANAO:
From Isulan terminal, in Sultan Kudarat, I rode in a Husky Bus and alighted the crossing near the Pink Mosque. Same highway, rode in a van bound for Cotabato City and alighted at the crossing to the Grand Mosque. Then, rode in trike to the mosque. Remember, always use your Google Maps. Using the mobile map, you can monitor your current location and distance to your destinations. The Pink and the Grand Mosques are available on Google Maps, just search it.

WHERE TO STAY IN COTABATO CITY:
I consider the established hotels in Cotabato City a bit expensive, ranging from 700 pesos and up. While eating at Jolibee, I noticed the signboard "INN - THIS WAY." I judged the signboard, there's no name, very plain and looks new. So, I thought that it's a new establishment hidden in a private subdivision. Since there's trike beside the signboard, I asked the driver to bring to the "INN - THIS WAY." And I discovered Carta de Amor - a new and hidden establishment. For an overnight stay, I spent 500  pesos for a room with single bed, AC, TV and CR. I added it on Google Maps, just search Carta de Amor.

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