Cotabato City Travel Guide: The City of Cultural Charms


About Cotabato City

Did you know that Cotabato City doesn’t belong to the Province of Cotabato nor South Cotabato? It actually, politically and geographically belongs to Maguindanao Province.

Apparently, the city’s geopolitical location is as complicated as its history, culture and reputation. A city clouded with fear, and living in the stigma of its history and impression. A place struggling to move away from its own shadow.

But the truth is, like other Mindanaoan City, Cotabato is typically diverse, multicultural and generally peaceful. As the provincial capital of Maguindanao, it is a melting pot of religion and tradition, and a gateway to the best of the region.

I invite you to go beyond your comfort zone, explore and discover Cotabato City and be awed by the multitude of surprises that await every wandering soul in this city and beyond.

Asik-asik Falls of Alameda

How to Get to Cotabato City

By Air:

Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific fly daily from Manila to Awang Airport of Datu Odin Sinsuat, the gateway by air to Cotabato City.

By Land:

Cotabato City is accessible by land from many parts of Mindanao. Buses, jeepneys and minivans link the city to Midsayap, Koronadal, Lebak, Pagadian, Kidapawan, Marawi, Iligan, General Santos, Davao City and to various points in Maguindanao.

Kibucay Falls
Kibucay Falls of Upi, Maguindanao

Going Around and Away

  • Multicab and tricycle are the usual means of transportation around the city, minimum fare is P7.
  • Awang Airport is situated south of the city in the vicinity of Barangay Awang of Datu Odin Sinsuat, flag an Awang jeep to get here from the city proper.
  • Cotabato City has no integrated transport terminals, most vans going north (Marawi, Midsayap, etc.) are stationed along Quezon Avenue near Super Market. Weena Buses going to Davao are also stationed here.
  • Husky Bus Terminal is located along Sinsuat Avenue on the way to Awang Airport from downtown. Husky Bus serves Cotabato City to Isulan and General Santos City routes.
  • Vans to Lebak are also stationed along Sinsuat Avenue near the People’s Palace
Cotabato Diamond Hotel
A single room at Cotabato Diamond Hotel with own T&B for only P400

Where to Stay in Cotabato City

Cotabato Diamond Hotel
Makakua corner Jose Lim Sr. Streets
Contact: +63-64-4215118
Budget: P400 to P1,50
Fan and A/C rooms with own toilet and bath.

Citi Plaza Hotel
Makakua Street
Contact: +63-64-4219148
Budget: P500-P1000
Twin fan and A/C rooms with common toilet and bath, fan and A/C rooms with own toilet and bath.

Hotel Filipino
Sinsuat Ave
Contact: +63-64-4212307 / +63-644213232
Budget: P700-P2000
Fan and A/C rooms. With restaurant/coffee shop.

Grand Rio Hotel
#80 Don Rufino Alonzo Ave
Contact: +63-64-4218770 / +639196555167
Budget: P700 – P1,500
All A/C rooms. With restaurant and function hall.

Hotel Cirilo
Makakua Street
Contact: +63-64-4213583
Budget: P600-P1,000
Fan and A/C single, double, triple and family rooms.

Fiesta Cotabato
Dr. Rabago Street
Contact: +63-64-4215491
Budget: P500-P1,000
Fan and A/C single, double, triple and family rooms. With restaurant and convention hall.

Pension Rafael
San Isidro Street
Contact: +63-64-4212941
Budget: P550-P1,000
Fan and A/C double, triple and family rooms.

Sardonyx Pension House
Gov. Gutierrez Avenue
Contact: +63-64-4211364
Budget: P700-P1,000
All A/C double and deluxe twin rooms. With convention hall.

Azaleas Pension House
Sinsuat Avenue
Contact: +63-64-4218122 / +63-64-4219088 / +639177260282
Budget: P600-P1,200
Fan and A/C single, twin and triple superior rooms.

Vision Inn
Notre Dame Avenue
Contact: +63-64-4219008
Budget: P400-P1,000
Fan and A/C double rooms. With coffee shop.

El Manuel Hotel
111 Quezon Avenue, El Manuel Drive
Contact: +63-64-4219883 / +63-64-4215552
Budget: P1,000-P4,000
All A/C rooms. With function rooms.

Pacific Heights Hotel / The Marqueza
#66 Don. T.V. Juliano Avenue
Contact: +63-64-4212249 / +63-64-4215252
Budget: P1,500-P4,000
All A/C rooms. With function rooms.

Estosan Garden Hotel
Gov. Gutierrez Boulevard
Contact: +63-64-4216777 to 78 / +63-64-4215488
Budget: P2,500-P5,000
All A/C rooms. With function rooms and swimming pools.

Alnor Hotel and Convention Center
Alnor Commercial Center, Sinsuat Avenue
Contact: +63-64-5520188 / +639475557003
Budget: P1,500-P4,000
All A/C rooms. With function rooms.

Margues Blue Lagoon
The Blue Lagoon of Barangay Margues, Datu Odin Sinsuat

Things to do in Cotabato City

  • Taste the local delicacy “pastil”, rice topped with sauteed chicken strips and wrapped in bana leaves
  • Visit  Masjid Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah or the Grand Mosque
  • Explore other attractions of the city: Kutawato Cave, Tamontaka Church, Old City Hall, People’s Palace or New City Hall, Al Jamela Weaving Center, Brassware producers in Barangay Kalangalan, Sultan Kudarat Monument, markets and barter trade centers, etc.
  • Proceed to Asik-Asik Falls of Alamada
  • Check-out Kibucay Falls of Upi
  • See the Blue Lagoons of Margues, Datu Odin Sinauat
  • Go to the Pink Mosque of Datu Saudi Ampatuan
Reese Resto
Reese’s Baby Back Ribs! 🙂

Where to Eat in Cotabato City

There are fast foods and eateries in the city but I highly reccommend these homegrown restaurants:

Cafe Le Sorelle
Sema Bldg, Sinsuat Ave cor Macapagal
Operating Hours: 9AM to 830PM
Must Try: Chicken Lasagna, Blueberry Cheesecake, Halo-Halo A La Sorelle and Mais Con Yelo

Sugar Pappi
Operating Hours: 9AM to 830PM (Mon to Sat) / 10AM to 830PM
Best Sellers: Pansit Guisado, Pasta, Ribs, Sugar Pappi Chocolate Cake, Chocolate Yema

Operating Hours: 8AM to 8PM
Best Seller: Ribs!

Pink Mosque
The Pink Mosque of Datu Saudi Ampatuan

Sample Cotabato Itinerary

3D/2N in Cotabato City (With Asik-Asik Falls, Kibucay Falls and Pink Mosque)

Day 1:
0800H – 0925H Arrival in NAIA T3, Check-in, Pre-Departure
0925H – 1130H Manila to Cotabato
1130H – 1200H Arrival Cotabato City
1200H – 1300H Proceed to Sultan Hassal Bolkiah Masjid (Jeep to City + Trike to Mosque)
1300H – 1400H Around Sultan Hassal Bolkiah Masjid, Back to Husky Bus Terminal
1400H – 1500H Cotabato Husky Bus Terminal to Masjid Dimaukom (Pink Mosque) Datu Saudi-Ampatuan (Van or Bus to Isulan/Tacurong drop off at Datu Saudi)
1500H – 1600H Around Datu Saudi’s Pink Mosque
1600H – 1800H Datu Saudi (to Cotabato City) to Midsayap
1800H – Midsayap / Stay in White Hutt Inn and Resort (+639205329974)

Day 2:
0530H – Call Time
0600H – 0700H Midsayap to Asik-Asik (Habal-Habal)
0800H – 1000H Asik-Asik Falls
1000H – 1100H Asik-Asik to Alamada
1100H – 1200H Alamada to Midsayap
1200H – 1400H Midsayap to Cotabato
1400H – 1600H Kibucay Falls, Upi
1600H – 1700H Kibucay to Cotabato City
1700H – Cotabato City / Stay in Diamond Hotel

Day 3:
0530H – Call Time
0600H – 0900H Kutang Bato / Kuta Wato Cave, Tamontaka Church, People’s Palace, Market, etc.
0900H – 1000H To Airport / Check-in
1000H – 1125H Pre-Departure
1125H – Depart for Manila


  • Take extra precautions and be mindful of travel advisory in this part of Mindanao
  • Foreign nationals are advised to have a local guide or knows someone from the area
  • Globe, Smart, Sun, Talk N’ Text and Touch Mobile have strong presence in the area
  • Best months to travel: April to August

*Originally Published: 21-Aug-2015 | Updates: 04-May-2017; 24-Apr-2018; 23-Mar-2020