Photo by Hamdan Badrudin/BIO
COTABATO CITY—Hundreds of fleets embellished with colorful and vibrant ornaments sailed along the rivers of Kalanganan II of this city Monday morning, Dec. 19, to honor the arrival of Shariff Kabunsuan in Mindanao which started the spread of Islam 500 years ago.
The highly anticipated Guinakit (a convoy of boats)—a re-enactment of the Arab missionary’s arrival in the banks of ‘Masla Pulangi’ (now Rio Grande de Mindanao)—is said to be the grandest fluvial parade as the Regional Government of BARMM and City Government of Cotabato teamed up for the first time.
Bangsamoro Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim expressed his joy that he witnessed the Guinakit Fluvial Parade with thousands of Cotabateños.
“I am very happy that after the struggle of the Bangsamoro, I am here with you celebrating this most important celebration of our generations,” Ebrahim shared.
“This creative and meaningful ceremony is a symbol of the past journey and adventure of those who lived before us and left civilized and progressive communities and rich cultures that we take pride in and cherish until now,” the Chief Minister added.
He also shared that the message of this fluvial parade goes beyond the colorful and
creative designs of the boats.
“It is also a celebration of our creativity, solidarity, and resiliency […] This day is the most important day for the Bangsamoro people as it marks the formation of our identity as Bangsamoro in this part of the country. Without the coming of Shariff Kabunsuan, Bangsamoro will never exist,” Ebrahim stressed.
City Mayor Mohammad Ali Matabalao also conveyed the message of peace and unity despite diversity.
“More than the display of this colorful bancas, ang paggunita kay Shariff Kabunsuan ngayon ay isang makabuluhang okasyon dahil ito ay sumisimbolo sa hindi natitinag na pangako ng mga tao na itaguyod ang kanilang paniniwala sa relihiyong Islam habang iginagalang ang pagkakaiba-iba ng iba pang kultura, relihiyon, wika, at tradisyon,” Matabalao said
“May we be reminded that other than faith, it is the message of peace and unity among those who shared the same that this festival wants us to share and remember that Cotabato City, being the crown jewel of BARMM, is truly ‘Para Sa Lahat’,” he added. (Aisah Abas/Kasan Usop, Jr./BIO)