(First of Two Parts)
Picong, Lanao del Sur — This seashore and riverside town is being groomed as the cultural tourism capital of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
For one, common historical narratives traditionally bind the tribal diversity of Mainland Mindanao and the islands here.
The municipality of Picong lies along the Lanao del Sur section of the Seaside Road connecting the province to Cotabato City in the south and to Lanao Norte and Pagadian City in the north by the east-to-south coastal contour of Illana Bay.
Bangsamoro Parliament Speaker Ali Pangalian Balindong says Sultan Gumander, Picong’s former name, had been gerrymandered by the Marcos government from the old Malabang trade settlement, along with Balabagan and Kapatagan towns.
Hallowed ground is the Picong River headwater in Palaw-A-Bukid, majestically overlooking both Lake Dapao and the Illana Bay adjoining the Moro Gulf.
When in Picong, an eastward travel to Tanaon towards the Picong River headwater at Palaw-A-Bukid heads to the historic seat of power of the old Nago Sa Picong, the ancestor of the powerful Balindong clan that rules the adjoining Malabang and Picong towns.
Palaw a Bukid is a landscape picturesque of the proverbial bests of both worlds: the scenery of Lake Dapao to the east and overlooking the Illana Bay by the west. It’s like the double treat that most tourists would prefer in a Turkey package for the view of two continents—Asia down south by the Mediterranean Sea, and Europe up north by the Black Sea.
Datu Barrage Balindong Ramos Datu, the municipal planning and development officer, said long before becoming a territorial part of the modern-day Lanao del Sur, Picong significantly situated a home-base defense for the Moro people’s wars against western colonization, after Spain had conquered and colonized most of “Las Islas Filipinas.”
Efforts to preserve structural landmarks of the beginnings of the Moro Revolution here in 1969 start with a day-long tour and dialogue between Ramos Datu and a team sent in by BARMM Interior and Local Government Minister Naguib Sinarimbo, composed of Architect Gloryrose Metilla, and Engineer Abibazar Sali, MILG project development officer.
Tourism sites to an erstwhile battleground were popularized in Vietnam, in places like the War Remnants Museum and the Khe Sanh Combat Base Museum, among others.
The local government of Picong is also developing the coastal village of Ramitan, where Philippine Muslim hero Sultan Muhammad Dipatuan Kudarat landed in April 1639 from Bangingi, a Sulu island near Basilan.
The west side of Basilan became the first line of defense of Sulu under Kudarat’s father in-law, Sultan Mawallil Wassit Bungsu, in the expedition of Governor General Sebastian Hurtado de Corcuera from 1637 to 1638.
Ramos Datu shares that the historical facts of Kudarat’s landing here and his delivery of his famous Lake Speech at Dapao will make for interesting cultural tourism development in annual festival rites and re-enactment of historic events.
He said the municipal LGU, with the support of potential development partners like BARMM, will build a platform symbolic of the traditional stage where Kudarat spoke, inciting his Maranao kindred to put up a stronger resistance against colonial aggression. (Next: Walking through Bangsamoro’s Glorious Past in Picong)
COMMENT DISCLAIMER: Reader comments posted on this Web site are not in any way endorsed by Manila Standard. Comments are views by manilastandard.net readers who exercise their right to free expression and they do not necessarily represent or reflect the position or viewpoint of manilastandard.net. While reserving this publication’s right to delete comments that are deemed offensive, indecent or inconsistent with Manila Standard editorial standards, Manila Standard may not be held liable for any false information posted by readers in this comments section.