| HISTORY : According to a Manobo creation myth, the fertile flood plain between the Kulaman and the Pulangi Rivers was the birthplace of life on earth. Soil stolen from another world was deposited in this place, which they refer to as pinamua or 'land of the beginning'. Cotabato is bounded on the north by the province of Bukidnon, on the northwest by Lanao del Sur, on the southwest by Maguindanao, Sultan Kudarat to the south, and on the east by Davao del Sur. Mountains to the east peak at Mount Apo, a volcanic cone that is the highest mountain in the Philippines. In the west, the Piapayungan Range separates it from Lanao del Sur. The fertile Pulangi River basin runs in the middle of these two highlands and spreads towards the southwest to the food plains of Maguindanao. Typhoons do not pass through Cotabato and rainfall is evenly distributed through out the year.
Cotabato, chartered city in the southern Philippines, on southwestern Mindanao Island, in northern Maguindanao Province. Cotabato is located on the north side of the delta of the Río Grande de Mindanao (formerly Cotabato River). Cotabato's port is 18 km (11 mi) north at Parang, on Poloc Harbor, an arm of Illana Bay. Cotabato is the main commercial center of southwestern Mindanao Island, but its swampy delta and remoteness have kept it from achieving the commercial importance of other cities on Mindanao, such as Davao and Zamboanga. The valley of the Río Grande de Mindanao, called the Cotabato Valley, is one of the country's major agricultural regions.
PEOPLE AND CULTURE : The first Visayan settlers reached the town of Pikit in 1913, and since then a stream of Christian migrants have moved and lived in Cotabato. Thus the principal dialect is Cebuano. However, there are minority groups inhabiting the province like the Manobos, T’bolis and Maguindanaos. Of the three, the Manobos are the most populous. Kidapawan is a Manobo cultural center.
The original Cotabato experienced its first reduction in size in 1966 when South Cotabato was separated from the empire province. South Cotabato now belongs to Region XI. Despite the separation of South Cotabato, Cotabato retained its moniker "Empire Province of Cotabato" and still had 34 municipalities left, one of which (Carmen) was bigger than the Province of Tarlac.