Sultan Kudarat is a province that I didn’t think I’d visit during my month-long trip in Mindanao. While it’s a place I’ve always wanted to visit, I just thought I needed 30 more days to explore it. After all, it’s a big province that is rich in natural wonders. But I guess the universe just wanted me to step foot in this province even for only a few hours.
My best friend and I left our rented place in Lake Sebu for a few hours so we can withdraw some cash. The nearest ATM is located in Surallah, South Cotabato which is about 40 minutes via public transportation.
Before we reached Surallah, I was reading my friend’s blog and learned something. Isulan, which is the capital of Sultan Kudarat, is actually less than an hour away. I figured we can go there even for only a few hours. We didn’t have any work that day so after getting some cash, we hopped on a van bound for Isulan.
To an unknown province with no plans
I didn’t have any sort of expectations about the province. Despite hearing a lot of bad stories about this part of the country, I was sure the place where we’re heading is generally safe. Since we had no plans at all, we thought we’d just visit the provincial capitol. I heard that it’s an interesting place worth visiting.
We were dropped off at a nearby market and we chartered a tricycle to get there. Upon arriving the grounds of the provincial capitol, I instantly marveled at the magnificent sight before me.
The Arabic-inspired architecture of the provincial capitol definitely stands out. The 4-storey building glitters with its gold-painted dome.
Everything inside glitters in gold
I was told that inside this magnificent building, you will find seats made of gold. Unfortunately, it was a Saturday which means there were no government employees inside. The intricately-designed golden seats can be found in one of the chambers inside. They are only open during the workweek.
The guard was kind enough to let us enter though. We decided to just wander around and see what we’ll find.
The view inside Sultan Kudarat provincial capitol is unlike any other provincial capitols I’ve seen in the country. As soon as you enter, you will instantly notice the grandeur inside. The place is filled with expensive and luxurious pieces. The window drapes and chandeliers all glitter. Even the floor glitters in gold!
It’s no wonder why this government building is considered one of the finest in Asia.
We found the chamber that houses the seats that I was looking for. I’m sure this chamber is designated for foreign delegations and very important people. I’d definitely go back one day to finally get inside and perhaps, sit in one of them.
Beyond the grandeur of this provincial capitol, it’s worth knowing that it was built in honor of Sultan Kudarat, the most powerful sultan in the Philippines. During his 52-year reign, he successfully defeated Spanish conquerors multiple times. He was so powerful that Spain put a huge bounty for his head.
I’m glad I didn’t pass up the chance to visit the province of Sultan Kudarat. One day, I would love to go to the other municipalities. Nevertheless, exploring the capital for only 3 hours was all worth it. The provincial capitol itself is worth visiting.
It made me realize that one can still enjoy a place even for only a few hours.