Tacurong – The Place in Mindanao Where All Roads Meet

by Cyril P. Pirante of Tacurong City (1st Place – City of Tacurong Feature Writing Contest)

               To those who have never set foot on the place, one wonders what can be found here. I’ll tell you what can be found here — you’ll find what kind of stuff you are made of.

             You’ll find opportunities in seemingly mundane things. You’ll find how to live with people of differing cultures, religion and tongue. You’ll see beauty raw and unadorned. Living in Tacurong is a journey in itself, it is a land full of promise. The city’s future lies over the horizon and intertwined with it are the lives of its inhabitants.

            What many will observe when they come to this city is how one can easily commune with mother nature. Agribusiness being the major source of income, means that the city is surrounded from almost all sides by pastoral land and fields of crop yielding vegetation. The rustic set up encouraged several well to do families to establish resorts and inns on the outskirts of the city taking advantage of large tracts of lands at their disposal. The Monte Vincenteau Resort, the gem of New Passi, is the latest addition of places to visit when one is in Tacurong.

            Then of course, there is the Baras Bird Sanctuary, a haven for migratory fowls located in an oil palm plantation. Bird species of egrets and herons in particular, come in droves at around 6am in the morning and leave in flurry of wings in the late afternoon. This gem of a place has attracted many bird watchers from nearby provinces and is a photography favorite subject by many photographers. Photography clubs sometimes trek here en masse to catch the elusive birds into ethereal images of flight.

            Being a fourth class city , those who are used to the metropolitan life will not find towering skyscrapers here. There are no colorful neon lights at night, there is no traffic, no yuppies and office denizens off in a hurry to avoid the rush hour. Needless to say, there is no teeming populace out on the streets. One could live here free from frivolous distractions and wallet draining forms of entertainment.

            Between rolling fields and the seemingly endless rows of palm oil trees, the sun shines on the bucolic beauty of Tacurong. The quiet, resplendent scenes may inspire in one’s self a chance for introspection, meditation and reflection on life. In Tacurong – you might just be able to find yourself, your center, your balance and what matters most in our short stay here on earth.

            And yet, the modern times is catching up with our city too. Despite of its lack of sophisticated showcase of high-end living, Tacurong can easily become the best of both worlds. Emerging from the bucolic way of life several decades ago, this place is right on its track on becoming one of the premier city in Central Mindanao. From its inception as a component city of Sultan Kudarat in 2000 by virtue of Republic Act 8805 in September 18, 2000 – a date which is now celebrated with the Talakudong Festival,  Tacurong has grown by leaps and bounds. For one, there is an obvious increase of infrastructures being erected in and around the commercial complex of the city. I am no economics expert, but if one is to be empirical about it, an exponential increase in commercial edifices in any place means that business is booming.

            Commercial buildings are on the rise,  markets are thriving and there is even an increase of 24 hour convenience stores around the city which signals that Tacurong is starting to open for business even in the late and wee hours of the day.

            You can see our local government facilities getting a facelift, most notable are its City Health Center, and several LGU buildings to better cater the citizens in need of their service. Even private institutions have ramped up their level of service to Tacurongnons. In the healthcare industry, there is the new St. Louis Hospital, which was recently awarded by PhilHealth as a “Center of Quality” premier tertiary hospital located in New Isabela which offers one of the best facilities and medical expertise with their high end diagnostic equipment. Now, Tacurongnons need not go Koronadal, General Santos or even Davao to have an endoscopy or mammography done. Instead, it is now the other way around as nearby provinces in Sultan Kudarat now flock to Tacurong for medical services not available in their place. Bigwig companies such as PLDT, banks such as Metrobank, Banco De Oro and the soon to open East West Bank find Tacurong a place worth investing in.

            Yes, the skylines of Tacurong are slowly changing. Investors are moving in. The driving force of a competitive market – the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME’s) are on a roll. With the help of the city’s DTI office, many Tacurongnons are becoming entrepreneurs under the “SULONG (Sustaining Unlimited Livelihood Opportunities by Nurturing Growth of SMEs) Tacurong”. This is a program that seeks to fast track investments and commerce in the city through various business forums, city fairs, as well as seminars and productive skills trainings. Needless to say, the city’s LGU is intent in coaxing the entrepreneurial spirit of its people. Tacurongnons interested in putting up a business will never lack assistance and patronage from the local government, all they need is to coordinate with the appropriate office and rest assured that help will come. Through wise administration and political will, a bright future lies ahead of Tacurong as a bustling center for trade and commerce.

            Under the leadership of past and present mayors as well as dedicated public servants and employees, Tacurong has enjoyed local and national recognition in terms of local governance. Among them was an award from the Local Government Support Program and Canadian International Development Authority, the “Kaagapay Seal of Excellence in Local Governance”, the “Seal of Excellence” from the Civil Service Commission.  It was also cited as “Most Child-Friendly City in Region 12”. Even the late DILG Sec. Jesse Robredo has recognized the city’s stellar performance, so much so that his office gave one of its highest honors to Tacurong, “The Seal of Good Housekeeping” and recently the “Gawad Pamana ng Lahi” award. Even the city’s local PNP has enjoyed recognition being cited as the Second Best Police Station-Component City Category in the archipelago. The most recent feather on the cap for the city of Tacurong was it was featured full spread on the Manila Bulletin newspaper, on the most auspicious day of our cityhood’s commemoration – the Talakudong Festival last September 18, 2012. Indeed the spirit of Goodwill is fully alive in Tacurong.

            This goes to show that even with diversity of faith and cultural diversity of its citizens, the city being mostly made up of Ilonggos, Ilocanos, Muslims and a smattering of several ethnic groups like the Bisayas, still, Tacurong had withstood the test of time. Tacurong shows maximum tolerance for people with varying faiths, beliefs as well as ways of life, thus, this is why people identify themselves as Tacurongnons because no matter what ethnic group or religion they belong to, they know that they will not be discriminated against. This is the city of Goodwill. In this place, there is pervading sense of friendliness regardless of who we are, or where we came from, and what we believe in.

            Tacurong is a city full of potential, a treasure waiting to be untapped, to borrow the city’s official hymn; Tacurong is vibrant and unique, dynamic and progressive where diverse people peacefully live in the City of Goodwill.  Uswag Tacurong! ###

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Tacurong: Fusion of Beauty, Culture, and Goodwill

by Anthony Landero of Tacurong City (2nd place – 1st City of Tacurong Feature Writing Contest)

“At the center of Mindanao, is the city of Tacurong. It’s dynamic, progressive; life is great in Tacurong…”

          Every city is defined by unique features.  Consider the colors,landscapes, spots, celebrations or festivals, and the people. Tacurong has a vital story to share and tell.

          From the intertwines of aspirations down to the idealism that people form for every challenge that comes through their lives, Tacurong has always been a melting pot of true Tacurongnon values. And if you have happened to cross the bustled National Highway fronting Mama’s Love Rendezvous   at peak hours and seen the dancing traffic policeman, dance and groove at the music and tunes of nightlife, eat rice and chicken roll-in-one called “pastel” at Pastil Republik, savor the sumptuous pork barbeque and Liempo of Boyam’s and Bennox, stay for a some coffee or beer at Dragon Convenience, or have spa or beauty regiments with Emon’s and Jonas and Friends’ Salon, you will definitely feel the dynamism of life in this city has to offer.

           Being the political, economic, social, cultural and educational center of the province, Tacurong is dynamically a strategic development point of the region. From being a small barangay of Buluan (Maguindanao), Tacurong became a municipality of Sultan Kudarat and eventually became the first and only city of the province and has remained to be the gateway of the province to introduce itself in the entire country.

          Strolling in the city, the iconic public promenade Tacurong City Park should be the starting focal point in exploring the splendors of life in Tacurong. The park is home to the Rizal Monument, beautiful landscapes, picnic areas, benches for resting and chatting, and the city’s tennis area. Though the park only opens until seven o’clock in the evening, you can maximize already your stay there in one or two hours so there’ll be no hustle and bustle to feel.  At the left of the area is the office of the Bureau of Fire and Protection and the city grounds where you can see the cemented replica of the Philippine map while watching fish swim in the water from the dancing and lighted fountain therein.  Indeed, if you go there, you can see many families enjoying with their children playing games while having a picnic.

             Food must also be a very big reason why Tacurong either holds back its people or keep visitors on coming. “Hamal”, as they may call it, is evidently in the limelight of different food hubs and restaurants across the city. The soothing feeling of eating interesting and delicious food is a priority for the best chefs and cooks in the area. Visitors usually have wide range of options – from pricey, continental, local, ethnic, cheap, purely seafood, halal food and many more. Indeed, because of this wide horizon of options, people always have the feeling of curiosity of what one restaurant can offer over the other. Mang Gorio, Yunik, Jim’s Place, BJ’s, Goldy’s Food, Julson, Bidz, Nice Place, Green Garden and Maguindanao Food Center – these are just some of the popular restaurants that are already gaining grounds in proving what EATING really is.

              If you look at the profiles of these food courts and restos, you can have choices of being in touch with Filipino servings and on the flip side of it, also have choices of dishes from other countries that have successfully refined and integrated its marketability to the Filipinos. There is also a value of knowing how ‘kwek-kwek’, ‘isaw’, ‘gulaman’ and other Filipino street food and drinks taste that you can find infront of the schools especially fronting the Notre Dame of Tacurong College and Tacurong Pilot Elementary School.

          If you want to dance in grooves of new trend music, you can visit Hutshots, Barrio Cinco, and Gazebo. And after the night, you’ll realize that it’s completely an unforgettable Tacurong experience that is worth reckoning and repeating.

               If you want to take relaxation booze with your friends, you can visit Jag Massage Parlor, Joan Massage Clinic and the city – supported Tacurong City Massage place.

                 For your place of stay, don’t worry for Edjin’s Pension House, Beldent Star Hotel, Woodland Inn, Twin’s Lodge, among others are there to give you comfort and safety.

                 Tacurong does not house towering skyscrapers that crown each other in chase of the heavens but it does with herons and egrets at Baras Bird Sanctuary which is located some kilometers away from the city proper. Just one ride from the Baras Tricycle Terminal and, hola! you are already in the majestic and environmental – friendly, two – hectar, semi – private land of the sanctuary. Thousands of birds chirping, flying, feeding, and mating are there!

          If you want second-hand clothes sold for very low prices but still wearable and clean, visit the “Ukay-Ukay” stalls during market day (Wednesday) at public terminal and surely, you will not regret it.  But, if you happened to visit not on a Wednesday, try the Wagwagan or Ukayan at the back of Jollibee at Ledesma Street.

        Tacurong is also known for its celebrations that really define the true Filipino values. We have the Nuestra Sra. Dela Candelaria patronal fiesta every 2nd day of February and the Talakudong Festival (city founding anniversary) every 18th of September from August 3 (municipal founding anniversary) where circuses, daily shows and presentations, search and pageants, and the street dance and field demonstration can be found and enjoyed.

       During Talakudong Festival, the Mutya ng Siyudad ng Tacurong is crowned together with her other princesses. The colorful and festive looks of participants of the Talakudong Street dance and Field Demonstration add in the excitement and beauty of the city – visit.

    Being a PAMANA awardee and a recognized Child-Friendly city, TACURONG is surely a great addition in your “Bucket List”.

           Home to about 90 thousand people and counting, Tacurong continually strives to be at the core of values and a home to many dissenting beliefs coming together and spelling what it means to be a Filipino. And the representation of the people all over the country gracing Tacurong evenly supplements the rich cultural diversity that the city is taking pride from.

          Today, Tacurong is not just a home to Filipino values. At the light of preservation schemes and the effort to strike a balance with the need for assimilation to other cultures, it is a home to people all over the world. It’s a perfect place for the opportunity to know Filipino values, traditions and cultural beliefs, and at the same time, to feel safe from that warm hospitality that Tacurongnons provide to the visitors which is also a reflection of what Filipinos have been famous for.

          Weaving the fabric of peace and unity, threading the pieces of love and admiration, the merging of the scenic beauty and rich cultural diversity completes a Tacurong experience that one will never forget.

          And even if every city has its own unique story to share, Tacurong, as a place for knowing Filipinos and the traditions, cultures within, is the best living story of a city of burning hope and goodwill and passionate Filipino resilience. ###

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The Goodwill named Tacurong City

by JR Lopez Gonzales of Iligan City (3rd Place – 1st City of Tacurong Feature Writing Contest)

The bus revved off again to my destination, Cagayan de Oro. From the Tacurong Bus Terminal, peering out the window I saw the cityscape: the Notre Dame of Tacurong, Tacurong Fit Mart, and the city’s roundball (rotunda) where the giant salakot (traditional wide-rimmed hat) rests. I watched these entire images whirred pass the window of the Rural Transit bus just like the images from the television. It will be a long eight-hour trip again to CDO and Tacurong City is my take-off point.

I am not a Tacurongnon. I am a student in Iligan City born and raised in Sultan Kudarat’s neighboring province of South Cotabato. But for more than seven years of constantly going back and forth to South Cotabato and Cagayan de Oro (the last stop before going to Iligan City), and growing up in the Southern part of the Philippines, I’ve got to say that I had a decent number of enjoyed moments in this wonderful city.

You see, my father is from Sultan Kudarat; he was born and raised in Isulan. While it is true that I am not able to enjoy the City as much as I did when I was younger, this mid-sized city is rich with happy memories that I always cherish.

The City of Tacurong is located in the center of Mindanao and lies at the crossroads of the Davao-General Santos-Cotabato highways. As a strategic center for Mindanao transport, Tacurong City is often visited by tourists, passengers, and transients on their way to various cities. As mentioned, my eight-hour trip to Cagayan de Oro City in Misamis Oriental starts at its Tacurong Bus Terminal.

Tacurong became the first city in the Province of Sultan Kudarat through the signing of the Republic Act 8805 on September 18, 2000 by former President Estrada[1]. Checking the Internet for backgrounders, I’ve discovered that the word talakudong refers to the Maguindanon word for “head covering which was worn by most of the early settlers and people in the area”[2]. And from the oral passing of the name, it evolved to “Tacurong”, as what the place is known now.

More than its vital role as the host of the transport network for land travel in the island, the city is one of the most competitive cities in the Mindanao Area owing its revenues from the large plantations of agricultural products mainly, the African Oil Palm (Elaeis guineensis). The versatile oil palm is shipped to Manila to be used in a lot of things including plastics, soap, and for other chemical uses. According to the website Local Philippines, its annual yield is 22,980 metric tons on 1,034 hectares planted[1]. That sure is a lot!

The other main industry found in the city is rice and corn milling and trading. As proof to its bustling agricultural economy, nineteen (19) medium to large scale rice mills operating thirty units and two corn mills operating three units in the locality including the giant National Food Authority-Southern Philippines Grains Complex (NFA-SPGC) silo (Mechanical Drier) and rice mill, which is one of the biggest grains facilities in Asia[2].

People from neighboring towns (with people from Isulan included) actually travel to Tacurong City to sell their products or purchase their needs at the affordable shopping establishments. Sometimes when we travel from Isulan riding on a skylab (motorbikes with extended seats), the vast and sturdy African Oil Palm plantations often greets us along the highway.

The city’s thriving economy is also witness to the sprouting educational institutions (primary to tertiary), banking, accommodations, and medical facilities. On the other hand, food tripping is also a good idea when you visit this city of predominantly melodious Ilonggo speakers. While there are a lot of restaurants around the city premises, a special heads-up from me would be, eating out at VE-JR Aqua Farm Ihaw-Ihaw sa Exit; their deep-fired African catfish (locally know as hitô) is very delicious!

Still to be known to the rest of the country, a handful of Tacurong City’s tourist spots should be on everyone’s travel list. Worth mentioning is the Baras Bird Sanctuary at Purok San Francisco in Barangay Baras, which is a natural haven to thousands of Black Crowned Night Herons and Cattle Egrets. This spectacular natural habit was inaugurated in 2002, which covers nearly two hectares housing about 10,000 bird species[3].

Tacurong is not an exception to the Filipinos’ predilection to festivities. The city celebrates its “Talakudong Festival” every year to the delight of tourists (domestic and foreign tourists, alike). Its festival lasts about a month replete of various enjoyments. A multitude of trade fairs, plant shows, bicycle tours, various art contests, singing contests, dance competitions, sportsfests, and other fun-filled activities are held on this wonderful season (now on its 10th year) with the highly-anticipated, “Mutya ng Tacurong” Pageant Night as its main attraction.

But aside from the joys of the various events, the most important factor any city can have is its people. Amazing enough, despite the diversity of its peoples: the Christian settlers, Maguindanons, and the indigents, the city is known for its kindness. From the bus terminal, to the tourism office, up to the clerks of its establishments, the Tacurongnons are one of the friendliest people I know. A smile from even the lowly worker is enough to make you feel at ease.

And as I recollect my visits to Tacurong, I was actually amazed on how fast the city has progressed from its humble beginning as a sleepy town in 2000. Time has proven to change most things; but the city’s accommodating spirit from the time I was a strolling little kid up to now is very laudable. Indeed, Tacurong City is rightfully called as, “The City of Goodwill”.


[1] Wikipedia website. “Tacurong City”. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tacurong (18 September 2012).

[2] Ibid.

[3] Local Philippines website. “Tacurong City”. http://www.localphilippines.com/destinations/tacurong_city (19 September 2012).

[4] Ibid.

[5] Local Philippines website. “Baras Bird Sanctuary”. http://www.localphilippines.com/attractions/8139/baras-bird-sanctuary (19 September 2012).

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Judging Criteria for IGPAT and Feature Writing 2012


Discover Tacurong Category

  Relevance to the Theme –             40%

 Does the photo reflect the theme’s message? Does it show Tacurong’s interesting and fun features? Does it show Tacurong’s vibrancy and uniqueness? Does it highlight Tacurong as the City of Goodwill?

 Composition/Arrangement –        20%

 Is the object/s of photo neatly arranged and pleasant to the eye? Is the angle or perspective used by the photographer interesting?

 Focus/Sharpness/Lighting –          20%

 Is the photograph sharp? Is the object of the photo in focus? Does it use proper lighting? 

 Creativity-                                    20% 

 Does the photographer show creative and original idea in the making of the photo?

Total: 100%   


Talakudong Festival Category

Visual Impact     (Clarity: 30%; Spontaneity 30%)    60%         

Theme  (Festival mood, vibrancy and ambience)       40%

Total: 100%            



Content – 30%

Organization and clarity of the message – 25%

Overall appeal to the reader – 25%

Grammar and structure  –  20%

Total: 100%

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City of Tacurong Feature Writing Contest 2012


  1. The contest is open to all interested individuals.
  2. The contestants must submit a 1000 to 1500-word creative nonfiction/feature story about Tacurong. Entries must be about but not limited to the city’s people, life, Talakudong Festival, tourism, business and economy, environment, etc. Write-ups must be in the English language.
  3. Entries must be submitted on or before September 21, 2012.
  4. Entries must be submitted via e-mail (cityoftacurong@yahoo.com) and/or in print to the Tri-Media Room, 2nd floor City Hall Building, Tacurong City. Subject of email must be Feature writing contest entry. Email should include participant’s full name, address, and cellphone number.
  5. The entry must be computer encoded in a short-sized (8.5’’ x 11’’) paper with the following specifications: Font size -12pt; Margins-1’’ all sides; Font style – Times New Roman; Spacing-1.5.
  6. Each participant must submit only one entry.
  7. All entries shall be the property of the City Government of Tacurong after the competition. The city government reserves the right edit/use all essays for publication.
  8. The decision of the Board of Judges is FINAL.

Winners will receive:

  • 1st –  P5,000.00 plus certificate
  • 2nd – P3,000.00 plus certificate
  • 3rd – P2,000.00 plus certificate

For more details please contact the Tri-Media Room at 064-384-2158 or text 09151784315.

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IGPAT SANG KAMERA 2012 – City Of Tacurong Photography Contest

Theme: It’s More Fun in the City of Goodwill

The Contest shall have 2 categories:

Discover Tacurong Category (Exclusive for Tacurong Photographers)

Entries for this category must have been taken not earlier than August 16, 2012 within the City of Tacurong. Entries must depict the vibrancy of and what is uniquely Tacurong.

All entries for the Discover Tacurong Category must be submitted on or before September 6, 2012 with duly accomplished entry forms to the Tri-Media Room 2nd Floor, City Hall building.

Entries will be displayed in a Photo Exhibit at the lobby of the city hall from September 10-30, 2012.

Winners will receive:

 First prize      P5, 000 & certificate

 Second prize  P3, 000 & certificate

 Third prize      P2, 000 & certificate

Talakudong Festival Category (Open to all photographers)

Entries for this category must be taken during the 12th Foundation Anniversary and Talakudong Festival on August 27-September 18, 2012. Entries must conform to the festival theme.

Deadline for the submission of entries is on September 20, 2012 with duly accomplished entry forms to the Tri-Media Room, 2nd Floor, City Hall building. Photos will be exhibited on September 24-30, 2012.

Winners will receive:

 First prize      P8, 000 & certificate

 Second prize  P5, 000 & certificate

 Third prize      P3, 000 & certificate

General guidelines

  1. Entries must be accompanied by the official entry form with the title and brief description of the picture, name and signature of the photographer, address, date the picture was taken and place where the picture was taken. Entries must be placed inside a brown envelope.
  2. Entry forms are available at the Tri-Media Room, 2nd Floor of City Hall building or can be downloaded through this link https://docs.google.com/document/d/118-o3eKWQP5-oV7ZpuyCuxK_Zt0wlBl7G69T8LypKPo/edit.
  3. Nudity, vulgar, obscene, scandalous, gruesome, and violent photos are automatically disqualified. Photos should focus on the theme.
  4. Entries should be in 8” x 12”, in color prints, unmounted and taken in either film or digital format.
  5. Photos must be in their original form (JPEG format), not super-imposed or retouched or edited in any photo editing software. Manipulated or enhanced photos will NOT be accepted. Entries must be accompanied by negatives (if using films).  Digital photos must be written into a CD.
  6. Printed photos must not have any identifying marks that would indicate its owner.
  7. In each category, participants can submit a maximum of 3 entries.
  8. One photographer can only win one prize in each category.
  9. The city government of Tacurong reserves the right to cancel the contest in the event that an insufficient number of entries of suitable quality are submitted.
  10. All entries shall be the property of the City Government of Tacurong. The city government reserves the rights to use all photo entries for any printed materials and advertisements to further promote the city and the festival. Proper credit shall be given to the photographer.
  11. The decision of the Board of Judges is FINAL.

For more details please contact the Tri-Media Room at 064-384-2158 or text 09151784315.


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