Population, 2015: 299,000
Population, 1990: 127,000
Current temperature: 86°F (Sept. 12)
McDonald’s? Yes! Corner of Quezon Ave and Makakua Street
If you flip back two weeks, you’ll learn all about Cyprus – an island with a rift in it between Turks and Greeks. This week’s city, Cotabato, is remarkable for a similar reason: it is on Mindanao, the big island at the southern end of the Philippine archipelago, and much of that island is in what’s called the “Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao,” the ARMM.
While the Cypriot Turks are a minority, and last week’s Kazan-based Tatars are about half of the population, the vast majority (around 80%) of Cotabato’s population is Muslim. One bizarre thing that I have yet to see explained satisfactorily is why Cotabato, the administrative center of the ARMM, is not actually part of the ARMM. Cotabato is part of the Soccsksargen Region (which is itelf an oddball acronym-word jumble meant to combine “South Cotabato”, “North Cotabato”, Sultan Kudarat”, “Saranggani”, and “General Santos”).