The grandeur of the Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah Masjid (Muslim center of worship), which reportedly costs $48 million, dominates the landscape in this village backdropped by the Moro Gulf.
Partly funded by Brunei and designed by the renowned Philippine architectural firm Palafox Associates, the mosque in Kalanganan Dos, some eight kilometers from the main road, is being constructed by the Manila-based New Kanlaon Construction, Inc.
“The mosque itself is 99.12% complete,” Richard Harris Jordan, project manager, said last week, adding they expect to finish the project by May 15.
Its minarets measure 43 meters high (141 feet) on top of which are pilot’s lights to avoid aerial accidents at night, he told MindaNews.
The height is equivalent to a 15-storey building. Crescent moons adorn the domes painted in gold.
Jordan declined to state the exact amount of the project, but said the funding of the mosque was “53% shouldered by the Sultanate of Brunei.”
The construction of the mosque started two years ago and was announced with the coming then of Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah to Manila.
Reports then said that Brunei would fund the $48 million mosque project.
Sultan Bolkiah has reportedly been invited to the grand opening.
Brunei, a rich country known for its oil deposits, has been helping in the Mindanao peace process between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation.
It is a member of the Malaysian-led International Monitoring Team, which is monitoring the implementation of the ceasefire agreement between the government and the Moro rebels.
Jordan said the mosque alone occupies an area of at least half a hectare or 5,000 square meters, within a five-hectare property donated by the family of former Maguindanao representative Didagen “Digs” Dilangalen.
The mosque can accommodate 800 male and 400 female worshippers, Jordan said.
A fountain will be among the main features of the courtyard, but is still to be installed.
The building is painted in white and gold. Workers, however, are still busy attending to the fence and landscaping .
At one time, Jordan said 300 workers were hired for the construction but the number has been reduced now to a little over a hundred as the building is now almost complete.
Cotabato City is the administrative center of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. (Bong S. Sarmiento/MindaNews)