North Cotabato to open Fort Pikit as tourism destination

MAKILALA, North Cotabato (MindaNews/07 January) – The provincial government of North Cotabato will open historical Fort Pikit in Pikit town on Tuesday (January 8) as a new tourism destination.

The event, which will be attended by officials from the Department of Tourism and the Spanish government, is part of the province’s effort to earn more revenues from tourism and showcase the improvement in the local peace and order condition.

In May last year, the National Historical Commission of the Philippines declared Fort Pikit as a national historical landmark.

Fort Pikit, which sits on a hill overlooking the Cotabato-Davao highway, was built in 1893 by the Spanish colonizers who wanted to conquer the Moro people of Mindanao.

The Americans also used the fort in their military campaign in Mindanao.

During World War II, the Japanese Imperial Army used it as a garrison.

Aside from promoting Fort Pikit, the province had also built what could become the longest zip line in Southeast Asia, in Barangay New Israel, Makilala town.

The 1.2-kilometer long zip line is being built within the eco-adventure park in the barangay, which is known for monkeys that mingle with the residents free and unharmed. It was inaugurated last week by Gov. Emmylou Talino-Mendoza, Tourism Regional Director Jose Cabulanan and Environmental Development Corporation (EDC) vice president Alejandro Catacutan.

“This will add more attraction to our climbers who are flocking to Mt. Apo this summer, and additional activities to our tourists who just visit to see and feed the herd of monkeys roaming around,” Cabulanan said.

Village chief Lovely Paraiso said he is thankful that the park was built in his barangay since it will mean more jobs for the residents.

Mendoza stressed that developing the tourism potential of the province will bring in more money as well as prove that its peace and security situation has improved.

EDC, which runs the geothermal power plant in Mt. Apo, contributed P5.8 million for the construction of the adventure sports facility in New Israel.

North Cotabato is also developing and promoting the Asik-Asik Falls in Alamada, Batasan hot spring in Makilala, a number of falls in Magpet, spelunking eco-adventure in Kabacan and Pisan cave in Kabacan. (Ferdinandh Cabrera/MindaNews)