‘Manisan ka Palimbang’: S. Kudarat town moves on from a terrifying past

The newly constructed baywalk in Barangay Baranayan, Palimbang in Sultan Kudarat province serves as a vantage sunset viewing platform and promenade to locals and tourists. Taken 12 March 2021. MindaNews photo by ZAKI C. SARMIENTO


PALIMBANG, Sultan Kudarat (MindaNews / 16 March) – After six decades, this coastal town is having its first government-owned “high-rise” concrete building, a two-story edifice facing the Celebes Sea.

Fronting the Palimbang Green Palace, the town’s guesthouse worth P10 million, is the newly-constructed baywalk, a P3-million facility now becoming the premiere destination of local residents and tourists for sunset viewing and evening promenade.

The Maguindanaoan phrase “Manisan ka Palimbang” conspicuously dot the baywalk. It means “Palimbang is beautiful.”

Both the guesthouse and the baywalk are located along the highway in Barangay Baranayan.

The construction of the Palimbang Green Palace is the response of the local government unit to accommodate the growing number of local tourists exploring this Sultan Kudarat town. Taken 14 March 2021. MindaNews photo by ZAKI C. SARMIENTO

Mayor Joenime Kapina, a first-termer who initiated such development projects, said the P100-million local government compound will also be rising in the vicinity.

The local government has been using the municipal hospital in the poblacion area to serve clients after the town hall was razed by fire in 2014.

The inauguration of the Palimbang Green Palace and the groundbreaking of the 14-hectare local government compound are slated on March 22, with Sultan Kudarat Gov. Suharto Mangudadatu invited as the major guest, he said.

Mangudadatu is also expected to lead the distribution of 40 units of 150 cc motorcycles to each of the town’s barangays. The provincial government of Sultan Kudarat funded the purchase of the motorcycles.

With the signs of progress and the relatively peaceful condition in the municipality after decades of violence, Kapina said that local tourists have started flocking to Palimbang, a second-class municipality founded on August 14, 1959 through Executive Order 350 issued by then President Carlos Garcia, to enjoy its pristine and less crowded beaches and waterfalls.

Imam Manahan Bayao, in-charge of the mosque in Barangay Malisbong, Palimbang in Sultan Kudarat, points to bullet holes inside the masjid where the infamous Malisbong Massacre took place on September 24, 1974. Photo taken 14 March 2021. MindaNews photo by BONG S. SARMIENTO

Palimbang was the site of the infamous Malisbong Massacre where about 1,500 male Moros were killed by government forces in 1974, many of them inside the mosque in Barangay Malisbong, two years after the late President Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law.

The town also gained notoriety due to the deadly rido or clan war among Muslim clans in the area.

“Before, when 5 p.m. strikes, you will seldom see people in the streets due to the fear sown by lawless elements. When I took over the helm two years ago, I strongly advocated the need to stabilize peace and order. Even if it’s just a minor quarrel between families, we immediately fix them [to prevent rido],” he told MindaNews on Friday.

“Now, Palimbang is generally safe and peaceful and tourists from Region 12 have been coming in to explore our beaches and waterfalls,” he added.

The construction of the Palimbang Green Palace, which can conveniently accommodate at least 40 people at any one time, is the town’s response to the growing arrival of local tourists, the mayor noted.

Mayor Joenime Kapina, of Palimbang in Sultan Kudarat, at the site of the future local government center in Barangay Baranayan on Friday (12 March 2021). MindaNews photo by ZAKI C. SARMIENTO

To also welcome visitors, the local government constructed a P2-million landmark in Barangay Malisbong, the border village of Palimbang with Maitum, Sarangani.

Kapina said the money for the construction of the Palimbang Green Palace, the landmark and the baywalk all came from the local government’s development fund.

The municipality’s annual internal revenue allotment from the national government is at least P300 million, he said.

According to him, the local government is awaiting the arrival of construction equipment worth P70 million to hasten development projects in the town, which is about three hours away from General Santos City by car.

“We want to sustain our momentum of progress and the stable peace and order situation to boost our tourism potentials for more livelihood opportunities to our people,” the mayor said. (Bong S. Sarmiento / MindaNews)