Today the Muslim world marks Eid ul-Fitr, or the feast of the end of the holy month of Ramadan. To mark this occasion, I’m featuring the Philippines’ largest mosque, the Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Masjid, also known as the Grand Mosque (Wikipedia). Located along the banks of Tamontaka River in Barangay Kalanganan II, Cotabato City, this place of worship was named after the current Sultan of Brunei whose Sultanate partially funded the mosque’s construction.
Work on the mosque began in 2009 and it was built at a reported cost of $48 million (2.1 billion pesos) of which 53% was shouldered by the Sultanate of Brunei while the rest was by the Philippine Government. Sitting on 5-hectares of land donated by the family of former Maguindanao Representative Didagen Dilangalen, the mosque opened to the public during 2011’s Eid ul-Fitr. This place of worship was designed by Felino Palafox Jr. of Palafox Associates, one of the country’s most prestigious architectural firms, and it features four 40-meter-high minarets standing on the four corners of the building’s central section.
The main worshipping area can hold around 1,000 to 1,200 Muslims, with separate areas for men and women as required in Islam. As expected, the mosque is aligned to the Qibla, or the direction towards Mecca, as can be seen on this Qibla map.
The Grand Mosque, with its large size and impressive facade, is now the city’s top tourist attraction. The site can be visited from downtown Cotabato via a jeep towards Awang Airport, followed by a tricycle ride.
If you want to see more photos of this magnificent mosque as well as travel tips when visiting it, go and check out the blog posts of my travel blogger friends: Ferdz Decena, Berniemack Arellano, and James Betia.