The Grand Mosque of Cotabato also known as Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mosque is the largest mosque in the Philippines that can accommodate up to 15,000 people. It is located on Tamontaka Bubong Road in Cotabato City and is built in 2011.
It is named after Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei and reportedly worth USD48 million with around 53% partly funded by the Sultan and the rest was funded by late President Noynoy Aquino.
The Grand Mosque was designed by a local architecture firm named Palafox Associates of Felino Palafox. The mosque has 14 golden domes with their tips decorated with crescent moons. The 4 minarets stand at a height of up to 40 meters and are lit at night to guide the aircraft pilots flying near the area. The total size of the space occupied by the mosque is around 5,000sqm.
While the Grand Mosque allows other people with different religions, it is expected for visitors to follow the rules within the building. Women should wear hijab or “tandong” to cover their heads and wearing shorts and revealing clothes are not allowed. For men, wearing pants matched with a t-shirt or polo is the commonly acceptable attire.
Drone flying is allowed but securing permission to the nearby military post/barracks should be done. Avoid flying close to the mosque, especially at the time of their worshipping.
How to Get to Grand Mosque
The nearest airport is Awang Airport in Cotabato City. From the airport, take a tricycle ride for a Php100 special trip or Php20 per head for a group of five to take you to the highway. You may also walk from the airport if you are not in a hurry.
The next ride is thru a multi-cab. Ask the driver to drop you off at Kanto Bubong. Fare is Php15 per head and travel time is around 30 minutes or less. Note that there are tricycle drivers that will offer you a ride to Grand Mosque and normally they will charge higher than usual.
From Kanto Bubong, you need to ride the “payong-payong”, another kind of local tricycle in the city. The fare is Php40 per head one way. You may talk to the driver to wait until after you finish visiting the Grand Mosque. If not, look for another ride back to Kanto Bubong for the same fare.