City of Fruits and Highland Springs

Text Box: Kidapawan City
Kidapawan City is situated at the southeastern portion of Cotabato province, located almost midway between the cities of Davao and Cotabato at a distance of 110 kilometers and 120 kilometers, respectively. It is the capital city of Cotabato Province and currently the seat of the Provincial Government.

Kidapawan, the city hailed as “A Spring in the Highland”, comes from the Manobo words “tida” which means spring and “pawan” meaning highland. The city is found at the bottom of the majestic Mt. Apo, the country’s highest peak. The city is a favorite tourist destination from late October to December and also during summers as many tourists cannot resist the lore of trekking the tallest mountain in the country.

Its first settlers were predominantly Manobos. The influx of Christian settlers from Luzon and the Visayas has resulted in the evolution of the word Tidapawan to Kidapawan.

History. Kidapawan City was legally created by virtue of Republic Act. No. 8500, signed by then President Fidel V. Ramos on February 12, 1998, making it a component city of Cotabato Province. The people overwhelming ratified the said Act on March 21, 1998 during a plebiscite conducted for the purpose.


Originally named a district of Pikit in 1942, Kidapawan was later declared a separate municipality by virtue of Executive Order No. 82 issued by then President Manuel Roxas on August 18, 1947 – thereby becoming the fourth town of the then Empire Province of Cotabato, composed previously of the municipalities  of Cotabato (now Cotabato City), Dulawan (later named Datu Piang) and Midsayap.


Created along with the city were the 12 original barangays, namely: Birada, Ginatilan, Indangan, Linangcob, Luvimin, Manongol, Marbel, Mateo, Meohao, Mua-an, Perez, and Sibawan. From the original land area of 273, 262 hectares, Kidapawan retained only 34,007.20 hectares when four municipalities were created from it namely: Magpet (June 22, 1963, R.A. 3721), Matalam (Dec. 29, 1961, E.O. 461), M’lang (Aug. 3, 1951, E.O. 462) and President Roxas (May 8, 1967, R.A. 4869).

Prior to its conversion to a municipality, five appointed District Mayors had served Kidapawan. The first was Datu Siawan Ingkal, tribal chieftain of the Manobos, who headed the Civilian Emergency Administration when World War II broke out. He was followed by Felimon Blanco, Ceferino Villanueva, Jacinto Paclibar, and Alfonso Angeles Sr., who became the first elected mayor of the municipality.

 Kidapawan became the provincial capital of North Cotabato pursuant to Presidential Decree No. 341 dated 22 November 1973, with the provincial seat of government located in Amas. Later, Batas Pambansa No. 660 dated 19 December 1983 renamed the Province of North Cotabato just plain Cotabato. By the time it became the province’s capital, Kidapawan had already 40 barangays under its geopolitical jurisdiction.

Political Subdivision.  The city which belongs to the second district of Cotabato province is politically subdivided into 40 barangays as follows:

  • Amas
  • Amazion
  • Balabag
  • Balindog
  • Binoligan
  • Birada
  • Gayola
  • Ginatilan
  • Ilomavis
  • Indangan
  • Junction
  • Kalaisan
  • Kalasuyan
  • Katipunan
  • Lanao
  • Linangcob
  • Luvimin
  • Macebolig
  • Malinan
  • Manongol
  • Marbel (Embac)
  • Mateo
  • Meohao
  • Mua-an
  • New Bohol
  • Nuangan
  • Onica
  • Paco
  • Patadon (Patadon East)
  • Perez
  • Poblacion
  • San Isidro
  • San Roque
  • Santo Niño
  • Sibawan
  • Sikitan
  • Singao
  • Sudapin
  • Sumbac
  • Magsaysay

Population. Based on the 2000 census, the city has a total population of 101,205 with an average household size of 4.93 members belonging to 20,393 households.

Ethnic Group and Dialect Widely Spoken.  The Cebuanos are the predominant ethnic group in the city. Other ethnic groups residing in the area are the Hiligaynons/Ilonggos, Tagalogs, Ilocanos, Boholanos, and Manobos. The Cebuano dialect is widely used especially in the city proper.

Climate. Located outside the typhoon belt, the city is blessed with a favorable climate characterized by wet and dry seasons. The coldest time of the year is between December and January while the warmest months are April and May.


Total Population (2000) 101,205
Projected Population (2010,  1995-based medium series) 126,366
Annual Average Growth (1995-2000) 3.10
Population Density (2000) 223.7
Sex Ratio (2000) 102.7
Average Family Size (2000) 4.93
Simple Literacy Rate (2000) 95.0
Public Elementary Cohort Survival Rate (SY 2005-06) 51.16
Leading Cause of Mortality (2006) Cardio Vascular Accident
Leading Cause of Morbidity (2006) Upper Respiratory Tract Infection
Sources: NSO, DepEd, CHO Kidapawan City  

Economy.  Kidapawan City was classified as a first class city per Department of Finance Order No. 20-2005 . In 2006, it yielded an income of Php268.94 million, of which 73.8 percent constituted the IRA. Of its Php314.22 million total expenditures for the year, 25.9 percent were expended on economic services.

The City is considered as the province’s industrial hub. It plays a pivotal role in the economic development of the province and its adjacent areas. It is the commercial and trading hub of six neighboring municipalities. It lies at the heart of two large domestic markets: Davao City and Cotabato City.

Industries. The cutflower industry is a good source of livelihood among Cotabateños, especially those residing in Kidapawan City.  In addition to ornamentals and forest tree seedlings, flowers such as roses, anthuriums, and orchids are abundantly grown locally providing a very promising and highly profitable source of livelihood and business in the area.

Kidapawan city prides itself as the fruit basket of the Philippines. Exotic fruits like durian, mangosteen, lanzones, marang, rambutan, banana, and the like are grown and harvested in abundance from the rolling highlands of Mt. Apo, passing through the wide plains of the rural communities of Kidapawan City, and down into the backyard of every household.

Crops abundantly grown in the area include abaca, rubber, corn, rice, coconut, and vegetables.

Tourism. Kidapawan City is synonymous to Mt. Apo which towers at 10,311 feet above sea level with a total area of 14.6 square meters. The country’s tallest peak is an abode to the almost extinct Philippine Eagle. The majestic mountain is surrounded by moss-covered century-old-trees, captivating flora and fauna, sulfur craters, and massive boulders. Within the Mt. Apo Natural Park is the Mandarangan Geological Site which is being promoted as a major educational tourism site. Lake Venado which is hidden among the mountain ranges stood at an elevation of 7,200 feet above sea level. Its crystal waters mirror the twin peaks of Mt. Apo. Lake Agko, on the otherhand, is a steaming blue lake where hot and cold springs converge. It stood at an elevation of 4,200 feet above sea level. It is five kilometers from the jump-off point for the mountain trekking at Barangay Ilomavis, Kidapawan City.

The Marbel Falls, which is a hidden twin falls of about 60 to 70 feet in height, is surrounded by hot springs. The Mawig Falls on the otherhand, which is located in Barangay Balabag, is the source of the crystal-clear waters of Matingao River.

To celebrate the abundance of the exotic fruits grown in Kidapawan City, the city government spearheads the annual celebration of the Timpupo Festival. Dubbed “Timpupo” from the Manobo word “harvest”, the celebration signifies the people's thanksgiving for the bountiful harvest and richness of the exotic fruits that thrive in the area. The Timpupo Festival is the best venue to savor the sweet, rich, and healthful banquet of tropical fruits which usually falls during the harvest season -August to October - depending on the ripening of fruits. Activities featured during the annual event   include the Fruit Galore, Fruit Float Parade, Fruit Arrangement and Street Dancing Competition.

How to get there. Travel by Air or Sea to Davao City, Cotabato City, Cagayan de Oro City or General Santos then take a bus ride to Kidapawan City.