Saturday, April 19, 2014


The Thanksgiving mass of the newly created Cardinal from Mindanao, His Eminence Orlando Cardinal Quevedo, OMI offered us the chance to visit Cotabato City.  His thanksgiving mass coincided with his 75th birthday last March 11, 2014. Being the first Cardinal of Mindanao, the celebration was expectedly a grand affair. Even the president of the country came to witness the event. The Papal Nuncio and several bishops also attended the celebration. The mass was celebrated at the Cathedral of Cotabato City at five o’clock in the afternoon. Dinner and  program was held right after the mass.

Being already in Cotabato City I grabbed the opportunity to meet some relatives that I just recently came to know of, the Piñols from the province of Cotabato.  The mother of the Piñols is a Fantin who originally came from Abuyog, Leyte. In the baptismal records of Abuyog,  the family name Pantin and Fantin are usually interchanged. In Leyte, the name Pantin was chosen and all those with letter F were changed. However, those who migrated to other places the name Fantin stuck.  

There are eleven Piñol brothers.  I only have met one of them before. Right after the  super typhoon Yolanda, Ferdinand “Bobong” Piñol, the town administrator of Mlang was tasked to bring relief goods and to head a medical mission coming from their town of which his brother was the Mayor to Leyte. I was the one called to help coordinate with the distribution of the relief goods and the medical mission. It was then that I got to meet Bobong Piñol.

When the trip to Cotabato was finalized, I called up Bobong if I could come and visit their place and meet his other brothers.  They were indeed very happy and honored to accede to my request. Bobong who just  came out that day from  the hospital sent a driver to fetch me from Cotabato City the day after the Thanksgiving mass of Cardinal Quevedo.   I remember passing by the towns of Midsayap, Pikit and Kabakan on our way to Mlang where  I met the mayor, Joselito Piñol.  I was able to visit the church of Mlang and met also the parish priest. Then we proceeded to Kidapawan where we went to the farmhouse of Manny Piñol, the former governor of Cotabato. I also was able to meet some of their brothers. I also got to visit their mother who is already affected with Alzheimer's. She could not even remember the names of his sons.  But being a teacher, when she heard her name being pronounced as Epigenia she right away corrected as Efigenia. 

            The province of Cotabato or sometimes called North Cotabato is different from Cotabato City which is an independent component city.  The province has seventeen towns and one component city which is also its capital: Kidapawan. The towns of the province of Cotabato are:  Alamada, AleosanAntipas, Arakan, Banisilan, Carmen, Kabacan, Libungan, M'lang, Magpet, Makilala, Matalam, Midsayap, Pigcawayan, Pikit, President Roxas and Tulunan.

            The Archdiocese of Cotabato comprises parts of the province of Cotabato and the whole province of Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao and Cotabato City. Seven of the towns of North Cotabato belong to the Archdiocese of Cotabato: Alamada, Aleosan, Banisilan, Libungan, Midsayap, Pigcawayan and Pikit.

             The Diocese of Kidapawan, on the other hand, comprises ten towns and the one city of Cotabato province and one town from Sultan Kudarat: Columbio.

Tarpaulin welcoming the visitors of Cardinal Quevedo to Cotabato City

At the airport of Cotabato.

Cotabato City
Founded: 1954

Cotabato Cathedral 

The Cathedral was filled for the Thanksgiving Mass of  the newly created Cardinal of Mindanao, Card. Quevedo, OMI

Cardinal Quevedo in his cardinalitial robes before the start of the mass while waiting for some dignitaries to arrive. 

Part of the mass goers at the Cathedral. 

Inside the Cathedral the day after the Thanksgiving mass. 

The stage during the banquet and program that followed. 

Met some OND Sisters from Leyte who are now assigned in Mindanao. 

Cardinal Quevedo giving his thanksgiving speech. 

The Notre Dame- RVM College of Cotabato where we were billeted. All schools in Cotabato are named after Notre Dame. Even when the administrators of the school changed to the RVM, they still retained the name of Notre Dame. 

The Gymnasium of the Notre Dame-RVM College of Cotabato. 

Passing by the market of Pikit. The town belongs to the province of Cotabato. 

A new hospital in Mlang. 

Meeting the Mayor of Mlang for the first time, Mayor Joselito Piñol. 

A souvenir pose in front of their municipal hall. 

Mlang, Cotabato

Met the parish priest at the convento with Mayor Piñol.

Another souvenir pose with the parish priest and mayor of Mlang. 

Taking lunch at the farm house of the former governor Manny Piñol.

With some of the Piñol brothers. 

The city hall of Kidapawan. 

Met the mother of the Piñols, Efigenia Fantin Piñol. She already has Alzheimer's disease. Just an ordinary school teacher, she raised by herself her eleven sons who all became professionals and a number  of whom entered politics. 

Got also to visit the farm of  Efren Piñol. Here looking at rubber being harvested from a rubber tree. 

These are the rubber that have been harvested. The rubber has a foul smell. 

Some of the cacao trees in the farm. 

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