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Region XII
Motto: Kilos Abante, Rehiyon Dose
Country Philippines
Island group Mindanao
Regional center Koronadal
 • Total 22,466 km2 (8,674 sq mi)
Population (2010)[1]
 • Total 4,109,571
 • Density 180/km2 (470/sq mi)
Time zone PST (UTC+8)
Provinces 4
Cities 5
Municipalities 45
Barangays 1,195
Cong. districts 6
Languages Cebuano, Ilonggo, Tagalog, English, Tboli, Blaan, Cotabato Manobo, Tagabanwa, others

SOCCSKSARGEN[2] (pronounced ) is a region of the Philippines, located in central Mindanao, and is officially designated as Region XII. The name is an acronym that stands for the region's four provinces and one of its cities: South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and General Santos. The region is formerly called Central Mindanao. The regional center is Koronadal located in the province of South Cotabato and the center of commerce, industry, transportation and the most populous city is General Santos.

Cotabato City, though geographically within the boundaries of the province of Maguindanao, itself is part of SOCCSKSARGEN, and is independent of that province. Maguindanao province is, in fact, a part of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) which has its seat in Cotabato City.


  • Geography 1
  • Demographics 2
  • Political divisions 3
    • Component Cities 3.1
    • Highly-urbanized City 3.2
  • Tourist attractions 4
  • Musical heritage 5
  • Government 6
  • Media 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9


The region has extensive coastlines, valleys and mountain ranges. Known for its river system, the region is the catch basin of Mindanao. The system is a rich source of food, potable water and energy production. Cotabato contains the Rio Grande de Mindanao, which is the longest river in Mindanao and the second longest in the Philippines.

The region used to be named kudaan. Prior to the creation of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, these provinces comprised the region:

With the creation of ARMM, Lanao del Sur (excluding Marawi) and Maguindanao (excluding Cotabato City) were removed from the region, leaving Lanao del Norte, Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat, and Marawi and Cotabato City as constituent provinces and cities. Lanao del Norte was later transferred to Northern Mindanao, while Marawi became part of the ARMM.

With the addition of South Cotabato and Sarangani or the (SocSarGen Province), transferred from Southern Mindanao, the region was renamed as SOCCSKSARGEN. The "Central Mindanao" name lives on as a description to the provinces populated by 65% Christians and 30% Muslim and 5% other Filipinos.


Political divisions

Province Capital Population
Pop. density
(per km²)
1,226,508 9,008.90 136.1
498,904 3,601.25 138.5
South Cotabato
827,200 3,935.95 210.2
Sultan Kudarat
747,087 5,298.34 141.0
Cotabato City
271,786 176.00 1,544.2
General Santos
538,086 492.86 1,091.8

SOCCSKSARGEN has 4 components cities and 1 highly urbanized city.

Component Cities

  • Cotabato City - is the regional center of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao but the city is actually part of the SOCCSKSARGEN region and does not belong to the ARMM.
  • Kidapawan - Kidapawan, the city hailed as “A Spring in the Highland”, comes from the words “TIDA” which means spring and “PAWAN” meaning highland. The city is found at the bottom of the majestic Mt. Apo, the country’s tallest mountain making it a great spot and first-rate tourist attraction. Kidapawan is situated at the southeastern section of Cotabato province, placed in the middle of three other major cities of Davao, Cotabato, General Santos and Koronadal
  • Koronadal - a.k.a. Marbel is dubbed as the "Sports Mecca of the South" because of hosting 2 Palarong Pambansa, National Schools' Press Conference and the Mindanao Business Conference, It is the Political Regional Center of SOCCSKSARGEN
  • Tacurong - is the only city of Sultan Kudarat and it is famous for its Bird Sanctuary.

Highly-urbanized City

  • General Santos - dubbed as the "Tuna Capital of the Philippines" because of the bountiful existence of Yellow fin Tuna in Sarangani Bay, and as the highly urbanized city it serves as the center of the Metropolitan and Regional Center of trade and industry of SOCCSKARGEN.

Tourist attractions

  • Mount Apo in Kidapawan - Several trails lead to the summit, coming from Kidapawan, North Cotabato. An average hike requires 2–4 days. Various sights include Lake Venado, one of the highest lakes in the Philippines, and the old crater of Mt. Apo near its summit. In the classification system used by local popular mountaineering website, the difficulty of the hike is 7 out of 9. The mountain may be climbed year-round.
  • Lake Sebu in Lake Sebu - is a natural lake located in the municipality of Lake Sebu, South Cotabato and within the Alah Valley region. The Philippine government has recognized it as one of the country's most important watersheds. Lake Sebu is one of the many bodies of water supplying important irrigation to the provinces of Sultan Kudarat and South is one of the prime eco-tourism destinations in the Region. famous for its 2 km Zipline, Longest in the Philippines.
  • Baras Bird Sanctuary in Tacurong - the most visited site in Tacurong, the Baras Bird Sanctuary is truly a humbling experience. In an almost two hectares of land lying by a river bank here, the crack of dawn offers a melodious harmony of birds; thousands dot the skies also during sunsets, a pleasure for bird watchers.
  • Gumasa Beach in Glan - dubbed as the "Small Boracay in Mindanao" Barangay Gumasa has a six kilometer-long crescent beach on Sarangani's eastern shore and only about an hour's drive from General Santos City. Gumasa Beach, the Small Boracay of Mindanao or Boracay of the South, whatever name herein is the beauty of the beach. The white sand and fine crystal land makes your feet comportable to walk around the beach.
  • Fishport Complex in General Santos - The tuna fishing industry had never been this promising and lucrative since its birth on this side of the earth-General Santos. Lying at the head of the Sarangani Bay, the city has been dubbed the “Boom Town City of the South,” and considered as one of the fastest-growing cities in the Philippines. Had it not been for its strategic geographical location and existence of other amenities needed by the fishing industry, General Santos could not have become South Cotabato’s heart of commerce and trade. Boosted with the signs of prosperity sprouting everywhere,” business has never been better,”. With the advent of the operation of General Santos City Fish Port Complex, post-harvest technology equipment needed to prolong the shelf-life of tuna and other species of fish, are made available, thus playing a vital role for trading and other post harvest activities.
  • Mt. Matutum in Polomolok and Tupi - Its characteristic irregular but imposing cone shape dominates the landscape from General Santos to Koronadal City. It is so grand in its rise that it literally beckons climbers passing by the road from GenSan to Koronadal to climb it. Rising to 2293 MASL, it is considered an active volcano. Realizing the need to protect the mountain, local officials have made it an ecotourism spot, regulating hiking activity. An interesting feature is the requirement for each climber to plant a seedling in a designated area in the mountain (a good idea!). The motto is "Amyak Maleh Matutum! (Climb and plant Matutum!)"
  • Buluan Island features white sand beach and clear blue waters, with views of the highlands of Zamboanga Sibugay. The privately owned island is not developed but there are bamboo cottages and tables available to visitors at no cost.

Musical heritage

The native Maguindanaon and other native Muslim/non-Muslim groups have a fascinating culture that revolves around kulintang music, a specific type of gong music, found in the SoCCSKSarGen.


Provincial Governors:

  • Cotabato Gov. Emmylou "Lala" J. Talino-Mendoza (Liberal)
  • South Cotabato Gov. Daisy Avance-Fuentes (NPC)
  • Sultan Kudarat Gov. Datu Suharto "Teng" T. Mangudadatu (Liberal)
  • Sarangani Gov. Steve C. Solon (UNA)


Most of the television and radio networks in the region are based in General Santos.

Television networks

News Program


  1. ^ a b c "Population and Annual Growth Rates for The Philippines and Its Regions, Provinces, and Highly Urbanized Cities" (PDF). 2010 Census and Housing Population. National Statistics Office. Retrieved 12 August 2013. 
  2. ^ Executive Order No. 36
  3. ^ "List of Provinces". PSGC Interactive. Makati City, Philippines: National Statistical Coordination Board. Retrieved 20 March 2013. 
  4. ^ "List of Cities". PSGC Interactive. Makati City, Philippines: National Statistical Coordination Board. Retrieved 20 March 2013. 

External links

  • National Statistical Coordination Board: REGION XII (Soccsksargen)
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