SOCCSKSARGEN  (pronounced [sokˈsardʒɛn] ) is a region of thePhilippines, 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 City.

The regional center is Koronadal City located in the province of South Cotabato.  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 a part of another special region called the ARMM which has its seat in Cotabato City. SOCCSKSARGEN and the province of Maguindanao were once part of the original Cotabato province.

Island group: Mindanao

Regional center: Koronadal City, South Cotabato

Total Area: 22,466 km2 (8,674.2 sq mi)

Population (2007)

  • Total: 3,829,081
  • Density: 170.4/km2 (441.4/sq mi)

Time zone: PST (UTC+8)

Provinces: 4

Cities: 5

Municipalities: 45

Barangays: 1,194

Cong. districts: 6

Languages: English, Tagalog, HIligaynon, Cebuano, Tboli, Blaan, Cotabato Manobo, Tagabanwa, others


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 theAutonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, these provinces comprised the region:

  • Maguindanao
  • North Cotabato
  • Sultan Kudarat

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

With the addition of South Cotabato and Sarangani, transferred fromSouthern Mindanao, the region was renamed as SOCCSKSARGEN. The “Central Mindanao” name lives on as a description to the provinces populated by Muslim Filipinos.

Political Divisions

Province(City) / Capital / Population(2000) / Area(km²) 

  • Cotabato / Kidapawan City / 958,643 / 6,565.9
  • Sarangani / Alabel / 410,622 / 2,980.0
  • South Cotabato / Koronadal City / 690,728 / 3,996.1
  • Sultan Kudarat / Isulan / 586,505 / 4,714.8
  • Cotabato City / — / 163,849 / 175.99
  • General Santos City / — / 411,822 / 492.86

Cotabato City is independent of Maguindanao province, which is part of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. The seat of the ARMM regional government is also in Cotabato City.

General Santos City is a highly urbanized city; figures are excluded from South Cotabato.


SOCCSKSARGEN has 3 components cities, 1 independent city and 1 highly urbanized city, these cities are vital in the region’s existence.

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.

General Santos City – 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 the center of trade and industry of SOCCSKARGEN.

Kidapawan City – 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 City – a.k.a. Marbel is dubbed as the “Sports Mecca of the South” because of hosting 2 Palarong Pambansa, National Secondary Press Conference and the Mindanao Business Conference, It is the Regional Center of SOCCSKSARGEN

Tacurong City – is the only city of Sultan Kudarat and it is famous of its Bird Sanctuary.

For SOCCSKSARGEN (Region XII) Famous Tourist Attractions click here


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