The Province of (North) Cotabato lies on the eastern part of Region XII and is strategically located in the central part of Mindanao. It is bounded on the North by the Province of Bukidnon, on the northwest by Lanao del Sur, on the East by Davao City, on the Southeast by Davao del Sur, on the West by Maguindanao Province and on the southwest by Sultan Kudarat Province. Mountains to the east peak at Mount Apo, a volcanic cone that is the highest mountain in the Philippines. In the west, the Piapungan Range separates it from Lanao del Sur. The fertile Pulangi River basin runs in the middle of these two highlands and spreads towards the southwest to the flood plains of Maguindanao. Typhoons do not pass through (North) Cotabato and rainfall is evenly distributed through out the year.
There are about nineteen (19) types of soil found in the province of (North) Cotabato. Mountain soils, which are classified as undifferentiated, are found at the eastern and western part of the province.The most prevalent soil types in the province are of the clay loam type found mostly in the plains are best suited for intensive crops like rice, corn and other permanent crops.
The predominant geological complex is the Cotabato Basin which empties into Illana Bay via Rio Grande de Mindanao into which flows most of its principal tributaries, namely: the Malasila and the Kabacan Rivers. The tributaries have carried silt for centuries from the mountain ranges of Bukidnon and the province, depositing these in the lowlands which resulted in the agricultural lands in the province.
SOIL TOPOGRAPHY AND DRAINAGE CONDITIONS
The province’s terrain varies from flat, fertile plains to irregular landscape of wide valleys, scattered hills and extensive mountain ranges such as the Kitubod Range, Mt. Apo which forms the natural boundary between (North) Cotabato Province and Davao City and Davao del Sur Province and the Tuael Range, which joins the municipalities of Pres. Roxas, Magpet and Matalam.A big portion of the land of North Cotabato province is classified as upland with a topography ranging from level to nearly level to gently sloping to undulating; undulating to rolling; rolling to moderately steep; steep to very steep. Areas with level to nearly level are found in Kabacan, Matalam, Libungan, Carmen, Pikit and parts of Tulunan, M’lang and Midsayap.The drainage condition in the province is generally poor with some portions classified as good to fair drainage. These conditions are mostly found along the plains and valleys. In the upland areas the drainage conditions range from good to fair to excessive erosion as a result of massive forest destruction.
The rich vast land resources of the Province stretch over an area of 656,590 hectares representing 36 percent of the regional land area (1,815,500 hectares). It ranks first in terms of land area among the four provinces of Region XII.The province of Cotabato is composed of seventeen (17) municipalities and one (1) city with five hundred forty three (543) legally created barangays, with Kidapawan City as its Capital.