On Monday the 16th, after attending the spectacular Awong Chi Gangsa ceremony, we enjoyed an afternoon of good fellowship at the Grand Zion Hotel. Darnell, Regina and Bryan from PeaceChurch; Twinkle’s mother, grandmother, and cousins; and Kuya Dann talked of all their dreams and plans for PeaceChurch in Manila, and for Twinkle’s PAR network in Kalinga.
Next morning, Tuesday the 17th, Twinkle’s aunt Juanita Chulsi had breakfast with us at Grand Zion. She shared many stories from her decades of campaigning for Cordilleran autonomy. Kuya Dann was moved and inspired by “her love, sacrifice, and passion for the freedom of her people in the Cordillera.”
At the home of PAR Kalinga community member Rachel Dumalig, a provincial officer for the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), the PeaceChurch delegation, Twinkle’s aunt Malou Alngag, Twinkle, Kuya Dann, and I had what Rachel called a “simple lunch and bonding,” and Kuya Dann called “a feast.” The bonding consisted of karaoke. After lunch we visited the future site of Tabuk’s own Coffee For Peace shop, which will provide a Kalinga showcase for fair-trade coffee grown and processed by PBCI/CFP’s farmer partners throughout the Philippines.
That afternoon, most of the PeaceChurch contingent climbed back on the bus and headed home to Manila. Bryan Jay Nahag Paler remained with us as our traveling partner for the next few days.
On Wednesday the 18th, we visited the campus of Kalinga-Apayao State College in company with Malou Alngag, a lady with many connections in Tabuk. She furnished our introduction to College President Jovita Saguibo, Ph.D. Over the course of our meeting with Dr. Saguibo, as Kuya Dann put it “The seeds of advancing Peace and Reconciliation values (PeaceBuilders Community) and of advancing Inclusive Growth strategies (Coffee For Peace) through extension education and research have been planted between us and Kalinga-Apayao State College.”
Next day, Thursday the 19th, we were rolling into the mountains north of Tabuk, crowded into the open bed of an Isuzu Elf with PAR Kalinga member Pullan Albert, Bryan, Twinkle’s entire family in Tabuk, Rachel Dumalig, and her children. In the cool and drizzle we rode out to the rural district of Patiking, the site of PAR Kalinga’s Coffee For Peace demonstration farm. On the grounds of the steep mountainside farm we sat gathered in a small cabin overlooking the Chico River. There we enjoyed more feasting and fellowship, and we thanked God for the deepening of our relationships with the Kalinga PAR community. That night we boarded the bus for Baguio City.
In Baguio City, on Friday the 20th, we had the priveledge of an interview with Baguio City Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan. We had been placed on his schedule through the orchestration of the public servant whom I mentioned in Part 2. Mayor Domogan, like so many Cordillerans whom we had interviewed over the course of our listening tour, gave us a passionate lecture about the necessity of Cordilleran autonomy. He realized that it might not be achieved during his lifetime, but he insisted that autonomy must be achieved for his children and grandchildren.
Our audience with Mayor Domogan was the last information gathering meeting of our Cordillera Listening Tour. That evening we gave Twinkle a thank-you dinner to recognize her herculean efforts in coordinating so many meetings with so many Cordilleran elders and officials. We took her out for Italian food, her favorite, and we celebrated her dedication to the vision of PAR Kalinga. Through her orchestration we had managed to acquire a wealth of insider knowledge for PBCI’s databanks, and we had also established a number of important new relationships, while strengthening many old ones. We thanked God for the success and blessing which had crowned our sojourn in the Cordilleras.