08-12 May 2017. The Kalinga Investing Partners of Coffee for Peace (CFP) spent a week in Davao City and completed the Introductory Seminar on Peace and Reconciliation Principles and Practice and a basic orientation on coffee processing and roasting. This is a preparatory requirement for all CFP investing partners and prospective operation managers. The Kalinga Investing Partners — Emmanuel Velasco, Malou Alngag, and Tala Bautista — will soon start the Conrado Balweg Peace Farm in Tabuk City, Province of Kalinga.
For the past few years, we have been training selected Kalinga coffee farmers to plant, farm, and harvest coffee in accordance with global quality standards. Twinkle ‘Tala’ Bautista was the pioneer of Coffee for Peace in Kalinga. Soon, Tala’s family joined her in developing a coffee plantation the way she learned it from the best practices of Coffee for Peace farming partners. A year later, Tala’s tribe invited PeaceBuilders Community, Inc. (PBCI) and Coffee for Peace to conduct training in their own ili (eelee) or tribal village of Sumacher. Through word of mouth, the neighboring villages, such as the Banao Tribe, also invited the PBCI-CFP training team to their respective ili. Recently, another municipality, Pasil, indicated their “interest to join the CFP inclusive development movement,” according to Malou Alngag.
Tala’s Uncle Emmanuel Velasco is a seasoned businessman who found and embraced the CFP Dreams as the energizing force in this endeavor — his most recent business venture. Tala’s Aunt Malou Alngag caught the PBCI Vision. Being a seasoned political activist and community organizer, she is committed to apply PAR Principles and Practices in the historical and cultural contexts of the various tribes of Kalinga and the larger aspiration of the Cordillera people. With the blessing of the Cordillera Peoples’ Liberation Army (CPLA), Emmanuel, Malou, and Tala chose to start establishing these dreams and vision among the people living inside Camp Conrado Balweg — a CPLA community in the outskirts of Tabuk City, Kalinga. There, they will invest their time, financial resources, and business skills to build the Conrado Balweg Peace Farm — a model Coffee for Peace plantation, a justice-oriented buying station, a post-harvest processing plant, and a distribution hub of quality coffee products.
During one of the debriefing sessions, Joji Felicitas Pantoja (CEO of Coffee for Peace, Inc.) shared her assessment about this development. “The participation of Engineer Emmanuel Velasco in this movement,” she said, “brings in technical expertise and resources that are needed in helping CFP move from a small enterprise to becoming a medium-sized enterprise.”
During the informal sharing at a beach front in Samal Island, Lakan Sumulong (Principal Consultant at PeaceBuilders Community, Inc.) made a comment about Professor Malou Alngag’s appointment as a senior consultant at PBCI. “I’m so optimistic,” Lakan said, “that she will help plant, nurture, and grow the peace-and-reconciliation soul of the Conrado Balweg Peace Farm in accordance with Paniyaw (the value that governs one’s relationship with the spiritual world), Ngilin (the value that governs the relationship with one’s self and the whole of creation), and Fa-in (the value that governs one’s relationship with others).” Those are the core set of values common among the 48 tribes of Kalinga Province. “I feel Malou has been prepared,” Lakan added, “and are brought here by the Spirit at this particular stage of the growth process of PBCI-CFP.”