Wanay S. Baluyan, a native of Banao Indigenous People from Kalinga Province, is defending her final paper to conclude a two-year internship under the PeaceBuilders School of Leadership (PBSL) program. She’s a Registered Nurse and chose to serve her community and the Cordillera People in their journey towards genuine autonomy and self-determination.
Wanay’s training at the PeaceBuilders School of Leadership included —
- Peace and Reconciliation Principles and Practices through a structured mentorship program with Lakan Sumulong, Lead DreamWeaver at PeaceBuilders Community, Inc.
- Social Entrepreneurship Management under the mentorship of Joji Pantoja, CEO of Coffee for Peace, Inc.;
- Coffee Farm Management through the modelling of award winning coffee farmers like Marivic Dubria of the Bacofa Coop;
- Barista Skills and Coffee Shop Management through a guided experience at the Coffee For Peace Café, and,
- Community Organizing and Development under the leadership of Sihaya Ansibod, Field Operations Director of PeaceBuilders Community.
Wanay grew up as an Anglican and became involved in an Evangelical community when she was at the university in Tuguegarao City. She continued her connections with the Evangelicals in Tabuk City and introduced PeaceBuilders Community, Inc. and Coffee For Peace to her religious leaders.
Although educated in modern academic institutions and exposed to Christian religious institutions, Wanay’s indigenous values are still rooted in her consciousness.
“I was raised in my tribal community practicing our values and customs which are Caniyao, Ngilin and Fain,” she testified during one of our mentorship sessions. “It is Caniyao when you harm any of God’s creation,” she explains. “Ngilin is to abstain from doing any act that is prohibited in our community that will harm the environment and the body; and fain is when you do not offer what you have to your neighbors and to other people.”
Even her decision-making process, we observed, is very much rooted in her indigenous consultative approach. “We value communal decision and respect to other people,” she once said during our weekly meetings.
Wanay is also aware, through the mentorship of her elders, about their indigenous peacebuilding principles: “We have our own way of negotiating peace in a non-violent way with our neighboring tribes and to other people — which we call Bodong.”
It was Tala Alngag Bautista, a graduate of PeaceBuilders School of Leadership, who first connected with her. Through a deepening process of their relationship, Wanay volunteered to go through Tala’s mentorship. When Tala was assigned to start PAR Western Visayas, Wanay became our Kalinga PAR Field Worker.
The Banao tribal leadership expects Wanay to help lead the inclusive development program in their community, in coordination with their municipal and provincial governments, with a long-term vision to replicate their good practices throughout the Cordillera Region.