Our Inclusive Development partnership with the Obo Manobo tribe, together with Energy Development Corporation (EDC), is on its second month of this year’s training. This month’s objectives are: (a) to listen from the elders of the Manobo Apao Descendants Ancestral Domain of Mt. Apo (MADADMA) on the characteristics and structures of the Obo Manobo indigenous leadership; (b) to identify the impact of Christianity in their culture, especially on leadership; (c) to discuss the three basic ways of post-harvest coffee processing; (d) and, to facilitate a hands-on experience on quality seedling propagation.
Last 27-28 April 2021, the PeaceBuilders Community, Inc. and Coffee For Peace Inclusive Development (PBCI IncluDev) team listened to the tribal leaders of MADADMA as they shared the values and leadership characteristics of an Obo Manobo datu or tribal leader. The forum, facilitated by Ama Lakan, consisted of 6 tribal leaders from the MADADMA: Datu Teodoro Bangcas, Datu Federico Sia, Datu Marbelano Gubat, Datu Nelson Tula, Datu Henry Ambas, and Datu Randy Bayawan Iyong. According to them, a datu is an expert in the customary law, a just and fair mediator in conflicts within the tribe, exudes a spiritual life, a respected and esteemed individual in the tribe, has conviction, humble, knowledgeable, trustworthy, dependable, and a good listener.
“Ang datu murag agila—taas ug paglantaw, taas ug lupad”
Datu Ambas also emphasized that a datu is the Philippine eagle personified. A datu has a wide perspective and consequently, a broad mind.
Around the circle, conversations flowed not only within the elders but the young Obo Manobo church leaders too. They talked about the Obo Manobo culture and traditions that faded away when they embraced Christianity. Throughout the end, Datu Iyong reiterated that their Obo Manobo identity lived on and their tribal culture and their acceptance of Christianity found points of convergence. They are now working on the contextualization of the Christian values into their indigenous culture.
Afterwards, Ina Joji asked the participants to form groups and map out their plans for their future farmers’ organization. Each group consisted of a mix of young leaders and datus exchanging dreams for the tribe while outlining and designing their drawings.
Towards the end of the two-day training, Sihaya Ansibod and Ina Joji presented the different methods of coffee processing, a hands-on preparation of a seed bed, and seedling propagation.
It was a rainy afternoon when we concluded this month’s training. Everyone was thrilled about their experiential coffee nursery lesson.