In behalf of Coffee For Peace, Inc. (CFP), I’m happy to report that I have signed the final plans of a small structure to be built in Valencia City. This is made financially possible through an impact partnership with GiversTrust, Inc.
I’m grateful for the release of this fund to start the building construction next week. This building is expected to be completed within six months based on a Memorandum of Agreement between Coffee For Peace, PeaceBuilders Community, GiversTrust, and our architects, Swito Designs.
This simple structure will be the home of Kapeyapaan Coffee Kiosk, Peace and Reconciliation(PAR) Movement in Eastern Mindanao, Kalinaw Youth Movement, and BeyondBorders Christian Community.
Our Mount Apo farming partners are one of the community-network of well-trained and justly-treated farmers who supply us with their premium 100% arabica coffee paid at fair traded prices.
We’re so happy to see the Balutakay Coffee Farmers Association (BaCoFA) from Mt. Apo grow from being coffee cherry suppliers, to becoming post-harvest coffee processors, and now they have become green coffee bean exporters.
BaCoFA grew from 15 families to 75 farming households in 4 years.
These coffee sacks are their initial export quality products. And they are determined to produce more! These BaCoFA folks are indeed developing into being effective, self-sustaining “farmerpreneurs”.
D’ Cup Coffee Republic is a book cafe and events venue in Mandaluyong City inside Pioneer Street Market. It has a spacious dining area that can comfortably accommodate 80 persons, plus a book lounge area good for 20 persons, and an enclosed function hall good for up to 100 persons, making it a perfect venue for meetings, workshop classes, special gatherings. View our venue and function hall which you can reserve online. We also invite you to visit our site regularly for workshops, classes, and other events. [Facebook Page]
When Elizabeth arranged the meeting between us and Adette’s team, we were simply expecting to sell our coffee brand to this coffee shop. Our presentation was scheduled for only an hour. After our 45-minute story-telling and presentation, she kept asking questions — deep, penetrating questions that went beyond the quality, price, and origin of our coffee. Her questions focused on peace and reconciliation, on the dream about contributing to a God-centered, radical, nonviolent, transformation of our people and our land.
The meeting went beyond two hours.
We didn’t say good bye. We immediately talked about “What’s next?”
Koinonia Group. Elizabeth, Ramon, and Donnie are part of the leadership of the Koinonia Group. I’m grateful to these faithful friends and partners whom we consider as our long-time community. Koinonia Group started in 1982 when Dann and I were serving as community organizing workers in the City of Olongapo. I was raising our little children and Dann was a young social science teacher at the Columban College. A group of outstanding students became regular visitors in our apartment. Elizabeth was one of them. We soon became a fellowship of followers of Christ working for justice and liberation of our people from the oppressive dictatorial regime of Ferdinand Marcos, Sr. We referred to our liberation-oriented activist band as Koinonia Group.
Ramon and Elizabeth met in a workplace abroad, got married, and returned to the Philippines to continue their careers, and later started an entrepreneurial endeavor in Metro Manila.
Donnie was Dann’s fellow leader at the Koinonia Group since our days in Olongapo.
We’re now scattered all over the world. But we’re still connected. The long-distance connections grew stronger because of social media. We all update each other of our lives, family development, career development, and respective ministries.
Coffee for Peace’s journey with D’ Cup Coffee Republic. Our relationship with Adette and her team at D’ Cup Coffee Republic has been growing fast. Last 12 May 2017, she and her team visited us in Davao and observed the operation of our coffee processing yard. We also compared notes on the similarities and differences of our respective coffee shops based on our differing contexts.
As I write this blog, both of our teams are talking on how our social businesses can work together to advance Peace Reconciliation (PAR) principles and practices together so we can establish at least one PAR community in each of the 81 provinces in this country.
Joji “Lakambini Mapayapa” Pantoja, CEO
Coffee For Peace, Inc.
We’re inspired by the life and work of Joji Pantoja, our CEO at Coffee For Peace, Inc. (CFP) and our Ina (a term of respect for ‘mother’) at PeaceBuilders Community, Inc. (PBCI).
The partnership between CFP and PBCI in advocating Peace and Reconciliation (PAR) principles and practices was once again affirmed last 30 March 2017 when Ina received an award from the President of the Philippines as one of the Inspiring Filipina Entrepreneurs 2017. The awarding ceremony happened at the Malacañang Palace. There were 26 women throughout the Philippines who received similar awards for their “capacity to be catalysts for change and progress.” Ina was one of the two in the ‘social business’ category.
According to the brochure published by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Entrepreneurship, this annual tradition aims to recognize women and their capacity to be catalysts for change and progress. The qualifications are:
May or may not have come from humble beginnings;
A Filipino who embodies the following traits: passionate, positive, and panalo (‘can do’) attitude;
Must have an innovative business model (products/processes);
Must show the ability to genuinely care for the community and stakeholders and must have the potential to share time and talent to help spread the entrepreneurship advocacy;
Must be well-respected by their peers.
The statement in Ina’s Certificate of Recognition reflects the above qualifications:
“For engendering peace through the innovative use of coffee as source of livelihood, community-building and conflict reduction. Her unwavering commitment to improving the plight of farmers and establishing peacebuilding mechanisms in conflicted areas of Mindanao through her business Coffee for Peace has brought inclusive growth to the region.
The award is given to Inspiring Filipina Entrepreneurs who emulate the modern-day successful Filipina with an enterprising attitude, passion beyond measure, an innovative outlook on doing business, and heart for contributing to the inclusive growth of our nation.”
Lakan Sumulong, our CFP StoryTeller, visited our friends and partners in Kalinga last 28 January – 02 February 2017. He renewed and strengthened our relationship —
With the Alngag clan where Tala, one of our inclusive development mentors, belong. We’re especially grateful for Malou Alngag who shared her vision and enthusiasm to advance peace and reconciliation (PAR) principles and practices in Kalinga through her professional skills and expertise in the field of Public Administration.
With Aiza, our field worker in Kalinga; it was great to get to know her family and tribe through our StoryTeller — especially his father, Gilbert Baluyan — in Barangay Talalang, Balbalan, Upper Kalinga.
With the local religious and spiritual leaders there and the precious time of conversations to deepen our understanding of their worldview, value system, and customary laws.
With the leadership of the the Cordillera People’s Liberatìon Army (direct core group of the late Father Conrado Balweg), especially for the generous hospitality of Ma’am Chupan Chulsi, their Chief of Staff.
With Johnny Sawadan, a former deputy general secretary of the Cordillera People’s Alliance, and who is now volunteering to help establish PAR communities in the Cordillera Region.
Byron Bee Pantoja, our Production Manager and Q-Grader, showed how quality grading was done before the coffee industry leaders and media representatives in Davao City. This event was featured in a news article about the President of the Philippines declaring to sign an Executive Order to launch Philippine coffee brand.
The said article quoted Byron:
Daniel Byron Pantoja, one of the Q graders said that with the growing awareness of the public to specialty coffee, he sees people getting inspired with the Filipino farmers who now begin to grow quality coffee that could compete with international brands.
“It’s a domino effect,” he stressed as he said other farmers are now encouraged to grow specialty coffee.
Joji Pantoja, our President and CEO, affirms Byron’s public representation of CFP. In a text message, she said:
A paradigm shift is needed on how Filipinos appreciate good coffee: our farmers must be willing to accept quality processing methods; and, our consumers must be educated and must be exposed to the various tastes of good coffee.
Let us continue to promote peace as we drink our own Philippine grown and processed coffee.
The staff of PeaceBuilders Community and Coffee For Peace had our regular Monday morning worship and reflection time at the Coffee For Peace Bistro. Afterwards, they were given a treat to experience being valued clients by the CFP Bistro serving partners and barista partners.
The other staff members who were doing urgent errands and other baristas who were on duty at the CFP Shop (the original coffee shop) will be scheduled as guests this afternoon after their duties.
Nine graduate students from the University of British Columbia – School of Community and Regional Planning (UBC-SCARP), led by their professor, Dr. Leonora Angeles, chose to do their field research among Coffee For Peace (CFP) partner communities in Kalinga. They were hosted by Twinkle Alngag Bautista, our PAR Missionary in the Cordillera Region. They were also welcomed by Juanita Chulsi, the Chief of Staff of the Cordillera People’s Liberation Army (CPLA) which is based in Camp Conrado Balweg, Kalinga.
The UBC-SCARP objectives were to learn about our Coffee for Peace field operations and to get acquainted with certain programs of PeaceBuilders Community which utilize alternative development and sharing economy through volunteerism. The learning from this field work would be part of a research and capacity building service that their graduate students can provide by —
documenting CFP history,
mapping CFP organizational development, and
assessing CFP program process and outcomes.
This practical work-study is part of a Philippine Planning Studio field course that UBC-SCARP is offering.
We’re so excitement as we prepare to open our second shop called CoffeeForPeace Bistro. It’s located at One Oasis Davao, a community that, according to our market study, would sustain our social business and would help in strengthening our advocacy among young professionals in Davao City. We’re happy with the work of our partner, Swito Architecture Designs, Inc., especially Gloryrose Dy Metilla, who’s passionately overseeing the construction of this shop.
CoffeeForPeace Bistro will be managed by Edna Pantoja who is the major investor in this branch. Edna has more than 25 years’ experience in food and beverage business; in the past 17 years, she and her crew were running the cafeteria of an American school in Shanghai. This Bistro will serve world class pastries by Mary Selorio, our CFP Baker. Most of the food we’ll serve will be designed by our CFP Chef, Nite Alparas, who is a graduate of Center for Asian Culinary Studies. Our coffee service quality will be maintained and will continually be enhanced by Byron Pantoja, our CFP Master Barista.
Edna was inspecting the construction site and our Mennonite peacebuilding colleague, Jon Rudy, who happened to be visiting Davao City, joined us. Our architect was so happy to share with Jon how the cultures and arts of Mindanao will be portrayed in her design of the CFP Bistro.
Last February, Rev. Luis Daniel Pantoja, President and CEO of PeaceBuilders Community, Inc. (PBCI) and also the Chairman of the Board of Coffee For Peace, visited the village of Sumacher as a fulfillment of a promise he made to the elders of this tribe.
Then, last April 18-20, another Peace and Reconciliation Community is born!
This is a continuation of a series of events that we believe is harmonized by the Creator Afuniyan:
In 2014, Ferdinand Chulsi and Josie Alngag joined in an orientation for coffee farming in Bugnay, Tinglayan. They invited the PBCI team to give the same training to Sumacher.
In 2015, Jeanette Bernawi Domallig and Josie joined the Peace and Reconciliation training. They embraced the peace theology and invited us to give also the same training.
This year, we finally went to Sumacher and 20 people joined the training on Peace and Reconciliation and coffee farming.
But the amazing part of it was that, even before the training, land was already prepared for the Arabica coffee. 3,000 citrus seedlings were planted as the cover trees. It spoke volumes about their commitment!
The PAR team in Sumacher envisions their coffee farms to produce global quality coffee which will be an icon to tell their story as a people.
Through a process of active listening, we were given the privilege of having a grasp of the dreams and visions of the Sumacher people. This listening process is consistent with the philosophy of cross-cultural interaction every time we interact with the Indigenous Peoples.
We are being taught by the Indigenous People in the Philippines to join them as they journey towards their right to self determination. We will support their view of their future and we will help preserve and nurture their respective Ancestral Domains.
We have learned to respect the dreams of their elders and we are enriched by listening to the visions of their young people. We will walk with them towards their dream of a sustainable livelihood that respects their culture and dignity as a people.
We are seeing a lot of Indigenous People living on mountains higher than 500 meters above sea level who have existing coffee trees. We will share a coffee processing technology that would meet the highest local and global standards at Fair Trade prices.
We are invited to look to the future when all the Indigenous People in this land are trading fairly in local and global markets. We will assist in developing their entrepreneurial skills by practising direct trade philosophies and inclusive business models to the coffee industry.
We are facing the reality that our resources and the money earned, may lead to conflict, if we as a community do not prepare or plan for our financial future. We are invited to journey with community leaders and their people in basic conflict resolution approaches and financial management strategies, to ensure the sustainability of their culture and resources.
So, as the Creator, whom the Kalinga people know as Afunyian, continues to allow us to serve the Kalinga people, we will pursue this inclusive development partnership with the Sumacher tribe. We submit our whole being to the Creator regarding this journey.