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Kalinga people love peace and coffee.

Twinkle Alngag Bautista is convinced that she is called to build a Peace and Reconciliation (PAR) Community and Coffee For Peace (CFP) social business in Kalinga as part of her life’s calling and mission.

Tala Bautista shows her coffee seedlings to Joji Pantoja, CEO of Coffee For Peace.

Coffee is already a popular product here. Local Robusta coffee is brewed every morning in every household, and kept all day in a thermos bottle to be drank and offered to visitors and passersby.

Coffee For Peace in Kalinga would have two practical objectives:

  • To advocate for the farming of Arabica coffee (instead of Robusta) in the highlands since Kalinga Province has many mountains. Arabica is in demand nationally and internationally.  The needed shade for Arabica coffee plants would contribute to the needed reforestation of the highlands.
  • To train the current Robusta farmers in quality farming, thus raising their home production to export quality. This way, the farmers could sell their coffee produce at a fair price.

PAR Kalinga, although still in its first steps phase, already has a full schedule in two great fields.

The first field is the preservation of the indigenous traditions and culture.  Among the main riches of the Cordilleras are the presence, culture and history of their indigenous people. The Kalingas have customary peace processes, traditions of hospitality and solidarity, and a strong relationship with the spiritual world. But they are disregarded by the mainstream lowland culture. In the minds of many Filipinos, the Kalinga’s history of head hunting is highlighted because of cultural prejudice. Lowlanders tend to turn this exceptional practice as if this is the Kalinga’s only characteristic.

The second field of work for PAR Kalinga is seeking to help in the transformation of the political, economic and social injustices in the Cordillera Region. The Cordilleras are full of natural resources, but have been one of the poorer provinces of the Philippines for years. Their riches—gold mines, forests, pure spring water, streams—are drained for the good of the Manila-based central government. However, the Cordillera’s provinces reportedly receive less funding from the government than all the other provinces in the Philippines. A promise of autonomy for the Cordilleras had been negotiated in 1986, after years of fighting from the Cordillera People’s Alliance – Cordillera People’s Liberation Army (CPA-CPLA) but the government now considers the agreement closed, after what CPA regards as foul play. Tension is strongly felt by those who fought for autonomy, and PAR Kalinga has been asked to help in advocating for the cause.

Letty Alngag, Twinkle Bautista, and Malou Alngag show three of the several stages in coffee business.

Twinkle and her immediate PAR accomplices—her mother Rebecca, her grandmother, her aunties Malou and Letty, and her uncle Johnny Ada-ol—have many dreams for Kalinga. Twinkle is looking forward to being able to work full time for PAR Kalinga and make those dreams come true. The first dream is a coffee shop in downtown Tabuk, that would serve Coffee for Peace products with the traditional Kalinga delicacies. The furniture, the designs, the artifacts in the main room would tell of Kalinga Indigenous People. The main room would be big enough to host meetings and PAR trainings. On the longer term, another coffee shop would be built further in other places, together with a coffee nursery and a coffee processing facility, in an eco-village preserving the Kalinga way of life. The village would consist of traditional octagonal houses, where weaving, dancing, playing the nose-flute, and other native arts and crafts could be taught to visitors. It would be a place of peace, and coffee—and its aromas would spread to the whole Kalinga province.