The inclusive development dream started with Carina Calata Pe, a business entrepreneur in the field of information technology, and her daughter, Danielle Patricia, who is a social psychologist. They both participated in one of the Peace and Reconciliation (PAR) Seminars conducted by my Ama, Lakan Sumulong, in Manila in 2017. “That PAR seminar disturbed me in my own comfort zone,” testified Carina. “And I started praying for God’s leading to apply what I’ve learned.”
Carina got in touched with her friends, Glenda Rio and Ed Merhan, who are involved in a faith-based community development program among a Mangyan community in Mindoro. They started listening to two local Mangyan elders, Ka Berto and Ka Juan. The Mangyan community wanted to plant vegetables for their short term survival needs and to grow Robusta coffee and cacao for their long-term needs. They formed a team, raised their seed funds for their new group, and decided to travel to Davao City to get hands-on training on inclusive development starting with coffee social entrepreneurship. Their training week was held 21-25 January 2019.
I coordinated their field exposure to the farm of the Balutakay Coffee Farmers Agricultural (BACOFA) Cooperative. There, they had a hands-on experience of harvesting coffee after a practical instruction on planting and basic farm management from Ms Marivic Dubria, Marketing Manager of BACOFA Coop and Chair of Davao del Sur Provincial Coffee Board.
After their time at the BACOFA Farm, I brought them to the PeaceBuilders Inclusive Development Training Center at the foot of Mt. Apo. There, they experienced post-harvest processing under the instruction of Sonny Bautista, our post-harvest plant manager.
Finally, I led them for an overview exposure on coffee sorting and cupping at the SPAMAST Coffee Quality Laboratory in Digos. Mr. Regie Da Patz facilitated this learning experience.
It’s always a joy and a fulfilling privilege for me to lead farming partners and fellow PAR advocates as we advance inclusive development together.
During their simple graduation ceremony, Ama Lakan Sumulong prayed for them: “May this inclusive development and social entrepreneurship endeavor among your particular Mangyan community in Mindoro be another demonstration of the First and Greatest Commandment—that is, to love God with all our heart, mind, and soul; and, to love our neighbor as one’s self. And through this selfless love, may all the Mangyan communities in Mindoro, yes, all the indigenous peoples of this land, be liberated and finally enjoy their right to self-determination and genuine stewardship of their respective ancestral domains.”