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Last 12 October to 12 November, Joseph “Boyet” Ongkiko, Tala Alngag Bautista, and I went through a cross-Canada tour, sharing the story of PeaceBuilders Community, Inc. (PBCI) and Coffee for Peace (CFP). It was a time of face-to-face visits with our friends and supporters, celebrating our accomplishments together as partners in the work of PBCI and CFP. It was also a time to share the vision of establishing a permanent home of PBCI and CFP in one location we refer to as Malipayon Peace Hub. We started in Eastern Canada, then westward to Central Canada, and concluding the tour in British Columbia. Our message as a team is threefold: I presented the journey of PBCI-CFP from 2006 to the present. Boyet shared the new vision of educating young leaders from Indigenous Peoples’ communities through IncluDev. Tala shared her vision for the next generation Peace and Reconciliation initiatives framed in decolonization.

I was absolutely thrilled to share this journey with Tala and Ka Boyet in Canada. The whole trip was a whirlwind, sharing the stories of PBCI and CFP at churches, dinners, academic classes, small group meetings, factories, and offices. 

The feedback I have been receiving were so affirming. The most encouraging note was from the email of Jeanette Hanson, the director of International Witness, Mennonite Church Canada. “I am now hearing more details about the presentations and personal connections that you made on your way across the country,” she wrote. “People are giving high praise for the way that you were able to relate to so many different ages and so many different settings where you shared your passion for peacebuilding and sustainability…” she added. “I want to thank you for the great work that you did while you were here and the great ambassadors that you are for the International Witness program, and for PBCI. You are deeply appreciated.”

I also received various feedback notes from email. Here are some excerpts:

  • “Boyet’s contribution… was powerful and engaging.”
  • “When Tala talked about being fined 50 cents per word for speaking Indigenous languages in school, there were so many parallels to what we are learning about Indigenous history, culture, and resurgence.”
  • “Beautifully connected to our… theme.”
  • “Appreciated the energy and passion of all of the speakers… were struck by, and admired, their strong faith.”
  • “The stories connect… and the result was very impactful.”
  • “I really appreciated the real world, experienced-in-life, examples of concepts…”
  • “They were warm and gracious and also passionate and inspiring. It was lovely having them share with us.”
  • “A lot of students appreciated hearing Joji’s teaching on the interrelationships of Self, Others, Creator, and Creation…”
  • “The direct chat about the impacts of colonization that are still happening in the present was helpful for my History students.”
  • “Want to know more about how to support Coffee for Peace.”
  • “We could have talked to them for much longer!”

Let me thank, at this point, Jeanette Hanson, director of Mennonite Church Canada International Witness, and Norm Dyck, Mission Minister at Mennonite Church Eastern Canada who planned and managed this tour for us. We’re also thankful for our friends — Andrea Parsons, Anita Dong, Brent Charette, Dorothea Enns, Edna Konrad, Lois Konrad, Rose Dyck, Gwen & Dan Matthews, Sue & Ray Martin, Ariel Antonio, Kriz Cruzado, Wendy Kroeker, and many others who helped us with accommodation, transportation, and directions.

We are grateful to the Creator and to our Canadian Mennonite partners for their warm reception, hospitality, and loving support.

I shared the vision we refer to as Malipayon Peace Hub

Malipayon, a Visayan word meaning ‘being happy.’ It perfectly encapsulates the spirit of our Peace Hub. This is our home — advocates and workers of justice-based peacebuilding and reconciliation. 

  • Our Staff&Guest House is under construction, designed to welcome the PBCI-CFP team, visiting teachers, and IncluDev School facilitators. But that’s just the beginning of our journey.
  • The IncluDev Learning House is a hub of knowledge, with seminar rooms and spaces that foster growth and learning.
  • The Coffee Learning House is a destination for barista development and coffee mastery.
  • PostHarvest Processing House, where depulping and dehulling support local farming practices.
  • Roastery & Storage House ensures top-notch coffee experiences with a dedicated bean quality room, roasting machine, and packaging area.
  • Drying Shed is where our produce benefits from the perfect mix of open air and UV protection.
  • Our Glamping Area offers a stylish way to connect with nature, complete with stand-up tents and world-class toilet and shower facilities.

We’re deeply grateful to our partners who’ve joined us on this incredible journey of growth and sustainability. Together, we’re building a brighter future for the communities we serve—Indigenous Peoples, Bangsamoro, and Settlers.

Ka Boyet shared his vision he calls IncluDev learning program

IncluDev is Certificate Program on Inclusive Development which will span a period of 10 months and will consist of three major tracks: (a) PeaceBuilding; (b) Transformational Leadership; and, (c) Social Entrepreneurship.

Each track will be integrated into a seamless and unified learning experience, with monthly modules covering different aspects of inclusive development. Each module will include three days of classroom teaching (8 hours per day) and one day of fieldwork (8 to 16 hours), amounting to a total of four days per module.

To further align IncluDev with the inclusive development thrust of PBCI, a scholarship fund will be established. This fund will support three deserving youth, preferably recent Senior High School graduates, who will form a team and go through the certificate program. Each team member will be represented in one of the three tracks, ensuring a comprehensive learning experience. These youth participants will be nurtured to become future leaders, capable of sustaining and expanding inclusive development initiatives in their communities while fostering collaboration with other communities.

Tala shared the next stage of PBCI’s Peace and Reconciliation advocacy framed in decolonization

Colonization, a phenomenon deeply entrenched in history, involves one nation extending its dominion over another region, often geographically distant. Motivations for colonization have varied across epochs and nations, including the pursuit of valuable resources, the expansion of influence, and the consolidation of power. This practice has shaped the cultural, economic, and social landscapes of both the colonizers and the colonized, leaving lasting imprints that resonate through generations.

Yet, intertwined with the history of colonization is the narrative of decolonization. It represents the resilient struggle of oppressed peoples seeking autonomy, freedom, and the right to govern themselves. Decolonization embodies the culmination of resistance movements, grassroots activism, and diplomatic negotiations aimed at reclaiming independence from colonial powers. This process is a testament to the resilience and determination of communities striving for self-rule, cultural revival, and the restoration of their identities.

The journey from colonization to decolonization is multifaceted and complex. It encompasses not just the transfer of political power but also the revitalization of indigenous cultures, the restructuring of societal norms, and the reconciliation of historical injustices. Decolonization is a transformative phase that heralds a new era of nation-building, where the formerly colonized territories strive to forge their own paths, shape their destinies, and chart their unique identities.

Moreover, the aftermath of decolonization is an ongoing process, marked by challenges such as economic restructuring, political stability, and the preservation of cultural heritage. It involves navigating the complexities of governance, establishing inclusive institutions, and fostering unity among diverse communities to ensure sustainable development and progress.

In essence, colonization and decolonization are pivotal chapters in the annals of human history, encapsulating the struggles, triumphs, and complexities inherent in the pursuit of freedom, self-governance, and sovereignty. They serve as reminders of the enduring spirit of resilience and the quest for dignity and autonomy among nations and peoples worldwide.

These issues are very significant to the journeys of both Canada and the Philippines as they face the challenges of fostering justice-based Peace and Reconciliation in the context of historical injustices done against Indigenous Peoples. These concepts are all presented within the framework of our Christ-centered Peace Theology — harmony with the Creator, harmony with our being, harmony with others, and harmony with the creation.