Tag: kalinga

Apr 25 2017

MY FRIEND, MAIMAI, AND I ATTENDED THE PEACE TALKS BETWEEN THE GOVERNMENT AND THE CORDILLERA PEOPLE

I and Maimai Lim pose with Secretary Jess Dureza (Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, Government of the Philippines), Novy Afidchao (Public Information Officer, Mountain Province), and Malou Alngag (PeaceBuilders Community – Kalinga). Forum on Cordillera Regional Autonomy: “Pioneer Cordillera Champions Coming Together”. 23 April 2017, Mount Data Hotel, Mount Data, Mountain Province.

Last 23 April 2017, I went to Mount Data — a part of the northern mountain ranges of the Philippines we refer to as The Cordilleras — to attend and help document a meeting between the Cordillera Peoples’ Liberation Army (CPLA) and the Government of the Philippines (GPH). This historic event is one of the series of critical meetings in an on-going peace negotiation between the CPLA and the GPH.

 

My friend, Maimai Lim, was with me. She offered to drive her 4X4 sports utility vehicle. Maimai is one of my classmates in the graduate course on social entrepreneurship I’m currently taking. She became interested in our peacebuilding work among the indigenous people, especially among the Bangsamoro Muslims in Mindanao. Maimai is now our partner in propagating Peace and Reconciliation principles and practices in the Province of Antique, where her family is among the respected leaders of the province.

 

Mount Data is a mountain located in the Cordilleras rising to a height of 2,310 metres. The Cordillera Region comprises six provinces: Abra, Apayao, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga and Mountain Province. The regional center is the highly urbanized city of Baguio. Prior to the 2015 census, the Cordillera Region is the least populated and least densely-populated region in the country. (Wikipedia)

 

PeaceBuilders Community, Inc. (PBCI) has been involved in the lives of the Cordillera People when we were led to establish a relationship with the people of Kalinga. It was Twinkle ‘Tala’ Alngag Bautista, one of our senior staff members, who introduced us to the Cordillera Peoples’ Liberation Army (CPLA).

 

 

Prior to this meeting at Mount Data, my husband Lakan and his Peace-and-Reconciliation (PAR) team have been building relationships with the leadership of the CPLA.

 

Father Conrado Balweg (aka Ka Ambo) speaking before the Cordillera people. Taken around 1978.

The CPLA  is a militant organization based in the Cordillera region in the Philippines founded by Father Conrado Balweg, a Catholic priest. Their goal was to fight for the self-determination of the people of Cordillera. In 13 September 1986 the CPLA and the Government of the Philippines (GPH) made a “sipat” or cessation of hostilities in Mt. Data Hotel, in Bauko, Mountain Province. The agreement between the two entities was dubbed as the “1986 Mount Data Peace Accord.” In 1999, the organization’s founder, Fr. Balweg, was assassinated.  A closure agreement between the Humiding Faction of the CPLA and the GPH was signed on 04 July 2011 at the Rizal Hall in Malacañan Palace. The agreement calls for the disarmament of the group, the reintegration of the militants into mainstream society and the conversion of the militant group into a socio-economic organization. However, the original members of the CPLA told us that, as far as the wider constituency of the Cordillera People is concerned, there was no CPLA-GPH closure. For them, the so-called closure of July 2011 was hastily done by GPH with a small faction of CPLA for the purpose of political image-building.

 

This Mount Data meeting where Maimai and I recently attended was a review and a clarification meeting between the CPLA and the GPH — that there was indeed no closure yet in this peace process. Until the Cordillera People actually enjoys their right to self-determination and the governance-stewardship of their ancestral domains, the peace negotiations will have to continue.

 

Maimai and I left the meeting praying that the present administration would sincerely support the passage of House Bill 5343, An Act Establishing the Autonomous Region of the Cordillera which was filed recently in Congress. This would be a significant step towards the Cordillera Peoples’ enjoyment of their right to self-determination in their beautiful Ancestral Domain.

 

PeaceBuilders Community is committed to support the CPLA in their struggle to attain regional autonomy.

 

 

PBCI JOURNEY WITH THE CORDILLERA PEOPLE

:: In 12-16 April 2010, my husband, Lakan Sumulong, felt a need to travel to Tabuk City, the capital of Kalinga Province, to get to know the Kalinga people.  There, he was given a whole morning to dialogue with the Matagoan Bodong Consultative Council (MBCC), which, according to Arlene Ethel Odiem of the city mayor’s office, was “the peace and reconciliation elders of the Kalinga people.”  Lakan was also aware that his colleague, Jonathan Rudy of Mennonite Central Committee, had already been there and had, in fact, conducted a series of peacebuilding seminars among those leaders.  But still, Lakan strongly felt “there is something existential that connects PBCI and the Kalinga people” which he was not able to describe at that time.

:: In June 2010, we met Hart and Ginny Wiens, a Canadian missionary couple to the Philippines who served with the Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL).  Hart and Jenny were from a Mennonite background.  They lived with the Kalinga people for 20 years and helped translate the New Testament in a Kalinga language.  In the last week of January 2011, the Wiens led the us through a nine-hour hike to Asibanglan, a Kalinga community where the Weins used to live.  There, we were invited by the tribal elders to start a coffee livelihood program within the PAR framework.  After a few months, PBCI sent Kriz Cruzado to conduct an introductory seminar on PAR and Coffee For Peace.

:: In 30-31 May 2011, PBCI was requested by the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches (PCEC) to conduct PAR Facilitators Training among their youth leaders who were involved in social action.  Among those youth leaders was Tala—a young Kalinga lady who finished a bachelors degree in Journalism from the University of the Philippines.

:: In 07 November 2011, Tala was accepted into the two-year training program with PeaceBuilders School of Leadership (PBSL).  She showed high interest and performance in theological reflection, social analysis, and field work.  She particularly excelled as a field team leader doing actual PAR community development in one of the most critical areas in Mindanao.

:: In 23 December 2013, Tala moved back among the Kalinga people to fulfill her calling to advance biblical justice, peace, and reconciliation starting from her home tribe.  “Becoming a missionary, “ she said, “had been my dream since I was five years old.”

:: In 26-29 August 2014, Tala invited me to Barangay Bulo in Tabuk City, where families from the Sumacher tribe in Upper Kalinga established their city dwellings together.  Tala’s family and tribe adopted me as one of their daughters.  When the sisters were putting the welcome necklace, I was almost in tears for their open arms. During that time, the Sumacher Tribe expressed their desire to become the initial PAR Community in Kalinga.

 

 

Permanent link to this article: http://waves.ca/2017/04/25/my-friend-maimai-and-i-attended-the-peace-talks-between-the-cpla-and-the-gph/

Feb 02 2017

THE BANAO AND SUMACHER TRIBES IN KALINGA WELCOME PBCI & CFP

The tribal elders of Banao Tribe in Talalang, Balbalan, Kalinga invited me to explore a partnership with them in producing global quality coffee using the Peace and Reconciliation framework of Coffee For Peace. 31 January 2017. We’re planning to be back in this community by April 2017 to do CFP and PAR training.

PeaceBuilders Community, Inc. (PBCI) and Coffee For Peace (CFP) have been enjoying a growing relationship with the various tribes of Kalinga province. I visited Kalinga again as a continuation of our prayerful commitment to support their aspiration for genuine autonomy.

I praise the Great Creator —

  • for those rich moments of bonding with our Kalinga family who adopted Joji and me — the Alngag clan where Tala belongs; especially grateful to God 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;
  • for a wonderful chance to have mentorship sessions with Aiza, our field worker there, and to get to know her family and the Banao tribe where she belongs — especially his father, Gilbert Baluyan — in Barangay Talalang, Balbalan, Upper Kalinga;
  • for the privilege of speaking before the pastors and church leaders there and precious time of conversations to deepen our relationship with them;
  • for the rich time of fellowship and sharing of hearts and minds with the leadership of 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;
  • for the joy of seeing again my brother, Johnny Sawadan, who is volunteering to help establish PAR communities in the Cordillera Region; and,
  • for the opportunity to share peace and reconciliation (PAR) principles and practices with the local government officials; and, for the chance to formally present the inclusive development consulting services of PeaceBuilders Community and the economic-ecological transformation initiatives of Coffee For Peace.

It was a delight to listen to my dear Kalinga mother, Janet Alngag, and my sisters, Marilou and Rebecca, as they dream and plan together about the Peace and Reconciliation activities among the Sumacher tribe in Barangay Bulo, Tabuk City and in Barangay Sumacher, Municipality of Tinglayan in Upper Kalinga. Aiza Baluyan, our PAR Field Worker in Kalinga takes notes.

 

 

See Facebook photo album

 

Permanent link to this article: http://waves.ca/2017/02/02/the-banao-and-sumacher-tribes-in-kalinga-welcome-pbci-cfp/

Apr 20 2016

TO BE AN EFFECTIVE INCLUSIVE DEVELOPMENT FIELD WORKER

sumadel

While hiking the mountains of Upper Kalinga, my heart and mind brought my consciousness on how to be an effective Inclusive Development field worker:

  • My main task is primarily to listen to the peoples’ imagination of their realities. In their various languages and expressions, they articulate their present realities (what is) and their future aspirations (what ought to).
  • My secondary task is to commit myself to walk with them in-between the present and the future, not a 100-meter dash sprint, but a life-long-journey.
  • My third task is to keep listening as I walk with them until they have affirmed that I actually get what they are saying so I can resonate their wisdom, concerns, and aspirations to those outside their respective communities.

 

 

Permanent link to this article: http://waves.ca/2016/04/20/to-be-an-effective-inclusive-development-field-worker/

Sep 18 2014

TALA IS OUR NEW MISSIONARY TO KALINGA

tala-joji

“Her sense of creativity cannot be boxed within the programmable cells of MS Excel.” Twinkle “Tala” Bautista and I enjoyed our time together while she’s sharing her dreams for her people starting with her new arabica coffee seedling yard in Kalinga.

We, at PeaceBuilders Community and at Coffee For Peace, have learned to respect Tala as a person who enjoys leading people and who is patient in managing things. She has no trouble talking with people and loves to organize them. When assigned a leadership task, she can anticipate problems and provide solutions even in circumstances that are unpredictable. She works best under pressure; the higher the pressure, the more she’s challenged, and the better the performance she gives.

Tala does not function well in office routines.  Not because she is not able.  She’s so capable.  Her adventurous being doesn’t fit in the air-conditioned Consultants’ Room at the former PeaceBuilders Community Center. Her sense of creativity cannot be boxed within the programmable cells of  MS Excel. The chronos-time that measures efficiency is not enough to handle the kairos-time that energizes her effectiveness.

Twinkle Alngag Bautista was born in 25 September 1986 in a village called Bulanao, Municipality of Tabuk, Province of Kalinga. When she was five years old, she saw on TV a soldier giving a boy to a nun. The boy was a survivor of a natural disaster. “At that moment,” Tala recalled, “I knew deep within me that I wanted to serve other people.”

Later, as a teenager experiencing the struggles of growing pains and seeking to determine what was real and what was not, she said: “The only thing that I was sure of during that time was that I wanted to serve the Lord with all of my heart, my soul, my mind and my strength. I was rock bottom when Jesus showed He was holding me and was close with me all along.”  And thus began “another level of relationship” between Twinkle and her Creator.

In 22 April 2007, she completed her Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City. She’s also a licensed Secondary Education Teacher and an eligible Civil Service Professional. Her internship in Journalism was with ABS-CBN, the Philippines’ largest media corporation. Her first employment was with the Philippine Information Agency, the communications hub of the Government of the Philippines. Then she went back home to Kalinga to serve at the Cultural Heritage Research Center, Saint Louise College.

It was in December 2011 when Tala became a part of our community. After a one-year field mission in Bukidnon, the Peace and Reconciliation (PAR) Community in that province was established. In fact, PAR Bukidnon is right now the strongest PAR community in the country.

Just before we released Tala back to her home province, she was assigned to be a part of a PAR teaching team in Zamboanga City in the first week of October 2013, right after the Zamboanga Crisis of 08-28 September. It was there when she was assured that the God who called her is the same God who will ultimately bring Jubilee in this world.

Permanent link to this article: http://waves.ca/2014/09/18/tala-is-our-new-missionary-to-kalinga/

Sep 03 2014

PBCI CONTINUES TO JOURNEY WITH THE KALINGA FIRST NATION

joji-tala-kalinga

These are the members of the PBCI visiting team who travelled around Kalinga Province during the last week of August 2014. L-R: Clifford (transporter), Letty Alngag (Tala’s Aunt, host), Zangie Chulhi (Tala’s cousin, guide), Joji Pantoja (PBCI Chief Operating Officer), Tala Alngag Bautista (PAR proponent), Rebecca Alngag (Tala’s mother and PAR host), and Salome Haldemann (PBCI staff, PAR documentor). Photo by Malou Alngag.

Through the visionary leadership of Twinkle “Tala” Alngag Bautista, the Peace and Reconciliation (PAR) movement is being nurtured among the indigenous people in the northern mountains of the Philippines called Kalinga.

:: In 12-16 April 2010, Dann Pantoja felt a need to travel to Tabuk City, the capital of Kalinga Province, to get to know the Kalinga people.  There, he was given a whole morning to dialogue with the Matagoan Bodong Consultative Council (MBCC), which, according to Arlene Ethel Odiem of the city mayor’s office, was “the peace and reconciliation elders of the Kalinga people.”  Dann was also aware that his colleague, Jonathan Rudy of Mennonite Central Committee, had already been there and had, in fact, conducted a series of peacebuilding seminars among those leaders.  But still, Dann strongly felt “there is something existential that connects PBCI and the Kalinga people” which he was not able to describe at that time.

:: In June 2010, Dann & Joji Pantoja met Hart and Ginny Wiens, a Canadian missionary couple to the Philippines who served with the Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL).  Hart and Jenny were from a Mennonite background.  They lived with the Kalinga people for 20 years and helped translate the New Testament in a Kalinga language.  In the last week of January 2011, the Wiens led the Pantojas through a nine-hour hike to Asibanglan, a Kalinga community where the Weins used to live.  There, the Pantojas were invited by the tribal elders to start a coffee livelihood program within the PAR framework.  After a few months, PBCI sent Kriz Cruzado and Regina Mondez to conduct an introductory seminar on PAR and Coffee For Peace.

:: In 30-31 May 2011, PBCI was requested by the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches (PCEC) to conduct PAR Facilitators Training among their youth leaders who were involved in social action.  Among those youth leaders was Tala—a young Kalinga lady who finished a bachelors degree in Journalism from the University of the Philippines.

:: In 07 November 2011, Tala was accepted into the two-year training program with PeaceBuilders School of Leadership (PBSL).  She showed high interest and performance in theological reflection, social analysis, and field work.  She particularly excelled as a field team leader doing actual PAR community development in one of the most critical areas in Mindanao.

:: In 23 December 2013, Tala moved back among the Kalinga people to fulfill her calling to advance biblical justice, peace, and reconciliation starting from her home tribe.  “Becoming a missionary, “ she said, “had been my dream since I was five years old.”

:: In 26-29 August 2014, Tala invited Joji Pantoja to Sumacher, her home tribe in Kalinga.  Tala’s family and tribe adopted Joji as one of their daughters.  “When the sisters was putting the welcome necklace,” Joji testified, “I was almost in tears for their open arms.”  During that time, the Sumacher Tribe expressed their desire to become the initial PAR Community in Kalinga.

 

______________________________________________________________

 

talaTWINKLE “TALA” ALNGAG BAUTISTA
Consultant, Economic-Ecological Transformation
Strategic Adviser, Indigenous People’s Worldview, Society, History, and Culture

tala@peacebuilderscommunity.org

We call her Tala – the Pilipino term for star.  Tala is a proud member of the Kalinga First Nation and celebrates the fact that she belongs to the Indigenous People: “I’m an IP.”  She’s a graduate of the University of the Philippines in Diliman, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism. At an early age, she dreamed to be a missionary. Now that she’s part of PeaceBuilders Community, she testifies with much excitement that she is a Peacebuilding Missionary!

Asked about her passion as a Peacebuilding Missionary: “I believe in the wealth of the indigenous knowledge… I dream of IPs rejoicing in their cultural heritage without shame, freely sharing the indigenous knowledge with the mainstream–the business world, academe, media, etc. The encouraging thing is, there are already steps done to uphold the IPs. We can build on them.”

Permanent link to this article: http://waves.ca/2014/09/03/pbci-continues-to-journey-with-the-kalinga-first-nation/

Jan 30 2011

MENNONITE PEACEBUILDERS IMMERSE IN KALINGA’S STORIES AND CULTURE

A report by
MS REGINA MONDEZ, Development Communication Specialist, PeaceBuilders Community

The muddy trek going to Brgy. Asibanglan, Pinukpuk, Kalinga

 

On the third week of January 2011, PBCI team had an extraordinary experience in the Province of Kalinga. From Tabuk City, we had a three-hour roller coaster ride on a jeepney loaded with pigs, chickens, and rice. After the ride, we hiked a distance of 6 km uphill from 230 m/asl up to 680 m/asl.The hike took us 3.5 hours, due to the muddy and slippery trek. We were all tired when we got to Brgy. Asibanglan, Pinukpuk, Kalilnga but the warm welcome of the people in Asibanglan was a good prize for us. We were served with a delicious rice cake and brewed coffee, prepared in their traditional way.

We were hosted by the Agustin family, who had a traumatic experience years ago, when their father was killed. Their family’s story is one worth writing about in another article.

There, Christy Agustin Sacayle, our host in Tabuk who also hiked with us, and the eldest son of Pedro Agustin (who was killed years ago), showed us the rooms where we would rest for two nights. She managed our trip so well, that everything we needed, especially the food for the whole barangay, are complete. We also met Doleng (Christy’s mother), Dominga (Christy’s aunt), and Doleng’s mother. They were all so friendly and accommodating to us. Together with us are Hart and Ginny Wiens, who lived there for 6 years doing Bible translation in Kalinga language, Dave and Debbie Wiens (Hart’s brother and sister-in-law), and Kyoko Torakawa, a Japanese missionary who also lived there for four years. It was sort of a reunion for those who lived there before, but a totally new experience for us who were there for the first time.

The highlight of our stay there was the dedication of the Asibanglan Reading Center, which was dedicated in memory of three courageous people who started doing the Bible translation in their language. Before their works, there was never a written word in their language. Thanks to Pedro Agustin, Dorothea Bantor, and Benito Aggueban for starting a difference in their community.

This plaque was made to be posted in the library, to honor the three people who made a difference in their community

The dedication was blessed with a mass led by Father Francis Gella. After the mass and communion, the second part of the program was enriched with a message of peace delivered by Rev. Daniel Pantoja, whose message inspired the teachers and community leaders. They were all challenged about the four harmonies and how to apply it in dealing with their students. After the message, was the speeches of the three daughters of the people to whom the library was dedicated. A feast followed after this. The whole community enjoyed the two pigs that were killed the night before. Those are the two pigs that were with us from Tabuk, and that the locals carried up to Asibanglan.

In the afternoon, was the most exciting part, wherein we experienced their culturally preserved community dancing, and they even invited us (guests) to dance with them. It was an awesome, fun-filled afternoon. We are very much pleased with their native music and dance, decorated with smiles on their faces and enhanced with the laughter of the children as they enjoy watching the performers.

Kalinga girls while performing their cultural dance

We really had a complete Kalinga culture experience. Their hospitality, music, dance, and tribal attire– they showed it all to us and reminded us that the Philippines is indeed a rich country. There are still lots to discover, only if we are willing to take difficult challenges such as hiking in deep mud for three and a half hours.

See Facebook Album

Permanent link to this article: http://waves.ca/2011/01/30/pbci-immerses-in-kalingas-stories-and-culture/