Last 25-28 April, leaders of a Zambales-based Fresh Hope Agape Center (FHAC) Inc. visited PeaceBuilders Community Inc. (PBCI) and Coffee For Peace (CFP) in Davao. The purpose of their visit was to get actual coffee farm exposure, to get post-harvest processing experience, and to go through Peace and Reconciliation (PAR) seminar. FHAC provides education and livelihood support to marginalized communities in Zambales. Their work is especially focused on Aeta Indigenous People’s community in Zambales.

Our guests were a group of pastors and engineers, led by a medical doctor. They started with a cup of coffee at the CFP Café, after a long land and air travel from Zambales Province to Davao City. They had a small conversation with Daniel “Lakan Sumulong” Pantoja, President of PeaceBuilders Community, Inc. (PBCI). In the afternoon, they had a discussion on peace – that is, pursuing harmony with our Creator, with being, with others, and with the creation.

On the next day, everybody prepared for their farm exposure at the A and J Mahayahay Farm in Barangay Alegre, Bansalan, Davao del Sur. This farm is owned and operated by Aldren and Jobelyn “Sihaya” Banal. Before the hike, they visited the Bagobo Tagabawa people in Bale Kasunayan, Barangay Binaton where the Rano Memorial is located. They listened to the stories of local Indigenous People, about their life and their journey in coffee farming and marketing.

On the third day, Aldren taught them about coffee, theoretically and practically. After performing the actual process — from sorting of seeds, to planting, to harvesting of coffee — they get to know and listen to the farmers’ stories from the Kapeyapaan Farmers Association. Jocelyn Mariño and Salome Avila Milagrosa shared their respective journeys as a worker and as owner of Tres Rosas Coffee Farming.

Before leaving Bansalan, they went to Malipayon Peace Hub, the processing facility of CFP to learn from Sonny Bautista and Rosie Gonzaga, CFP post-harvest specialists. There, they had a hands-on experience of appropriate dehulling and sorting of coffee beans.

To complete their learning tour, Joji “Bai Kasunayan” Pantoja, President & CEO of Coffee For Peace, led them through a workshop on creating connections with partners. They also discussed the components and elements of a social enterprise and how to communicate them with all stakeholders.

The final feature of their three-day learning tour was quite light and relaxing. The baristas gave them a first-hand experience on coffee roasting, brewing, and tasting.

We, at PBCI-CFP, are grateful for this opportunity to share our learning with our new partners from Zambales.

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