TOUCHED BY THE SUN'S RAYS: BUKIDNON TRIBAL COOPERATIVE PRODUCES AWARD-WINNING COFFEE
Agriculture|March - April 2021
THE INDIGENOUS PEOPLE OF BUKIDNON have been growing coffee for a long time, but it wasn’t until 2017 that their efforts were recognized on an international scale.
YVETTE TAN

That year, Inhandig Tribal Multipurpose Cooperative (ITMPC) from Malaybalay took home the prize for the Arabica category in the Kape Pilipino (KP) Green Coffee Quality Competition, a nationwide cupping competition organized by the Philippine Coffee Board, Inc. (PCBI). ITMPC was one of two winners from Bukidon, the other being Kape Maramag from Maramag, who topped the Robusta category. Both went on to represent the Philippines in the Global Specialty Coffee Expo in Seattle, Washington that same year.

Organized in 1998, ITMPC focused on coffee and abaca as these high-value crops were deemed friendly to the forest environment that the tribes lived in in Brgy. Dalwangan, Malaybalay, Bukidnon at the foot of Mt, Kitanglad. Coffee growing wasn’t a new endeavor, as the crop had traditionally been grown on a small scale in their area.

“When we plant coffee, we maintain it by removing grasses, weeds…. After maintaining it for five years, our harvest becomes regular yearly,” says Adelina Tarino, who is known by the honorific Bae Inatlawan which means “Touched by the Sun’s Rays.”

The Inhandig Tribal Multipurpose Cooperative (ITMPC) from Malaybalay took home the prize for the Arabica category in the Kape Pilipino (KP) Green Coffee Quality Competition, a nationwide cupping competition, in 2013. It continues to produce quality Arabica coffee under the name Noble Bean.

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