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Changing the world starting from one’s dining table

On the road to a resort in Lianga, Surigao del Sur late on October 28, our Grassroots Documentation and Reporting Training Team talked about the application of science in the food that we eat.

It was a humorous but “meaty” chatter. The usual one you get into inside the vehicle while heavy rains slow your trip down. A check on the time piece showed dinner should go ahead before check in.

We talked about the chicken in the fast food chains. We talked about the poultry products in our breakfast table. Then the conversation extended to the synthetics of food preparation in the world of fast food chains and how they alter way of life and relationships. Fast food vs. slow food. Old vs. new ways to prepare food. We also talked about that World Toilet Summit in Beijing (yeah, but that’s another thing.)

Just a week before, I sat next to a Vegan. Is that how you call people who live on plant-based diet?

So I had some inputs to make in the car ‘conversation’: that natural diet is a healthier choice.

When we arrived at the resort and dinner was served later, I was shocked to find fried chicken on the table. Wew! While most of us skipped it at least as the main course, I find it very funny.The caterer later on told us they failed to follow the agreed food requirements.

We usually have nice conversations on health and diet; very nice,  that we often do not see them in our decisions and actions.

The simple reflection I got during the chatter was quiet an awakening.

If I want to correct what for me were unhealthyfood  decisions, I should rather start it on my dining table.

Back in Malaybalay, I wanted to bring the reflection closer to home.

I immediately shared about the advantages of this diet choice. I felt it was welcomed, in the light homecoming conversation. But I realized its not going to be easy.

When you are not the only one deciding in the kitchen, the market day, and the budget, there will be complications on your desire to initiate or explore a healtheir diet.

This thing about science, technology and food is quite a sensitive topic at home. Because of preferences and primarily due to the lack of time to prepare with everyone working for a living and not being able to afford hiring a househelp.

I realized it requires mass-based, proper and open consultations with every one concerned at home. It requires education about diet, health, among other things.

We even need rules on how to talk about it (why and how are we going to change the menu that has been our choice through time?) We need information and communication. We need not only one-sided information dissemination. We need to listen to one another. (Now this sounds like the peace process between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front already.).

Anyway, we also cannot miss out on the environment or the market.

The poultry industry, despite the talk of unhealthy hybrid/synthetic-based production (millions of eggs in how many days?) is a big and multi-million industry.

If you look at trimming it down you are looking at cutting on the feeds sector, and eventually the corn industry for example.

From my window in Kalasungay, I can smell the odor of poultry farms in Patpat, our neighbor village in Malaybalay City.

What I thought are micro personal choices and basic human rights will have bearing on the world economy!

Likewise, the choices we make in our kitchens are  affected by the choices offered by the market. Its an economic structure embedded into our way of life.

I remembered a colleague expressed his potent view over that dinner in Lianga: “That’s why most of us often get sick” and “that’s why doctors and hospitals are making money.”

Who is winning if we are losing? Such a formidable foe I supposed.

I missed the forum organized by anti- GMO (genetically modified organism) groups (sorry for this label) or should I say pro-organic farming groups last week in Bukidnon State University where Bt Talong took centerstage.It should have been a venue for critical information.

We all need to look at these options laid on the table by modern science and technology. Science does wonders, too. I think what we must remember is that “modern” doesn’t always mean healthy.

That’s why I still wanted to offer my two-cents worth in the big cloud and inter-gallactic movement for change.

I start going natural and fry-free food for breakfast, at least. I hope it will snowball into something more significant.(The folks at home do not entirely like this move at all.)

But like the ripple effect, it starts from baby steps.

Maybe if we change what we eat for meals at home, we help change the landscape of our farms and plantations.  (End)

‘Boodle fight’ to ‘boodle peace’: from warriors to peace builders

Counting how many battles fought, enemies killed, and firearms recovered has been among the usual indicators in an official’s military scoreboard.

But it’s got to change, military officials tell new generation officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in Mindanao.

Col. Julieto Ando, of the Eastern Mindanao Command, has stressed this point to junior military officers who attended the Operation Peace Course (OPKORS), a conflict management and peace building training, now on its seventh in a series, organized by the AFP, Balay Mindanao Foundation Inc. and other partners.

“Instead, count how many enemies you have convinced back to the folds of law,” Ando said in his presentation on “The Challenge: Towards Fresher Perspectives”.

He said it involves changing perspectives from calling “boodle fights” to “boodle peace” at the least to building consensus and partnerships with other stakeholders to win peace.

The new mindset for military operations in Mindanao, he said, calls for more focus on building rather than destroying. Read on.

EO 765: Good for bakers, bad for corn farmers

First published in MindaNews.com. President Arroyo signed Executive Order 765 in December 2008  claiming that  “reduction on tariff on food wheat would help stabilize the price of bread and other baked food products.” Unfortunately, former agriculture secretary Leonardo Montemayor said in a report that the order did not only include the lifting of tariff on importation of food wheat or milling wheat, the ingredient used to produce bread, but also on feed wheat, which like corn, is used as animal feed.

Excess feed wheat supply brought by the zero tariff has competed with local corn supply, Roderico Bioco founding chair of the Philippine Maize Federation Inc. told MindaNews.

The implementation of EO 765 has led to an estimated P6-billion losses in income for corn farmers and at least P1-billion loss in revenues for government, Montemayor, now a member of the House representing of the ABA-AKO party list, said.

The lowest price for yellow corn was P6.50 per kilo or P6, 500 per MT, lower than the production cost of P10.

The  Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS) reported  last week that the price of corn had dropped from P 9 per kilo to P7.50 during a five-week period.

The executive order was effective until June 2009 but favoring sectors, including the livestock feed millers lobbied for the extension. The corn industry stakeholders such as the Philippine Maize Federation Inc. and ABA AKO party list lobbied against the extension. Read More…

EMB to consider Bukidnon’s moratorium on ECC issuance

The Environmental Management Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has agreed to consider Bukidnon’s request for consideration in the approval of environmental compliance certificate (ECC)  for projects based in the province. Read full report here.

Water down: Bukidnon eyes tigher rules on water rights

Water is inarguably Bukidnon’s most important agricultural resource.

It is a cause of wonder, however, why the sloppy process of acquiring water permits have escaped the pruning attention of local governments.

There were doubts raised by many over the years on the questionable process of acquiring water rights permits.

But over the years, too, local governments and communities seemed powerless over the matter. Read More…

Kalilang in a hotel under renovation, and identity in Mindanao

It was a bit awkward for me and Omar, a reserved Maguindanaoan who tried to be informative, as we took a peek at the wedding of a couple from two big Maguindanaoan families in Cotabato City.

We were looking through the window from our side of the conference hall— we looked like kids wanting to gate crash or something. Everybody in the training was doing just that as we waited for our morning session to start.

We were holding grassroots documentation and reporting training next door and the arrival of wedding guests drew our attention —especially when traditional wedding songs and hymns began to play. Read More…

Pikit stop over: Pamogon coffee break

Pamogon Store
Stall No. 04
Pikit Public Market

For coffee drinkers, a natural choice for a stop over in between Cotabato and Davao cities aside from rest room visits and road side meals, is the Pikit Public Market.

Aside from it being a vibrant and busy market place, it offers Pikit’s famous Pamogon “excelsa” coffee.

We scoured for that ‘aromatic’ redemption and found it for sale in many stalls at P130 per kilo.  

I had been curious about what makes the humble native Pamogon coffee unique. I’ve been drinking this coffee for a while and I wanted to know more about how this was made.

And in this recent trip to Central Mindanao I wanted to know the answers. Read More…