We left the Bishop’s residence in Kidapawan after a 5 star continental breakfast and a warm hospitality, to head to Columbio, a province 1.30 hrs away from Kidapawan. After a bumpy road and a couple of checkpoints that we were able to ride through without being checked because of the CRS logo on out cars I guess, we arrived in Columbio to meet with some community leaders.
Our discussion with the indigenous community leaders was very informative. They shared with us their experiences with two mining companies that wanted to start exploration and mining in their area.They explained their opposition to mining adding that the benefits from mining would not compensate for the environmental challenges that they would face as a result of mining. Added to their environmental concerns which also took into account inter-generational responsibility, they shared their disappointment in the government and the structures established to protect their rights such as the National Commission for Indigenous Peoples for failing to do so. For the communities that we talked with, agriculture and not mining seemed to be the best way out of poverty in a way is environmentally and culturally sustainable.
We then went to the City Hall to talk to the Mayor and the Vice-Mayor who talked to us a lot about the potential of Columbio for coffee and their expected partnership with Rocky Mountains (as mentioned in Ben’s presentation in class). We also had the opportunity to taste the coffee… and it was really good! (this coming from me, a person from an Arabica coffee growing country should tell you something ..:P)
This said, and this explains the title of this post, we have been getting quite a few “are you married” questions. People here are very curious and don’t shy away from asking you how old you are and if you are married or not… so far nobody has tried to marry-us off…or may be somebody is and we just don’t know about it yet. But if any one of us gets married, stay assured that there’ll be very good dowry for our BOTFL class… and son’t underestimate dowry from Mindanao. It might come in gold, copper and nickel… I mean, this is one of the world’s mineral rich regions in the world!