These white beans, red beans and black beans come from an interesting and ambitious project. The people of Tinglayen, Kalinga are historically warring tribes. Over several generations, they had gradually cleared (and not reforested) their mountain areas so that they could see their enemies from far away. It’s been many years since the last skirmish and failing upland ecosystems could threaten them all wholesale. Recognizing the opportunity for socio-environmental renewal, our partner E-care foundation proposed that the communities plant trees to represent and foster the peace that now exists. But at present, the biggest threat is the erosion of culture and community as the working population seeks livelihood in city centers. The project thus proposed the cultivation of traditional beans between the trees with a guarantee of purchase upon harvest and a rice loan to tide them over the lean months. Hectares and hectares were thus reforested and planted upon, and hundreds of families from three communities in Besao, Botbot and Bugnay were given some livelihood. Today these beans represent the possibility of regenerating our forests and mountains, our peoples and communities. Replanting these beans could herald a new time of peace, between us and for generations to come.
For Igorots, beans are reserved for special occasions and cooked in hospitality for guests. A traditional recipe would be to boil it with pata or etag, some wombok, cabbage or leafy green and some ginger. A vegetarian version would be to boil it, then saute with onions, garlic, ginger and tomato. “That’s it.” Add some beans to your tampipi while supplies last!