Sunday, September 7, 2008

Tea processing

The utilization of herbal tea as stimulant and health drink has been a part of the cultural heritage of the indigenous people in Northern Sagada, Mountain Province. The main herbal ingredients that abound in their ancestral domain have been known to contain therapeutic properties that are essential in the improvement of people’s health and thereby the quality of life.

Herbal tea has in recent years generated keen interest and increased popularity among the different sectors of our society. Firstly, it offers a relief organic beverage as an alternative to synthetic drinks coming from the factories. Secondly, the general public has already come to realize not only its potentials as means of maintaining a healthy lifestyle but also its economic significance and contribution to natural resource conservation.

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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Mon 28 Apr 2008
Published in Northern Dispatch Weekly
Makan a la Pinoy: Squash noodlesPosted by editors under general , food

A popular tourist destination, Sagada offers another novelty attraction – canton noodles fortified with squash.
Last week, the Montañosa Research and Development Center (MRDC), a non-government organization based in this town, launched the Sagada Squash Canton Noodles, the very first variety of squash canton to hit the market in Mountain Province and the Cordillera region.
The Sagada Squash Canton Noodles is made from a mixture of squash puree, wheat, egg, squash, and salt. “Our squash canton noodles is very much improved and more nutritious compared to other canton noodles sold in public markets that are just made of flour, food coloring and preservatives. Ours has more nutrients like beta-carotene or Vitamin A,” according to MRDC nutritionist, Charlotte Camfili.
In an analysis conducted by the Food & Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI), a serving of 55g of Sagada squash canton noodles will provide 9%, 12% and 35% of the RDA for energy, protein and vitamin A, respectively.
Marketing of the product is very encouraging. In Sagada alone, orders for squash canton noodles have been increasing.
“We are flooded with orders from hotel owners, retailers, and residents. This only shows people are very supportive of this new product from their hometown,” Camfili added.
She said that during the Lang-ay Agro-Industrial Fair held in Bontoc recently, they turned down the offer of some businessmen to market the product due to limited production capacity at present.
MRDC’s plant initially produces 600 packs of 150g vitamin A-enriched noodles every week. But with the growing demand in the local market, it expects to increase production to 150 to 200 packs daily. Each pack costs P20.
Dr. Matthew Tauli, executive director of MRDC, thanked the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) through the FNRI, for providing the necessary information and technology for the manufacture of squash canton noodles.
He also commended the provincial office of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) headed by Ms. Juliet Lucas for offering its consultancy services and providing training on product labeling and marketing. #

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Project Management Training

pictures were taken during the project management training on July 21-24.

Leadership Training

pictures were taken during the Leadership Training on July 14-16, 2008 at the Banaue, Ethnic Village and Pine Forest resort.

Moscovado processing Training (photos)

pictures were taken during the first provincial moscovado training on May 16-19, 2008.

Kalinga communities train for muscovado production
Why spend much on commercial sugar if we can produce our own right within the community? This is especially true to interior communities in Kalinga province, whose limited cash earnings are spent on sugar as coffee sweetener. A case study on the sugar consumption of Brgy. Mabaca in Balbalan municipality revealed that a household has an average consumption of 2-3 kilos sugar every week or 8-12 kilos every month, which costs P50 per kilo. This means that a family consumes 96 to 144 kilos of sugar yearly or an annual expenditure of P4,800 to P7,200 on sugar alone. Annual expenditure on commercial sugar, with a barangay with a 145 household-population was computed to P696,000to P1,044,000, an expenditure which could otherwise be saved to serve as potential source of capital to increase tools of production for muscovado sugar production.
Challenged with the situation, the Timpuyog ti Mannalon iti Kalinga (TMK) or the provincial peasant alliance under the Cordillera Peoples Alliance-Kalinga chapter embarked on a program to increase sugarcane production in their respective communities and process muscovado, a granulated molasses as an alternative to commercial sugar.
Muscovado sugar production training
A joint effort of the TMK and the CPA’s NGO network namely-Montañosa Relief and Rehabilitation Services Foundation Inc, (MRRSFI), Montañosa Research and Development Center (MRDC) and Center for Development Programs in the Cordillera (CDPC), a province-wide training on muscovado sugar production was conducted in Tanglag, Lubuagan, Kalinga from May 16-19, 2008 and was attended by 56 representatives from different TMK local chapters. Dagson Buyagan from Tubo, Abra was invited to help facilitate the training and share his community’s knowledge and experiences on muscovado production.
The training provided a venue to collectively assess current practices in molasses production and discuss ways on how to improve such practices by integrating the lessons learned from a cross-visit to a muscovado mill site in Panay and the village-based experiences of Pananuman in Tubo, Abra on muscovado sugar production.
One trainor-participant shared, “the sensitive process of making basi or sugar cane wine must also be followed, which involves the proper selection of sugarcane at right maturity and segregating parts attacked by pests such as rats and civets. The duration of pressing the freshly cut sugar cane must not exceed 24 hours while cooking of the sugar cane juice should start within 2-3 hours from pressing to avoid spoilage and sugar inversion which causes the bitter and sour taste of the muscovado sugar, discouraging us to use it as coffee sweetener”.
Dagson compared the cooking process as similar to rice, “it is just like cooking rice, that in order to come up with the texture we want, we need to observe proper fire control, the final reference point where we could say cooking is enough. The proper timing of mixing and cooling of the cooked sugarcane syrup is crucial to come up with granulated molasses (muscovado sugar) similar to brown sugar.”
The training ended with the participants satisfactorily drinking coffee sweetened with muscovado. Everybody was confident to go back to the community to share and re-echo what they have learned as they go about with their campaign to become self reliant on sugar by producing their own local sweetener. #
(This article is published in Hapit-a regular publication of Cordillera Peoples Alliance)

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Keynote address of Ms. Maria Elena Regpala

Good morning and greetings of peace to all guest from Kalinga, Ifugao and Mt. Province,…

In behalf of the friends of mrdc, we would like to congratulate the bod and staff for its 30 years of servcie to the peoples of the Cordillera. Congratulations for a job well done.

Let us all give the bod and staff a warm applause.

These past days, the newspapers headlines warn of a world facing a food crisis, and in the Philippines an impeding rice shortage. On the other hand, local newspapers say that the Cordillera have adequate supply of rice. Whatever the situation, we face hard times in the days to come.

It is in this context that we celebrate the 30th anniversary of mrdc with the theme “consolidate our gains, advance sa to attain food security.”

Yesterday, when I was reflecting on the theme of the anniversary, I asked a colleague on what she thought of the essential particularity of the Cordillera people’s practice of Sustainable Agriculture. And she replied that it is the recognition of Indigenous knowledge and practice of traditional agriculture. Yes, indeed and it includes the defense and continuing practice of traditional agriculture in our ancestral lands and domains. These is the essence and meaning of our peoples way of life.

Today, this way of life is increasingly being threatened by new ways of thinking and making a living. Among others, are mining, logging, chemical based farming. That is why it is urgent to strengthen our ip brand of sa that also includes appropriate technologies such as…water lifting devices, bio-fertilizers and others.

But there are also NEW ways of thinking and making a living that are positive and sustain our people’s way of life. Our challenge is to know what these are and integrate it to our people’s brand of sa. What are these new ways of thinking and making a living ?

In 1979, the first research problem that we had to work on was to know what practices of our people are scientific and what are superstition. Looking back, this research problem was rather strange…

Let us examine the ubaya, teer or rest days before seed planting, seedling transplanting, and before and after harvesting and the rituals, prayers and offerings related to this. At that time these practices were considered by others who do not understand the cultural practice as superstition. Deeper research and analysis of this practice indicate that it is an important agricultural practice to synchronize work in planting and harvesting and to avoid and minimize the attack of pests on rice plants.

The idaw bird as an omen of impeding events. This was really considered as superstition. But science today recorgnize that animals react strangely days before an earthquake. Therefore, animals are considered as a good early warning device of impeding earthquakes and other disasters.

The belief in spirits or spirit guardians of particular places, of the earth, of the rivers, lakes (Lake Danum) of gold veins. All these are strange beliefs. But today, the documented experiences of some farmers in Scotland, UK and the United States prove the existence of such beings and that farmers who communicate with them and ask their help for a good harvest have experienced bountiful harvests.

The science of pranic (energy) healing as applied to agriculture is another New technology that is being practiced in some parts of the world particularly in India and Africa that have improved the harvest of farmers.

These are some NEW / old ways of thinking and technologies that can enhance our brand of sa and can contribute to food security. The challenge is not only to know these NEW / old ways of thinking and technologies, but to practice them.

The last challenge is in the area of service. Again we congratulate the bod and staff of mrdc for their 30 years of service to the people of the Cordillera. We urge everyone here today to be of service to the people. One way of doing service is to continue our advocacy and practice of sa, because in doing so we ensure our survival as a people and our way of life.

Thank you. May the Supreme God of our ancestors smile on us and give us life!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


“Getting coffee from the fruit to the cup is a complex and exacting procedure, a process both a science and an art. Proper roasting is absolutely critical, but for the roast to be perfect, the coffee beans must be flawless.”

Finally, GERSONA Coffee Pulper will be MRDC’s contribution to the development of a coffee industry in the Cordillera Region.

GERSONA Coffee Pulper is designed to remove the soft pulp of ripe, red coffee cherries without any damage to the bean. It rejects immature or green cherries thereby ensuring the farmer with good quality parchment coffee for further processing and then roasting.

GERSONA Coffee Pulper is very easy to operate even to young children and old folk. Just put the cherries into the elevated hopper and start operation by turning the handle counter clockwise. The cherries will then drop through a narrow slot within which they come into contact with the rotating disc. The disc has a punched sheet surface and adjustable metal leaf between which the cherries are pulped, the pulp and the beans separated. The coffee beans come out through a side pipe down to the slide while the pulp is popped out through another channel.

The pulp is a possible environmental pollutant if it is allowed to get into water systems. Discover new ways to process the pulp into other by-products, i.e. vinegar. Coffee pulp is about 10% protein and has been used in animal feed. It is also used as a mulch or compost in the garden. It may even be sun-dried on a terrace and used as fuel. GERSONA Coffee Pulper is a simple hand-operated device which is very compact in size. It weighs 10.5 kgs. for easier transport even to the farthest coffee plantations up the mountains. Pulping efficiency is greater at 20-30 kgs. of parchment coffee per hour.


Microbial Organic Fertilizer

Guaranteed Analysis:

N : 1.5% P2O5 : 3.5% K2O : 2.0%
M.C. : 23%
O.M. : 30% pH : 6.8

9 micronutrients
11 enzymes and
18 strains of Benefecial Microorganisms

Product Description:

Bio-Green Grow Organic Fertilizer is an improved, pure and high-grade bio-organic fertilizer scientifically blended for all types of crops using state-of-the-art biotechnology in composting & enhancing organic materials (from plant & animal origin) with a “synergetic consortium” of effective beneficial microorganisms and enzymes to come up with an effective fertilization system.

General Functions:

1. Plant Nutrition – Bio-Green Grow provides higher primary nutrients (7% total NPK) and micronutrients (Fe, Ca, Mg, Mn, Cu, S, Zn) than other organic fertilizers. It also contains organic compounds such as enzymes, vitamins & growth factors that are vital in plant metabolism and nutrition.

2. Humus Formation – Being a pure organic fertilizer with at least 30% Organic Matter content, Bio-Green Grow is effective in soil-building and humus formation, in improving soil structure to increase its water-holding capacity & provide better aeration, and in rehabilitating “damaged” or “dead” soils. Its neutral pH of 6.8 does not cause soil acidity for better nutrient absoption.

3. Mineralization – Bio-Green Grow’s biochemical action improves the cation-exchange capacity of the soil thereby enhancing nitrification, phosphates solubilization, and conversion of other minerals for easier plant uptake.

4. Nitrogen-Fixation – Bio-Green Grow is enriched with nitrogen-fixing microorganisms that can convert atmospheric nitrogen into ammonia and then to usable nitrate form that can be utilized by the plants.

5. Plant Protection – The beneficial microorganisms in Bio-Green Grow have antagonistic effects against soil-borne pathogenic/disease-causing bacteria, fungi, & nematodes.

Renewable Energy

Development and Harnessing of Hydro-Energy Sources

Most of the areas where MRDC is working is endowed with hydro-energy sources with potentials to be developed and tapped. This component aims to harness these energy sources to derive power that will run the devices needed for agro-processing, village mechanization and appropriate industrialization of the rural areas. It covers the establishment and construction of water turbines and water wheels. Wherever possible other energy sources should be considered.
Micro - Hydro Project
The micro-hydro is powered by cross flow turbine that will generate mechanical and electrical energy to power equipments. It will make use of an existing irrigation canal for the water supply .An intake dam and fore bay had to be constructed and a 6-inch diameter penstock will be used to direct the water to the turbine. This is to energize processing equipment such as the rice mill, sugar cane presser, flourmill and the power tools for the blacksmithing activity in the daytime and to provide domestic lightning during the night. The maximum output of the electrical power is 7 kilowatts.

A committee for the overall management of the project was formed and each component has their own committee for the day-to day operations. The committees are composed of three individuals. These are appointed during the general assembly held once in two years. Each committee has the collective responsibility for the smooth functioning and maintenance of the equipment and to ensure the implementation of plans, policies and guidelines agreed upon. Individual tasks are also clarified. These are the (a) operator, (b) treasurer/collector of the payment and (c) chairperson. Committees meet every quarter for the assessment and planning.


MRDC Occasional Paper 2006

Pes-ay is one of the many agricultural rituals that are still performed today by the Igorot peoples of the Northern Luzon Cordillera in the Philippines. Pes-ay asks the spirits of the natural world to grant abundant harvests to farmers.

Belief in nature spirits is interlinked with traditional knowledge and practices in agriculture that have persisted despite the rapid integration of the Igorot in modern society. The Igorot are among the world’s indigenous peoples who have been able to conserve their natural environment and its biodiversity through the development of production systems that are intricately linked with both natural processes and social relationships.

Our Programs

Our Programs

1. Research & Documentation:
To increase the level of analytical and critical consciousness of communities.

2.Organizational Development:
To empower peoples’ organizations to implement socio-economic works.

3. Projects Development:
To increase the level of food sufficiency through the development and promotion of appropriate technologies on sustainable agriculture and village mechanization.

4. Networking & Advocacy:
To support the peoples’ movement in advancing indigenous peoples rights.

Mission and Vision Of MRDC

Our Vision
Empowered and self-reliant populace within a truly sovereign and democratic Philippine society, characterized by social justice and balance ecosystems.

Our Mission
To achieve food security and people’s empowerment in Cordillera com-munities through the collective promotion and development of sustainable agriculture.

Our Goals
1. Increased food security and social welfare (increased food, income for health and education) within an improved environment through the adoption of SA technologies
2. Broad and active people’s participation in decision-making and collective action;

3. Enhanced village and inter-village/cluster

Brief History of MRDC

The Montañosa Research and Development Center, Inc. (MRDC), was established in 1978 and the main challenge during this period was the search for mechanisms that will promote peoples’ involvement in the development process. This was premised on the view that the Igorots of the Cordillera possess the scientific knowledge of the biophysical conditions of the land and an understanding of the balance of interactions between land and people. As such, they are crucial in giving substance to a development strategy of resource utilization that will generate long term benefits for the greater majority.

Since then, MRDC has consistently pursued meaningful development concepts on sustainable agriculture and renewable energy. And among its breakthrough projects are:
Documentation of indigenous knowledge systems in agriculture, analyzing its socio-cultural values, their scientific basis, their role in natural resource management and translating these into training modules;

Agroforestry and forestry projects which lessened the pressure on the remaining rainforests/watershed and reclaimed grassland areas;

The 1st Micro-Hydro Powered project in the Region and now the longest operational multi- purpose, community-managed MHP project in the country.