Saturday, July 8, 2017

E-care's Cafe Galilea in Atok, Benguet Province, The Philippines

In May, 2017, I visited the Episcopal Church in the Philippines and the E-CARE (Episcopal Community Action for Renewal and Empowerment) program. This program is the community development organization of the Episcopal Church in the Philippines. Its structure is based on the ABCD (Asset-Based Community Development) model of organization. E-CARE has its own governing body consisting of a board of trustees and a chairperson who is also the current prime bishop. Joel Pachao was elected prime bishop at the May, 2017 Regular Synod. I was inspired to visit the E-CARE program by colleagues in Episcopal Relief & Development, The Episcopal Church Global Missions office, and a seminary course in Environmental Ethics at Sewanee School of Theology!
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First, a bit of basic information....
Primary goals of E-CARE (from their website): Episcopal-CARE seeks to improve the quality of life for its partner communities in the Philippines, facilitating poverty-reduction by providing or enhancing the opportunities to make a livelihood, while simultaneously empowering the partner communities through its asset-based approach and its commitment to creating self-reliance and sustainability. It also hopes to serve as an example for other development organizations in Asia and across the world as to how to help alleviate poverty without creating dependence.
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The metaphorical model for Episcopal-CARE (from their website):
The metaphorical model for Episcopal-CARE is the Sea of Galilee, which is a sea with both an inlet and an outlet and so both gives and receives water. This is contrasted with the Dead Sea, which only receives water. The Dead Sea, as one may expect from the name, does not sustain any life within its waters. The Sea of Galilee however, is a dynamic and vibrant habitat for life. The goal of E-CARE is to empower its partner communities to help themselves, to alleviate poverty and give the people access to basic entitlements, and then to help others along the same path. At the same time, Episcopal-CARE tries to raise the level of gender-awareness in its partner communities, by ensuring that women of the community are part of the decision making process as well as the management of projects, and that the women of the community will enjoy the benefits of their new project.
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While in the Philippines, I visited several villages (post links coming soon), two E-CARE communities, and two of the main E-CARE shops which work to promote and distribute products from community partnerships around the Philippines. One shop, coordinated and run by Jennifer Ong, is located on the diocesan campus in Cathedral Heights, Quezon City. The compound contains the Episcopal national offices, the campus and classrooms of St. Andrews Theological Seminary, and Trinity University of Asia.
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The second shop is attached to a fabulous restaurant and cafe called Cafe Galilea. The cafe is located along Halsema Highway in Atok, the Philippines. If you are traveling between Baguio City and Bontoc or Abatan, you will pass it near kilometer 22. Stop if you can and enjoy all that they have to offer. It is well worth it!
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Joyce Roman
The cafe was managed by Joyce and Kellan Lyman, one of the Young Adult Service Corps (YASC) Volunteers from The Episcopal Church, USA. Not only is the food excellent and affordable, the staff friendly and attentive, but they proudly serve to promote community development projects - cooking and selling foods and other items made in communities all over the country. The entrance the shop is below the restaurant. They also do professional catering. The restaurant has a perfect view of the mountains and a separate cafe with professional barista for a beautiful coffee before you head onward in your journey. When you eat there, you are directly helping to sustain local communities that are practicing sustainable growth projects and empowering many economically and culturally.
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                        Arianne Aben, staff                                                          Kellan Lyman, staff

The local pancit is well-known and loved by all who have visited the cafe.
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Cef Esong, Barista 
My trip was made possible by grants from The Episcopal Church, USA Global Missions office, the Seminary Consultation  on Mission (SCOM), and The Episcopal Church in the Philippines.
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