Rethinking Society Over a Cup of Coffee

The Road to Barangay Carupay

Barangay Carupay is reached through a 42 kilometer ride going to barangay dabiak and from there, it is a 12 kilometer walk going to the center of the barangay. If one is lucky and brave motorcycle drivers are available, you can be spared of the 12 kilometer walk. Going there is an exciting ride maneuvering above mountain tops, dilapidated almost unpassable steep roads. It is a breathtaking ride.
It is a remote barangay of the Municipality of Katipunan, Zamboanga del Norte with 274 households and with 1,792 population. It has a land area of 1,600 hectares with farming as the people’s major source of income. Barangay Carupay is a subanen community.

The barangay has a history of armed conflict between communist rebels. Esmeraldo Tomas, the PO Chairperson, still remembers vividly their horrific experience, of their houses being burned down in 1986, of human rights abuses and of how they left their farmlands and homes as they evacuated in a safe place.

He confesses that when the livelihood project funded by TAF came, they were very suspicious about it that they did not attend the project orientation. The livelihood project is facilitated by a local NGO, CONZARRD. Their community organizers admit that aside from the distance which they have to conquer they also encountered resistance from the communities. Athough they have gone through the proper protocols of having a courtesy call to the mayor and barangay captain, they still were hesitant to accept the project. This is the extent of their being suspicious brought about by a painful experience of armed conflict.

With persistence, they finally cooperated and have undergone a series of capability building seminars on handling or managing the project well. The livelihood project is not only anchored in the PO’s but the barangay local government also has its strong support.

As the Chairperson, Esmeraldo Tomas was impressed by the local consultations where they were the ones who identified their problems and proposed programs and projects to address it. In his words “Kay mas kabalo gyud mi sa among sitwasyon” (we know our situation better). The livelihood project really helped as most of the beneficiaries purchased horses and used them for transportation especially of farm products. Barangay Carupay is 12 kilometer walk from Barangay dabiak where they could transport their products through PUJ’s.

He said that it increased the income of the beneficiaries and were now able to buy clothes for themselves and their family. The high cost of transportation has been bothering them for years. Now, instead of paying for their transportation, they now have their own horse to carry them and their farm products to market.

Mr. Esmeraldo says that the people are very enthusiastic as to the prospects of the project. In the future, they are planning to extend it beyond livestock acquisition and extend it to crop loans which they say they also need. Slowly they are taking the reigns of development in their own hands, becoming the empowered sustainable communities they envision themselves to be.


That is really nice to know places that is considered remote ...i was able to visit zamboanga but up to dapitan and dipolog only and the adjascent place which is Pagadian City. I must admit that from Cagayan de oro to those destination and travelling by land gave me so much memory and the greenery still in my mind. What a fascinating place with blessed of natural resources.