This story was shared with us by Mr. Sergio Loon himself.
As told by her daughter …
“Way back when I was 5 years old, my family lived near the foot of Mt. Apo, in a Sitio called Balutakay (now belongs to Purok Mahayahay, Alegre, Bansalan, Davao del Sur, due to barangay division). My father is a farmer ever since and farming is our only source of income that helped us sustain our daily needs and enabled our parents to send us to school.
Originally, my father was one of the first coffee planters in the area (he planted coffee even before in his teenage days), but as time passed by, he converted our farm from coffee to vegetable farm. It is because the price of coffee was so low compare to vegetables that it cannot suffice our needs. Imagine all the hard work at the farm from picking to drying and it will just be bought by local traders to as low as 80-95 pesos per kilo and to note that it was all Typica coffee.
But by the year 2003, my father used the intercrop technique in planting. He planted back coffee (Arabica, Catimor) in between of our vegetable crops. He even got the seedlings from the other side of the mountain (his friend’s farm, one of the remaining coffee farms at that time).
In the days that he will be planting, he doesn’t want me to know because I keep on bothering him. From his way at the top of the mountain where our old farm was located and our coffee seedlings were grown, he will hide from the thick fogs so I will not notice that he’s coming. But, I still succeeded because our dog comes home first, so I would know that his coming to our farm to plant. I will rush to see him then I will get the shovel and the seedlings and plant it myself which is time-consuming because I was so little and my hands too.
Three years after, our coffee started to bear cherries but the price still did not improve. But thankfully by the year 2015, there’s progress when NGOs -KAPWA and ACDI VOCA helped us how to increase the price of our coffee. And it is through proper picking(pick red), processing and drying.
Today, we are selling natural dry specialty coffee from our 4000 coffee trees that are 1500 above sea level and have started seedling Typica coffee to regain its number again. I made my father a Facebook account and teach him how to use it so that he can sell the coffee himself by using this medium. Also, he is learning a lot from his buyers because my father always asks them about how was his coffee tastes and what is needed to improve and they are always willing to answer him and teach him techniques.”
“Coffee that gives us not just an income but a LIVING”
Coffee farming has provided Mr. Loon’s family’s needs. He was able to send his children to school. Presently, two of his children are now professionals and the other one is in college studying at the University of the Philippines.
Mr. Sergio Loon believes that there is a bright future for Philippine coffee as long as farmers take good care of the coffee trees and ensure quality coffee processing.
Last year, Mr. Loon joined the Philippine Coffee Quality Competition. He ranked 10th out of the 12 finalists. He sent an entry for this year’s competition, but the event was canceled due to the pandemic.
“It is my dream for Philippine coffee to grow and be known worldwide. It would be helpful for us, farmers, if Filipinos will support the local coffee industry.” Mr. Loon shared.
Buy Mr. Loon’s Mt. Apo Specialty Coffee here: