Monday, November 28Multi-awarded Filipina blogger, publicist and social media specialist
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Rice coffee in Mindanao

I can declare that, yes, I, Mindanaoan, am a certified regular coffee drinker. I find it difficult to start the day without at least a cup of coffee (I’m a happier camper if I have two). I also frequent coffee shops and I have also tried drinking coffee from sidewalk vendors and from vendors at the bus terminal (you know who I mean – when you absolutely need to take a trip in the wee hours in the morning and all you can find are the ever reliable manangs and manongs who put up their “painit” stations – and by stations I mean a single table, a few glasses, coffee, sugar, some milk if you’re lucky and thermos).

I do know that drinking coffee has some health benefits. Still, I want to cut down on my intake or at least drink decaffeinated kape.

Fortunately, there seems to be another choice for us Mindanaoans who love coffee — RICE COFFEE. Yes, rice coffee can also be found here in Mindanao. And rightfully so! After all, it is in Mindanao where most of the country’s rice fields are, yes? I do know that Ilonggos also have their own version of rice coffee called “sara sara” and the Ilocanos also drink rice coffee as well.

Rice coffee reportedly has a couple of benefits. First of all, it doesn’t contain any caffeine which is really good news for the health conscious. No preservatives as well. Rice coffee can also help relieve bodily pains and can serve as a good drink after a heavy meal.

So when I covered the Kahimunan Trade Fair 2008 a few weeks ago, I was very pleased to know that some people in Sarangani Province, Mindanao have developed their own rice coffee products. These rice coffee products that I bought, for instance, are manufactured at Purok Namnama, Maitum, Sarangani Province, Mindanao, Philippines.

So far I’ve already finished a small jar and I can say that rice coffee can take the place of my regular coffee any day. Naturally, the flavor is not that “tough” compared to caffeinated coffee and of course, the “taste of rice” is predominant in every sip but the bottom line is…it’s still kape. Plus, just think of the health benefits that this could bring! That alone makes me want to continue drinking rice coffee.

I also like the fact that products like these can now be bought here in Mindanao. I just hope that the government and other stakeholders continue to help the SMEs that are engaged in rice coffee production. Given the right exposure, brand marketing and continuous linkages with target markets, this can really help boost the Mindanao business sector. And this may even be a reason for rice farmers to continue planting palay! So this can also basically help boost the Mindanao agricultural sector as well.

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