THE 2020 version of the La Trinidad Coffee Festival bears the theme: “Seng-ew ni Kape, Tonos di Umidi” (Aroma of Coffee, Harmony of Community). Following the successful implementation of the town’s Ordinance No. 5 of 2017 or the ordinance “Institutionalizing the Celebration of the Coffee Festival every first week of February of every year in the Municipality of La Trinidad,” the event has become a prelude to the town’s Strawberry Festival every March, and Highland Vegetable Week every May—said products (Strawberry, Coffee, Vegetables) are said to be La Trinidad’s “colorful products” in its “Valley of Colors” brand.
The “Coffee Festival Ordinance” is especially the only local legislation in the country which intends to celebrate a world culture of coffee consumption (even earlier than the Manila Coffee Festival this year) and its local coffee industry. This was primarily pushed three years ago when the coffee industry of La Trinidad blossomed—the Municipal Agriculture office listed a significant increase of 700 to 800 coffee growers (including backyard farmers), about 76,722 coffee bearing trees, and producing about 78,678 kilograms (78 metric tons) of coffee beans almost thrice or four times the recorded number from four years ago—a testament to the various interventions of government to promote the coffee industry. La Trinidad’s Coffee Arabica attracts buyers mostly from the local market—sold to Baguio mostly and supplying the growing number of its local coffee shops and hotels (although there are rising shops in Manila who are supporters of the La Trinidad Coffee). Just like strawberries, and vegetables, the town remains to be the foundation of numerous tourism-related activities of the city—benefitting both towns in the process.
Aside from the numbers, La Trinidad houses great investments for better coffee production—the Coffee Facility (with the BSU Coffee Center) at Longlong, Puguis La Trinidad, Benguet, and of course the public market which is an outlet for the coffee produce. La Trinidad also has the most number of active local Coffee organizations—eight of them, specifically (seven barangay organizations), with an umbrella organization called LATACPA (La Trinidad Arabica Coffee Producers Association).
With the following coffee-related features, the town has gained every right to celebrate the local coffee festival. The third La Trinidad Coffee Festival will be held on February 4 to 8, 2020 with the following activities; A coffee conference for stakeholders, meetings, assembly of coffee farmers, coffee-techno forum, cupping activities, barista demonstration coffee farms/facilities tours or visits, and unlimited coffee at the park. Interested participants of the coffee farm/facilities visits/tours may register at the Municipal gym on February 4 to 5, 2020. For the coffee enthusiasts who wish to avail of the free unlimited coffee on February 7 to 8, 2020, they may only do so with their own cups or mugs. Kala men kape and a happy La Trinidad Coffee Festival everyone!
I was asked about my comment about Mayor Benjie Magalong’s statement about the Balili River as a source for watering the BSU Strawberry farms. Well, since he himself admitted that the statement is uncalled for and that he will make amends for the same, perhaps as a BLISTT advocate/leader, one way to make amends is to include the BSU Strawberry Farms in the hundreds of millions of funding for rehabilitation. After all, the Baguio City itinerary is not complete without going to La Trinidad for strawberry picking.