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Benguet's Arabica Dominates Philippine Coffee Quality Competition

Discover how Benguet-grown Arabica asserts Cordillera's coffee supremacy, securing top spots in the 2018 Philippine Coffee Quality Competition.

Discover how Benguet-grown Arabica asserts Cordillera's supremacy as the Philippines' top coffee producer in the 2018 Philippine Coffee Quality Competition.

The enchanting highlands of Benguet have once again proven their prowess in cultivating exceptional Arabica coffee varieties, as witnessed in the 2018 Philippine Coffee Quality Competition (PCQC). This competition, a testament to the dedication of Filipino coffee farmers, highlighted the superiority of Benguet-grown Arabica, securing three out of the top six positions.

Arabica's Ascent: A Triumph in the Cordillera

Arabica coffee, celebrated for its mildness and aromatic richness, has long found its home in the Cordillera region. George H. Disuanco of MacNut Philippines Inc. affirmed this, noting that Arabica has become synonymous with the high-altitude landscapes of the Cordillera. The preference for Arabica in the Philippines, accounting for 75 to 80 percent of coffee consumption, reflects its undeniable allure.

Oliem's Odyssey: A Peak Performance in Caliking

The standout champion in the Arabica category was Oliver Oliem, whose coffee farm in Caliking, Atok, Benguet, sits at an impressive elevation of 1,650 meters above sea level. Oliem's washed mixed typical Arabica coffee dazzled the judges with a flavor profile that seamlessly blended Apricot, lemongrass, Pomelo, Oolong Tea, and the enchanting aroma of a Rose. Notably, Charlie Habbeger, a seasoned specialty coffee buyer, expressed unanimous acclaim for Oliem's entry.

A Symphony of Excellence: Recognizing Top Performers

The PCQC didn't just spotlight Oliem's success; it also recognized the achievements of other notable farmers. Restie Labi Tacio, also hailing from Caliking, Atok, secured the third spot, while Belen Macanes of Sagpat Junction in Kibungan, Benguet, claimed the fifth position. The top six also featured entries from Juanita Amaba of Davao del Sur, Caida Besto of Bukidnon, and Leizel Siluano of Davao Del Sur, showcasing the diversity and breadth of talent in the Filipino coffee landscape.

Robusta Resilience: Celebrating Diversity

While Arabica took center stage, the PCQC also acknowledged excellence in the Robusta category. Notable winners included Rodolfo Asiong of Cayus, Ilocos Sur, and Lorna Libante of Bagong Silang, Bukidnon, among others. This recognition underscores the robust and varied coffee cultivation practices across the Philippines.

Cultivating Excellence: The PCQC's Role in Growth

The PCQC, co-organized by the Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Agriculture, and ACDI/VOCA, with support from the USDA and supervision by the Coffee Quality Institute, serves a pivotal role. With 108 entries in only its second year, the competition not only celebrates excellence but also encourages farmers to strive for continuous improvement. It positions Philippine coffee as a driver of economic growth, showcasing its potential on the global stage.

Brewing Success: The 3rd Philippine Coffee Congress

As a highlight of the 3rd Philippine Coffee Congress, the PCQC awarding ceremony celebrated the achievements of farmers and propelled the implementation of the Philippine Coffee Roadmap 2017-2022. Led by the DTI and DA, in collaboration with the Philippine Coffee Council and industry stakeholders, this initiative seeks to revive the country's coffee industry, fostering economic development and inclusive growth.

Elevation to Excellence: Conclusion

In conclusion, Benguet's triumph in the PCQC reinforces the notion that high-altitude regions are the key to cultivating premium Arabica coffee. The success stories of Oliem, Tacio, and Macanes, among others, showcase the diverse talents contributing to the thriving Filipino coffee industry. As the 3rd Philippine Coffee Congress charts the course for the future, it is evident that Philippine coffee is not just a beverage but a symbol of economic growth and global recognition.

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