A family’s efforts and advocacy to address poverty that has afflicted the Ata indigenous people community in the mountains of the North Negros section of the province first focused on the municipality of Don Salvador Benedicto, the Philippines in 2016. From feeding programs, to literacy missions, to medical-dental missions, to livelihood training activities, to fund-raising activities. These had minimal effect.

No amount of donation of livelihood tools, medicines, literacy kits, or feeding programs can quickly address poverty. Needed was a permanent solution that is transformational for our Ata beneficiaries. Not dole-outs. This is why Kusinata in Don Salvador Benedicto, opened in March 17, 2019, as a social enterprise focused on operating a holistic culinary livelihood skills training center for the Ata tribe indigenous people.

Output of the center are primarily Ata tribesmen and women who are trained to become professionals or entrepreneurs in the eco-tourism industry, particularly as cooks and servers, and support services in the food industry. Thereafter, they may be fielded out for employment in hotels, restaurants, and resorts, or, as entrepreneur suppliers of food and pro-nature handicraft souvenirs, and even service providers for health & wellness. Hence, the venue is staffed by indigenous people, mentored by volunteer professional chefs and experts on human resource development. But what attracted public interest, Kusinata also operated as the province’s first ethnic fusion restaurant, utilizing endemic ingredients from the rainforests and local farms, and mentoring chefs and Ata cooks innovated the cuisine of the Ata into distinct culinary delights.

Then, Covid-19 came in 2020. But despite a lockdown for 4 months in 2020, Kusinata was blessed with sales and public interest that even increased considerably. People wanted to go out of the cities and be outdoors with nature, savor a delightful menu, and even help in the Ata advocacy. The social enterprise grew, as well as the local economy of the town.

As a social enterprise, it is important that the Ata advocacy is well-supported by a tenable and scalable business foundation, and a solid vision-mission statement. This has been done in Don Salvador Benedicto in only 2 years. Amidst a pandemic, the social enterprise succeeded and continues to grow. Kusinata is now replicable to a new qualified area in the next adjacent municipality with even more interesting features for eco-tourism, and its adjacency to other Ata communities. Imagine the positivity when the pandemic subsides and tourists come in from other islands or from other countries. This proposal aspires and hopes that the Taiwan Excellence Awards products may soon be an important aspect of Kusinata as we have crafted artistry in a Kusinata culinary establishment as a “blend with nature, rusticity and technology” statement. Themed to be a blend of something rustic and something modern, something western and something eastern and the creative use of award-winning (Gold and Silver) Taiwan Excellence Awards (TEA) products in a minimalist rural setting designed to cater to Kusinata’s A, B, and upper C markets. All done with a heart for our indigenous people beneficiaries.
This is the purpose of this proposal. Kusinata Calatrava is coming.


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