November 25, 2015

They say every hero has its origin story

Bayani Brew draws inspiration from Filipino heritage tsaa recipes. Unlike your regular tea, Bayani Brew is a teasan brewed from purely local caffeine-free ingredients such as lemongrass (tanglad), pandan and calamansiNanays (mothers) in the countryside such as Tita Linda of the Gawad Kalinga Enchanted Farm community in Brgy. Encanto, Angat, Bulacan would serve this concoction scalding hot from the casserole to volunteers in the farm. GK founder and father Tony Meloto had the “why not?!” idea of serving this ice-cold (albeit at that time, there was still neither ice nor electricity at the farm! 🙂 and possibly bottling these refreshing drinks. Visitors and patrons would then ask for more (even finding it addictive at times — but in a good healthy way of course). The rest, as the cliché goes, is history.

Another variant of Bayani Brew is a teasan brewed from sweet potato leaves (talbos ng kamote) introduced by yet another nanay, Tita Yolly. Our local take on Pink Lemonade, it’s a shockingly bright pink drink with a refreshing tingling sensation that Tita Yolly served cold to volunteers working on sustainable livelihood programs of the GK Enchanted Farm. More surprising than its pink natural color was the secret/mysterious ingredient talbos ng kamote, the most unglamorous, neglected, prolific (they sort of grow like weeds), and yet uber-healthiest plant on earth. Google it, if you don’t believe us!

So taken for granted is this plant, that not a few times have we probably heard that derogatory catchphrase to just “go home and plant camote.” But thanks to the nanays at farm, the once pejorative is now innovative; the formerly insulting, now incredibly refreshing!

The next Bayani Brew drink may yet be another native, healthy, and surely yummy concoction of the nanays we fondly call our Titas, or even another heirloom recipe from another region. There is just so much natural goodness of our people and our land left untapped!

Hence, the name Bayani Brew does not just stand for our love of country or bayan, but also for honouring these unsung heroines (our personal bayanis who not just concocted these delightful drinks); and more sentimentally, for the bayanihan effort of local talent, farmers, and social entrepreneurs to bring this once crazy idea to the market. Bayani Brew wants to be remembered not only for its refreshing beverages, but as part of brewing a social innovation movement comprising a new breed of Pinoys who are not just learning to love living a healthy and natural lifestyle, but more importantly, who are bat-sh*t crazy in love with our country.

*GAWAD KALINGA ENCHANTED FARM—Where and why this all started

Bayani Brew was inspired by the nation-building movement that is Gawad Kalinga, established in 2003, with the social justice battlecry of giving homes to the homeless, land to the landless and food for the hungry. Now on its second phase, to achieve more sustainability, the GK Enchanted Farm (GK-EF) pilot site, situated in Brgy. Encanto, Angat, Bulacan, was set-up in 2010 as a village university for social enterprise development, and a social tourism destination that aspires to bring the market to the farm.

GK-EF was mostly home to relocated settlers (as is the case for those usually displaced to Bulacan) and hopes to entice reverse migration by providing sustainable livelihood opportunities outside of the metropolis. GK EF is the template for countryside development that transformed a 14hectare (2ha of which is where the residents/”kapitbahayans” reside)— once idle, abandoned, barren wasteland— into fields of abundance, and aspires to do so in at least 24 other potential GK communities all over the country.

The guys running Bayani Brew are a ragtag team of premature midlife crisis-ing individuals who in their earnestness to commit to something fulfilling, undertook the arduous task of scaling up this sustainable livelihood project and develop it into a full-fledged social enterprise that can create more social impact, help establish more GK Enchanted Farms all over the country, including making the country’s subsistence agrarian reform beneficiaries wealthier. The vision-mission is to ensure that, as the country marches towards progress, no one is left behind. As if that were not daunting enough, we have a 2024 deadline to end povertea (pun intended) by creating prosperitea (ok that was a bit of a stretch).

The challenge posed is simple: there is so much unproductive land; there is so much wealth in this country; and yet we relentlessly import and patronize foreign-branded products as if ours were substandard, when they are not (or shouldn’t be, at the very least).

Bayani Brew derives its drive to succeed in a market dominated by the bigwigs with the vision of uplifting the lives of subsistence farmers, by ensuring that when these products are offered to the market, it will be a far cry from usual “pity” purchases. Bayani Brew is proudly producing and sourcing locally only, products that we can compete with globally. To paraphrase one of our bayanis —the Filipino is worth buying for.”


Wow! So how do we get to this quixotic GK Enchanted Farm?

We suggest you set an appointment first, contact

Or stay tuned when you can sign up for a Social Innovation Camp, or during a countryside fair, or perhaps you, your school, group of friends/family can schedule a visit with tailor-fitted activities inclusive of a meal where the Grassroots Kitchen (GK, get it?) can prepare a nice organic farm chic luncheon especially for you.

With that in mind, prepare for at least a 1.5hr road trip from SM North Edsa (w/o traffic).

And read this: Then you’re all set for you journey (oh and make sure you don’t head over to Laguna themepark* completely unrelated)



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