The Improved Palo Blanco
the same community protecting its forest and exporting its cacao
presents us oral tradition, rural tourism and organic chocolate.
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By Marco Flores Acho, Marco Paulini Espinoza and Nelson Peñaherrera Castillo.
Photographs by Marco Flores Acho and Marco Paulini Espinoza.
Palo Blanco Community is 17 km or 11 miles to the northeast of
Chulucanas, Peru, and one of its tasks is having one of the private
areas of conservation in Piura Region - its dry forest.
CHULUCANAS, Peru - The night when Miguel Rivera was watching his property in Palo Blanco
Village, he noticed two little lights appeared at the fence. His
cousin, who accompanied him, supposed it was about people walking
through the muleteers route going parallel to Yapatera River's upper
course, so he let him to know.
spoke aloud to identify the ones carrying the lights, he got no answer,
so he shooted up the air in disuasive mode. The lights froze.
Supposing the advancing ones had understood the message, he tried to
contact them for knowing who they were. It was when the lights started
to approach towards his cousin and him. The rare was while the shining
spots got closer, the carriers' steps were not heard.
assault, Rivera shooted straight on them and both lights separated in
opposite directions at a blink speed. The two men scared because, even
running, the terrain on the slope is quite wild, so going up or
down fastly in the middle of the darkness had been complicated.
thought to take the possible threat off, the two lights rounded them.
Then, they realized nobody carried the lights, floating in the air.
Understanding the prodigy, the farmer kept his gun: "Damn it, little
ghost, what fu****g would you with me?"
Then, the light
in front of him began to take away slowly. Going over the fear, both
male followed it up until it went into a bush. Rivera moved the scrubs
trying to catch it, but it sank into the soil. the another one was out
his vanishing point, although his cousin assured it was still there
next to them.
"I think they
wanted to point us a gold burial," he explains now beside the wood
fire, a Saturday night, very close where the incident had happened.
"The ancestors used to bury the dead with a lot of riches," he
explanation could not be weird at all. Actually, many goldsmith rests
saved for the archeology were found in massive burials across the
mounts around Chulucanas, Morropón Province's capital city, even enlarging until the neighbor Frías District (Ayabaca).
mean gold urials," insists Miguel Rivera, who also has seen
how one of them seems to fly above 45 km or 28 miles from Callingará
Mount in Frías, until Pilán Mount in La Matanza, two points where UFO
activity is assured, what is consistent to sightings
made from Tunal, in Sapillica, where there are petroglyphs amid a
Catholic cemetery, as FACTORTIERRA.NET told in November 2016.
Palo Blanco Community is also known for its awarded cacao, that now is
being processed as tasty delicatessen by entrepreneur women.
One Of Many Petroglyphs
Miguel Rivera assures his experience happened, and amid a little
forest, is The Marked Rock, approximately 1 cubic meter or 35 cubic
feet, that contains the same sculpted patterns we were found in Tambogrande and Sapillica.
There are two
types: the upper ones are evidently curves and the lower ones are
zig-zag lines, what means for FACTORTIERRA.NET's contributing
archeologist Daniel Dávila Manrique
that they could be carved in different moments, 3200 to 4000
years ago. "The curved ones are archeologically most recent, an
the right angles could be most ancient, perhaps Amazonian origin."
The Marked Rock is 230 meters or 755 feet altitude, very close to Yapatera River, and it seems to set an imaginary line or seq'e
with other two mounts extending to the West, at the plains where
Yapatera Town is located, 4 km or 2,5 miles to the north of Chulucanas
City, which we are about 20 km or 12,4 miles to the northeast,
according to the GPS device we carry on.
petroglyph seems to orientate towards those mounts, Palo Blanco leaders
tell it initially saw to the sky, like the one in Tunal,
Sapillica. The ambition to find a supposed gold burial made the people
to excave its occidental side, and the rock ended to turn down 90
Behind it, tehre are littlest rocks likely aligned to it, as marking a path projecting another seq'e until the forest in Palo Blanco Mount, an actual private area of conservation, and where Víctor Chamba, one of the César Vallejo Community's leaders, which the sector belongs to, assures there are three or four more petroglyphs.
None of them
have been studied by the archeology yet, although they have been
object of offering and even predation, indeed. The good news is
the traces on the rock are well conserved.
people attribute them an Inca origin, but the great Tawantinsuyo Empire
started to born 900 years ago, so that possibility could be discarded.
"We would like the specialists come here to study them for learning
more," comments Chamba, who also had a biologists crew two years ago,
for sustaining the viability of the dry forest now under communitarian
protection, approved by the Regional Government of Piura.
This petroglyph called The Marked Rock seems to be part of an imaginary line connecting the local mounts around Palo Blanco.
Chamba and other
leaders also said FACTORTIERRA.NET they would like to show this
atraction to the ones wishing to know it, although they have not made a
rural tourism project yet, in the beginning. However, there are
isolated experiences those seem to result successful.
remembers that some years ago, a group of gringos on their way to Frías
discovered a house in the neighbor Platanal Village where cow's cheese
What seemed to
be a simple exchange operation for minutes, turned into a conversation
for hours with the homeowners about the process, the milk quality, and
the market: the visitors ended to stay three days hosted in that home,
making their own cheese and enjoying the place.
permission of the actual César Vallejo Community's president
César Patiño and the supervision of the local Farmers' Patrol
Committee, our crew experienced to camp close to Yapatera River, next
to the old muleteer's trail connecting Chulucanas to Pacaipampa, what
resulted a funny and teaching time, as much as it tests the solidarity
and the teamwork.
If the view of
the forested slope is a wonderful postcard, going into the havens
created by the river to take a bath is anoter experience you can't miss.
There is much potential for adventure sports, especially mountain bike, the trekking, and the rappel.
tells he had a practitioner Budhist who ate none meat -that forms a big
part of the local diet-, but despite he found dozens of places for
meditation. "He said the trees, the stones, the mount are full of
energy because our ancestors where out there."
In fact, it is supposed his was the stage where the Vicús Culture
achieved during a millenium before and another one after Christ, until
it was merged into the Chimú empire, almost at the same time the Incas
were initially consolidating.
An Organic Offer
But if the past
still pending of exploration, the ecology of its protected area (the
ornithological potential of its forest is interesting for the people
dedicated to birdwatching), or its oral tradition full of lights,
ghosts, and burials are not enough, it is necessary to say that Miguel
Rivera works on apiculture, although his production volume is small.
However, his major asset is the purity of his honey and its
harmlessness as much as he can guarantee it's organic. The whole
zone is dedicated to this type of agriculture, and that could explain
Actually, as FACTORTIERRA.NET also told it, Palo Blanco is one of the places where the porcelain cacao is cropped,
what is mostly addressed for exportation under the fair trade model.
The international standard demands the production to be totally
organic, what adds pure air and healthy food to the locals, and
the tourist or the visitor as well.
While we dinner
huge wheat-floor tortillas baked by Stanley Rivera's wife, we learn the
local ffruit production includes the tangerine, the sweet lime,
the taperiba, the mango, and the star fruit. The avocado was growed just some years ago, but it began to disminish and decimate.
producing cow's cheese get the buttermilk as bi-product, what is
mostly dedicated for feeding the animals. Someones drink the surplus,
but they don't know how to flow what they don't consume
when they have a raising market among the bodybuilding-&-fitness target in nearby Chulucanas.
healthy is possible to do in Palo Blanco, like those tasty wheat floor
tortillas baked by Stanley Rivera's wife for our dinner.
If tat is not
enough, fruits, cacao and milk are taking advantage now by the Palo
Blanco's Entrepreneur Women Association, that has a little plant
where it transform all this raw material in chocolate bars for eating
and drinking, chocotejas, simple chocolates, and even cacao liquor.
association's president Daisy Montalbán, although the whole making
process is adequatly implemented, it does not allow them to produce
volume, however they offer harmlessness and purity as competitive
One of its
critical points is the Piura's taste and the international taste are
very different. While the local people like the sweet chocolate flavor,
the foreigners prefer it with its natural bitter.
"To guarantee the product to be one-undred-percent organic, we sweeten it with sugarcane granulated pan," Montalbán explains.
Its closer granulated pan provider is in Frías.
Another of the
characteristics the women expect to incorporate is the strawberry
flavor, so they will experience if the crop is capable to adapt
to the clay-loam soil of Palo Blanco.
two key problems to solve are the cacao supply for increasing the
production, and when it happens, to have major-capability machinery
that allows them to accomplish their lots for sale in the fifth or
sixth part of time than they take now.
[YOUTUBE: Daisy Montalbán presents the products and challenges of her organization (in Spanish).]
FACTORTIERRA.NET learned their cacao supply is conditioned by the
surplus quantity of exportable production, in other words it means they
are only provided with that doesn't come out to the international
market, what doesn't mean lower quality.
road going from Chulucanas to Frías could make a difference if
asphalted, not only for Palo Blanco (on the photo) but hundreds of
people who can dynamize new fields of the local economy.
Blanco leaders recognize that even having quality products, accessible
prices for the most of public, a growing-up interest of the markets
about what they do (once they know them), their common trouble is the
trouble is the low mobile connectivity because the signal is weak, not
because few available devices instead, that gets complicated to stay in
touch with their potential buyers or visitors for example, who only can
wait to locate in specific marks to share their experiences via the
wireless networks in the other hand.
with people abroad convinced them of the social media's power, but they
are now targetting to Peruvian national media for aiming them to
broadcast all what they have, what they are discovering, what they are
And being just
17 km or 11 miles away northeast of Chulucanas, on a strategic road
(what could be more atractive if asphalted), and having a high
identitty and a skillful entrepreneur spirit, why couldn't they
be a big attraction for the sustainable commerce and tourism?
More than promises, in Palo Blanco we should work on a stronger asset - its effective development model.
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