DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/07 November) – For having put Davao City on the world’s chocolate map, homegrown premium chocolate maker and international awardee Malagos Chocolates, was named the first recipient of the Davao Business Awards last Friday at the 3rd Davao Investment Conference (ICON).
The award was conferred at the closing of this year’s Davao ICON at the SMX Convention Center by Architect Daniel T. Lim, former president of Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. (DCCCII) and chair of the investment gathering held November 4 to 6.
“This year, as we launch the Davao Business Awards, we are giving a special citation to a Davao brand that has made a mark in the chocolate industry and is now internationally renowned as one of the best chocolates in the world. Just this year, they received two international awards,” he said.
In April 2015, the Malagos Chocolates brought home the Bronze Award for its 100 percent Pure Unsweetened Chocolate under the Best Unflavored Drinking Chocolate at the 2015 Academy of Chocolate Awards in London.
Last month, its 65 percent dark chocolate won silver in the 2015 International Chocolate Awards’ World Drinking Chocolate Competition in Hanover, Germany under the Dark Drinking Chocolate category, specifically drinks made with milk.
Lim said the Davao Business Awards aims to give recognition to outstanding achievements, best business practices across business sectors. “Awards will be given to recognize new as well as existing businesses that have significantly impacted on the continuous growth of Davao City’s economy,” he said.
He added that this recognition was based on “the nature of the project in support to the Comprehensive Development Plan of the city, as well as its value adding to existing local products, local employment generation tax contribution.”
Charita Puentespina, owner of the Puentespina Farm where the Malagos Chocolates is made, is credited for having put the city on the “map of chocolates” in the world.
“Chocolates are international products or food that are enjoyed by everyone. We have a very good chocolate here, very good source of the beans. We just need to come up with the proper growing and proper post harvest, and very good processing, so that we can come up with a very good product,” she said.
The Malagos Farm and Garden Resort has 25 hectares of land in Malagos, Baguio District where 80 percent of the bean requirement for chocolates are drawn while the other 20 percent come from the farmers, Puentespina added.
The Malagos Chocolates requires about 40 metric tons of cocoa beans a year, she said.
“We partner with the farmers who are willing to do quality fermentation, and follow the proper way of harvesting of cacao beans,” she said.
The firm is also exporting at a small quantity to London, Japan, Singapore, and the United States.
Puentespina envisions Malagos Chocolates as one of the leaders in the chocolate industry in five years “because we have very good quality beans.”
“We are working on the production from the side of the farmers to produce the required amount of the beans, so that we can be able to supply the export market. The interest now because of the awards, a lot of people are wiling to buy our product. Our product, the dark chocolate, is the chocolate that is good for the health,” he said.
She said the company trains the farmers on the best farming method so that cacao trees yield good cacao beans.
There are at least three partner cooperatives, each having around 100 farmers who sell beans to Malagos.
“Those who want to sell to us, we give them marketing contract, so that they can get financing from the bank,” she said. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)