DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 9 Nov) – City Tourism Office (CTO) head Generose Tecson said choosing chocolates from the hometown of President Rodrigo R. Duterte as tokens for the spouses of the top leaders of the 10-state Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will be a big boost to Davao City’s bid to become the “chocolate capital of the Philippines.”
The chosen one – the multi-awarded Malagos Chocolates.
The state leaders will attend the 31st ASEAN Summit slated in Manila from November 13 to 15. The Philippines, who is chair of the 50th ASEAN this year, will relinquish chairmanship to Singapore for next year.
The ASEAN is composed of Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Myanmar, Cambodia, Lao, Brunei and Philippines.
“We’re very happy that Davao chocolates were chosen to be the tokens for the ASEAN leaders’ spouses. It’ll give our bid to become the chocolate capital of the country a very big boost,” Tecson said.
Tecson added that Davao products are starting to take center stage in the world arena.
The President’s partner, Honeylet Avanceña, has ordered at least 12 sets of limited edition Malagos Chocolate gift boxes, with each set containing three sweetened dark chocolate bars, one unsweetened chocolate gift can and two demitasse cups.
Last month, the City Government of Davao opened the Cacao City at the Pasalubong Center that houses several brands of homegrown chocolate brands and other cacao-based products.
The homegrown Malagos Chocolate bagged several international awards and recognitions for its premium dark chocolates.
Its recent two awards for Malagos 100% unsweetened dark chocolate during the 2017 Great Taste Competition in London brought to nine its total international awards and recognitions.
The Puentespina family went into chocolate business in 2012, with premium single-origin cocoa liquor as its first product until it branched out to Malagos 65%, 72%, and 85% Dark Chocolates, and Malagos Roasted Cocoa Nibs.
Its chocolates are exported to Japan, Thailand, Singapore, London, Australia, New York and other parts of the United States.
Last June, Malagos also snatched two bronzes for its sweetened dark chocolates – 65% and 72% – and silver for its 100% unsweetened dark chocolates at the 2017 Academy of Chocolate in London.
Other awards included silver under Drinking Chocolate category for its unsweetened chocolate in 2016 and bronze under Best Unflavoured Drinking Chocolate in April 2015 at the Academy of Chocolate; the Great Taste Awards in London gave two out of three stars to Malagos unsweetened chocolate in 2016; and another silver for the Malagos Dark Chocolate won during the World Drinking Chocolate Competition organized by the International Chocolate Awards in October 2015 in Hannover, Germany.
The Malagos Chocolates was recently featured at Salon du Chocolat on October 28 to November in Paris after being recognized as one of the “best 50 bean samples” out of the 166 cacao bean samples from 40 countries.
The Malagos operates a 70-hectare cacao farm, employing around 50 in-house farmers. Aside from its own harvest, it sources wet cacao beans from more than 80 small growers in nearby communities to promote sustainability.
The company grows the Tritinitario clones, a cross between Criollo and Forastero varieties.
In 2016, the Philippine Statistics Authority recorded 6,262.77 metric tons (MT) of cacao produced in the Philippines that has an annual demand of 50,000MT. Of this volume, 5,073 MT was produced in the region – Davao del Sur (1,702.54MT), Davao City (1,606.80), Davao del Norte (945.31MT), Davao Oriental (507.26MT), and Compostela Valley (311.92MT). (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)