Davao City is now officially the Philippines’s Chocolate Capital. This as congress passed Republic Act No. 11547, or An Act Declaring The City of Davao as the Chocolate Capital of the Philippines and the Entire Region IX (Davao Region) as the Cacao Capital of the Philippines.
The news was shared by chocolate maker Rex Puentespina of Malagos Chocolate.
“This distinct recognition is an award for everyone involved in cacao from its very beginnings, rather than for one singular person, farmer, company or brand,” said Puentespina.
Photo credit to CNN Philippines.
The Philippines is located in what is called the cacao belt, the narrow band on either side of the equator where the humid tropical climate and regular rainfall make it ideal for growing Theobroma cacao, whose pods are dried, roasted and processed to make chocolate.
Davao has been attracting attention in the last few years thanks to efforts from Davao natives like the Puentespinas, who have integrated their farming activities to include world-class processes and methods. Their Puentespina Farms pioneered prestige positioning for Philippine-grown and locally made chocolates, capitalizing on the Davao region’s unique terroir as well as its single-origin, tree-to-bar chocolates.
Puentespina Farms’s Malagos Chocolate was the first to lead the charge in securing for the Philippines international recognition for its cacao. Malagos Chocolate has today become one of the most awarded Filipino chocolate, winning more than 50 international awards. It is only one of 16 farms in the world to receive the Heirloom Cacao Designation, and was named Best 50 Beans in the world by the Cocoa Excellence Program.
“We owe a very big thanks to the Congress of the Philippines for recognizing our collective efforts as farmers and entrepreneurs. This helps create awareness of our country's strong (potential and) ability to produce chocolate at the highest level, cementing our global position in the chocolate world map and bringing much needed support during these unusual, and difficult times,” said Puentespina.
He said that the designation of Davao City as the Chocolate Capital of the Philippines, and Davao region as the Cacao Capital, is a milestone that can open many new doors for everyone involved in the region. “With the official seal from the national government, our designation as the Cacao Capital of the country places us in a prime position to enhance our craft and become even more successful,” he said.
“Several business potentials, aspirations and opportunities can be realized given our new title. These include agri-tourism campaigns around the Davao region and the current influx of new investments between the public and private sector,” he said.
Puentespina added that the bill is a testament to the rich biodiversity in the Davao region, and can bring about awareness of and appreciation for what it can offer to the nation and the rest of the world.
“It’s been 18 years since Puentespina Farms first ventured into cacao. With our time in the cacao industry, we’re incredibly grateful to see the collective fruits of labor from everyone involved now affirmed and supported on a national level."