Revitalizing the Philippine Cacao Industry: The Journey of Malagos Chocolate
Malagos Agri-Ventures Corporation, the makers of Malagos Chocolate, is a family-owned business that has always been committed to working with nature.
Our company is part of the Puentespina Group of Companies, which has been in the agriculture industry for over 50 years.
Along with our affiliated companies, we undertake various environmentally-focused endeavors within our hometown in Davao City on the island of Mindanao, Philippines. We construct water wells, raise goats to make artisanal cheeses, produce and sell cut flowers and foliage, grow potted plants, and operate a nature-themed resort. This resort also houses the country's first chocolate museum, further showcasing our passion for cacao.
Our family's love story with nature is rooted in our deep love and respect for the land.
Our founders, Roberto and Charita, bought their first farm in 1963 in Tagakpan, Davao City, located in the foothills of Mt. Talomo. Here, Charita cultivated the land and planted many fruit trees, coconut, coffee, and bananas, as well as operated a small piggery.
Over time, they expanded their operations and invested in additional farmland.
In 2003, Charita's love affair with cacao began when she leased a farm in Malagos, Baguio District, Davao City. The farm already had existing cacao trees, but the sector had crashed in the 1980s, leading Charita to dream of revitalizing it. She was determined to create her own premium Philippine chocolate instead of merely exporting the cacao beans to institutional accounts.
Charita's passion for creating value in local communities was evident in her mission. She always said, "We need to step up. We must put more value to our raw material. This way we could employ and empower more people, especially the farmers."
This was the beginning of our incredible journey in making chocolate.
From 2003 to 2012, we improved our cacao growing and post-harvest practices. We built our factory, which we still use today, and further refined our chocolate-making processes in the latter part of 2009.
Charita also realized that to grow the industry, she needed to secure both private and public support. She embarked on a campaign to prioritize cacao as a crop and sought the support of ACDI/VOCA, an organization that provides technical assistance to the cacao and coconut sectors, in 2010.
In August 2011, she played a key role in establishing CIDAMI (Cacao Industry Development Association of Mindanao) and ran it for two years. CIDAMI is a cacao value-chain organization that comprises farmers, farmer cooperatives, nursery operators, traders, processors, input suppliers, and academia.
Charita has already received three awards for her work in the cacao industry: the 2017 Outstanding ASEAN Woman Entrepreneur, the 2017 Leaders and Achievers of Davao (LEAD) Award, and the 2017-2018 Gawad Saka Award for Outstanding Agricultural Entrepreneur from the Department of Agriculture.
In 2012, after years of rigorous testing and quality checks, we established Malagos Agri-Ventures Corporation and began making premium single-origin cocoa liquor. This marked a welcome addition to our already existing line of fine food products, including Malagos Farmhouse Artisan Cheeses.
The following year, in June 2013, we launched our Philippine-made Malagos Chocolate, a single-origin fine flavor chocolate that is truly tree-to-bar.
Our commitment to quality and sustainability paid off in 2015 when we won our first international award, putting the spotlight on our cacao and showcasing the potential of the Philippine cacao industry on the world stage.
This recognition was particularly significant as it was the first time a Philippine chocolate had won an international award.
Subsequent awards have reinforced our dedication to innovation and excellence, and have given us the impetus to continue improving our processes and products.
Today, cacao is a priority crop in the Philippines, and the industry is thriving with the participation of more farmers and new chocolate brands.
We are excited to see the industry grow and flourish, and we are committed to supporting this growth by working closely with our partners and stakeholders.
Public interest in cacao has also grown exponentially, with more people looking for sustainable food options and supporting the local industry. We take pride in our role in fostering this renewed love for cacao
At Malagos, we are proud of our contributions to the development of the Philippine cacao industry. Our hard work, initiatives, and international awards have helped elevate Philippine cacao on the global stage, and we are honored to be part of this effort.
Our operations are driven by our commitment to sustainable agriculture, quality, and innovation.
Join us on this exciting journey and help us showcase the unique flavors and quality of Philippine cacao to the world.