TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, Oct. 26 (PIA) — From the land of the Chocolate Hills and the renowned ASEAN Chocolate Princess now comes the Philippines’ fifth top tablea drink.
Tablea, which is Spanish for chocolate tablets, is a square-shaped (or now the more popular disc-shaped or cone-shaped) chocolate that many Filipinos are passionate about.
A concoction from roasted dried cacao seeds ground into the consistency of a paste, tablea is the country’s prime instant chocolate drink ingredient.
It would take about two to three tablea discs or cones in a cup of hot water to have the chocolate drink most chocolate lovers would be crazy about.
From Bohol, a cacao farm has produced one of the country’s top five chocolate drinks, a citation it received during the recently concluded Kakao Konek 2019.
Last week, the Cacao Industry Development Association of Mindanao initiated Kakao Konek from Oct. 17-18, 2019 at the SMX Convention Center in Davao City and over a thousand attendees from 14 regions in the country attended the event.
Kakao Konek is the biggest annual event of cacao farmers and chocolatiers in the country organized by the country’s leading cacao value chain organization, Cacao Industry Development Association of Mindanao, Inc., said Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Information Officer Vierna Teresa Ligan.
The Kakao Konek conference acclaimed the First Philippine Cacao and Chocolate Festival, dubbed as “Filipinas Tablea and Chocolate Expo and Cacao Conference” was organized by the Philippine Cacao Industry Development Council (PCIDC) in partnership with the Cacao Industry Development Association of Mindanao, Inc. (CIDAMI).
One of the highlights of Kakao Konek 2019 was the awarding of the Top 5 Philippine National Tablea Drinks.
The Bohol tablea from Atbang Farms had the chance to impress the 30 jurors from all over the regions, who would sip 38 chocolate tablea drinks joining the first National Tablea Drink Contest.
Months back, the province of Bohol through the prodding of DTI, with Bohol Cacao Development Council sent five entries to the said contest.
Bohol’s official chocolate drink entries were: Atbang Farm of Efrenia Holt (Calape); Balai Cacao Enterprises of Marie Frances Macabenta Manga District (Tagbilaran City); Audrey’s Bakery of Audree Arellano (Panglao); Canjulao League of Women (Jagna); and Aurora’s Tablea of Gina Solis (Loay).
From Bohol, 12 Women Micro Entrepreneurs (WMEs) joined the two-day activity allowing them to network and appreciate innovations and development directions for the cacao industry in the country.
According to DTI, their participation was made possible with support from the Provincial Government and the Department of Agriculture through the Great Women Project 2.
Atbang Farm is one of the 25 WMEs enrolled with the Great Women Project 2, a Government of Canada-funded project on “Supporting Women Economic Empowerment in the Philippines” organized and managed by the local DTI.
DTI extends technical support and extension services to the project enrollees, such as technology replication through skills trainings, enterprise management trainings, marketing support, product development, packaging and label development, networking and resource mobilization, raw material sourcing, and FDA LTO and CPR registration to ensure their business sustainability.
Efrenia Holt, the owner of Atbang Farm, shared her farm journey, which started when she planted cacao trees in 2011 at her farm in Calape, Bohol.
However, typhoon Senyang almost wiped out her cacao, and the 2013 earthquake was a double whammy.
Undaunted by these, she continued her passion on farming. Having seen the market demand for dried or fermented cacao beans, she took it as another business model and opportunity for community-based livelihood endeavors.
Atbang Farm’s Molded Tablea has been developed and is now being marketed in malls and in select hotels and resorts in Panglao and Tagbilaran City. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol with vligan/DTI)