DAVAO CITY — Three cacao farmers in Davao Region are among four representatives from the Philippines who will compete in the 2021 International Cocoa Awards (ICA) during the Salon du Chocolat in Paris, France in October, according to the Department of Agriculture (DA)-Davao.
The agency said Arthur Lagoc, of Barangay Talandang, Tugbok District; Solidad Robillo, of Barangay Gumalang, Baguio District in Davao City; and Carlos Brasicula, of Barangay Sawata in the province of Davao del Norte, along with Christopher Fadriga of Barangay Atipuluan in Bago City, Negros Occidental, have been selected after they won the 2021 Philippine Cacao Quality Award (PCQA) out of 23 entries nationwide.
Charita Puentespina, Puentespina Farms founder and this year’s PCQA organizing committee chair, said they want to raise awareness about the opportunities in the cacao industry “by showcasing not just the best practices of our cacao farmers but the quality of their produce in the international arena.”
She believes that it will open more opportunities for local cacao growers to establish international market linkages.
Puentespina said that an initial screening was done on the entries’ aroma, external appearance, fissuring, and color of the cacao beans while a group of chocolatiers made the second and final judging.
Puentespina Farms, maker of the world-class Malagos Chocolate, has bagged numerous international recognitions for its chocolate products, winning "Best 50 Beans in the World" in 2017.
Jose Saguban, a cacao farmer from Kialaw, Malabog in Paquibato District, Davao City, won the first Top 20 Best Cacao Beans Award in Salon du Chocolat Paris in 2019.
Saguban’s entry was the only one that made the cut out of the five bean samples from the Philippines.
Saguban supplies beans to fine dark chocolate-maker Auro Chocolate, which won for the country five golds in the ICA 2020—Asia Pacific, including the Best in Competition and Overall Winner for the 50 percent Regalo-Single Varietal-Milk Chocolate.
Puentespina said she believes in the “unique and exceptional quality” of the country’s entry this year.