SM Lanang Premier’s Cacao Mindanao Chocolate Fair at the Atrium

IT IS said that giving chocolates as gift, especially on Valentine’s Day, has the symbolic meaning of love, passion, care and happy life.  It makes the chocolate recipient feel special.  It has been studied scientifically that “chocolate is the key to happiness.” 


Charita Puentespina and son Rex narrating the history of cacao in the Philippines through their exhibit

Eating chocolate releases serotonin into your body; and that chemical is responsible in “elevating your mood and tricks you into positive thinking.” 

Thanks to the Aztecs who are credited for the discovery in the connection between chocolate and love and happiness in pleasing people you care for. 

Mayans believed that cacao, from which chocolates are made, were given to them by the gods and as such, incorporated cacao into their religious life.

     History has it that the cacao plant, Criollo (one of the best kinds of cacao), was first brought to the Philippines in the 1700s by our Spanish colonizers through the galleon trade from Mexico.

  Remember that the Philippines was then administered from the Viceroyalty of New Spain’s capital, Mexico City, from 1565 till 1821. 

Remember the terms “tsokolate eh” and “tsokolate ah” in the controversial novel of Jose Rizal, “Noli Me Tangere,” when the Franciscan priest, Padre Salvi, would treat Spanish people with high social status with tsokolate eh (derived from the word espresso meaning thick chocolate) while Filipinos at the bottom of the society only had tsokolate ah (aguado or watered down version)?

Park Inn by Radisson’s RBG culinary delights using chocolate

    Fast forward to the present times and what makes the Philippine cacao from Davao special?  “It’s the fruitiness of our cacao which is influenced by the presence of fruit trees like calamansi, durian, and pomelos. 

Beans from cacao plants intercropped with fruit and vegetables can contribute to an earthy, tropical flavor which makes it distinct from the others,” so says Rex Puentespina of the Malagos Agri-Ventures Corporation founded by his parents, Roberto and Charita Puentespina in 2003.  The Puentespinas’ Malagos has received international recognition for its chocolate garnering seven major awards as of 2017.  Malagos entered the  Academy of  Chocolate Awards in London and the International Chocolate Awards in Hanover, Germany to date.

Nutrarich chocolate products

     Davao is officially the Philippines’ Chocolate Capital through Republic Act No. 11547 dated May 27, 2021; with the entire Davao Region XI as the Cacao Capital of the Philippines.  Thanks to SM Lanang Premier which launched its “Cacao Mindanao Chocolate Fair” at it’s Atrium last May 27 to remind Davaoenos to celebrate the first anniversary of our beloved city as the Chocolate Capital of the Philippines.

Cacao de Biao

The event was joined by seven homegrown chocolatiers headed by Malagos Chocolate. 

The three-day chocolate fair was participated in by Nutrarich, Dais Chocolate, MS3, COSCAO, Don Ricardo’s Chocolate, Cacao de Biao, and Park Inn by Radisson’s RBG. 

On the other hand, SM City Davao featured eight more chocolatiers namely Rosario’s, Freefood,  El Rey’s Chocolab, Puratos, Valori Food Chocolate, Antipas Chocolate, Auro Chocolate, and Malagos Chocolate.

     “In recognition of the booming cacao and chocolate industries in the other parts of Mindanao, this Chocolate Fair is simultaneously launched in all SM Supermalls of the island featuring their own respective chocolate producers and chocolate makers. 

This is the very first time that SM Supermalls has put up a chocolate fair of this magnitude. 


The three-day event was made possible with the partnership of CIDAMI, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Trade and Industry, plus local government units,” so revealed KJ Villanueva and Sizzle Marl Ledres of SM Lanang Premier who were kind enough to welcome me in the absence of Rhealyn Pojas and Khrystianne Fusilero, the PROs of the mall.

     Remember, Go Lokal, Buy Lokal please.


Source: Mindanao Times (