The Malagos Tree to Bar Chocolate Experience

Davao Cacao Export

A plain chocolate lover will know what is a good chocolate. And “a good chocolate comes from good beans,” says the Puentespina family of the Puentespina farms in Malagos, Davao, producers of single origin, tree to bar Malagos Chocolates.

In the time of the FoodPrints Davao taping, I meet the Puentespina matriarch, Charita, a fervent and sprightly lady, who herself inspires. One day I see her at the farm, showing us around the cacao farm and another day I see her in girl scout senior uniform, cutting up durian at their gentrified space in the city.

Mrs.Charita Puentespina

The Puentespina Farm covers 24 hectares of land. Maximizing land use with a diversified setup, they grow Grade A Trinitario cacao beans (a crossbreed between Criollo and Forastero) and a variety of flowers and fruits, raise goats and make artisan cheese.

Puentespina FarmCacao Flowers

Says Discover magazine, “A cacao tree produces tiny, dime-size flowers on its trunk, a strategy called cauliflory. Once pollinated, a flower will take up to six months to develop into a mature pod. Fewer than 5 percent of all cacao flowers bear fruit.”

Cacao (2)Cacao TreePuentespina Farm Cacao CommunityMucilage (pulp) is cleaned off the cacao beans with the aid of sawdust.Mars Cocoa Development Center, Puentsepina Farm, Davao

Tita Charita says, to sustain livelihood with communities, they’ve also tried exporting to global chocolate brands such as Mars, Inc. Their very own brand, Malagos Chocolate, developed by son Rex, makes premium raw, untreated 100% pure chocolate and 65% dark chocolate, meant for the dark chocolate lover and a suitable couverture for baking.

I can’t bake nor am I a farmer, so I can’t be too technical with their chocolate’s characteristics. But from what I saw, the methods they use are healthy and at par with fair present-day standards.

I’ve just eaten the last rectangle from the couple of dark chocolates I bought from the chocolate counter at Malagos Farmhouse. Very robust and smooth, it has complex flavors of wood, nuts, aged red wine and slightly tangy fruit.

The visit was such a treat.

Cacao FermentationCacao fermentation.Cacao DryingThe solar dryer.Cacao SeedlingsCacao seedlings.Malagos FarmhouseMalagos Dark ChocolatesDavao CacaoHot Cocoa

My best ever  hot extra rich chocolate drink made from tableya was at the Puentespina vacation house, located at the Puetespina Farm in the Baguio District of Davao.

*With special thanks to Mrs Charita Puentespina, Dr. Bo Puentespina, Vault, Ruben Neri and FoodPrints with Chef Sandy Daza.

Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2014

Cefi & Me opens at Paseo de Paoay

Cefi & Me 25

Sunny, effervescent, refreshing — those three words enter my mind as soon as I step into Cefi & Me. The baker in Toni Carag has been unleashed and baby Cefi, the frosting to her cupcake, appears to be getting a thrill from the whirling scent of confections inside the patisserie.

Cefi & Me is situated at the corner of pristine Paseo de Paoay close by the painfully beautiful Paoay Church. (I live in Ilocos, but it feels like I am in a different world whenever I catch a glimpse of the church’s striking architecture.)

Cefi & Me 4Cefi & Me 14Cefi & Me 24Kristine Manuel and Kit Mandac had the honors to cut the ribbon.

Cefi and Me 22Cefi & Me 8Cefi & Me 9Cefi and Me 23Cefi & Me 16Cefi & Me 19Cefi & Me 11Cefi & Me CupcakesCefi & Me 10Reishan Paredes and Joanna Jimenez light up the room.

GyrosCefi & Me 13Cefi & Me 15Cefi & Me 12Cefi & Me 26How time flies, Toni and her cousin Tina’s babies! Our godson, MJ (in black), is all grown up. But I love it that Toni always calls me “manang”. The other baby in the photo below is Cooper, the cute son of Carlos and Janina Fariñas. Hihih, and Nerisa might just have given birth.

Cefi & Me 6Cefi & Me 2Cefi & Me 20I made sure I had a photo with photographer Glenn Tumaneng because he had to take my photo (at the bottom of the post). Of course, you shouldn’t believe me ‘coz the vibes of the afternoon was cheery.

Cefi & Me 21Cefi & Me 18Cefi & Me 17Cefi & Me 3Cefi & Me 1Radiant Kristine Manuel. I saw the light and I had to pressure her for this photo.

Cefi & Me Menu

Check out the interesting menu. We had gyros, penne, fresh dragonfruit and I bought cheese cupcakes. Yum! If I were not too full, I would have ordered kesong puti bun d’ sal.

I want to congratulate and wish Toni all the best in her new endeavor.

Other photos by Kit, Glenn T and Joanna
Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2014

What is the MAMMOvan?


Have you seen this van going around town?

Recent studies by the Department of Health show that breast cancer has become the most common cancer in the Philippines. The incidence rate of breast cancer in the country is also the highest in Asia and the 9th highest in the world, according to reports.

Besides heredity, there are other risk factors linked to breast cancer like exposure to hormones and lifestyle.

MAMMOvan (3)

According to Ilocos-based Breast Cancer Imperative (BRCAI) Inc, a non-government volunteer organization, founded by Delia Cachola Baquiran, “Early detection is the cornerstone of cancer control and offers the greatest promise of survival, thus reducing the mortality from breast cancer. ‘Downstaging’ of breast cancer which occurs with early diagnosis has shown a higher potential for cure because more curative treatment options can be offered at the early stages of the disease than at its advanced stage which is happening now among Filipino women.”

It is for this reason that BRCAI, in partnership with the Timoteo and Luisa Cachola Fund, Toyota Motors Philippines Foundation, the Philippine Foundation for Breast Care, Inc., the Philippine College of Surgeons-Northern Luzon Chapter and other kind donors, has initiated the MAMMOvan, the Philippines’ first, providing free or subsidized accessible mammogram services for disadvantaged women.

MAMMOvan (2)

Designed for detection and screening cancer at different stages, the MAMMOvan, in close coordination with the local DSWD Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps, goes around the Ilocos provinces on schedule. DSWD-certified women can avail the services of qualified radiologists operating the portable mammography machine (inside the van).

BRCAI will assist qualified patients from start to finish, meaning detection to referrals and chemotherapy.

Aimed at reducing late cancer detection,  they also conduct breast cancer education.

MAMMOvan (4)

Breast Cancer Imperative, Inc., 187 JP Rizal Avenue, Laoag City, Ilocos Norte, Philippines Tel Nos.: 077 770 2162 (Philippines) / +63 077 770 2162 (International) Website: Email:

Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2014

Cakes by Arlene


I met someone who could possibly help you with your party food needs in Laoag. Not the big time caterer kind. Arlene and her daughter just love to bake cakes. She also makes fondant cakes, toasted siopao, empanaditas and more. Alexa loves her chocolate cupcakes, a telling sign ‘coz you know the little girl loves chocolate cake, and yet she’s choosy.


For inquiries, contact Arlene Lim-Añonuevo 09082021949 / 09153624352.

Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2014