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

My best cheese ever and Vault

Vault 2014 No 4

I suddenly ran out of words to say. Let me start, my Davao food adventure with FoodPrints  brought me to write a story about the Malagos Farmhouse artisanal cheese. It was a very hectic morning in Davao and inside the van, at 5:30 AM, I had cold feet. Not to mention the late night taping at a chicken and rib joint prior to this assignment. I’ve never met anyone at Vault, but I was told that editor-in-chief Mr. David Celdran was asking me to write a cheese story for Vault, adjudged Best New Magazine by the Asian Publishing Awards in 2012. Published by ABS-CBN Publishing Inc, Vault is a luxury magazine for the sophisticated man. I wanted to say no, but how can I say no to a great opportunity to be working with super creative people? I personally love the sharp stylin’ look of Vault. My husband is a classic vintage fanatic and I learned to love his taste, so Vault, definitely, is something to collect. On top of that, I’m the incurable cheese lover.

Superthanks to so many people — Mr. David Celdran, Karl Castro, Barry Viloria, Julio Silvestre, the entire Vault editorial team, the Puentespina family, Olive and Bo, my FoodPrints family, Jennie Celdran, Melanie de Leon, Iggy Bilbao, our wonderful tour guide Ruben Neri, the van driver, Davao DOT, Ms. Vanessa, the Apo View Hotel, my husband, and Ericke, who acts as my personal editor sometimes.

PackageVault 2014 No 4

My Vault 2014 No. 4 finally arrives.


Check out major bookstores for the latest issue dedicated to craftsmanship. It should also be ready for download at Zinio right now.


It can fit into my purse. The size is so convenient — one of the things I love about Vault

VaultMalagos FarmhouseVault 2014 No 4Olive 3

My photo of Olive Puentespina the cheesemaker. I had the wonderful privilege of writing a Q&A with her. I’m so amazed at her drive and intense passion to make cheesemaking real in a country like ours.

Dr. Bo Puentespina

Dr. Bo Puentespina takes care of the herd and makes sure Olive’s milk is delivered to her in impeccable condition.

Charita Puentespina

One of the best breakfasts we had in Davao was at the Puentespina vacation house hosted by a lady who inspires with her many advocacies, no other than Mrs. Charita Puentespina, who I’m soon featuring here in the blog. The flowers are grown in the farm.

Malagos Farm BreakfastKesong Puti and Bignay Jam on Pan de Sal

A slice of kesong puti with bignay jam, made from bignay berries from the Malagos Farm.

TabletopThe VetGoatMalagos Farmhouse Cheeses

At Leon’s Lounge, the tasting room of the Malagos Farmhouse Cheeses.

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