Have you ever heard or tasted the sweet Sagada orange, or Lias orange or maybe the popular Bontoc “Patupat” or “Nilapet” of Bauko?
Mountain Province has a lot more to offer other than these gifts from nature’s sweet indulgence. Slowly making its way to every mountaineers’ household are locally grown and produced sweet, sometimes bitter, chocolates and tablea.
Seventy one year-old Annie S. Wangdali of Otucan, Bauko, Mountain Province is the sole cacao farmer in the municipality, to date. Her journey to being a cacao farmer started in 2008 when she decided to plant cacao trees after failing to cultivate other fruit bearing trees in her farm. She quipped that it due to her rigorousness and perseverance that made her the cacao farmer that she is now.
Her 5,000 square meters farm in Otucan has 70 fruit bearing cacao trees now, and 300 recently planted seedlings. She started with only 30 trees.
It was through her own research that she was able to make tablea. Solidifying her passion and love for those sweet, smooth and melty cacao by-products, she even bought her own Melanger (grinder for cacao beans) to complete the process of making chocolates.
She shared that through the help of the Department of Trade and Industry - Mountain Province she was able to understand the benefits of cacao and the business that came with it.
With the trainings provided by DTI, Wangdali is now producing her version of tablea, milk chocolate and dark chocolate, among others. She is selling her tablea and variety of chocolates for P250.00 per 200grams and P100.00 for 100g.
But her passion for cacao does not end there. Wangdali wishes to further enhance her farm to be able to accept visitors so she could share the knowledge of bean-to-chocolate processing. It is also her wish for her children to continue what she started, considering that she laid out a strong foundation for the success of cacao business not only in her municipality but in Mountain Province as well.
Acknowledging that there is a business in cacao, this senior citizen believes that it is never too late to start planting cacao. She mentioned that during the Cacao Congress conducted by the DTI on November 9-10, 2922 in Bontoc, there were people older than her who share the same love and interest in cacao.
In case you are interested to buy local chocolates from Mt. Province or visit the farm, you may directly contact Ms. Annie Wangdali thru 09489277586. (JDP/VJLT-PIA CAR, Mt. Province)