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Kakao Festival introduces Zambo Sur’s 'sikwate' to the world

Various creative ways to serve cacao or chocolate perked up the local cacao industry during the 4th Kakao Festival that was held at the Provincial Capitol from February 11 to 14.

Pastries, chocolates, and cacao-infused scents are some of the products featured during the 4th Kakao Festival. (PIA- Zamboanga del Sur)

Under the theme, "Savoring the Chocolate Artistry & Innovation” the festival attracted 23 exhibitors from all over the province. 

From decadent pastries and cakes to the soothing embrace of the local 'sikwate' ( chocolate drink), the festival immersed attendees in a symphony of flavors and fragrances. Aromatic scents of perfumes and soaps infused with cacao essence added an extra layer of sweetness to the celebration.

Jey-an Laride, a local entrepreneur known for her scents and dedication to mental health awareness, expressed her motivation to innovate further. She produced chocolate-enriched scents and drinks that helped the health and wellness of her customers.

Excited kaayo mi at the same time motivated para mas maka-innovate pa ta ug more products para sa Zamboanga del Sur na purely made from cacao. We created our products and innovation to supply good and quality products,” Laride said.

[We are very excited and motivated to continue innovating new cacao-based products for Zamboanga del Sur. We created our products and innovation to supply good and quality products.]

Jey-an Laride of Mireya Scents of Soul showcases her locally produced cacao-infused scents during the 4th Kakao Festival. (Photo courtesy of DTI-ZDS)
Dr. Leah F. Yu of Liana's Chocolates displays her dark chocolates during the 4th Kakao Festival. (PIA Zamboanga del Sur)

Key players such as Gasa Chocolates, Liana's Chocolates, and the Midsalip Farmers Multi-Purpose Cooperative (MIFAMCO) took center stage, showcasing the excellence and innovation driving the local cacao industry forward.

Dr. Leah F. Yu of Liana’s Chocolates shared her enthusiasm for the festival, emphasizing the importance of this kind of event in promoting local products and supporting the growth of the cacao industry.

We are very grateful nga nahimo gayud ni nga festival kay tungod niini nailhan ang among products, at least nakabalo sila nga diri diay sa atong province naa diay cacao-based products nga world-class sab ang quality,” Leah said.

[We are very grateful that this festival was organized because, through it, our products gained recognition. At least now, people know that here in our province, there are cacao-based products with exceptional quality.]

Dako kaayo ning tabang sa amoa isip pud suporta sa atong mga cacao farmers para ma-encourage pud sila nga mananom pud ug cacao,” she added.

[This has been a big help to us and serves as a support for our cacao farmers, encouraging them to continue planting and cultivating cacao.]

What sets this festival apart is the infusion of creativity from the local artistic community. Artists from the Pagadian City Harmonious Interest and Devotion (PAHID) in the visual arts lent their support by creating captivating portraits that contribute to the promotion of priority commodities in the province.

PAHID artists and students actively engaged in art workshops, leveraging artistic expression to raise awareness and appreciation for Zamboanga del Sur's rich agricultural heritage. 

The workshop not only fostered creativity and innovation but also aimed to contributeto economic growth and sustainability within the local community.

“We feel really happy expressing our feelings through these paintings and thankful that we are given this opportunity,” said PAHID President Japhet Monsion.

One of the portraits from PAHID being displayed in the exhibit contributes to the promotion of priority commodities in the province. (PIA Zamboanga del Sur)

The Kakao Festival serves as a dynamic platform not only to celebrate the cacao industry but also to spotlight the emergence of other industries within the province. Governor Victor Yu emphasized the festival's role in encouraging farmers and processors to not only increase cacao production but also enhance the quality of their products.

“I hope this Kakao Festival will encourage our farmers and processors not only to produce more cacao but to improve the quality of our products,” Yu said.

The Department of Trade and Industry took the lead in organizing the festival, receiving support from the provincial government along with collaboration from various partner agencies and stakeholders.

Beyond celebrating local produce, the Kakao Festival aspires to position Zamboanga del Sur as one of the leading producers of cacao-based products. Through a harmonious blend of culinary delights, artistic expressions, and a commitment to growth and quality, this festival is paving the way for a sweet success story in the heart of the Philippines. (NBE/EDT/HTB/PIA9-Zamboanga del Sur)a

About the Author

Harvy Bangayan

Information Officer

Region 9

Harvy T. Bangayan earned his Bachelor's degree in Computer Science at the Western Mindanao State University (WMSU) and is now pursuing his Master's degree in Public Administration at the same institution. A music lover, he now writes news in Zamboanga del Sur and manages the PIA Zamboanga del Sur Facebook page.

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