How to Atak Urban Gardening.

Share your backyards as a place for fruit trees or if you have no spaces to share, convince the neighborhood to plant or help people who has interest in planting.

Thank you for visiting plantaciondesikwate dot com!

Let me ask you. Does cacao farming begin and end with just money alone?

We asked city and urban dwellers if they want to start their leap from being employed to being a farmer. Some would say that amidst the COVID-19 dilemma, several industries felt the gut punch straight on.

Help from the government, both monetary and food, will take a family as far as the next day.  So is there another way to augment one’s daily-weekly-monthly needs?

Learn to PLANT.

Plantacion de Sikwate Cacao Producers Association, Inc., or simply PDS, has launched a program called ATAK²
(Ating Tanim alay sa Kalikasan at Kalusugan).

They heeded the call from DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu who said that “The damage from COVID-19 and climate change brings about destruction and chaos to any nation,”  and of course, DA Secretary William Dar who said that “we need to feed our bodies with the essential nutrients to keep it functioning at top capacity. There is no one miracle food to fight COVID-19 but I encourage the public to do a Whole-food diet, mostly plant based colorful food that you can prepare from scratch, preferrably from your own garden.”

ATAK¹
Ating Tanim Alay Kalikasan (ATAK) is an agro – environmental tree planting program in urban areas of the Philippines that was conceptualized by Plantacion de Sikwate with the following objectives.

* To teach every individual to cultivate and farm fruit bearing trees within their respective properties (backyards).

* To be able to support the different greening program of the country.

* To be a model to everyone on how to make efficient tree  planting possible in urban areas in the Philippines

*To introduce healthy plant cultivation as a beneficial factor for humans and environment. 

*To share our backyards as a place for fruit trees or if we have no spaces to share, convince the neighborhood to plant or help people who has interest in planting.

* The harvests can be transformed into finished products like chocolate
tablets, candies, salads and ice cream.

Thru the help of different government agencies as well as private institutions, the ATAK¹ and ATAK² Program will propagate hundreds of thousands of seedlings to be distributed to all interested constituents of local agencies. Plantacion de Sikwate (PDS) will handle the technical support by conducting series of hands-on training seminars, free consultancies that can be arranged in person or thru social media.

* Any planter may use their harvests for their personal consumption, sell or donate to the designated buying stations that will be established strategically.

* The proceeds from sale will then be allocated for the future environmental project of the host cities or municipalities.

Who can Join this legacy?
Local Government Unit (LGU’s)
Government Organization (GO’s)
Private Companies
Civic Organization (NGO’s)
Religious Organizations
Students Organization
All individuals who are willing to be project volunteers.

WHAT TO PLANT?

– Rationale –
The Philippines is one of the countries situated near the equator that remarkably possess fertile soil, and welcoming weather conditions to grow cacao, avocado, jackfruit and malungay..
We have chosen heirloom cacao (Filipino Aromatico) as one of the trees to plant, because this kind of variety is rare (representing only one (1) percent in terms of population around the world). Hence, this is the most sought after cacao variety by the chocolatiers.

The ATAK² program can help not only chocolate makers but the Filipino Cacao Farmers thru the multiplication of this plant. The program will make the trees available everywhere  where the cacao farmers can source and extract budsticks (scion) as raw material for grafting in the propagation  of this precious plant. The success of the program will also generate PRESTIGE by recognizing the facts of the Manila-Acapulco Galleon Trade from the country’s history.

The AVOCADOS and JACKFRUITS will also be made available everywhere where Filipinos can source and eat one of the best food of the world.
On the other hand, MALUNGAY is rich in medicinal value that can prevent illnesses so the Filipinos can stay healthy and live much longer during this pandemic.

All of the trees are healthy foods for consumption and are beneficial to the environment.

 
What are the crops/plants?

* Malunggay (Moringa Oleifera) is a rising star in the world of super foods. The tiny leaves of this tree may be the world’s most nutritious green. As climate change makes rainfall increasingly unpredictable for low-income farmers in the country, Moringa will become an important tool for helping communities not only nationwide and the world to take control of their own nutrition.  

* Jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus) is one of the favorite fruits of Filipinos. Aside from its smelly sweet taste, it is considered for its high medicinal value. Sometimes the young jackfruit is cooked with coconut milk that can be served in the dining table. Also known as the ‘miracle’ food crop, it could be a replacement for staple crops under threat from climate change.

* Avocado
(Persea americana) is prized for its high nutrient value and is added to various dishes due to its good flavor and rich texture. Avocado fruits contain high potassium level. It is the main ingredient of the famous Mexican Guacamole.

* HEIRLOOM CACAO (Filipino Aromatico™) is one of the chosen mediums in tree planting. Chocolates made from this variety costs more in the global market to to its superb taste, and aroma. It may be remembered that in 1877, “cacao first traveled outside its American homeland to the Philippines aboard Manila galleons.” This kind of cacao variety is called Criollo  By planting this kind of tree we cannot only help the environment but may dearly help preserve this precious and important heritage of the country.

Answering the earlier question on “Does cacao farming begin and end with just money alone?” PDS Chief Executive Officer summarizes it all with
“Ang Sino mang tao na nagtanim ng punong kahoy sa kapaligiran ay may pagmamahal sa kaniyang kapwa, na katulad ng pagmamahal niya sa kanyang sarili ”

For more details on sponsorships, and pricing, call Mel Santos -PDS CEO, at 09175073704 or email plantaciondesikwate@gmail.com


RISE OVER THE QUARANTINE

The entire world has added their thoughts regarding the COVID-19 and we are here not to add on to panic but INSPIRE you to rise above this stage.

Now that there is nothing to do and nothing to get a living from due to the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ), why not follow what these Sagbayan, Bohol Amazonas do?

“Climbing trees is not just for recreation”, Indai Cortes said. These trees have heirloom cacaos that have been neglected for so long. “I climb trees to reach the cacao pods and see if they are within the white bean cultivars I am propagating”.

Different regions, where the ratio of trees to humans may register at 20:1, it’s not unusual to see women climb them in search for daily sources of income.

And now that the suspension of classes took effect a couple of days ago, students are starting to show ‘ALLOWANCE ANXIETY’.

No classes mean no lunch money. So Queenie, Indai’s daughter, decided to take a shot at fruit picking — 40 feet from the ground.

” I help harvest caimito (star apple), cacao, avocado, and corn. Some are easy to pick since they are on ground level but other fruits need extra effort. That is why they are expensive — buwis-buhay (life-threatening)”.

Strong arms and legs are required to tree climbing so here are 6 ways to ensure you are fit to climb.

1. Eat Lots of Vegetables
2. Perform Strength Training (warm up/stretching helps first)
3. Consume Enough Protein
4. Eat High-Calcium Foods
5. Get Plenty of Vitamin D and Vitamin K.
6. Avoid Very Low-Calorie Diets

DISCLAIMER: Minors were not harmed nor forced to climb trees. They helped the mother to reach areas with weight requirements. Safety gear (crash helmet) was provided but not shown in photo used. No child labour happened during entire process.

CACAO TALK: No land but wants to plant cacao? Not a problem. Here’s how…

JOHN: I dont have an hectare of land much less own a property that I can plant cacao seedlings.

MR. CACAO: Dont worry, John. Nothing will stop your dream of becoming a cacao grower without vast lands. Look what I did. I planted a grafted cacao seedling in a pot and allowed it to grow at our veranda at home. It now has sprouted a cherel!

Aside from that, these cacao seedlings can also bring in more oxygen in your home. They are pretty ornamental plants as well. Just make sure to give them enough sunshine and water! After 15 months you will be able to harvest from your potted gold!

Oh one more thing. Don’t worry that growing cacao at home will just attract mosquitoes okay? Did you know that the fallen cacao leaves can be a great ingredient for your DIY mosquito-repellant? Let me share the steps, John.

1. Boil cacao leaves on a shallow pan for 20 minutes. Separate the juice and leaves. Set aside

2. Finely chop the garlic and add the cacao juice. Set aside

3. Mix the essential oil together and pour onto the prepared juice.
4. Let it stand for at least 10 minutes to incorporate well.

5. Using funnel, pour over the liquid into a sprayer. Let it cool completely before using your natural insect repellant.

*********
Be part of the largest cacao association by logging on through this link: http://plantaciondesikwate.com/individual-membership/ to avail of rewards & discounts when you purchase grafted seedlings.

A Ratatouille Taste-imonial

Thank you Khalil Corazo for having a ratatouille moment when you tasted this simple craft chocolate bar from Christopher Fadriga.

Thank you Khalil Corazo for having a ratatouille moment when you tasted this simple craft chocolate bar from Christopher Fadriga.

To those who are new to this site, thank you for dropping by and reading through our cacao adventures. Chris Fadriga is Plantacion de Sikwate’s Chairman and National  President.

He has a plantation, nursery, and training camp at Brgy. Atipuluan, Bago City, Negros Occidental.

Here is Kahlil Carazo’s article entitled ”Are these the Best Craft Chocolate Bars in the Philippines?”

Thanks for reading and we hope to have shone some rays of sunshine your way!

Diamond Hotel: Saving the Best for Last

You may wonder why we skipped posting the opening updates at the Diamond Hotel’s PHILIPPINE CULINARY HERITAGE featuring our very own Brand Ambassador, Razorchef Founder and Kusinero Maestro Heneral of the Culinary Generals Philippines.

There is a saying that we have ‘SAVED THE BEST FOR LAST’. Well we did since there were so many things that happened from Ingress to Egress of the event. Ms. Cacao was on top of the whole cacao adventure that she skipped to celebrate her birthday just to be on duty on the 28th of June. But before that, allow us to share what transpired on the opening day.

The bells signaled the start of the festivities with the Mayor of Manila Hon. Francisco ‘Isko’ Moreno Domagoso’s arrival. He was then Mayor-elect at that time but when our CEO Mel Santos whom we fondly called Meyor Mel got introduced to the real Mayor,they discussed the project of PDS to support DENR Sec. General Cimatu’s Legacy Graduation Program of having graduating students plants 10 trees. Mayor Isko loved the idea and said to give his office a call for a meeting. Ms. Cacao is scheduling the Courtesy call when she and Meyor Mel would go to a business meeting sometime soon.

The next VIP whom we met was the GM extraordinaire Madame Vanessa Ledesma-Suatengco. It came to our knowledge that she was the first Filipina to assume the post in 2009. Ms. Cacao would go on talking about the GM’s achievements but you may read through the link.

With her were top calibre guests such as Lunchbox Theatrical Productions’ Robert Sewell, and the spouse of Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr. Mrs. Maria Lourdes Locsin.

Before the VIPs have gathered near the entrance of Corniche, the historical characters of Dr. Jose Rizal’s Noli me Tangere and El Filibusterismo emerged.

The flag was not our Ntional Flag yet. People were wondering why the National Anthem was not played. Ms. Cacao interviewed our Brand Ambassador Executive Chef Carangian who also is a Professor at Jose Rizal University, shared that the Philippine national anthem shall not be played for entertainment purposes. Republic Act (RA) 8491 or otherwise known as the Flag and Heraldic Code of the Philippines provides when the National Anthem is played at a public gathering, whether by a band or by singing or both, or reproduced by any means, the attending public shall sing the anthem. The singing must be done with fervor. The event was not a public gathering and other foreign hotel guests has the right for a relaxing stay.

The media who covered the event were from ABS-CBN, Business Mirror, Esquire Magazine, Cook Magazine, Orangemagazine.ph, Hospitalitynews,PeopleAsia, Malaya, ABS-CBN Global and CNN Philippines to name a few. Bloggers like The Pickiesteater, thehungrykat, talesfromthetummy, thefoodalphabet, dude4food, manila standard today, The Daily Tribune. Phil. Daily Inquirer.

Each gastronomic adventure singled out our very own Filipino Aromatico or Criollo cacao variety. From intensley bitter, midly bitter to hey what did I just tastwe? comments of first time Millenial to taste the Criollo sorbetes, Chanporado ng Laon Laang, and the Criollo golden truffles.

The much older generation wanted more of our sikwates since it reminded them of their lolas who made the hot beverage using the batirol. If you asked PDS Bohol Chapter Vice-President Ms. Cecilia De Leon, the batirol is the vessel that usually was aluminum made or bronze if it stayed in their families since time in memorial. The wooden stirrer is called in — Bohol.

They discussed the project of PDS to support DENR Sec. General Cimatu’s Legacy Graduation Program of having graduating students plants 10 trees. Mayor Isko loved the idea and said to give his office a call for a meeting. Ms. Cacao is scheduling the Courtesy call when she and Meyor Mel would go to a business meeting sometime soon.You may wonder why we skipped posting the opening updates at the Diamond Hotel’s PHILIPPINE CULINARY HERITAGE featuring our very own Brand Ambassador, Razorchef Founder and Kusinero Maestro Heneral of the Culinary Generals Philippines.

There is a saying that we have ‘SAVED THE BEST FOR LAST’. Well we did since there were so many things that happened from Ingress to Egress of the event.

Ms. Cacao was on top of the whole cacao adventure that she skipped to celebrate her birthday just to be on duty on the 28th of June. But before that, allow us to share what transpired during the opening day.

  • JULY 19, 2019

The bells signaled the start of the festivities with the Mayor of Manila Hon. Francisco ‘Isko’ Moreno Domagoso’s arrival. He was then Mayor-elect at that time but when our CEO Mel Santos, whom we fondly called Meyor Mel, got introduced to the real Mayor.

Diamond Hotel Philippines general manager Vanessa Ledesma Suatengco, Lunchbox Theatrical Productions’ Robert Sewell, spouse of Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr. Mrs. Maria Lourdes Locsin, Manila City Mayor Francisco Dumagoso and Chef Christopher Carangian

The next VIP whom we met was the GM extraordinaire Madame Vanessa Ledesma-Suatengco. It came to our knowledge that she was the first Filipina to assume the post in 2009. Ms. Cacao would go on talking about the GM’s achievements but you may read through the link https://www.diamondhotel.com/news/promotions-board. With her were top calibre personas such as Lunchbox Theatrical Productions’ Robert Sewell, and the spouse of Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr. Mrs. Maria Lourdes Locsin,

Before the VIPs have gathered near the entrance of Corniche, the historical characters of Dr. Jose Rizal’s Noli me Tangere and El Filibusterismo emerged.

The media who covered the event were from ABS-CBN, Business Mirror, Esquire Magazine, Cook Magazine, Orangemagazine.ph, Hospitalitynews,PeopleAsia, Malaya, ABS-CBN Global and CNN Philippines to name a few. Bloggers like The Pickiesteater, thehungrykat, talesfromthetummy, thefoodalphabet, dude4food, manila standard today, The Daily Tribune. Phil. Daily Inquirer.

Each gastronomic adventure singled out our very own Filipino Aromatico or Criollo cacao variety. From intensley bitter, midly bitter to hey what did I just tastwe? comments of first time Millenial to taste the Criollo sorbetes, Chanporado ng Laon Laang, and the Criollo golden truffles.

The much older generation wanted more of our sikwates since it reminded them of their lolas who made the hot beverage using the batirol. If you asked PDS Bohol Chapter Vice-President Ms. Cecilia De Leon, the batirol is the vessel that usually was aluminum made or bronze if it stayed in their families since time in memorial. The wooden stirrer is called in borneo — Bohol.

QUALITY BEANS. QUALITY FOOD.

Join us at the Diamond Hotel, Roxas Blvd. Manila on June 19-30,2019 from 8:30AM onwards for the Philippine Culinary Heritage featuring Executive Christopher Carangian.

Executive Chef Carangian
*Graduated from Culinary Institute of America
*Founder of Razorchef PH
*Punong Heneral at Culinary Generals of the Philippines
*Food Historian at GMA7, Kapuso mo Jessica Soho, Pinas Sarap, and Ijuander
*Filipino Heritage Food Advocate
*Certified Coffee Sensory Judge for World Coffee Events
*Food Historian of Jose Rizal University

June 19, 2019 is the opening of the Filipino Food Festival where we will be selling and displaying heirloom cacao grafted seedlings, cacao tablea, cacao nibs, cacao tea, and coffee.Joining Plantacion de Sikwate are its members from Pangasinan, Bicol, Bohol, and Negros Occidental. We shall be at the booth everyday to cater to your queries as well.Such a Filipino celebration will not be complete without Elar’s Lechon, and naturally sweet Stevia sugar (one of the event’s bar hosts and exhibitors). To cap off the celebration, Chef Christopher shall prepare long-forgotten Filipino food and expplain the rituals that make the Philippines the land of gold (Ophir) with royal bloods known as MaharliCas.

Free registration so just drop in and be proud of our heritage through the eyes of Dr. Jose Rizal.

Remembering Yesterday, Today.

TeamPDS, represented by Media Director Mia Concepcion and CEO Mel Santos, attended the Media Launch at the Diamond Hotel in Roxas Blvd., Manila. This is for the preparations leading to the Philippine Culinary Heritage – Filipino Food Festival that will happen on June 19 – 30, 2019.(Ms. Cacao with Executive Chef Christopher Guado Carangian)(Mel Santos with RazorChef Philippines’ and Culinary General’s Executive Chef Christopher Guado Carangian)(Mel Santos with RazorChef Michelle Arce)Amazing recipes that brought back to the days of Jose Rizal and Emilio Aguinaldo were prepared by Executive Chef Christopher Carangian. The ingredients were close to home and showed us how Filipino heritage food evolved through the years.From the Warikwarik (Ilocos) Ciento Quinse (Cavite with Chavacano origins), Sikwate (Bohol, Bicol, Negros Occidental, Naga, Pangasinan) to the Philippine Civet coffee took centerstage as Executive Chef Christopher Carangian gave a sneak peak on the menu on June 19 and 21 respectively. Such a Filipino celebration will not be complete without Elar’s Lechon, and naturally sweet Stevia sugar (one of the event’s bar hosts and exhibitors).

To cap off the luncheon, history took over with the food’s long-forgotten Filipino rituals that makes the Philippines the land of gold (Ophir) with royal bloods known as MaharliCas.


Bio:

Executive Chef Christopher Carangian

  • Graduated from the Culinary Institute of America
  • Founder of Razorchef PH
  • Punong Heneral at Culinary Generals of the Philippines
  • Food Historian at GMA7, Kapuso mo Jessica Soho, Pinas Sarap, and iJuander
  • Filipino Heritage Food Advocate
  • Certified Coffee Sensory Judge for World Coffee Events
  • Food Historian of Jose Rizal University

— PLANTACION DE SIKWATE has a booth at the lobby area where they will sell homegrown Heirloom Filipino Aromatico’s cacao nibs, tableas, and grafted cacao seedlings. Drop by for all day sikwate taste tests.

This event is open to all! NO REGISTRATION FEEs to enter.

PDS Farm Visit April 25, 2019

WISH GRANTED.

There comes a time when you ask the heavens to give you a sign so you’ll know if your intentions were heard. When you have associated every single rose petal as thee sign, you’d go to bed realizing you’ve been misled. Soon after you’d start questioning your faith.

I have gone to almost every church all over the country and have whispered my intentions. I wished for more Criollo mother tree searches, and more planting materials to complete the Filipino Aromatico trademark variety mix. We needed more Trinitarios (K9, W10, and BR-25s). I was starting to ask; was I worthy of such demands?

From Quezon City, where TeamPDS declared its commitment to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on preserving the environment by planting High-value crops from open, barren lands, to residential/commercial backyards. Someone urged me to rearrange my schedule.(L-R: Ms. Ann Wynkoop, Ms. Charo Yu (OWI), DENR Sec. Gen. Roy Cimatu, Mel Santos (PDS CEO)

3 hours and change land travel via T-PLEX Expressway, I was welcomed by SIGN #1. “Welcome to MANGALDAN, Pangasinan.”There I met up with PDS member Conrado Soriano (cacao propagator & tablea maker ~ Federico’s Cacao Tablea) Mia a.k.a Ms Cacao met Cons at the Cacao Level Up Seminar in QC last February 21 and told me non-stop that she often visit Pangasinan to swim at the beach, eat at Matutina’s Restaurant, and visit to venerate Our Lady of Manaoag. She knows that part of the North with her eyes closed. She also told me that I should visit Pangasinan when I have the time since I told her that it was one of my WISHES.I was praying to have the chance to meet someone who was dedicated to planting as I was. The 3-hectare farm tour with Cons paved the way for me to meet the Regional Focal Person for Region 1, Mr.  David Rhondal DA R1 — SIGN #2.I later on found out the Cons was able to propagate the Trinitario variety that was one of the Filipino Aromatico trademark variety mixes that would produce the best blend for the country and the world. — SIGN #3. I was happy to see a good supply of scions and budsticks that would help Plantacion de Sikwate’s benefactors.Now that the farm tour was over, Cons drove me about 12 kilometers via Binalonan to a solemn place by majority of the Catholic religion — there I saw SIGN #4. Welcome to Manaoag.
Ms. Cacao told me that there are times when you can vaguely see the face of the Our Lady of Manaoag. She may appear blurred to Her visitors for She knows his or her purpose of visit ~ just passing through for FB photo-ops or in need of Divine intervention.
I climbed several steps to reach the cathedral and from the doors, I clearly saw Our Lady cloaked in GOLD. Thank you for allowing me to see Your beauty today, Our Lady.In closing, we all look for SIGNS to validate our wishes. Little do we know that what we are searching for is right before our very eyes. We become complacent when we thought we have seen the SIGNS we wished for. We forget to say thank you Our Lady or thank you Lord; so allow me to share with you with an excerpt of a prayer called DISTURB US LORD.

“Disturb us, Lord, when we are too well pleased with ourselves,
When our dreams have come true
Because we have dreamed too little, When we arrived safely
Because we sailed too close to the shore.

Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly, To venture on wider seas
Where storms will show Your mastery;
Where losing sight of land,
We shall find the stars.
We ask You to push back
The horizons of our hopes;
And to push into the future
In strength, courage, hope, and love.

Thank you for giving me and Plantacion de Sikwate the strength, courage, hope, and love to continue our advocacy. Have a great weekend everyone!