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!


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.


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.

PCAF Cacao Industry Development Sub-Committee conducts the monthly meeting

Members of the Cacao Industry Development Sub-Committee conduct the monthly meeting. PCAF Vice Chairman Melencio Santos is present together with our Honorary Founding Members One World Institute Chairperson Madame Yolanda Ortega Stern and Ms. Ann F.E. Wynkoop.

Agenda: The status of Resolutions No. 32 and 33, Series of 2018 which are “Recommending to the Department of Agriculture through the High Values Crops Development Program the Creation of a National Organization Committee to oversee the participation of local cacao producers in the International Cocoa Awards”.

Also conferred by the body are the Climate Outlook for March-September 2019, update on the implementation of the Industry Road Maps for Coffee and Cacao, Rubber and Fiber, and presentation of Resolutions Passed during the National Cacao Growers Summit.

For more photos and stories, visit www.pcaf.da.gov.ph
Text by Ali Estoesta
Photos by Jez Campaniel


February 21, 2019 10AM-5PM
3/F TriNoma, EDSA cor. North Ave., Quezon City, Metro Manila

CEO, Plantacion de Sikwate
* Filipino Aromatico Heirloom Cacao
* Planting the Heirloom Cacao (nursery to field)

President/Owner – Opulento Agriventures
* Cacao Biological farming system
* Biological pest control inputs
* Crop vaccination technology

Chocolatier, CMV Txokolat
* Chocolate Bar making
* Pinoy Craft of Chocolate bars

Food Historian, Jose Rizal University
* Philippine Food and our National Hero Dr. Jose Rizal


SECURE A SEAT for P3,000 (Inclusive of meals and certificate)

To Reserve a Seat, SMS/call:
Mel Santos 09167170207
Mia Concepcion 09155130093

*** All payments are to be settled on or before February 18, 2019 via
Plantacion de Sikwate Cacao Producers Association, Inc.
Banco de Oro, J. Center Mandaue City Branch
Account No. 00419-032-4488
** Once you successfully have deposited your fee, take a photo of the deposit slip and send to PDSCACAO@gmail.com or inbox at PDSCACAO here at FB.

Remembering our National Hero’s Birthday, Jose Rizal

As we celebrate our National Hero’s Birthday today, Plantacion de Sikwate joined in the celebration with a guest from a country Jose Rizal visited.

In his sojourn in Japan from February 28 to April 13,1888, he was enchanted by the flowers, the trees, and the inhabitants. When he was in Tokyo he decided to study Japanese language including Japanese drama and self- defense. The most colorful life in his memoirs in Japan was his romance with O-Sei-San as he wrote in his diary “O-Sei-San, Sayonara, Sayonara! 

Several centuries after, we welcomed a guest from the same country to visit our Heirloom Cacao, Kanami Tanaka. With me is Cecilia de Leon, VP of the PDS Bohol Chapter.

Another guest came by our Cebu office this afternoon to join the festivities. Michael Cagas,Technical Manager of Prathista Philippines. With me to welcome is PDS Cebu Officer Ma. Emma Ramas.

To Gat. Jose Rizal, Happy 157th Birthday!


Food and Filipino Hospitality

When a Cacao Producer’s CEO meets the Cacao Authority’s CEO, #CacaoTalks do not stop at R.O.I.s — it goes beyond.

Destination: Philippines

After setting the date for the arrival, Don Alec went on his way.  He is our guest from the Dominican Republic in the Carribeans. Since the place was several miles from the Philippines, I had to Google to locate it.

According to them, “The Dominican Republic is a Caribbean nation that shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti to the west. It’s known for its beaches, resorts and golfing. Its terrain comprises rainforest, savannah and highlands, including Pico Duarte, the Caribbean’s tallest mountain. Capital city Santo Domingo has Spanish landmarks like the Gothic Catedral Primada de America dating back 5 centuries in its Zona Colonial district.”

First time meetings prompt you to research a bit in order to have a conversation piece. Once I found out that the Dominican Republic is with Spanish heritage, then we are not that far away.

Our forever gourmand Ms. Cacao has endless takes when food is concerned. In Instagram, she is known as recipechick.

Ms. Cacao never missed a beat when she makes a review or even captures a home cooked meal moment. Upon learning that I was to meet with Don, she said that the Dominican Republics share the same love for food — their empanada or pastelitos.In the Philippines, there are numerous versions of the smaller-sized Empanadas; we call it Empanaditas. It comes with different fillings such as mango, durian, beef, torta or pork with potatoes, corned beef or Reuben, chorizo, and even chocolate.

Being able to taste similar foods that a foreign guest have in their country could be one of the conversations to break the ice.

Knowing how similar their food is to ours, I told Chris Fadriga, PDS President that we have to bring Don to places where the Philippine cuisine is known for.

First Stop: BOHOL

Chocolate Hills, Carmen, Bohol

Don’s flight from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport came as a breeze. We immediately waited until our guest arrived in Cebu for us to reach the town of Sagbayan.

It was PDS Bohol Chapter Vice President Cecilia de Leon who did the honors of saying WELCOME TO BOHOL!

We visited the Heirloom Cacao Farm of Indai Felipa Cortes who happened to be one of the newest CERTIFIED MEMBERS of Plantacion de Sikwate. Indai was the one who also introduced Don to us when he came across our OFW Repatriate from Kuwait article on May 21, 2018.

Filipino Aromatico SN-00088 & 89

Hidden in Bohol are two of the several Criollo trees we have tagged in our Search for the Criollo cacao variety.

Don was thrilled to the hilt that he took photos as proof that his travel to our country was worth the miles.For lunch, we brought our guest to KEW Hotel. Duke Miñoza, PDS Certified Member and owner of Buenaventurada Farms,  joined us.

I told our guest to try our shrimps, squid, and the famous Kare Kare; that even the late Anthony Bourdain said our food will soon be known all over the world. Don instantly fell in love with the Kare-Kare, bagoong (shrimp paste) and green mangoes.

Second Stop: BACOLOD

The following day we woke up real early to catch the Fast Cat Ferry for Bacolod. During lunch, we took Don to the outskirts for him to taste the local food. Still, his new found affinity for Kare Kare continued together with shrimps and calamari.

The afternoon’s sun was fierce but that did not hamper Don Alec’s purpose — to see if there is indeed an Heirloom Cacao growing in the Philippines.

The Dominican Republic has rainforests so the cacao will thrive there as well. The only advantage we have over other countries is that the Philippines is right smack in center of the equator making it the favorite residence of the Mexican cacao remnants from the Manila Acapulco Galleon Trade.

After the exhausting day, Don said that he wanted a longer stay in the Philippines. A couple of days was not enough to see our country. And as General McArthur once said, I SHALL RETURN.The experience we had with our guest is one for the books indeed. Simple, close to home, yet inclusive. I am happy that Don appreciated the Pinoy Tour and the chance to come close & personal with our Philippine Heirloom Cacaos.


All these happened because we aim TO HELP. TO LISTEN. TO INSPIRE.

From the Queen of the South to the City of Smiles

by Mel Santos

“Back to work!” said millions of workers today; but not for my PDS. We are a private-led cacao association with a Farmer-centric mindset. So a back-to-work day is not slowing us down.

In fact, I woke up Christopher Fadriga (PDS President, right side wearing a purple collared shirt) around 4AM with a plan in mind. “We’re going to Atipuluan with you.” We then agreed to complete the Pinoy Tour with Cacao Authority’s Don Alec.

Our destination: THE CITY OF SMILES.

Nestor Saludo (left side in a white cap), our PDS Cebu Chapter PRO, kept his jolly side up as we boarded the Fast Cat Ferry in Toledo Port, Cebu which is bound to Don Carlos Port in Bacolod. “I need to do a raindance’ he said. The mighty sun was up and with the looks of it, a sweltering day awaits. But as Ms. Cacao (Mia Concepcion, PDS Media Director) mentioned yesterday, “Rain or Shine, our passion moves forward.” (read here)

The last time I visited Chris’ plantation and nursery farm was last year. I took more time in Luzon and Mindanao while Chris took Visayas. When distance is a problem, you make ways to bridge the gap, right?

LDR or Long Distance Relationship (Ms. Cacao is laughing at the other end of the phone line as to why I know this Millennial term) is hard at first but when you keep the faith and have the communication lines always open, Batanes to Jolo is just a stone’s throw away.

Chris’ cacao plantation and nursery left me in awe. It was a humble nursery last time I saw it but now, it looks like every cacao farmer’s paradise. It may have the same amenities of a cacao farm – water, irrigation canals, wind breakers, intercrops, seedlings and trees. But why is Chris’ Farm such an impressive sight? Is there a secret formula (Humic Acid, Foliar, Feng Shui or the NO TRESPASSING sign) that makes his farm well kept, safe, and conducive to house the Heirloom Cacao National Training Camp?

Well, the Chris Fadriga Plantation and Cacao Nursery has Balrly Valenzuela. (left side in blue basketball jersey) Salamat gid, migo. (Thank you, my friend) for your determination, green thumb, and passion to care for the Filipino Aromatico. Keep up the good work and thank you for supporting us and our very busy President.

Team PDS (Chris, Nestor, and I) have finished lunch with our guest from the Carribeans, Don Alec so we are heading out to the field to explore. We have a lot to accomplish but what a difference a day makes?

The difference is that the PDS Team travels near or far TO HELP. TO LISTEN. TO INSPIRE.

Cacao Authority Visits Cacao Icons

A day before our country commemorated the 120th anniversary of our independence, Plantacion de Sikwate had a visitor from the Carribeans. About a month ago, we got an email and a message in our website (plantaciondesikwate.com). He shared his passion to search for the remnants of the finest chocolates in the world — criollo and see if it really does exist in the Philippines.

As the host for our visitor, we met with him and discussed possible collaborations that would bring the Filipino AromaticoTM to the world. Negotiations to be featured in his website (cacaoauthority.com) was also included.

Such meeting is proof that the Heirloom cacao/Criollo, that our association took into our care, is being noticed and respected by people who share the same passion.

It is not through popularity, awards, or countries visited makes one the expert in a field. It is how willing you are to help, listen, and shed sunshine to others that matter.

As you read this post, our #TeamBohol is with Don Alec to different cacao farms affiliated with PDS. Rain or shine, our passion moves forward.

To help. To listen. To inspire.

In the photos are:
Don Alec – cacao authority publisher
Mel Santos – PDS Chief Executive Officer
Nestor Saludo – PDS Cebu Chapter PRO and Recipient of the BrownSeeds Ltd. Singapore Cacao Program
Duke Miñoza – PDS Bohol Chapter Member and Recipient of the BrownSeeds Ltd. Singapore Cacao Program
Cecilia De Leon – PDS Bohol Chapter Vice President and Recipient of the BrownSeeds Ltd. Singapore Cacao Program
Indai Felipa Cortes – PDS Bohol Member and JV partner

The People’s Choice

by Mel Santos

The month of June brings inspiring news for the country and the world at large. According to the newspaper I have read, eight-division world champion Senator Manny Pacquiao is holding his boxing match with Lucas Mathysse or Danny Garcia in Malaysia by the end of this month. Such news have prompted me to post this photo with Pacman. Like any other boxing fan, I wish that the upcoming WBA Welterweight World Title fight brings victory to our country.

And speaking of the land of flowers, chicken satay, and elephants, Malaysia grows a favorite crop that I hold dear to my heart – the Cacao M01 Trinitario variety. Here in the Philippines, this variety is known as the W10. Now, Plantacion de Sikwate Cacao Producers Association, Inc. where I belong to as Chief Executive Officer, plants this cacao variety with the Mexican descendant Heirloom cacao/Criollo.

The boxing world considers Senator Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao as the People’s Choice after winning endless bouts with Mexican contenders such as Juan Manuel Marquez, Erik Morales, and Marco Antonio Barrera to name a few. At the same time, the Chocolate world shares the same win when cacao trees growing in countless backyards and lands came from Mexican cacao seeds that were used as a form of currency during the Manila-Acapulco Galleon Trade in the 17th century.

In the photo I am sharing, you will also see the bananas I had for breakfast. The Latundan (Apple Banana) is another variety from the countless list like cardava banana or “Saba Banana”, Lakatan, Katunggal (Plantain), and Señorita. These bananas, together with coconuts, calamansi, mangoes, and madre de cacao, may grow as an intercrop with cacao which then brings sustainable income to farmers, as well as attract investors, and tourists to our country.

All the best to Pacman and our Cacao — the best choice for the Filipino People!


Recently posted in our FB Official Page (PDSCACAO) is a Crowd Sourcing poll. Help us decide if Cacao farmers, or Cacao aficionados are ready to start planting and will join a Forum and Symposium this month. A lot of questions coming from the FB page include “Are there forums in Luzon, NCR, or Manila?

Vote your choice of Yes or No in the poll we created.