For our IPs in the Philippines

A month ago, the Zambales Governor opened his doors to PDS to save the idle lands and bring prosperity to its townsfolk.

Here is Sec. Piñol and his thoughts on how to uplift the lives of our tribal families.


‘Millionaires in 5 years’


By Manny Piñol

President Rody Duterte approved during the Cabinet Meeting on Monday a livelihood program designed by the Department of Agriculture (DA) which is aimed at turning 20,000 IP families in Ancestral Lands into “millionaires” in five years.

The program, Kabuhayan At Kaunlaran ng Kababayang Katutubo or 4Ks, is mainly an agriculture program focused on the development of Ancestral Lands into Tree Farms with other profitable crops such as Cacao, Coffee, Abaca and Black Pepper as secondary products.

The 4Ks is culture-sensitive program which will only be introduced to the IP Communities after exhaustive consultations.

For people to fully appreciate the context of the 4Ks, I am sharing here the text of my presentation of the program to the President and the other members of the Cabinet last Monday.


A Livelihood and Agrkcultural Productivity Program
In the Ancestral Domains of the Indigenous People

Presented by Manny Piñol
Secretary of Agriculture

The Kabuhayan at Kaunlaran ng Kababayang Katutubo or 4Ks is a program inspired by the vision of President Rody Duterte to finally lift the Indigenous People of the country from poverty by developing their Ancestral Domain Claims through productive endeavours.

The 4Ks will be a collaborative effort of the following agencies:
1. Office of the President – to provide direction and guidance
2. Department of Agriculture – to design and fund agricultural and livelihood programs
3. National Commission on the Indigenous People – to link agencies with the IP groups
4. Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources – to assist in tree farming program
5. Department of Agrarian Reform – to thresh out tenurial issues
6. Dept. of Social Welfare and Development – to ensure membership in 4Ps of all 4K participants
7. Dept. of Trade and Industry – to link 4K beneficiaries to the market.

The 4Ks will be a culture-sensitive program which will introduce projects to which the IPs could easily adapt to.

These would include:
1. Tree Farming
2. Coconut Farming
3. Planting of Cacao, Coffee, Abaca or Black Pepper as intercrops in the Tree Farms
4. Raising of native pigs and free ranged chicken
5. Dairy Farming using Dairy Goats where the milk produced will be used in a feeding program for IP children.


– NCIP to identify CADT holders
– OP/DAR to assist in resolving tenurial issues of CADT holders
– DA to gather CADT holders in workshop to identify activities ideal for their areas
– DENR to provide Falcata or Gemelina seedlings
– DSWD to ensure that the families are supported by 4Ps
– DTI to arrange marketing agreement with pulp and paper or lumber firms for the marketing of the timber produced in the 4K areas.


With the Dept. of Agriculture as the lead agency, each family in the Ancestral Domain will be asked to identify a 5-hectare area for his Tree Farm.

Through the Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC), the DA, will implement a No-Interest, No-Collateral, Pay-Upon-Harvest loan program amounting to P300,000 for 5 hectares of Tree Farm with a 500-tree population per hectare.

The loan will be released on a monthly basis at P5,000 per month based on the assumption that the 4K Family will ensure that all 500 trees are growing and they will be given a monthly “maintenance” incentive of P2/tree. (Computation: 500 trees per hectare X P2 X 5 hectares)

In five years, the trees, when harvested are estimated to fetch a minimum of P2,000 each or an estimated gross income of P1-M per hectare or P5-M for the five hectares. Less his advanced “maintenance incentive loan” totalling P300,000, the 4K Program Participating Family is expected to earn at least P4-M.

Since Falcata and Gemelina are self-regenerating trees which grow saplings when harvested, the Tree Farm will be a sustainable and stable source of income for the Tribal People.

Additional Income Opportunities

Planting Cacao, Coffee, Black Pepper or Abaca under the Trees will be additional income sources for the 4K Families.

To sustain the families, the families could also be taught to raise native pigs and free range chicken while the women in the community to be established in the Ancestral Domain settlement could be taught to raise dairy goats whose production could be used in a milk-feeding program for the children in the communities.

Funding for these projects could initially come from the Dept. of Agriculture’s 2018 Budget for High Value Crops and Livestock. Additional funding could be included in the 2019 and succeeding budgets.

Initial Target Area: 100,000 hectares

Initial Target Participating 4K Families: 20,000

Initial Required Financing: P1.2-B for 2018 and P1.2-B every year thereafter until harvest on the 5th year.

Initial Target Date of Implementation: 2nd Quarter 2018

Expected Benefits:

– 4K Program is expected to turn 20,000 IP families into “millionaires” in five years;
– The program will result in the planting of 50-M trees in unproductive agricultural areas;
– The Program will dramatically increase the production of Coffee, Cacao, Abaca and Black Pepper;
– The Program will bring prosperity and peace in the tribal lands.

“Kung Gusto, Maraming Paraan’
Kung Ayaw, Maraming Dahilan!”

Peace, Progress and Prosperity in the Tribal Lands!”

With the approval by President Duterte of the 4Ks Program, the consultations with the IP communities will start in two weeks.

Four communities in four regions of Mindanao will serve as the pilot areas while other teams will be dispatched to other parts of the country to reach out to other IP groups like the Aetas of Zambales, the Dumagats of Sierra Madre, the Mangyans of Mindoro, the Ati of Panay and the tribal groups in the Cordillera, Cagayan Valley and Palawan.

Grafted Vs. Ungrafted Cacao Seedlings

Hello PDS! It’s been a while since I posted here. I have been so busy with inquiries, sale of grafted seedlings and possible partnerships here and abroad.

As the Chief Executive Officer of PDS, allow me to remind and share with you the ADVANTAGES of grafted seedlings over ungrafted ones.

You see, the grafted seedlings are the ones we promote and sell.

They are coming from PDS NURSERIES all over the country such as CEBU, BOHOL, CAMARINES SUR, BICOL, NEGROS OCCIDENTAL, BATANGAS and other PDS Regional Affiliated Farms.

Going back to my topic, why GRAFTED SEEDLINGS?

* 2-3 years field planting to harvest (ungrafted takes 7-10 years)
* Cacao variety is initially known and documented (ungrafted seedlings, after 10 years, the “promised” variety may not be the one you paid for)
* Starting a nursery is easier with grafted seedlings since the prices are at par with the variety you are selling
* Buyers of your cacao pods and dried and fermented beans are tagged as FILIPINO AROMATICO™ with farmer-friendly rates.

With the Filipino Aromatico™ we preserve the origins from our Manila-Acapulco Galleon Trade and we uplift the lives of our Filipino Cacao Farmers.

Just remember that if you have an hectare of land, intercrop them with bananas or coconuts for shading at 3meters x 3meters then you are good.

Before field planting the grafted seedlings, you need to let us know if your soil is ready, void of weeds or other unpruned crops. Call me at (0916) 717 0207/(0920) 544 2039 or leave a message at so we can talk and prepare your land for cacao.

Thank you!
Mel Santos


We pay attention to the importance of each of the processes that cocoa must pass to become the best chocolate, one of those processes, is the drying of the seed.

After a certain period of fermentation, the cocoa is ready to sunbathe. We look for the protagonists of this work to outline the details of drying: the producers.

For the connoisseurs of the subject, this is the last stage of the process of profit, where it proceeds to remove the excess moisture that the grain brings with it after the fermentation.

The grain must decrease its humidity to 7 or 8% because if it falls from this percentage the almond becomes susceptible to diseases, it acquires an unpleasant smell and of course loses its value of commercialization.

According to Reyes and Capriles (2000) in his book The Cacao in Venezuela.

During drying, the enzymatic biochemical processes necessary for the appearance of precursor substances of desirable taste and aroma in good quality cocoa are continued, the process must be carried out slowly, as poor drying deteriorates the resulting quality.

This explains the importance of this step for obtaining a good cocoa. It is important to remember that this process requires time, since the drying is progressive, if the almond dries very fast the interior will be moist and with a higher acidity than normal.

According to some connoisseurs of the matter, the best way to dry the almonds is in the sun and progressively, as this attributes a fruity taste and moisture necessary to allow a safe storage and transfer of the product.


Health Benefits of Cacao and Bananas



* Cacaos have powerful antioxidants that can reduce the incidence of several serious illnesses, such as heart disease and cancer?
* They also have protective effect on the cardiovascular system and reduce blood pressure?
* Their flavonoids can improve insulin sensitivity, so may help prevent type-2 diabetes?
* Cocoa beans also contain high levels of neurotransmitters that cause us to feel good, such as serotonin and dopamine?
* They are also seem to increase verbal and visual memory, and also act as a mild stimulant?
* Bananas are fairly rich in fiber and resistant starch, which may feed the friendly gut bacteria and help protect against colon cancer?
* Bananas contain nutrients that can help moderate blood sugar levels after meals. They may also reduce appetite by slowing stomach emptying?
* Bananas are rich in fiber, antioxidants and several nutrients. A medium-sized banana contains about 105 calories?

Go ahead and make a Choco-Banana smoothie today.


Small Farmers: We Need YOU!


imageThey are the little guys that spend minimal, but with the RIGHT and CORRECT Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) will be the sustainable force to uplift and improve the production of good-quality cacao products equal to other cacao-producing countries (African, South American and neighboring Indonesia, Papua New Guinea & Vietnam.)

The countries happen to be the new-players with big accreditation due to its consistent cacao beans quality implementing strict GAP!

Locally, family-based cacao farming, low-cost yet sustainable in clusters and organized collection of post-harvest processing centers to produce good quality dry beans / FDCBs for both local and export market is the challenge to all of us.

Think about it.

To read the entire 2011 article in Mindanews click HERE.

BPI-NSIC Cacao Scion Trees Tagging of Peregreen Cacao Nursery



image image  image image image image image imageBPI-NSIC Cacao Scion Trees Tagging of PEREGREEN Cacao Nursery, a PDS Affiliated Farm in Mintal, Davao City.

Mr. Mel G. Santos (MGS), PDS BOD Mario Peregrino, PDS Strategic Adviser for Mindanao Mr. Etol Laurente and BPI-NSIC Team Leader Julia J. Cariño gathered for the Cacao Scion tree tagging ceremony.

Courtesy call to the Governor of Negros Occidental, June 21, 2016

The members of Plantacion de Sikwate (Cacao Producers Association, Inc.) led by its national president, Christopher Fadriga (3rd from left), paid a courtesy visit to Gov. Alfredo Marañon, Jr. (center) at the Capitol, last June 21, 2016. In photo are Antonio Grafilo, Kenny Ang, Nelia Grafilo, and Cyrus Obsuna. Also in photo are PEMO Head, Atty. Wilmon Peñalosa, Boyet Uychiat, and Merceditas Montilla./Capitol photo by Richard MalihanThe members of Plantacion de Sikwate Cacao Producers Association, Inc. led by its Chairmain of the Board Cyrus Obsuna (3rd from right), national president, and Christopher Fadriga (3rd from left), paid a courtesy visit to Gov. Alfredo Marañon, Jr. (center) at the Capitol. In photo are Antonio Grafilo, Kenny Ang, Nelia Grafilo, PEMO Head, Atty. Wilmon Peñalosa, Boyet Uychiat, and Merceditas Montilla. /Capitol photo by Richard Malihan

PDS paid a courtesy call to the Governor of Negros Occidental last June 21, 2016. They were invited to give a seminar regarding growing cacao using PDS protocols. The said cacao techno forum was intended for 81 Integrated Social Forestry (ISF) Communities in the Provincial Capitol of Negros Occidental. /PDS report by Mia Concepcion

Benefits of Going Dark

Not only is cacao a tasty indulgence, its health benefits are also impressive.  It has the ability to lower blood pressure, helps weight loss, prevents cavities, regulates blood sugar which lowers the risk for diabetes and lowers bad cholesterol to name a few.

The excellent levels of antioxidants in this flavonoid rich cocoa has been clinically proven to dissolve plague built up in the arteries, which helps in reversing heart disease and benefits the entire cardiovascular system. Cacao is one of the highest whole food source of magnesium, which also happens to be one of the most deficient mineral in the diet of modern cultures. The higher the cacao content, the healthier the chocolate will be for us.



1. The antioxidant concentration in hot cocoa is almost twice as strong as red wine and about 2 to 3 times more than in green tea, and 4 to 5 times greater than the number for black tea. (Cornell University)

2. The “hot” in “hot chocolate” is important as well. More antioxidants are released when it’s heated up. ( Professor Chang Yong Lee, the leader of the Cornell study, added)

3. A cup of hot cocoa contains antioxidant gallic acid used to treat internal hemorrhages, albuminuria (the presence of albumin in the urine, which can indicate kidney disease) and diabetes.

4. Although a regular bar of chocolate has strong antioxidant activity, the health benefits may be outweighed because of the saturated fats present; cocoa generally has much less fat per serving compared to a standard chocolate bar.

5. The flavonoids help your body process nitric oxide, which is why hot cocoa can improve blood flow, help lower your blood pressure and improve heart health.

6. The flavonoids in hot chocolate also help prevent platelets in your blood from mingling together and forming clots.

7. Drinking hot chocolate can help you think better too. The flavonoids increase the blood flow and oxygen to the brain. Since dementia is caused by a reduced flow of blood to the brain, researchers think it could be treated with cocoa. (American Association for the Advancement of Science).

Sikwate by: Balay Tablea