BOHOL'S CHOCOLATE PRINCESS REVIVES HEIRLOOM CACAO PLANTED IN BACKYARDS
Agriculture|September - October 2020
THE PROVINCE OF BOHOL, located in the Central Visayas Region, is known for its natural wonder, which is also a favorite tourist destination: the Chocolate Hills. It got its name from the color of the hills during the summer, when the lush, green grass on them turns brown.
PATRICIA BIANCA S. TACULAO

Those who are unaware of this circumstance often ask “where is the chocolate?” not knowing that the answer can be found in the backyards of the locals.

According to Dalareich Polot, a chocolate maker based in the region, cacao is part of the culture of Bohol.

“With so much Spanish influence spread across Bohol, it has become the norm for Boholanos to have one to three cacao trees either in the back or front of their houses,” Polot said.

She believes that there are more than 10,000 historical cacao trees located in each town across Bohol. Most of these trees are of a variety called “criollo,” which means “native” in Spanish, an heirloom variety considered one of the best varieties of cacao.

Many of these trees, the chocolate maker added, have been planted by grandparents. Unfortunately, they’ve been ignored in recent years and have not been given the attention they so richly deserve.

In response to this, Polot launched a project during the last quarter of 2018 called “Adopt a Cacao Tree and Preserve Bohol’s Cacao Heritage.”

Dalareich Chocolate House and the Bohol Cacao Council created the campaign to rehabilitate trees, raise funds to bring the trees back to harvesting conditions, and provide additional income to the cacao farmers as well as their families.

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