Your Next Chocolate Bar Could Be From Bicolano Cacao Beans
When super typhoon Nina hit Bicol in 2016—worsening on Christmas day itself—almost everything was wiped out. In fact, it “destroyed 80% of all agricultural land,” in Chef Louise Mabulo’s town alone. It displaced thousands of families. Desperate and hungry farmers wound up selling their land for a quick buck, or worse, cutting down trees. All in all, it claimed 13 lives and caused P6.2 billion in damages. “It felt really hopeless looking at it, but it was also an opportunity to start fresh,” the twenty-year-old shares.
Tall, proud coconut trees—the pillar of Bicolano cuisine—were all bent down and ruined. There, amid the ruins, though, stood a humble beacon of hope as cacao trees were the only ones that weren’t tumbled over.