OIC-RD Juliet Lucas shares success story of Dulche Chocolate
DTI-CAR celebrated World Chocolate Day with a tasting of different products from Dulche Chocolate. OIC Regional Director Juliet P. Lucas finds it amusing to share the success story behind the DTI-assisted enterprise. She advised the need to educate palate on real taste of pure chocolates.

Chocolate lovers in the country need not scout for imported products from Brussels, Belgium just to satisfy their sweet tooth cravings as they can actually consider Benguet as a source of the delectable snack. One good reason is that cacao or cocoa grows well in Benguet while Belgium, the “Chocolate Capital of the World” imports its raw products from countries such as Africa.

A recent social media post observing World Chocolate Day went viral showing a chocolate product that boasts itself as the First Chocolate of Benguet made of cacao. Cited as the first bean-to-bar chocolate brand in the Cordillera Administrative Region, and awarded as one of the best dark chocolates in the country during the Kakao Konek’s Chocolate Expo in Davao City—Dulche Chocolates has a bittersweet story to tell.

Dulche Chocolates was founded in 2014 and has promoted itself as the first-ever chocolate brand from Benguet which showcases natural ingredients, with Arabica flavor composed of coffee and cacao, two of the highlands’ best Philippines agri-commodities.

This fast-expanding enterprise stand with its plight to support locally grown products of the highlands making it enticing to the taste buds of gourmets. Working hand in hand with the farmers of the Cordillera to encourage the production of Cacao—introducing the Cacao of Apayao, Natonin of Mt. Province, and the municipalities of Tublay, Kapangan, Sablan, Tuba, and Itogon of Benguet to the Filipino taste bud.

Dulche Chocolates also supports the cacao industry in the Cordilleras by giving free cacao seedlings to different communities and also provide mentoring sessions for aspiring chocolate makers and producers.

Eva Padua, owner of Dulche, is a beneficiary of the “Juana Make a Mark” incentive program which aids micro, small, and medium enterprise (MSME) in registering trademarks at a reduced cost. “Juana Make a Mark” is designed to encourage trademark registration among women-led MSMEs engaged in priority sectors identified by IPOPHIL and the DTI.

Dulche Chocolate Collage

Padua is also a beneficiary of DTI’s Kapatid Mentor ME (KMME) program as well as the product development initiatives under the One Town, One Product: Next Generation (OTOP Next Gen). KMME is a mentorship program where mentees are engaged in a three-month long business course from successful entrepreneurs across the country. Product development trainings and consultations are also provided by DTI through the OTOP program, where rebranded or products improved are housed in various OTOP Hubs serving as pasalubong centers in its locality.

A dream that started from just making chocolates, she believes that she has a bigger purpose. Padua’s small venture has been very helpful to the various endeavors of her community. She is also mentoring students on chocolate making and hopes to have more students under her wing in the near future. ♦

Date of Release: 12 July 2021

DTI Baguio Benguet visits cacao farmers in Kapangan, Benguet.
DTI Baguio Benguet also paid tribute and visited cacao growers and processors in their farms in Kapangan, Benguet. Noting that quality chocolate won’t be as good as it is if without the effort and time given by the cacao farmers and processors.