Aside from its natural attractions, Valencia town also offers homegrown cacao products that create an opportunity to produce quality dark chocolates dubbed Mt. Talinis Dark Chocolates.

This local chocolate bar from cacao beans is supported by the Negros Oriental Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NOCCI) and Energy Development Corporation (EDC) not only for the livelihood of the cacao farmers in the area but also to protect Mt. Talinis’ rainforest.

Chocolate processor Juemar Delgado said the dark chocolate is made with 70% cacao beans and 30% sugar, and is being developed for One Town One Product (OTOP).

Considered by many as the country’s last remaining frontier, Mt. Talinis, also known as Cuernos de Negros or Horns of Negros, is home to more than 22,515 cacao trees.

Edward Du, former president of NOCCI and immediate past regional governor of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) Region 7, said that they are taking advantage of this product, a single origin in Bongbong, Valencia, as demo farm for manufacturing chocolates where visitors learn about cacao. 

“A portion of the income of this will be given back to the conservation of Mt. Talinis. There is an environmental objective at the same time sustainable livelihood for the cacao farmers here,” Du said.

With the help of EDC-assisted Puhagan Farmer’s Association (PUFA), the cacao growers produce quality cacao beans and develop their own variant dark chocolate brand and pure cacao tablea.

EDC, through the Vegetative Material Recovery (VMR) facility for its BINHI greening legacy program, is speeding up the research and development for sustainable cacao seedlings production to ensure their propagation.

Noreen Bautista, head of EDC’s Corporate Relations team in Negros Island, said the company’s efforts to protect Mt. Talinis through its BINHI program gives way for this cacao project to boost the local industry.

“We hope with this Mt. Talinis Dark Chocolate will be part of our successes and we can now be proud of this, because this is the first locally made chocolate in Negros Oriental,” said Bautista.