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5 Delicious Davao City Chocolate Destinations

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The Davao City chocolate scene is quite developed, with nearly a dozen local chocolate makers using local cacao to make chocolate. More often than not, this cacao is from their own farm. Despite that, most of this chocolate is really hard to find throughout the city.

In part this is due to Philippine cacao culture, and the fact that most people buy and consume cacao in the form of tableya, a traditional type of Philippine hot chocolate. But it also has to do with a distinct lack of capital on the side of cacao farmers and chocolate makers, which makes it difficult to open any chocolate shop in Davao. Rent is high, and local demand is rising rather slowly, so most makers sell online or in fine food shops.

So where the best place to find chocolate in a city known as the cacao capital of the Philippines? Cacao City.

Cacao beans, the seeds from which chocolate is made, drying on a rack on a farm in Davao.

7 Things To Know Before Traveling Davao

  1. Most people will speak English with decent fluency.
  2. The city is HUGE and it can take awhile to get from one side to the other since there’s a very low speed limit.
  3. Public transportation is seriously limited, so if you want to get anywhere fast, I’d recommend hiring a driver for the day.
  4. All of the Mindanao region is under martial law, so expect to be stopped at checkpoints; be sure to keep your ID with you.
  5. Most all tourism to Davao is domestic, so if you don’t look Filipino you’ll definitely stick out.
  6. The city is cash-heavy, so outside of nice hotels and restaurants, you won’t be able to use a credit card.
  7. Davao is also known as the durian capital of the country, so in peak durian season (July to September), expect to encounter the fruit despite a ban in most public places. Be sure to pose for a picture with one of the huge durian statues!
Davao City at night.

Davao Chocolate Shops & Destinations

A mix of dedicated chocolate shops, and spots with a good selection, here are 5 Davao chocolate shops worth checking out on your trip to the cacao capital of the Philippines.

Cacao City

The infamous wall of cacao in the shop.

There are so many chocolate brands in Davao City. Well, mostly tableya brands, but several of them also make chocolate. Davao has made itself into a chocolate destination of sorts, however, with over a dozen cacao-based businesses being operated within the city, and even more withing the whole of Mindanao. So at the end of 2017, nine of these brands got together to start a business cooperative, which then open a store in which to sell their wares.

With brands including Cacao & Beyond, Wit’s Sweets & Savouries, Cacao Culture Farms, and Rosario’s, Cacao City has become the chocolate shop in Davao. There you can buy tableya, chocolate bars, chocolate-covered fruits, and many other cacao-based products. If you’re inclined to sit for awhile, you can also buy a cup of hot chocolate to sip on while you sample all of your many Davao chocolate options.

Address: Jln Palma Gil St, Poblacion District, Davao City, Davao del Sur

Hours: 9am-7pm, daily

Croft Bulk Store

Very representative of the healthy, locavore food movement taking over the world right now, Croft Bulk Foods is an eco-friendly food shop in Davao City. They offer dried fruits, nuts, and cacao products by weight, with customers bringing their own containers in an effort to lessen the impact upon the environment. They currently carry chocolate from Coscao Chocolates, Rosario’s Delicacies, Malagos Chocolate, and more.

Address: Unit 6A, Paseo Uno Bldg., Ruby Street, Marfori Heights, Davao City, 8000

Hours: 8am-9pm, daily

Malagos Chocolate

Malagos Chocolate is certainly the most famous chocolate made in the Philippines, though the young company Auro Chocolate is hot on their heels. The Puentespina family, which founded the brand decades ago, has been running Malagos Garden Resort and the massive farm behind it as a tourist destination within the city. Once you arrive and pay the entrance fee, the entire grounds open up to you, for as much of the day as you choose to spend there.

Near the front is the restaurant, and beyond that are kids’ play areas, a butterfly garden, the chocolate spa, and a sparse grove of cacao trees. To buy Malagos Chocolate bars, simply visit the restaurant or the gift shop in the chocolate museum. which is near the cacao grove. Products include dark chocolate bars, chocolate-covered fruits, and tableya.

Address: Malagos Garden Resort, Malagos, Baguio District, Calinan – Baguio Rd, Dabaw, 8000 Lalawigan ng Davao del Sur

Hours: 8:30am-5:30pm, Mon.-Sat. {museum closes at 5pm}

Gran Verde Family Farm

Like Malagos, Gran Verde Family Farm is a cacao plantation you can visit in Davao City. But unlike Malagos, Gran Verde is a small operation, mostly providing fresh fruits and vegetables to local businesses. Wit Holganza is the sibling tasked with managing the farm, and she takes that job very seriously. On a farm tour (which you can arrange here), Wit will take you across the carefully-planned plantation, where her family grows so much more than cacao.​

​A few years ago the family brought in an environmentalist to help them restructure the farm so that it had the most positive impact upon the land itself. Implementation is underway, but that’s a discussion best left for the tour, where you’ll learn all about local agriculture over a cup of house-made sikwate. To make this Filipino chocolate drink, Wit uses tableya made from her own cacao. That same cacao also features in her many flavors of granola (available at Cacao City, as well).

You can hear more from Wit in my podcast episode on tree to bar chocolate making.

Address: Calinan District, Davao City, Davao del Sur, Philippines (she will send you the exact address after your tour is booked)

Also Read  Interview: Emily Paek, Founder of Public Chocolatory

Hours: by appointment only

Davao International Airport

Same products; different location.

It may come as a surprise, but Davao’s airport actually has a great chocolate & cacao selection. The city’s main departure point works hard to maintain Davao’s reputation as the chocolate and durian capital of the country. It offers numerous forms of durian, as well as locally-made chocolate bars and cacao products (including cacao nibs and tableya).

Address: Daang Maharlika Highway, Buhangin, Davao City, 8000 Davao del Sur


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Gemma | mum off the map

Saturday 8th of June 2019

Wow, sounds like a chocolate lovers paradise! :) I'd love to visit.

Max

Saturday 8th of June 2019

It is indeed, especially if you know the right people! Davao is definitely my favorite place in the Philippines, so far.

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