Filipino Inspired Artisan Chocolates by Theo and Philo

9:08:00 AM
I was buying my favorite cup of hot artisan chocolate at Bo's Coffee when I came across their chocolate display on the counter and as a chocolate lover my initial reaction was to check the latter. To my surprise those were the chocolates that I have been looking for years- chocolates mixed with Filipino favorites and crafted by Theo and Philo. 

I checked their website as soon as I got home so that I could know more about Theo and Philo chocolates. While holding their chocolates, I read on their page that their chocolates uses cacaos from Davao and sugar from Bacolod and their chocolate factory is located in Manila. They produce small quantities of chocolate for each batch and they make sure that their people will give their best when they produce each chocolates.

Theo and Philo Chocolate

Theo and Philo chocolates undergo six process to make sure that they will provide quality Filipino made chocolates. The six process are:

1. Find the right cacao beans.
2. Roast the cacao to release the chocolate flavor of the beans.
3. Crack the cacao beans and remove the skin to get the cacao nibs.
4. Cacao nibs are grounded to become cacao mass.
5. Cocoa mass will be placed in wet mill to be refined and develop it's flavor. Other ingredients will be mixed to the cacao during this stage.
6. Temper the chocolate to get a shiny finish and place it in the mould.


After learning what Theo and Philo is and how they process their chocolates, I got more curios about how each of their chocolates taste because they are not the typical milk and dark chocolates available in the market that has nutty and fruity add-on, Theo and Philo infused Filipino favorites on their chocolates. Theo and Philo have 12 types of Philippine inspired chocolates but Bo's Coffee has only five and I purchase one of each -Dark Chocolate with Calamansi, Milk Chocolate Adobo, Dark Chocolate Siling Labuyo, Milk Chocolate with Barako Coffee and Dark Chocolate with Green Mango and Sea Salt. Their names sounds exciting right?

Theo and Philo packaging



I find Theo and Philo's packaging cute. They use paper as their wrapper  with  different patterns in blue, white, gold and red colors. The wrapper are like envelopes and  inside it are chocolate bars sealed with a silver foil that has Theo and Philo name and pattern.




Chocolate packaging



Now for the verdict, Dark Chocolate with Calamansi has 65% dark chocolate and upon opening the seal, the strong aroma of dark chocolate touched my nose. It tastes like dark chocolate on my first few bites but when  I tasted the candied calamansi  mixed on the chocolate it gave an after taste of sour and citrus flavor.  I never imagined that dark chocolate and calamansi would taste that good.




I love adobo that's why Milk Chocolate Adobo  excites me more than any other chocolates that Theo and Philo has. Imagine chocolate with soy sauce toffee and black pepper, what would that taste like. As I expected, this one tastes weird. It has that milky chocolate flavor, saltiness from the soy sauce and after tastes of pepper which is spicy .




Same with Dark Chocolate with Calamansi, Dark Chocolate Siling Labuyo has  65% dark chocolate as well. This one starts with the strong taste of dark chocolate then spiciness of siling labuyo and it will go back to the taste of dark chocolate. 





Upon cutting Dark Chocolate with Barako Coffee in half it released a  strong scent of barako coffee. This one is not your average chocolate sold in the market. Dark Chocolate with Barako Coffee has a lot of texture coming from the coffee beans and tastes a bit sweet but the bitterness of coffee sometimes overpower the sweetness. If you are a coffee lover, you would definitely like this.




Lastly, Dark Chocolate with Green Mango like the others, this one start with the strong taste of dark chocolate then sour taste of mango and saltiness of sea salt and back to dark chocolate taste again.



All of the five chocolates have unique tastes but my favorite is the Calamansi followed by the Barako Coffee. Theo and Philo chocolates are great alternative for the usual chocolates manufactured by foreign companies because first, they gave the usual chocolate we know a twist and second this is crafted to satisfy the taste buds of Filipinos.

To know more about Theo and Philo you can visit the following website and social media accounts:

WEBSITE

FACEBOOK PAGE

TWITTER

INSTAGRAM







Sagada: Sumaging Cave, Banaue Rice Terraces

4:37:00 AM

It's our second day in Sagada. Day one (which I wrote on SAGADA: HANGING COFFIN, UNDERGROUND RIVER, BOMOD OK FALLS ) was a bit tiring because of trekking. That was almost four hours of walking, battling muddy trails, rocky river (the rocks are so slippery) and cliffs. So, now you might be wondering on what happen to me and friends on day two.... Well our day two started like this....

We woke up around three in the morning to take a bath and get ready for our next adventure in Sagada. Our guide told us that we should leave Mayor's Guesthouse before dawn so that we can enjoy our next activity because if we go there around five in the morning or so we will experience heavy traffic and oh I was so shock, imagine even in Sagada there's a traffic. We left around four in the morning. I was so sleepy but the freezing cold breeze of Sagada woke me and I find myself chilling, oh  hates cold weather. After about ten minutes drive we finally arrive on our destination - Sumaging Cave.


This standee will welcome you as you start your journey to Sumaging Cave

Our  guide told us that our  adventure on this Cave has three parts- easy, intermediate and hard.For the easy part, our spelunking started  as we march on a well-constructed stairs that lead us to the mouth of the cave. 




Stairs that will lead you to the mouth of the cave ( we are having so much fun during this time)
We thought that the trip would be that simple until we reach the cliff full of bat excrement, yes you read it right, the cliff  is full of slimy bat excrement that you need to touch to get to the next level. It wasn't that bad though. Believe it or not the latter doesn't have a mushy smell and hey! it's part of the adventure. 

The guide then told us to leave our footwear because we have to walk barefoot from then on. From the cliff you can see the gems of this cave- rock formations. The intermediate part is already hard for me. Imagine, the trail going down is dark, cold and you have to pass through a cliff (full of bat poop) by sliding or holding the rocks on it. This is the first time that I have done this and all throughout that stage all I am thinking is "I have to surpass this so that I can go back to the cave's mouth alive and in one piece." 


After the cliff we have to climb down one of the rock formation by holding  a rope and sliding before you reach the bottom.  Pools with clear and cold water welcomed us after this. For some odd reasons the cold water in Sagada always relaxes my  tired feet. Unfortunately, you cannot swim on this pools because they have holes that are large enough that a person can fit on it. The guide told us as well that they don't have any idea unto where will you be flushed out if you fall on one of the holes.



Aside from this pools we were also amazed with the different rock formations inside this cave.





We thought that our spelunking was done upon seeing the jacuzzi like dripping pool  and rock formations in the cave but we are wrong. We descent down the cave further by sliding on a smooth rock that lead us to another pool and the King and Queen's Curtain.

Me and my friends resting on one of the pools in the cave

                                                                        With the king and queen's curtain

After resting and taking some memories the guide told us that we have go back to the cave's mouth since a lot of tourist are going inside the cave. Going back is a bit tricky. We went back to the pools by rappelling on a smooth rock. We then  go back to the cliff by climbing a human ladder. It was a bit frustrating to see and climb on your guides just to ascend to the cliff. Then we slide and hold the rocks on the cliff covered poop and back to the concrete stairs. Upon seeing the light peeking in the cave, I rejoiced and thank God that I conquered the cave and went back in one piece. It took us about three to four hours to finish the whole Sumaguing Cave.

After three hours rest in Mayor's Guesthouse we then went to our next destination for the day, the Eight Wonder of the World, Banaue Rice Terraces. 




It took us about an hour and half to reach the Rice Terraces. It was raining when we went there and we got scared along the way because of possible landslides. Upon alighting the van we saw the majestic Rice Terraces. It is so beautiful and who would have thought that this rice terraces is 2,000 years old and were carved in the mountain by our Ifugao folks. They used minimal equipment and most of the work is with their hands.


Before going back to Sagada we drop by Mount Polis to visit the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary.



After praying and taking more memories we went back to our  lodge. We were so tired that we went to sleep early with big smiles on our faces.


Places to Visit in Dumaguete City, Philippines

3:07:00 AM
The word "Dumaguete" is after the Visayan word "Daggit" or to swoop or snatch. They name the city after that because during medieval times, their coast is always attacked by Muslim pirates.

Dumaguete  is the capital of Negros Oriental province. The later is the most populous area of the former and it is the location of  the primary seaport in the province. Even though  Dumaguete  is  a populated area in Negros Oriental, I find tranquil and simplicity in that city. I can walk there just wearing my comfy short,shirt and slippers. You do not need to worry about fashion or "pumorma"when strolling. People are nice and accommodating. This is the reason, I guess, why Dumaguete  is dubbed as "The City of Gentle People."

I stayed in Dumaguete for two days and I listed some of the places that you can visit while staying in the city.

1. Stroll around Jose Rizal Boulevard

The historic boulevard was named after the Philippine National Hero, Jose Rizal, because it is believe that the hero strolled around this place before going to Dapitan, Dipolog City where he was exiled for four years.

Luscious trees and bench where you can relax, feel and hear the sea breeze and watch the sunset and sunrise.
Sunset view in Jose Rizal Boulevard

The boulevard is a long path with white streetlamps,luscious trees and bench that you can sit in and watch the sunset and sunrise.


Jose Rizal Boulevard at night

As you go through the path you will come across the Saint Paul of Chartres Sisters Monument. The latter is the actual landing place of  seven pioneer sisters of Saint Paul. They went to Dumaguete  to start a mission through the invitation of Bishop Frederick Z. Rooker. They receive a warm welcome and easily built good relationship with the Dumaguetenos. As they began their mission they form Saint Paul Academy. Today, the academy is  known as St. Paul College of Dumaguete.

Saint Paul of Chartres Sisters Monument


On the other side of the boulevard you can take a glimpse of the  famous Siliman Hall of Siliman University.



Jose Rizal Boulevard is dynamic during the night because a lot of commercial establishment are lined up along the boulevard. To top up the boulevard stroll you should not miss to eat "balot" (a developing bird embryo that is boiled and eaten)  and other street foods along the boulevard.

2. Visit the Siliman University Beach

Dumaguete is known as "University Town" because a lot of Universities are situated in the city. Among this is the famous Siliman University. Like the University of the Philippines, Siliman has a wide land area. You need to ride a tricycle (fare costs PHP 8.00 or USD .17) if you want to go to one place to another.

I went first to Siliman Beach. The latter is the home of Institute of Environmental and Marine Science where in you can find the Marine Mammal Life Museum. The museum composes of skeletons, bones and parts of 15 species of  whale and dolphins. It also houses the 2nd biggest collection of Bryde's whale bones in the world.


Institute of Environmental and Marine Science and Mammal Bone Museum



Whale and dolphins bone collection 



Whale bones 

You can also take a glimpse of artificial reefs which composed of used tires and take a tour on giant clams, grouper and crocodile breeding area.


Artificial Reef


Giant Clam Tank

Grouper and crocodile breeding area

3. Visit Siliman University West Gate

Another tourist attraction in this University is the latter's west gate or  the "Gate of Knowledge" which was built during 1950s and serve as the University's main entrance.


Gateway of Knowledge

There are three attractions near the West Gate- Anthropology Museum, Claire Isabel McGuill Luce Auditorium and the Siliman University Church. The nearest to the gate is the Anthropology Museum, unfortunately I wasn't able get inside the Museum because it was closed.

Anthropology Museum

Across the museum is the statue of Dr. David Sutherland Hibbard, who is the founder of the University.

Dr. David Sutherland Hibbard statue

The largest functioning theater outside Metro Manila is in Siliman University. The theater is  known as  Claire Isabel McGuill Luce Auditorium. It was built during 1973 and was completed in 1975 through the funding of  New York's Henry Luce Foundation Inc. and the University's alumni, student, staff and business community.

Claire Isabel McGuill Luce Auditorium


Before I leave the University, I drop by the Siliman University Church. The church was built during 1899 when  American Presbyterian missionaries came in the Philippines.

Siliman University Church

4.  Light a candle at Belfry Tower

Belfry is the oldest tower in the Visayan Region. Dumaguetenos built the tower in 1811 to warn the people of Muslim pirates that raid the province to get slaves. 

Today, you can go to the tower to light a candle and say a little prayer on Mother Mary's statue located on foot of the tower .

Belfry Tower


5. Pray on St. Catherine of Alexandria Catherdral

Known as Dumaguete Cathedral Church, St. Catherine Cathedral is the Oldest Stone Church in Negros. It was built during 1754 to 1776. The Cathedral was reconstructed and extended overtime.


St. Catherine of Alexandria Catherdral

Before you enter the Cathedral statues of Saints Mathew, Mark, Luke and John in pillars will welcome you and on the church itself are statues of  Saints Paul and Peter. Dumaguetenos visit the Cathedral to ask forgiveness, praise and thank God for the blessings bestowed upon them.


St. Catherine of Alexandria Catherdral

6. Walk along Quezon Park

If you want to relax and have some quiet time you should go to Quezon Park. The park is surrounded with luscious trees and bushes. It  is in the heart of the City and in front of  Dumaguete Cathedral. The park is 1.5 hectares and well maintained. You can also check the statue of Jose Rizal, Maria Clara, old fire truck and stay on the gazebo in the park.


Quezon Park

Maria Clara Statue

Now you might wonder how to go to Dumaguete, here's how:
From Manila you can ride a plane in Ninoy Aquino International Airport ( you can book your plane ticket in Philippine Airlines or Cebu Pacific Air). A one way ticket would range from PHP 2,000- 3,000 or USD 42.83-107.08 (depending on the season that you will visit)

From Cebu take a bus in Southbound Terminal going to Lilo-an. From the latter you can ride a ferry going to Sibulan Terminal. Upon reaching Sibulan you can ride either a jeepney or tricycle to stroll around Dumaguete City.

I enjoyed my leisure walk in Dumaguete and would definitely go back to explore more places in the City.


Powered by Blogger.