A tour of Davao's sweetness

WHEN we hear Davao City as a destination for food, we usually equate it to either durian or pomelo or bananas. However, in recent years, Davao City has slowly become known as the Chocolate Capital of the Philippines.

Banking on this new recognition, the Department of Tourism (DOT), through its Farm Tourism program, recently launched the Davao Chocolate Overload Tour.

DOT said the Davao Chocolate Overload Tour aims to promote farm tourism in Mindanao through cacao as a high value crop; to encourage inbound tourism in the regions where cacao farms are situated; to brand Davao tourism through the Davao chocolates; to develop the cacao farms as accredited farm tourism sites and create another income stream for the farmers and farm owners; to organize chocolate tours for the local tour operators to offer as a new product; and enable stakeholders in the cacao industry to expand their operations with tourism as an added revenue source.

In DOT's briefer, the tour is being done in coordination with the Cacao Industry Development Association of Mindanao, Inc. (Cidami). Under the tour, DOT will position the city for farm tourism highlighting the various cacao farms in the city.

"This is being done in partnership with the private sector, we have the Visit Davao Consortium and all the accredited tour operators. This is for everyone (partner tour operators) to sell this (Davao Chocolate Tour Overload), the role of the Department of Tourism (DOT) is to brand Davao. For destination marketing, we would want people to have that recollection that once we talk about chocolate, we think of Davao," said Eden Josephine L. David, DOT assistant secretary, in an interview at the sidelines of the Kakao Konek 2017 on December 6, 2017 at the SMX Convention Center, SM Lanang Premier.

The educational tour will provide tourists an overview of how chocolate is made from bean to bar.

"The tour also touches on the social and environmental issues related to cocoa and cocoa farmers," DOT said.

David said the tour will allow the participants to also experience certain farm activities.

"We are not only talking about the chocolate itself but also the farm activities," David said.

Interested groups can book the tour to any DOT accredited tour operators and Visit Davao Tours Consortium. Promo rates are pegged at P3,594 for two persons; P2,344 for three; P1,927 for six; and P1,719 for eight.

DOT said that the first half of the tour will provide tourists insights on the various stages of the cacao plant's growth.

Meanwhile, the second half of the tour is a guided walking tour through a chocolate processor's facilities where one will see how the cacao bean is made into a chocolate bar.

Group tours and the drop off point after the tour is the Cacao City at the Pasalubong Center, where tourists can buy locally made chocolate products. (RJL)


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