Palaweños use the pandemic slowdown to enhance their tablet-making skills

Photo by Alexandre Brondino on Unsplash.

Puerto Prinsesa City, Palawan–The Provincial Economic Enterprise Development Office (PEEDO) prepares Palaweños in southern Palawan in making Tablea products out of Cacao that are eyed to be sold worldwide and to support the tourism industry.

Bethel Wyeth Cayao-Asag, PEEDO admin assistant VI said in an interview on Wednesday that they have conducted a series of training to the residents of Rizal and Brooke’s Point recently to teach proper tablea making as a value added product.

She said that they have to produce byproducts from cacao as it has been also affected by the pandemic because most of the market such as hotels and resorts were closed.

“Nagconduct tayo ng training sa kanila, actually, dati na silang gumagawa pero may mga procedure tayong itinama. ‘Yong pandemic na ito ay talaga nakaapekto sa cacao kasi sarado sa ngayon ang mga market nila. Habang pandemic ay nag-isip tayo ng mga pwedeng magawa dito maliban sa raw, itong tablea ang isa sa mga produkto,” Asag said.

(“We conducted a training session with them. Actually, they’ve been producing it before but this time, they were taught the correct procedure. This pandemic has affected the cacao industry because their regular markets are closed. While the pandemic is going on, we have to think of what we can do with the crop aside from sell it raw, and tablet is one of the products we can produce.”)

“Kung sakali man na magbukas na talaga lahat ng establishments, na sa ngayon naman ay unti-unti na ring binuksan sa publiko ay mas magkakaroon ng malaking market ang tablia kaysa sa cacao lang mismo,” she added.

(“If all the establishments should open already, as early as now, we’re slowly opening to the public the chance for a market for table, not just raw cacao.”)

Aside from the tourism industry, Asag also said that they are also planning to export cacao in the future.

Currently, raw cacao is sold at P60 per kilo which is a very low price compared to the finished tablea.

“Mura kasi ang cacao lang, ang alam ko ngayon ay P60 per kilo pero umabot rin yata ng P120 per kilo. Ngayon, ang tablia ay mas magkakaroon ng mas malaking market kaysa doon sa raw na cacao. Ang training na ito ay isa lang sa step bilang paghahanda doon sa goal natin na of course papunta doon sa makapagexport tayo,” Asag said.

(“Raw cacao is cheap; it’s currently P60 per kilo but it can go up to P120 per kilo. There’s a chance for tables to gain a bigger market than cacao. This training is one step towards getting ready to reach our goal, which is to export.”)

Under the cacao agribusiness and livelihood program of PEEDO, Palawan has 2,183 hectares (phase 1 and 2) of cacao plantations in southern Palawan.

Asag said the tablea production is also in partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to enhance not only the product itself but also the packaging.

“Partner natin dito ang DTI kasi hindi lang ang product mismo ang naenhance natin. Sa susunod ay aayusin lahat– ang packaging and all. Since marunong na rin sila gumawa dati pa ay in-enhance nalang natin ang kanilang skills kasi mayron tayong tinitingnan [na] export and support sa tourism industry ng Palawan,” she said.

(“We’ve partnered with the DTI because it’s not just the product that is enhanced. We’re going to improve everything, packaging and all. Since they’ve been producing tables before, we just enhance their skills because we’re looking at export, as well as supporting Palawan’s tourism industry.”)

Tablea is a product out of cacao usually heated and combined with water to make traditional chocolate drinks for the Filipinos.

Meanwhile, aside from Cacao, PEEDO also concentrates on seaweed, coffee, coconut and other agricultural products.

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