From humble beginnings to a chocolate empire

From humble beginnings to a chocolate empire

SME Inspirations

Ina Tuason

Ina Tuason

148 week ago — 4 min read

They say that life is box of chocolates. But for Rex Puentespina, chocolates became their livelihood and reason for pushing forward.


Family owned business

Malagos Agri Ventures Corporation is part of a family-owned group of businesses harnessing nature as an industry resource. It all started when its founders, Rex and Charita Puentespina, leased a farmlot in Malagos, Baguio District, Davao City. They decided to rehabilitate the cacao trees that they found in the farm. Soon enough, they were harvesting cacao pods. From the harvest, Charita would make tablea using the traditional way of open roasting beans in firewood, and then grinding and molding them. 


Multiple Awards

This homegrown home company had humble beginnings, and has since won multiple international awards such as four golds and one bronze in the 2020 World Drinking Chocolate Competition. To add to that, Malagos Chocolate has already earned 10 international and two local awards.  Another prestigious award is for the 2017 Cocoa Excellence Programme in France where the cacao beans from the Puentenspina  farm made it to the list of Best 50 Bean Samples, picked out from 166 submissions received from 40 countries. This is a valuable recognition because the focus of the evaluation is on the quality of the bean, the raw material itself.


Tree-to-bar local chocolate

In 2012, they started started making premium single-origin cocoa liquor, an innovation that would be a welcome addition to its line of food products. Today, Malagos Agri Ventures produces world-class chocolate, bearing the tag “Proudly Philippine-made.” 


We observe fair trade to make sure everyone benefits from what we believe if one of the best chocolates in the world. - Rex Puentespina


Their cacao beans were sourced from only one particular region which provides for their chocolate's distinctive and pronounced taste. It is chocolate harvested from carefully nurtured trees and processed without the stain of illegal labor. 


A Chocolate Museum

To solidify their standing as one of the top chocolatiers in the country, Rex Puentespina and his family opened the Malagos Chocolate Museum, the very first chocolate museum in the Philippines. The museum boasts of interactive cacao and chocolate installations that are divided into four parts: a museum section, interactive zone, chocolate bar, and a chocolate laboratory. One of the highlights of their museum is the Tree-to-Bar experience tour which is a guided tour of their award winning Puentespina Farm and post-harvest activities. This is however temporarily suspended because of Covid-19. 


Who knew something as simple as cacao could end up growing a small family business exponentially? With proper planning, cultivation, and hard work, you too can achieve your dreams, just like Rex Puentespina. 


To explore business opportunities, link with Rex Puentespina by clicking on the 'Connect' button on his profile.


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