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Argao: Guilang’s Tablea

Every Cebuanos’ signature breakfast meal used to be a delicacy—may it be puto, bingka or budbud paired with the classic sikwate, a dark chocolate drink made out of Cacao beans.

Here’s a humbling tale on the iconic sikwate that has brought happiness and nostalgia to every Cebuano since 1948.

Miguela Lanutan started out by making ordinary tablea (crushed cacao beans and molded into a circular shape) just like anyone else in Argao. However, she refused to be just like everyone and thus, started experimenting on the roasting speed and heat intensity with the help of her husband, Pedro.

Two years later and the iconic flavor that we have loved and will continue to patronize finally came to life. With no brand name, the couple started an initial capital of 1 ganta (a standardized wooden measuring cup) per week that has increased over time along with its growing popularity.

In the late 70s, the product was usually served at Argao Beach Club when a Swiss guest visited their place to observe the creating process. The second time he paid a visit, he suggested a few things to the couple such as manually tempering the table. Little did the couple know that their guest happened to be an executive of a Swiss Chocolate Company.

This stepped up the game that made the product even more special.

It was only in 2008 when their youngest son, Edgar, took over the family business and officially named ‘Guilang’ as ode to his mother’s nickname. Furthermore, he used the term ‘Tableya’ to make their family products distinct from the rest which uses the common ‘Tablea’.

As of now, the brand has again made another iconic move. From banana leaves in its early years to kraft paper bags in the 80s, till plastic packaging in the recent years, they have now transcended from the regular plastic packaging to a more sustainable one.

“It was a hard decision and it may be expensive, but we decided to go on zero plastic manufacturing program which started last September 2017 which we hope can be completed before this year ends,” Edgar says.

The movement is set to increase the price of the product from 5 to 8%. As of now, each bag costs P94 while each tube is priced at P160.

The company also brags of owning a tableya refiner in the country which can hold up to 500 liters in a single use and can hold up to 90 tons per month. It will arrive this July 8 and will be named Engko Pendong, in honor of the first cacao grinder – Pedro Lanutan in Argao.




The author: Eldawn Catalan

Eldawn is an avid fan of both spoken and written poetry. In her spare time, she writes anything that comes to mind and enjoys talking to people from different walks of life. You may follow her on instagram @ eldaaawn.
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