Jan 27, 2018
Cacao Drum Roasting
Location: Loboc (municipality), Bohol (province), Philippines
Meeting Mr. Raymond Cal
It was a non-chalant conversation I was having with Mr. Raymond Cal, the owner of Sapa Foods in Loboc proper, that drifted leisurely into his life and times. Mr. Raymond hails from Loboc and held many positions in his long career - PNP police officer, Barangay Kagawad for several terms, inventor of the river boat that's now the default design for the river cruise, tinkerer and largely curious about things can still accomplish. His stroke that left half his body semi-paralyzed didn't dampen that passion. He is still unstoppable in his pursuit and vision.
When our talk shifted into sikwate (hot dark chocolate drink), I learned that he was a cacao grower who was to try out his innovative drum cacao roaster for the first time. As good fortune would have it, he invited me to come along. Whoa!
The following day, we went up to his upland orchard near Cruz Daku where he has 500 cacao trees. He also had 33 kilos of dry cacao seeds ready to be roasted in 3 batches. The drum was new with its blue paint job - later to be covered in soot.
It was a virgin drum roaster - never been used for its intended purpose. Mr. Raymond already devoted a lot of thinking into its design. It's a hand-rolled drum turned at all times to prevent burning - very much like roasting lechon on a spit. The inside has blades to evenly spread the cacao seeds with every turn.
The obvious issues were already anticipated, but nonetheless, there will always be problems that will only come up during the actual roasting. Two such issues were pegging the support structure firmly on the ground and keeping the rotating tube on rail - but we're only on version 1. For version 2, bearings will be added (instead of just grease) for easier turning, concrete foundation instead of the ground and a roof in case it rains. Optimum load has been determined to be 15 kilos for ease of turning.
The fact that the first batch came out perfect is testament to the drum roaster's success despite a few trouble-shooting tweaks on the fly. Version 2 is bound to be perfect, addressing all known issues plus a few enhancements. But because heat distribution along the drum and heat consistency is always a variable, there will always be that human factor to determine when the roasting is done.
Congrats to Mr. Raymond for creativity, innovation and forward-thinking!
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Next stop: Farm Tour with Mr. Raymond Cal
Related Bohol Coffee/Cacao Links:
- Cacao Drum Roasting Jan 27, 2018
- Making Sikwate: from cacao fruit to a hot dark chocolate drink Jan 25, 2018
- Exploring the Cafe Scene of Tagbilaran Oct 7, 2017
- Chocolate Overload at Dalareich Chocolate House Oct 2, 2017
Loboc, Bohol, Philippines
Bohol FYI / Tips
- the tourist area where most of the hotels, restaurants, ticket offices, tour operators are, is located within the Alona Beach area
- the tourist attractions in Bohol are far apart and spread-out. It would be difficult to visit them all using public mass transit. Better hire a van (P3500/day) if in a big group, or rent a motorcycle (P400/day + gas)
- Bohol relies on its tourism for revenue. As expected, everything they can capitalize on from tourism is extensively used and developed
Tagbilaran Port to PanglaoYou can charter any tricycle from the port all the way to Panglao (~P300), but if you want to do it on the cheap,
- don't take the tricycles lined-up inside the port. Walk past the port gate and immediately outside, you'll see many tricycles. Take one to the bus terminal in Dao (~P15)
- in Dao, take the jeep that plies the Panglao route (~P20)
Tagbilaran (Bohol) to Cebu City by boat** schedules and rates keep changing, call for latest schedule
- Weesam Express - departs 6:15 AM, 11:30 AM, 4:00 PM
one way: Economy (aircon) P500.00, Economy (non-aircon) P400.00, First Class P600.00
round trip promo (at least 2 days advance booking): Economy (aircon) P600, Economy(non-aircon) P500, First Class P1200
round trip promo (1 day or on the day booking): Economy (aircon) P800, Economy (non-aircon) P700, First Class P1200
- Ocean Jet - departs 6-7:05-8:20-9:20-11:40AM, 1-2-3:30-4:20-5:30-6:30PM, 2 hours, arrives Pier 1 in Cebu
Open Air / Tourist Class P800, Business Class P1000
+63(32)255 7560 / +63 (32) 255 0115 / 0917 638 0000
- SuperCat (2GO) - departs 5:50-11AM, 3:45-5:25-8:15PM, arrives Pier 1 in Cebu
+63 32 233 7000
Things to do, Places to go in Bohol
- Chocolate Hills - this is a clustering of more than 1200 hills within a 50km2 area. They range in height from 30-50 meters. What's unusual is their near-perfect conical shape resembling an individual chocolate chip. No one knows how they were formed. Entrance is P50/pax.
- Tarsier Conservation Area - located Upper Bonbon, Loboc. The tarsiers are no longer being played at by tourists as circus props, but instead, visitors now view them in cordoned-off areas in their natural 6ha habitat. As they are territorial and nocturnal, they are predictable on where they can be viewed. P50/pax.
- Alona Beach (Panglao) - Alona Beach is the tourist hub of Bohol. It has 1.5 kms of white sand beach lined-up by bars, hotels and restos. Alona is also the jump-off point for Balicasag Island, a world class dive destination.
- Danao Adventure Park - located in Barangay Magtangtang, 72 kms (2 hours ride) from Tagbilaran. Adventure activities include river trekking, tyrolean traverse, rappelling, bouldering, rock climbing and ziplining.
Carlos P. Garcia Island
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