Tableya maker to revive Argao’s cacao industry
Joefel Ortega Banzon (The Freeman) - July 10, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — After its successful shift to paper packaging last year, Argao’s famous Guilang Tableya is once again on the move and this time to help revive Argao’s cacao industry back to its glory days.

In partnership with The Travel Depot, Argao Guilang Tableya Manufacturing headed by Edgar Lanutan is spearheading a cacao replanting initiative in the barangays surrounding Mt. Lantoy.

Mt. Lantoy is a watershed forest reserve that is said to be the domain of Maria Cacao. Philippine mythology has it that Maria Cacao is a goddess who tends to a cacao plantation along with her husband Mangao.

Stories around town said that every time the river floods, it is because Maria Cacao has traveled down the river on their golden ship to trade her cacao harvest to South America.

With several versions of the myth of Maria Cacao, one is certain for Guilang Tableya and that is that Argao had a very good position in the country’s cacao industry in the earlier years.

Lanutan also shared that in the past, there were more than 50 tableya makers in Argao, five of which were located in Canbanua, which is now the location of Guilang’s manufacturing plant.

He said it is for this reason that Guilang Tableya is initiating a massive cacao replanting activity in the communities around Mt. Lantoy to reclaim Argao’s position in the cacao industry.

Lanutan said they target to plant, care and grow two million cacao trees by 2025. The first replanting activity is set on September 21 and twice a year thereafter.

To date, the initiative is still on its planning stages with The Travel Depot tapping the replanters while Guilang Tableya is in talks with seedling supply partners.

The target partners for cacao seedlings are: Guilang Cacao Nusery, Cebu Provincial Government, Argao LGU, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Agriculture (DA), Philippine Coconut Authority, and the Lamac Cacao Nursery.

Meanwhile, they are planning to tap DENR, CTU Argao Campus, Argao LGU, youth organizations, fraternities and brotherhood organizations, as well as other groups who may be interested to help.

Guilang Tableya

Guilang Tableya is a known tableya maker in Argao since 1948. It was founded by

Miguela “Guilang” Lanutan and husband Pedro Lanutan with the simple aim of making income to be able to send their children to school.

Edgar Lanutan, the youngest son of Guilang, now oversees the company’s operations along with his brother Efren.

Argao’s Guilang Tableya Manufacturing is located in the ancestral home of the Lanutans in Canbanua, Argao Cebu.

Edgar shared that for now most of their cacao are sourced from Mindanao but they are hoping to reduce such dependence by at least 50% in the next five years.

Guilang Tableya is sold in various malls and supermarkets around Cebu as well as in key cities all over the country.

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