Dalareich Polot, Bohol’s ‘Chocolate Princess,’ wins APEC 2019 BEST award

By: Irene R. Sino Cruz - CDN Digital | October 06,2019 - 08:29 PM

Dalareich Polot (left) wins another award, this time representing the Philippines at the APEC 2019 BEST award held in La Serena, Chile. Photo shows Dala and her parents, Elsa and Ricardo, when their company won the Gold Award at the prestigious London-based Academy of Chocolate Awards . |CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

CEBU CITY, Philippines — Young Boholana entrepreneur Dalareich Polot, who has been given the monicker the “Chocolate Princess of Bohol,”  won the APEC 2019 Business Efficiency and Success Target (BEST) Award under the family business support category, which was held in Chile on October 2, 2019.

Dala, as Polot is more popularly known, was the sole Philippine representative among the 12 finalists under the category after she was nominated by the Philippines, through the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW).

The other finalists include one each from Taipei, Peru, Brunei Darussalam, Russia, Japan, People’s Republic of China, Mexico, Indonesia and Malaysia, and two from Chile.

Dala told CDN Digital in a phone interview that she was unable to go to La Serena, Chile where the final judging took place so she only made her presentation online. The finalists were given seven minutes to make a presentation and five minute for question and answer interaction with the board of judges.

“I was happy to have won the award for the Philippines. In fact, I’m the only one who got an award among the finalists who made their presentation online,” said Dala. 

She recalled she had to wait for her turn at around midnight Philippine time to be able to give her presentation.

Thirty-one-year-old Dala manages the family-owned Dalareich Chocolate House. She explained that she chose to compete under the family business support category, because that was her strength.

She recalled that her mother Elsa went into tablea making in 1994 to help her father Ricardo who was a tricycle driver. Even when her mother worked as a street cleaner, she continued her tablea making venture, distributing her products in the supermarkets.

When she completed engineering course in 2009, Dala decided to help her family’s business and took on a marketing role, going to Cebu to have more supermarkets carry their product with the brand Dalareich Tableya. Her mother’s dream however is to expand their product line to include chocolate.

Dala, who shared her mother’s dream, also wanted to make bean-to-bar chocolate, using their homegrown cacao beans in Bohol. Then, in 2014, she was chosen as a scholar to study bean-to-bar chocolate making at Cacaolab of Ghent University in Belgium where she learned from the top chocolatiers in the world. 

She and her mother finally achieved their dream of making chocolate when she returned from her food engineering study in Belgium. Dala launched Ginto Chocolates, a social enterprise making bean-to-bar chocolates from locally grown cacao planted by small-holder farmers from different small towns of her own province Bohol.

Dalareich Polot shows of cacao beans from Bohol farmers. |CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

The family opened the Dalareich Chocolate House in September 8, 2017 to showcase their production process and allow visitors to buy their chocolate products.

In September 2013, Dala emerged as the grand prize winner in the first Young Women Entrepreneur Bootcamp (YWEB), a business plan competition organized by Samahan ng mga Pilipina para sa Reporma at Kaunlaran (Spark!) and the United States Embassy in Manila.

She also won the 2018 Selection Committee Special Award from the Takeda Foundation, the first Filipina to do so. The awarding ceremony was held in February this year.

Then, Dalareich Food Products’ 100 percent pure unsweetened chocolate won the Gold Award at the prestigious London-based Academy of Chocolate Awards, along with Davao’s Auro Chocolate, in the Drinking Chocolate (plain, for milk-based drinks) category.

Russia initiated the BEST Award in 2016 to promote women’s entrepreneurship and inclusive growth.

Aside from the best family business support category, the BEST Award includes six other categories, including the grand prix, highest growth potential, international attractiveness, best social impact, the 4th industrial revolution project, and the best top manager./elb

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