“Mama, asa ko nimo gilihi?” She then told me that she always craved sikwati (hot chocolate) while she was carrying me in her belly. No wonder I was premature in weight as a baby (As a registered nurse, I don’t have time to explain this to you right now hahaha).
I actually did not know that until I was in high school but ever since I can remember, I always loved drinking sikwati as a kid and I have come to love it more as an adult.
So naturally, I am very particular when it comes to the taste of sikwati. There are lots of tableya (cacao beans ground into small tablets) available in our groceries. There are mediocre brands and there are awesome brands as well.
Here in Cebu, there is one brand I personally consider as the best tableya. That’s Argao’s Guilang Tableya of course!
So, what is their secret for having Cebu’s best tableya? I have discovered 3 things!
Secret Number 1: Guilang Tableya is made of 100% cacao.
To get the best out of anything, you need to get the best out of something. In our case, to get the best tableya means getting the best cacao beans available. One hundred percent is the only option, not 80% or 99.9%.
And we all know what happens after we get the best tableya; we get to enjoy the very comforting taste of luscious sikwati (hands down). I used to drink sikwati for breakfast and lunch then eat my very first meal late in the afternoon. I think I have to do that again! Wohooo!
Secret Number 2: Guilang Tableya owner’s blood is made of sikwati!
Just kidding! Personally, I think it’s Lola Guilang’s personality that gives the brand its uniqueness. I met her yesterday and I must say that she is one of the bubbliest people I have ever met. Here’s how one of our conversations went yesterday.
Shanky: Nay, puede taka picturan? (Can I take a picture of you?)
Lola Guilang: Sige, day. (Go ahead.)
After taking her picture.
Lola Guilang: Day, patan-awa ko sa picture. (Let me see the picture.)
Shanky: Okay, Nay. (Okay.)
Lola Guilang: (while looking at her photo) Tiguwang na gyud. Hahaha! (I do look really old. Hahaha!)
Shanky: Pila na diay imong edad, Nay? (How old are you?)
Lola Guilang: Noventa y dos. (Ninety-two years old.)
Then we laughed again together.
Secret Number 3: Guilang Tableya is still made using traditional methods.
The business was first established in 1948 by Miguela Remorosa Lanutan (lovingly called Nang Guilang by the locals) to help support her family. She started out small and had around 2 kilos of cacao beans to begin with. Right now, they are considered one of the country’s biggest tableya supplier with only a workforce of 27. Isn’t that amazing?
How much is Guilang Tableya and is it possible to buy it cheaper?
When I went to Lola Guilang’s house, it is available in a medium size pouch (Php 80), large size pouch (Php 100), and ice plastic wrapper pouches. To answer the second question, yes. It is possible to buy cheaper tableyas by buying in bulk (this is the best way if you’re looking for the cheapest price) and by buying the ones in ice plastic wrapper pouches.
That’s something fantastic I discovered yesterday. While my tricycle driver and another tricycle driver was busy calling Lola Guilang to come out from her house, I had a very short conversation with the second tricycle driver’s companion. She sells tableya in buses that travel to the south and she buys it from Lola Guilang.
She told me that Lola Guilang’s tableya are so good that she nibbles on it when she only has little sleep. According to her, it gives her energy to stay awake. And she even told me to buy the reject tableyas because it is cheaper. This was confirmed when Lola Guilang went out and talked to her. She sold the tableyas to her for Php 2.45 per piece.
To reconfirm what I heard and saw, I asked Lola Guilang if I can buy the tableyas that the lady bought. So she opened her drawer and showed me a white plastic bag with tableyas wrapped in ice plastic wrappers. I picked out one wrapper and asked her what they were.
Lola Guilang told me that those were rejected tableyas (because they didn’t have the preferred size or shape. So they sell it at a cheaper price to anyone who wants to buy it. I asked her how much was all the tableyas in the white plastic bag so she counted all the little pouches. She gave it to me for only Php 100 and she even gave me one small pouch for free! Hooray!
After talking to her and buying her goodies, I thanked her and bid her goodbye. I also went to the store across her house and bought 2 medium size pouches. By the way, the owner of this store is Lola Guilang’s daughter.
The ones sold in the groceries have a different rate. Those wrapped in pouches are Php 94 while those wrapped in a cylindrical plastic container are Php 160.
So you won’t be confused, I’ll show it in bullets.
When you buy it in their home or store in Argao:
- medium size pouch – Php 80
- large size pouch – Php 100
- ice plastic wrapper pouch (with 5 pieces of rejected products) – Php 2 per piece or Php 10 per pouch
When you buy it in groceries or shops in Cebu City:
- medium size pouch – Php 94
- cylindrical plastic container – Php 160
Guilang Tableya was my third stop from my Manic Monday Trip yesterday. You can check out my other stopovers here:
- Molave Milk Station
- Argao Church
Have you tried sikwati made from Guilang Tableya already?