The local drink made from native cacao has many names. I often use sikwate, but you will hear it called native chocolate, tsokolate, tskolate, tabelya, etc. Tableya is really the tablets before the drink is made, but some still refer to the drink in that manner. Regardless of the name used, it’s a treat.

When I first moved here I was making sikwate every morning. I found that to be a little too much, and have since resisted making it at home. I reserve my consumption for when I’m out and about, for the most part. Thankfully I’ve found a few places that make it.

My favorite spot is still Del Mar at Bankerohan. I can’t even attempt to describe how to find the place. I’ve been there a handful of times, but still find myself getting lost on occasion. It’s inside where most of the permanent cafeteria stalls are located. Since the cafeterias are just one after another, and all look similar, it’s a bit of an adventure to find. They specialize in sikwate and puto maya (made from glutinous violet rice (called tapol) soaked in water, drained and then placed into a steamer for 30 minutes. This rice mixture is then combined with coconut milk, salt, sugar and ginger juice and returned to the steamer for another 25 to 30 minutes – wikipedia).

Another business I’ve found that makes “native chocolate” is Chicco di Caffe. They are a local coffee shop company with branches at most the malls and at least one free-standing location. Unfortunately they are “wala stock” about as often as they have it. Especially at the GMall location, for some reason. Anyway, they make a good rendition, but I need to remind them, “wala gatas (no milk)” each time.

There is a small painitan in the palengke of town near our subdivision that serves tsokolate, too. They are the cheapest of all, and the nearest to me. That’s fine by me. I don’t go there often, but it’s a nice break if I’m getting bored around the house. They don’t get many foreigners there, so I’ve got to put up to the stares and questions if I do visit.

Del Mar TableyaDel Mar also sells the pure cacao if you are interested in making your own at home. It’s not really what I consider tableya, as it’s poured into small containers not tablets, but they call it tabliya. It’s really fresh and works well for my Tableya Granola.

Of course tableya is also readily available at all the supermarkets and many of the open markets around town. You might need to search a little, but it’s not hard to find.

If you are a fan of hot chocolate and haven’t tried sikwate, you really should. Sweeten it with sugar or honey, add milk if you like. The benefits of pure cacao are being promoted these days. Considering how delicious it is, how can you go wrong?

Anki Bisaya Phrasebook Flashcards