By Philippine News Agency
For a Davao City-based cheesemaker, the Philippines has the potential to do away with importing dairy products from abroad if both public and private sectors would pay more attention to the local dairy scene.
“I really hope areas in the Philippines who can support dairy can become serious with it,” Olive Puentespina, who has been a cheesemaker since 2005, said.
Puentespina learned cheese making from the Dairy Training and Research Institute in UP Los Banos, and later decided to make a cheese room after being encouraged by her mother-in-law, Charita.
She makes artisanal cheese under the critically-acclaimed Malagos brand in the city known for not just their cheeses but also chocolate, Bignay wine and a 12 hectare garden resort.
Her extended family owns its own dairy farm and does processing themselves. Only lately did they tap progressive local farmers to supply them with extra milk to meet the growing demand for their cheeses.
Citing data from the National Dairy Authority (NDA), Puentespina said that the Philippines remains to be 99 percent import dependent in terms of milk production.
“If we have that much importation, that’s the same amount we can produce on our own as a country. It would be great to know happy Filipino dairy farmers would be if this becomes a reality,” she said.
Puentespina said that the local cheese-making business, for her, was one of the better sides of Davao the world needed to hear more about.
Malagos Garden Resort, according to the Department of Tourism (DOT), has been selected as a potential places to be visited by candidates of the upcoming Miss Universe pageant in January 2017.
“When they (Miss Universe hopefuls) come here it will be the third time we will be serving beauty queens,” Puentespina said. Malagos Garden Resort has previously served its famous wine, cheese and chocolate platter to Miss Earth contestants.
She said that it felt particularly great seeing beauty queens “devour” cheese and chocolate despite usually sticking to a strict diet.
The bestseller among the cheeses has always been its Flavored Chevre, which is a French-style fresh goat cheese, however with a Filipino twist—it has bits of mango or pineapple in it.
Other cheeses available are fresh goat’s cheese, feta tricolor, goat’s milk ricotta, aglio olio, kesong puti, La Maria, blush, Blue Peppato among others.
The Malagos Garden Resort is located in Malagos, Baguio District, Davao City while the Malagos Farmhouse is located in Bolcan Street, Agdao, Davao City.