AGRICULTURE teachers in Speaker Eugenio Perez National Agricultural School (SEPNAS) in San Carlos City did not just get themselves busy preparing students’ modules for their online classes but also devoted their time planting cacao seedlings with the onset of the pandemic.
A novel project called ‘Cacao Now, Chocolate Tomorrow’ was officially launched at the school on Feb. 9 by the regional director of the Department of Education, Dr. Tolentino Aquino.
Schools Division Superintendent Lourdes Servito composed a solidarity song “It’s a wow with cacao”, sung by teachers Elton Martin De Leon and Ericka Sanchez. While MAPEH (Music, Arts, Physical Education and Health) teachers also choreographed dance steps and gaily grooved to the music, during the launching program.
The host school led by Dr. Marites Cabatbat, and Dr. Lyndon Garcia, school principal and assistant principal, respectively, took the lead in preparing for the planting activity.
The land area called “SEPNAS Mini-forest” is filled with cacao seedlings.
Garcia said the concept of planting cacao originated from a former elementary teacher, Aludia Evangelista, now working in London, who was often asked by friends for chocolates as ‘pasalubong’ whenever she returned from a homecoming. Evangelista and Servito are close friends.
Evangelista realized that the cacao used in the chocolates she was buying came from the Philippines and the project officially started in the last quarter of 2020 when she donated 1,000 cacao propagules.
Garcia said about 700 seedlings have already been planted in the sprawling SEPNAS compound. About 1,000 seedlings are set to be planted in the area. Another 500 seedlings will be planted in Abanon Central School, Guelew Integrated School, Calomboyan Elementary School, Talang Central School and Agdao Integrated School.
The 500 seedlings came from the Department of Agriculture.
“Madam Servito wants San Carlos to be known also as center of cacao production,” Garcia said.
Since SEPNAS is an agricultural school, Servito encourages the 6,000 students to plant cacao in their homes.
When the cacao trees start to bear fruits, Servito wants them to be processed into tablea which the students and teachers can consume or sell. (Eva Visperas)
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