Maria Cacao  

Posted by Stella Clark

Maria Cacao Cover
Maria Cacao is the diwata or mountain goddess associated with Mount Lantoy in Argao, Cebu, Philippines, similar to Maria Makiling of Los Ba~nos and Maria Sinukuan of Mount Arayat. The basic form of the legend is that whenever rains flood the river that comes from Mount Lantoy, or a bridge is broken, this is a sign that Maria Cacao and her husband Mangao have either traveled down the river in their golden ship so that they can export their crops, or traveled up the river on their way back. She is supposed to live inside a cave in the mountain and the Cacao plants outside it are supposed to be her plantation. While the story is obviously mythical in nature, it is cited as evidence of how long the production of tableya, has been going on in the area. Tableya is Cebuano for round, unsweetened chocolate cakes made from cacao beans. It is a crucial ingredient in the Filipino delicacies sikwate (chocolate) and champorado.

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