At the celebration of The National Day of Belgium last July 22, 2015, Wednesday, held at the Marco Polo Plaza Cebu, Cebu Veterans Drive, Nivel Hills, Apas, Cebu City, Belgium ambassador, Roland van Remoortele, could not help saying, “We love your dried mangoes in Belgium. They are delicious!”
He shared that whenever he’s in the country, he buys boxes of his favourite, chocolate-covered dried mangoes, and takes them home to his country. After praising the product, he added some constructive criticism, as he expresses his frustration of not being able to buy these in Manila, “There is something wrong with the distribution, marketing. I don’t know. So there are things to be done to improve the availability of products and produce because you should be proud of what you produced. I love fruits and so every time I come here I have to go back with mangoes and other things produced in the province.”
The foreign ambassador said his trip to Cebu was to discuss what the province and his country could work on together. “This province offers so many possibilities,” stated Remoortele. “Business people have the tendency to stay in Manila. They should come to other places in the Philippines and especially Cebu, which is close to my heart because every time I come to Cebu, I feel very much at home, I feel relaxed. I would even suggest that we move the capital from Manila to Cebu. And I would love to stay here rather than in congested Manila.”
He cited the different developments Belgium and Cebu could do hand-in-hand, such as the possibility of importing the dried mangoes in chocolate. As a part of the European Union (EU), there are no fees and taxes for imported products. Add that to the fact that, as Remoortele explained, Belgians love mangoes and chocolates, the nation would make a great new market for expansion.
The most popular brand of dried mangoes dipped in chocolate is Cebu Best. You can purchase them at their main store, Cebu Best Pasalubong Atbp., located along Salinas Drive, Lahug, Cebu City right across Golden Cowrie. If you want to contact them, send them a private message on Facebook. You can also go to your nearest Kultura store. They’re selling a box of 12 pieces for P419.75. Give them a call via (032) 231-2423 / 231-0058. Their Cebu branch is located in the Northwing, SM City Cebu, North Reclamation Area, Cebu City. Island Souvenirs also sells them at the same price. Other brands also produce their own versions like Philippine Brand, 7D and RM Preserves. You can check your local supermarket to see if they’re available.
Another possible collaboration they were considering would be having Cebu furniture designers adapt their products to preferences of European consumers. “There is room for products in the Philippines to enter the European Union and Belgium, in particular,” he said.