Beauty se­crets from Cebu’s Choco­late Queen

Cebu Daily News - - LIFE - by Cris Evert Lato-Ruf­folo photos by Murk Bar­illo

CEBU’S Choco­late Queen married as a teenager and now has eight chil­dren be­tween the ages of 25 and 10. When peo­ple see her, it’s not un­usual for them to say: “How does Raquel To­quero Choa main­tain her stat­uesque fig­ure and per­fect bronzed com­plex­ion?”

The wo­man be­hind the cel­e­brated The Choco­late Cham­ber (TCC) and Ralfe Gourmet, whose claim to fame started with weekly choco­late buf­fet nights in 2012, shared with CEBU DAILY NEWS her beauty se­crets last March 30 when we vis­ited her Queen­dom in Casal’s Vil­lage for the exclusive pre­view of her new of­fer­ings in the House of Maria Ca­cao:

A cup of sik­wate in the morn­ing

What’s a choco­late queen with­out her cup of sik­wate (lo­cal choco­late drink) in the morn­ing. Be­fore she starts her day, Raquel never for­gets to fill her sys­tem with sik­wate. “It sets the mood right for the day. After a cup of sik­wate, I am ready to face the day ahead of me,” she said. Early this year, Raquel an­nounced that she is rolling out “Batirol,” a spin-off of TCC that adopts the to-go con­cept. The first Batirol kiosk stands out­side the TCC branch in barangay Kasam­ba­gan near Sar­rosa In­ter­na­tional Ho­tel.

Choco­late wrap with ca­cao lava

The smell of choco­late is Raquel’s refuge from a hec­tic day con­sid­er­ing the myr­iad of busi­ness en­gage­memts she at­tends to on a daily ba­sis. Her se­cret? En­velop­ing her­self with what she calls “ca­cao lava,” a new prod­uct un­der the self-ti­tled skin­care line “Raquel.” The scent of choco­late calms her down, she said. The same ca­cao lava is also used by Raquel as a make-up primer. (See side­bar on “Make-up tips from Jan­ice, the Beauty Fairy”)

Mas­sage with theo­broma oil

Re­mem­ber this name: Mari­cel Mar­quez. No, she’s not a movie star. But she can very well be ev­ery wo­man’s best friend as she is Raquel’s trusted mas­sage ther­a­pist for three years now. Mari­cel uses the theo­broma oil from the Raquel line dur­ing mas­sage ses­sions. The theo­broma oil is ca­cao but­ter in liq­uid form and can be used as a skin mois­tur­izer. It can also be mixed with ca­cao lava when ap­ply­ing it as a make-up primer.

Paint with choco­late

Raquel is an artist and one of her pas­sions is to cre­ate art­works us­ing choco­late as a medium. Some of these pieces can be found at the House of Maria Ca­cao, which she re­cently opened to show­case prod­ucts made and in­spired by choco­lates. Can­dles and soaps made of ca­cao and its by-prod­ucts are dis­played in the “house.” Raquel wel­comes women en­trepreneurs and artists to col­lab­o­rate with her by bring­ing in their prod­ucts and ideas to the House of Maria Ca­cao.

Pray with the heart

Raquel re­mains hum­ble on top of the suc­cesses she has reaped in the last five years. She is con­stantly re­minded of the times she spent as a child in the moun­tains of Balam­ban where she learned how to make the lo­cal choco­late called tablea, the in­spi­ra­tion be­hind her successful busi­ness ven­tures. Raquel starts and ends her day with a grate­ful prayer to the One who made it pos­si­ble for her to thrive in the busi­ness of put­ting the Philip­pines in the world map of choco­late pro­duc­tion.

AP­PLY­ING co­coa lava on the face

CO­COA but­ter soap

CO­COA Can­dles

CO­COA soap ap­pli­ca­tion

CA­CAO Lava and But­ter

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