The Sweet Legacy of Masbate’s Carmelado

Aurora Santiago Cortez, an 82-year-old mother of seven from Milagros, Masbate, is known for her exquisite delicacy in Masbate, known as Carmelado. 

For the past 70 years, she has been honing her craft in creating this sweet treat, starting at the tender age of 12, making her one of the pioneers in Masbate.

Carmelado is a confection made from a blend of carabao and cow’s milk, sugar, and a meticulous mixing process to achieve the perfect consistency before cooling and solidifying. Aurora consumes approximately 25 bottles of milk (from cows and carabaos) in the making of her Carmelado.

Starting her venture in 1954, Aurora has dedicated 70 years to her business. She was in Grade 6 when she started learning the ropes from her mother and continues the family business to this day. 

Taking a loan of 10,000 pesos from CARD Bank, she invested in her business, which not only helped put her children through school but also expanded her income streams. 

Despite facing challenges like the recent pandemic, where transportation disruptions led to a slump in sales, Aurora remains resilient with her youngest daughter now assisting in the business. 

Her dedication has not only helped put her children through school but has also made her a proud stockholder in CARD Bank, with her current loan standing at 100,000 pesos and a weekly repayment of 3,000 pesos. 

Aside from being popular in Masbate, their product is now being exported to the National Capital Region (NCR), Cebu, and even to other countries.

Aurora’s commitment to Carmelado not only sustains her financially but also ensures the legacy of her quality product endures. | Jeric Lopez

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