Mother-daughter pair Wit and Bianca Holganza are the duo behind the production of WIT’S Sweets & Savouries, a local granola brand whose mixtures all contain cacao nibs from the Holganza’s family farm in Davao. Wit, who lives on and manages the cacao production on the farm, studied cacao farming techniques in Indonesia to and the cacao from their farm are properly fermented and prepared before sending them fresh to Bianca in Manila. Bianca mixes and prepares the products in Manila, with recipes that she developed herself, and distributes the products together with her partner Jean Clutario.
Though the three women are the main proponents of Wit’s Sweets & Savouries, Bianca tells us that her family played a big role in the brand’s inception and continue to contribute to its development.”I would say I’m lucky that, my family, we complement each other well in different aspects of creative thinking,” says Bianca. The visually striking logo, for example, was a collaboration between her and her cousins. As the brand is named after Bianca’s mother, so too is the logo an emblem of Wit and the womanly strength that she has exemplified for Bianca in her life.
Simplistically, the logo appears to be a stylized W, but there is so much more meaning to it beyond the swirls and dots. “This is actually a woman with her hands raised up in gratitude for all of nature’s blessings,” Bianca tells us, as her mother’s farm is close to her heart, with the enjoyment of cultivation being passed down from her grandfather to her mother. “The drops here are flavor drops, and and the spirals at the ends of the W are actually my mom’s tattoo on her arm. So [the logo] is really [Wit as a] sort of earth mother figure; very nurturing.”
The family farm grows a number of fruit trees since cacao is ideally grown when intercropped, Bianca tells us. “So we have durian, mangosteen, pomelo, rambutan, lanzones, coconut, mango, but those are really for family consumption.” the star of the farm is really the cacao, which Bianca says has been an important aspect of her childhood spending her summers in the farm with her grandfather, both through harvesting together as a fun family activity and enjoying the fruits of their harvest in the form of hot chocolate.
While the farm originally sold the cacao to consolidators who would ship the beans out of the country to convert them into affordable supermarket chocolate, it disappointed Bianca to see their beans’ flavors mixed with others and their nuances lost. So the family jointly decided that they ought to do something more worthwhile with the crop. “Cacao’s a [quickly] growing industry here in the Philippines and rather than supplying [it to foreign companies] and for it to travel across the world and make its way back here in a different form, our family wanted something for consumption by our countrymen and the people who visit our islands.”
The flavors used in the granola are all sourced locally, with mango coming from Cebu (they offer ideal varieties for drying), and the siling labuyo, ginger, and durian coming from neighboring farms in Davao. The products contain no artificial preservatives, only preserved by the sugar used to sweeten the mixture. Recently, WIT’S developed a line of the same flavors sweetened with coconut sugar, inspired by Bianca’s father who is diabetic but simply addicted to eating their granola products but can never have too much.
True to the brand name, the products fall in a comfortable middle between sweet and savory flavors that make for a pleasant snack to suit any craving. While they expect to stick to their current 5 flavors of products, Bianca enjoys creating fun and crazy flavors, telling us “The kitchen is the most fun studio because you get something delicious out of it,” and intends to create a subscription platform to share her WIT’S experiments with those with a taste for the unusual just like her.
WIT’S SweetS & Savouries
WIT’S Sweets & Savouries offers Filipino flavors of granola including zesty (ginger), tasty (sweet mango), tangy (green mango), spiced (siling labuyo) and durian.