I remember asking my lola the name of the ugly fruit she was holding at the kitchen almost a decade ago. She said it was kakao, which is what chocolates are made of. I found it extremely hard to believe at that age, but I watched her cut the fruit open, wash the seeds and dry them in the terrible heat of the sun. After which she brought it to the local market to have it ground. She came back with oily black round tablets she called tableas.
At that point, she never convinced me that it was chocolate. My mom used to buy me tons of imported chocolate and it looks nothing like them at all. But she made champorado (chocolate rice porridge) with the tableas, and it was really delicious.
In a recent trip to Binondo, I dragged Alex around the street of Ongpin in hopes of finding the stairs stall which sells La Resurrecion tableas, which were the ones mom used to buy for us. I didn't find the stall on the stairs, but I did find the famous tableas in Eng Bee Tin's grocery in the same street. It was just as good as these tableas from Zamboanga, but La Resurrecion tableas melt more easily than the ones from Zamboanga. They say it has something to do with the quality and pureness of the tableas, but I really don't have any idea about that.