This young brand has mined, cultivated and championed a gem in Philippine chocolates.

From Chicago to Davao, then Laguna, and then the international arena. This journey has led good friends Kelly Go and Mark Mendoza Ocampo to the discovery of an incredible treasure and allowed them to showcase a product Filipinos can be proud of: local chocolates.

Things could not have taken a more different route six years ago. Mark was pursuing a career in multimedia, and Kelly was in culinary school when they discovered that an imported chocolate uses cacao beans from the Philippines. Sharing a love for food and their Filipino heritage, they both decided to return to the Philippines in 2015 to build their own brand. Young as they may be, Mark and Kelly knew there was no cutting corners to reach their goals.

“We’re involved in every single step of the process. All our farm process happens in Davao. Once we get the beans, we roast, shell, grind, combine them with other ingredients and package them in our facility in Laguna,” says Kelly, who serves as the brand’s managing director.

In 2017, they finally launched Auro Chocolate. “We named our company Auro because we believe there’s gold in the Philippines. We just need to work together to find it, mold it, so that people can recognize its value,” Kelly shares. Later that year, they entered into a partnership with Kultura as one of their first retailers.

“Kultura is always on the lookout for new products, even if the brands are just in their infancy. In terms of accessibility of the product, it expanded our reach,” Kelly says.

It did not take long before people started taking notice of Auro’s products. In just a little over three years, it has collaborated with different brands, has become available internationally, and has won more than 25 accolades from different organizations.

“We are learning how to make the best out of this opportunity. We must find optimism, courage and resilience despite all the challenges that come our way,” Kelly shares.

Auro chocolates are available in Kultura stores located inside the SM Malls. You may also order Auro chocolates and other uniquely Filipino products online at launching soon.

Kultura is a specialty store of SM Retail that offers all things uniquely Filipino- from food, beauty and wellness products to fashion, home decor and souvenirs. Behind every product is a story of community, support and identity.

[Additional photos from Auro Chocolate]