|Boiling rock salt and water in a vat|
From Pasuquin Bakery, we next proceeded to a crude salt processing area near the National Highway to observe the long-time tradition of making of rock salt, said to be one of the finest in the country. Salt, besides being a seasoning, is used as a food preservative for meat and fish and, here in the country, in the making of the local bagoong (fish sauce). It is so important, even in the olden times, that the early Roman soldier’s pay was in salt and that the word “salary” was derived from it. The taste of salt (saltiness) is also one of the basic human tastes.
|The finished product|
Clean sea water is first pumped into salt beds along the seashore, sun dried there for several hours and, when the various sediments and impurities have settled, the dried salt is transferred to vats in makeshift huts. Water is poured into the vats and then heated overnight (around 12 hours) by ovens directly underneath the pans, fueled by rice by-products such as dried husks, leaves and stalks.The coarseness diminishes during boiling, leaving pure white salt. The salt is then sprayed with iodine, packed in 10-kg. sacks and sold at around PhP60 per sack. On average, 5 sacks of salt are produced in a day.