In Dasol, villages thrive in salt-making | Inquirer News

In Dasol, villages thrive in salt-making

By: - Correspondent / @yzsoteloINQ
/ 06:00 AM November 19, 2014

THE SALT farms of Dasol town in Pangasinan have spawned an industry that fuels the local economy.  WILLIE LOMIBAO/CONTRIBUTOR

THE SALT farms of Dasol town in Pangasinan have spawned an industry that fuels the local economy. WILLIE LOMIBAO/CONTRIBUTOR

PANGASINAN, Philippines—During Biblical times, salt was considered a symbol of stability and permanence as it prevented decay. Biblical stories refer to people eating salt together when covenants were made, “denoting loyalty and fidelity to one another in the covenant relationship.”

In these modern times, salt production has driven the economy of eight villages of Dasol town in Pangasinan province.


Town officials and residents are so protective of their salt industry in the villages of Bobonot, Hermosa, Amalbalan, Gais-Guipe, Poblacion, Magsaysay, Malacapas and Uli that they oppose the operations of mining companies and aquaculture farmers that they say would pollute the Dasol Bay, the source of seawater for their salt ponds.


Because of its booming commercial salt industry, Dasol has decided to stage its first Asin Festival in February next year, says Mayor Noel Nacar.

The town wants to introduce Dasol-made salt, which, Nacar says, is clean and of high quality.

The festival will feature street dancing and a beauty contest, aptly titled “Mutya ng Asin,” and will show the many uses of salt, especially its industrial applications.

The town produces solar or rock salt, which is unprocessed after being harvested directly from the salt beds, and fine salt, which is cooked over big pots using firewood. Rock salt, locally called barara, is used for industries; fine salt is used for cooking.


Dependent on sea, sun


During the festival, salt farmers will demonstrate how seawater is turned into salt.

Making salt is highly dependent on the sea and the sun. Production starts in December when rains are gone.

From the sea, seawater passes through several interlocking shallow ponds exposed to sunlight and wind, for 15 days, evaporating most of the water and concentrating the salt.

The final stage happens on the clay-tiled harvesting bed which is filled with about two inches of water every morning. There, the salt crystallizes and is harvested every afternoon.

A WOMAN cooks salt harvested in Dasol. WILLIE LOMIBAO/CONTRIBUTOR

A WOMAN cooks salt harvested in Dasol. WILLIE LOMIBAO/CONTRIBUTOR

Salt business is not capital intensive. In fact, after the initial investment for the construction of the ponds, pond owners and workers can only hope for sunny days. Salt production season ends in May as the country approaches the rainy season.

Salt-farm owners need not shell out money for wages as families involved get a percentage of the production as their payment.

A farm owner gets two-thirds of the harvest and the rest goes to the workers. Five families work on a parcel of salt farm, which is comprised of 100 salt beds.

The town’s salt industry was started by the late Jeconias Bunao who, 80 years ago, experimented on making salt on a square meter of clay pond.

He put seawater on the pond and in the afternoon, salt was ready for harvest. The Bunao family, Nacar says, is still engaged in salt-making.

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Nacar says the festival will also showcase the town’s ecotourism sites like the Maasin River, adjudged as Pangasinan’s cleanest river, and its caves. Five of the town’s 300 caves will be opened to outdoor enthusiasts.

TAGS: Amalbalan, Bobonot, Dasol, Hermosa, Magsaysay, Malacapas, Pangasinan, Poblacion, salt, Salt Farms, Salt-Making

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