If you would have to bring home a product from your travel the least thing I would think of is salt, however, in Pasuquin Ilocos, it is but normal that people who visited this place, drop by to buy salt. Passers-by and even passengers of private and public vehicles stop at roadside stalls selling bags of salt to buy some and take it home. After learning that salt-making is a cottage industry in the town and has been known to produce the finest salt in the country I have started wondering about how it is being made.
Salt and Shovel
Normally, the cottages where the salt is being cooked are found behind the stalls, and so when I had a chance to visit two cottages that produce the salt, I was really curious. However when we got there it is unmanned, so we just explored around by ourselves with our driver being our tour guide. Inside we found large vats where the salt is being cooked, and use sawdust to keep the fire during the cooking process. Our guide has told us, it would take 16 hours to cook the salt and even though it is unmanned, the artisans know what time they have to check it.
Salt being Cooked
Sacks piled up near the vats
We were not able to see the entire process of saltmaking because it is time-consuming and tedious yet a glimpse of a part of how it is being made has somehow enabled me to appreciate the patience and dedication rendered by the artisans of this cottage industry. Seeing how traditional they make it enabled me to appreciate how families stick to the process of how their ancestors originally made it and somehow just tweaked something to improve their product hence made it become the finest salt in the country. Above all, I appreciated the willingness of the Pasuquiños to keep their heritage and carried on the traditional livelihood of the previous generation which in return provides them a steady source of livelihood.