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Be the Salt of the Earth: Everything Delicious & Flavorful Comes From Bolinao


Rafael Reynante
Rafael Reynante | Feb 24, 2016

Salt is a truly wonderful mineral: it acts as a very rudimentary yet highly-effective food preservative, it makes ice colder, and even makes the most mediocre cooks feel as if they’re widely-celebrated chefs, all with a quick sprinkle of these magical crystals. It’s a commodity that’s widely available, with variants coming all over the world, farmed from the ocean or harvested from mines deep underground. However, for the Philippines, with its many coastlines and beaches, it’s only natural for our local salt to originate from the sea.

Pacific Farms, Inc., owned and operated by the Salinas company, specializes in salt production and its many uses in technology, from its more commercial use in food and refrigeration, to its more industrial use in chemicals, medicine, and water sanitation. It also allows the public to visit and tour its vast facilities, as part of its thrust to encourage more visitors to go to Pangasinan, to see and experience all it has to offer, and of course, to show the visitors exactly how the rest of the Philippines get its massive salt supply. 

The tour started with our group seeing the whole of the farm via the viewing deck, located near the farm. The deck allows a bird’s eye view of the entire farm, as well as the sea connected to it. It was a great opportunity to ponder and see how much space is required in order to provide for an entire nation’s need for salt.

Upon going down to the farm, we were led to the area where commercial salt is dried and harvested on a daily basis. Right beside the ocean, the area had several canals that forced seawater into shallow pools where it would be allowed to dry under the sun, and harvested and cleaned once completely dried. Afterwards, it would then be refined and packaged, ready to be delivered to customers.

Some of the more creative employees often create salt sculptures

The next part of our meta-tour around the farm involved us riding their transport tram, to see how the industrial side of salt-making operated. Many people have never seen salt used in chemical and refining industries, and it was a great opportunity for the group to know our favorite mineral more intimately. Part of the collected seawater is harvested daily to create the salt used for food, while the other part is kept over a period of 90 days to be used for metallurgy and water sanitation. While the seawater is being stored, it continues to crystallize and harden, eventually creating sheets of salt that are thick and dense enough to walked on. Once the salt sheets are ready for harvesting, they are broken into pieces, cleaned, and shipped to the manufacturing companies that will be using them.

Massive salt sheets. Photo by Martin San Diego

Of course, the entire tour was rounded out with a hearty lunch sponsored by the proud CEO of the farm, Johnny Khonghun. Here we were able to sample freshly-harvested sea salt, as well as the company’s lineup of other salt products, alongside our delicious Pangasinense lunch. So if you’re just itching to know more about this highly versatile mineral, as well as experience the fun and beauty of the North, come and visit Bolinao, Pangasinan!

Photo by Martin San Diego

How to get there:

Pacific Farms is located in Brgy. Zaragosa, Bolinao, Pangasinan. There are many buses that travel to the North daily, so simply ride one bound for La Union or Pangasinan and ask to be dropped off at Bolinao.

Photo by Martin San Diego

Last January, Choose Philippines was invited by NLEX and the North Philippines Visitor's Bureau to travel to Northern Luzon and see what it had to offer travelers like us. The trip was sponsored by Victory Liner Inc, Petron, DOT Region 1, La Union CVB, Pangasinan CVB & Provincial Tourism Office of Pangasinan. Stay tuned for more articles about our recent trip to the North, only here at Choose Philippines! 

Explore More of North Luzon: 

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Through the Travel Insider's Lens: The Quiet and Unassuming Beauty of North Luzon

Rope of the North: Saving the Philippine Sea One Tali at a Time

Choosy Ka Ba: 10 Reasons to Choose Pangasinan (Grandest Basilica + Bangus + Hundred Islands)

10 Things You Must Experience This Summer in Luzon


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