Harvesting Salt in Leganes is Backbreaking Work

By xtian lozañes

Salt is still a prime commodity in Iloilo; the production of salt is as important to the local industry as sugar or produce. While salt is certainly used for more than just adding taste to your food, its importance was such that it was even being used as currency at one point in history.

Iloilo itself was known for its indulgence in the production of salt. However, the rapid urbanization of most parts of the city has led to the destruction of lands dedicated to salt production.

One of the areas affected by this “development” is the coastal area of Leganes. Many areas in the town once dedicated to producing salt are now converted to gated residences and buildings that host more profitable ventures. Add to that the rapid changes in today’s climate, and the decline of the salt industry might as well be complete.

Salt production relies heavily at the hottest weather of the year, which is why workers often rush out to make salt during the summer season. The process involves curing salt water under the sun, and then transferring the liquid into different tanks which increases their salinity until the final thinned layers are poured through a brick drying pens or plastic films. Left to dry, the formed salt crystals are then scraped to be stored in their proper forms.

There’s no doubt about how time-consuming the process is. It surely requires a lot of dedication from the people who have to endure the extreme heat of the sun to perform their work. Below are some of the scenes Project Iloilo took when we went to Leganes to document the whole process:

Leganes Salt Harvest - Project Iloilo
The salt crystals are being formed from the red brick drying pens.


Leganes Salt Harvest - Project Iloilo
These plastic drying pens are supposed to offer an alternative way for making salt. While it may be quicker, it has been found to have a lesser yield than the traditional red bricks pens.


Leganes Salt Harvest - Project Iloilo
The salt crystals are being scraped under the midday sun.


Leganes Salt Harvest - Project Iloilo
A salt worker scraping the drying pens clean.


Leganes Salt Harvest - Project Iloilo
Workers toil under the midday sun to gather as much salt as they can.


Leganes Salt Harvest - Project Iloilo
A freshly gathered basket of salt.


Leganes Salt Harvest - Project Iloilo
Mothers are carrying salt from the brick pens.


Leganes Salt Harvest - Project Iloilo
The day’s harvest is being unloaded.


Leganes Salt Harvest - Project Iloilo
The drying pens are refilled with salt water.



Xtian Lozañes is a multimedia artist and a photographer. His photos can be viewed on his Instagram page.


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