My concept of a “refinery” totally changed when I saw this, in Pasuquin, Ilocos Norte. I stopped along the national highway where there are stalls selling salt (iodized), (sugar cane) vinegar and (fresh) fish. I bought vinegar and salt for home on this store (and so I thought it was), until I realized that it was a “refinery” I was buying from. My concept of a refinery being a huge factory with massive machineries discharging smoke where people cannot almost hear each other because of the sound of the machines, totally crushed when I went inside this salt “refinery”.
It consist of two big basins containing salt water (and other ingredients for iodized salt) heated by charcoal, stirred manually by two people (one per basin) until they produce the salt. It’s so hot inside that I have to go out after a couple of minutes. Outside, I saw on the other side of the road, another salt “refinery” with the same name. I told myself, “Manong” (older man) Arnulfo is probably the “salt magnate” of this town! By the way, I came to know that the place produces only “iodized salt” per provincial regulation.