The Dying Tradition of Budbud Making

Budbud is a “first class” salt produced in towns like Miag-ao, San Joaquin, Guimbal, Igbaras, Tubungan and even Tigbauan and Oton – these salts were pain-stakingly made from bamboo nodes and sells for about P1,500.00 to P2,000.00 per sack. In the book of Failagao entitled “History of Miagao” (read blog post of iloveiloilo) the author mentioned that the salt-making industry in Miagao, Iloilo, originated in Barangay Guibongan in the year 1823. 8) Now, that’s history!

Budbud – traditional Miag-ao Salt

I have this theory that the salt-producing towns mentioned above are undoubtedly towns that are “geographically” close to shore. This spiked an inference that if towns near the shore are capable of producing budbud, then other towns would have tried “budbud making” as well – not just in Panay but probably in all parts of the Philippines. Maybe Miag-ao was just well-known for the unique and traditional art of making this type of salt.

In my recent trip to the South of Negros Occidental, I had a talk with my uncle (my dad’s older brother) who ideally knows a thing or two about salt making. I asked him if he was able to produce salt using the “bamboo” method. Surprisingly, he said “Yes!” and to my luck, he showed me how! 😀


#1 Split bamboo nodes in half, lengthwise, and make horizontal posts that are a meter above the ground.


These are just bamboos lying on the beach side of Linaon, Cauayan.

#2 Prepare some sand from the coast and place these on the halves. Add sea water and let it stay in direct sunlight (preferably during noon)

my uncle louie

My uncle showing me how to make salt using bamboo, sand, sea water, and sunlight! Yeah!

#3 Get a basin with an improvised strainer using a coconut guinit.


#4 Using the dried sand, place it on the basin and pour sea water. Strain it until the water becomes clear.

coconut guinit

This is the coconut guinit – the one being pulled.

#5 The following day, place the strained water onto the bamboo nodes – it should be half an inch filled.


#6 Let it dry in direct sunlight and harvest it using shells you would normally find in the beach.


Using this shell as a tool for harvesting the salt – just like using a spoon to scoop an ice cream.

#7 Repeat the whole process

Now I know why some people would opt to do a more commercialized way of producing salts. The process takes a lot of time and probably mass production of salts the “traditional” way will be a hindrance to the sellers and the consumers as well. But then again, it is nice to know that the concept is still there – only improved. I wish to visit Miag-ao soon and see for myself if there are still Budbud makers that are alive to tell me their tale. As of now, I am contented of knowing the process of making Budbud. 😆


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  1. wow! i love this post, so unique and my hunch is true din. i wish to see this drying tradition too, puntahan natin pagbalik ko ng iloilo ha

  2. yes. we will visit the towns and i am quite sure there are still professional budbud makers there. 🙂 this was actually mentioned by jey when we had our coffee at zatazza. 🙂 i dug a little deeper, though 😀

  3. there was a time, when i was around 6 or 7, that we lived in a cottage inside a beach resort in bgy. guibongan. i practically grew up witnessing this tradition but i didnt have the slightest idea that my place has its own unique practice of salt-making or that its miagaowanon industry at least, well because yeah exactly like ur theory, i thought its something many filipinos know how to do . cant believe i missed this anthropological wonder on my own backyard lol 😀

  4. That’s amazing, Carm! 🙂 Simply put, we don’t really know “everything” about anything. Everyday the world is becoming that interesting. 🙂 Hope to meet you! 🙂

  5. I wonder if you had luck in looking for Budbud makers? Is this salt still being sold in Iloilo? Thanks 🙂

  6. Hi Alisa. I haven’t, actually. 🙁 Regarding budbud salts sold in the city, I don’t think there are. Thanks for dropping by. Soon, I will provide some updated insights regarding this tradition. 🙂

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