“The reason I feel the importance of using Asin Tibuok is the connection to the history of my Philippine roots,” says chef Lordfer Lalicon of Kaya in Orlando, Florida. The Filipino concept of Kapwa, which loosely translates as solidarity, compassion for others, and taking care of the community, often extends to sharing and food rituals.
“The traditional artisan technique to make this beautiful almost floral salt is a story that takes something we see as a commodity and puts it in a place in time,” he adds. “This is a story of our people, and Asin Tibuok displays our craftsmanship, connection to the earth and our belief in Kapwa.”
Back in Bohol, before one clutch of eggs has finished, Manongas and his team have already restarted the cycle. Earth, fire, water and air are all molded again and again. It feels like the inferno is never really out in their workshop. Although ‘dinosaur’ has stuck, when I watch the cooking, a dragon egg or phoenix—in Filipino mythology, the Bakunawa and Minokawa—emerges as a more apt description. Like the Asin Tibuok’s future, those creatures require belief in the old ways to survive but if given the chance, can hatch into something magical.