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Salinas Salt Springs

Main characteristics

Coordinates: 16.3755 N 121.0135 E (possible mistake 2.5 km)
No:166        (list of all attractions)
Category:Springs, Spring tufa, travertine and other formations
Values:Geology, Visual
Address:Asia, Philippines, Luzon, Nueva Vizcaya Province, Bambang municipality, Salinas barangay, some 10 km west from Bambang (15 km by road), Salinas village.
Salinas Salt Spring before the earthquake, Philippines
Salinas Salt Spring before the earthquake / Scanned postcard from the page of , public domain due to the expired copyright length.

Once upon a time there was unique monument of nature near Bambang town - a snow-white mountain of travertine formed by a powerful spring.

The glistening white hill with rimstone pools (just similar to the fantastic rice terraces in nearby Ifugao) attracted attention of people since ancient times. Nearby village - Salinas - got its name from it. This beautiful spring turned into major tourist attraction.

Unfortunately since the earthquake from the 16th July 1990 this spring has changed its course and the white mountain has turned into a dirty grey hill covered with inscriptions and graffiti. Most likely the tectonic forces tightened some fissures and water found other ways.

Happily there have been found two more springs with active travertine formation processes in the nearby Macalong barangay, Bambang.

In 2004 local people found out that water is flowing again from the base of former springs. By this time the rural people in this part of Luzon were overwhelmed with the cultivation of tilapias - small, tasty fish diversifying the daily meals of Filipinos.

In spite of the popular belief that water is too salty for freshwater fish, local enthusiasts tried their luck in artificial fishponds with springwater. This was complete success - fish grew well and were a lot more tasty than elsewhere. In other pools the meat of fish has got soily taste but here the salts are cementing the ground and the water is cleaner.

Currently more than 30 fishponds have been arranged and in this way the people of Salinas got compensation for disruption of former tourist landmark.

Salinas Salt Spring is protected monument of nature since 2000.

Popular myths

Often there are met two faulty myths regarding Salinas Salt Spring:

  • Many believe that Salinas Salt Spring is formed by the salty water of Pacific Ocean which miraculously travels 75 km inland and is rised 400 - 500 m above the sea level. This is wrong. Deep artesian water in most areas of the world is salty, often a lot more salty than the ocean. And it happens that this salty water comes up through fissures, and, as it reaches the surface, it precipitates the salt.
  • Cupola and terraces are formed by clean table salt (sodium chloride). Wrong - if this would be pure table salt, it would dissolve in the wet climate of Luzon very quickly. Salinas cupola and terraces are formed by travertine which for most part consists of limestone. Water in the springs though is slightly salty - thus there might be some rock salt involved as well.


See Salinas Salt Spring on the map of Philippines!


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