"Asin" and "Bagoong"
PangASINan was one of the early provinces into which the island of Luzon was divided after the arrival of the Spaniards. Pangasinan was then formally created as a province by Governor-General Ronquillo de Penalosa in 1850.
Etymologically, the term Pangasinan means the "place where salt is made", owing to the rich and fine salt beds which were the prime source of livelihood for the province's coastal towns.
Another name for the region, but not as widely known is Caboloan. The word Bolo in the native language refers to a species of bamboo that was abundant in the interior areas, and favored in the practice of weaving light baskets and winnowing plates called bilao. Historians believe that both names may have been used at the same time. Today, salt is still being produced in abundance, creating not a few fortunes for some enterprising families although much of its use is for industry.
A local product that has become synonymous with Pangasinan is bagoong, or fermented fish sauce. Salt of course, is the prime ingredient. Mud-colored with a strong smell, bagoong has captured the national palate. Native cuisine, mostly Ilocano in origin, owes its authenticity to the lowly bagoong. Taking from the spare and starkly humble lifestyle of the Pangasinense with his dependence on the sea and rivers and the land, bagoong lends itself well to the local diet. Mixed with plain fresh vegetables like okra, squash and eggplant in an invigorating broth or as a dip for grilled catfish or Bonuan bangus, bagoong brings out the true flavor of the land's origins.
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