Where To Go In Vigan: Pagburnayan

Published on September 09, 2012

The Pagburnayan is where the old and authentic methods of pottery are still being applied. Called "Burnay" or terracota by the natives, these factories are clustered in the southwestern part of the Poblacion along Liberation Boulevard in Vigan City, Ilocos Sur. Source: en.wikipilipinas.org

Knowing that Pagburnayan is part of our itinerary made me really excited. Ever since I first watched Demi Moore's sexy "pottery moves" in the movie Ghost decades ago, I have wondered how it feels to see one up close and personal. I have always been fascinated with pottery and the fact that it requires your every move to be precise. I’m also captivated of the thought that a bulk of clay with the reputation of being yucky and dirty to some people, are being transformed into beautiful pieces.

We arrived at the Pagburnayan a little before 11AM. Kuya Lenzer then turned us over to a guy who I don’t remember giving his name to us. Let’s just call him Kuya Harry. Harry Potter. Nasaktan ako sa sarili kong joke! HAHAHA!!! Anyway, let’s just call him Kuya Potter. Kuya Potter ushered us to their working area. It was a bit dark and very hot too, not a perfect setup for a romantic movie. Naglaho ang pangarap ko na maging Demi Moore.

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We were taking pictures of the place and Kuya Potter as he was spinning the kick wheel when he said, “O kanina ko pa kayo napapansin na picture ng picture ha. Kanina pa flash ng flash mga camera ninyo” I started to think that picture-taking is not allowed. I got a bit irritated thinking that why on Earth will it be included as a tourist spot if you’re not allowed to take photos. Feeling ko ang antipatiko ni Kuya Potter. Naisip ko, Kuya huwag kang epal ha, malayo sa itsura mo si Patrick Swayze, kaya huwag masyadong feelingero. And then he smiled and told us, “Basta siguraduhin ninyo na kita mukha ko sa pictures ha. Baka kasi puro kamay ko at mga paso lang ang kuhanan ninyo. E sigurado ako na ipo-post ninyo yan sa Facebook.” HAHAHAHA! So that was it. He was trying to be funny, and I didn’t have the slightest idea that he was heading to that direction. Pasensya na Kuya, nahusgahan kita. :p

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After just a few minutes of spinning here and there, Kuya Potter finally finished making a simple jar. According to Kuya Potter, the jar needs to set and dry, then they’ll bake it after a week.

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He made doing it look so easy although I know that it takes a great deal of talent and years of practice before reaching that kind of pace and precision.

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Kuya Potter gave us more time to look around and take more pictures. I wanted to try it, but I forgot to ask if we could. And besides, I know that no matter what I do, my creation will still look like a piece of sh*t. :p

DSC_1077 Si Boyet na Puma-Patrick Swayze

I looked around and noticed some of his unique creations. I couldn’t stop giggling after seeing an extraordinary piece. I asked Kuya Potter what it’s for, and he told me that it’s actually an ash tray. He put his cigarette, and after a few seconds, the smoke came out of the ahmmm… HOLE.

DSC_1079 MAGICAL ASH TRAY

Entrance fee is not required. But again, donations are very much appreciated. Let’s just refer to that as Kuya Potter’s talent fee. :)

Outside the Pagburnayan are a couple of stalls that sell various souvenir items. We bought tons of I LOVE VIGAN shirts. If you’re going to Ilocos and planning to buy souvenir shirts, I suggest you do it in Vigan. Based from our tour guide’s advice and our own experience, the shirts in Vigan are cheaper and of better quality compared to those being sold in Pagudpud.

We found out later on that the lady who mans the souvenir stall is Kuya Potter’s wife. He actually went out, hugged his wife and told us, “Ma’am, sir, misis ko ‘to” with so much passion and conviction. Hindi lang driver ang sweet lover, pati rin potter! ^_^

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3 comments

  1. Haha! We also have that ashtray that my dad got from Pagburnayan. Ours isn't as magical though. It doesn't have those balls and hole, it only has the uhm...'stick'. :p

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    1. Bakla ash tray nyo, walang balls. :)) Joke ni Tang 'yun! :))

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    2. Hahaha! Corny talaga ni Tang! :p

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