The Art Of Pottery Called Ugu Bigyan

If Ilocanos have Fidel Go in the art of pottery, Augusto Bigyan is also the popular potter of CALABARZON.

Ugu Bigyan, now well-known for his stone craft and design is from Tiaong, Quezon province. In fact his name Ugu Bigyan now synonyms to his works. It denotes his art.

Visit his home in barangay Lusacan and the impression of his artistry will come in your eyes. The wide array of his crafts are displayed all over his place and amazement will just become a normal reaction on your face.

All of his unique pottery craft bearing his signature. His crafts have gone a long way to homes, resorts, hotels and restaurants, making them soundly adorable and amazing cool.

His crafts include leaves, animals, birds and fishes, pots, earthenwares, kitchenwares, souvenir items among others.

He’s doing this since he was at 20s. And each years of his craftmanship adding also to his legacy in this kind of art. 

“Arts flourish during Imelda’s time (Imelda Marcos),” he said during interview where he was also flourishing as an artist. He’s decades into this business and said he’s been into hard times when the products are hard to sell.

He wants the millenials to appreciate his art aside from art patrons and those loyal to his crafts.

But it may be hard livelihood but he continue his potteries because he knows there will always be a time his crafts will be needed.


In step by step process he showed his works:

1. Mixed white clay together with silica and bullclay.

2. Soak with water for a week or more.  The longer the soak the better it is.

3. Drained the water to get the desired consistency of the clay.

4. Mashed very well so no bubbles will occur.

5. Ready for molding.

6. Mold to desired design.

7. After molding, trimming and cleaning.

8. Air dry (not sun dry because it causes crack)

9.Bring to fiing area and heat for 7 hours at 1,000 degrees centigrade.

10. Cool for one day.

11. He will put his signature. Wax.

12. Fire again for 10 to12 hours depending on colors or design.

13. Add some design, roots (if needed), pricing, display or deliver.

Angono And Three Legendaries

Angono, dubbed as the Art Capital of Philippines. Ever wonder why? Because they are legendaries.

Giants roam around, artists are all over the places, ancient drawings called petroglyphs are in the stone shelter and even vandals are nice to view in the manmade cave and cactus, the walls of street arts, the cafe’s and restaurants with the touch of art, the cuisine harmonized in arts.

Then the people who are so inclined with art. The families are artists, from the lolo’s to apo. And the best thing, they support their artists.

Three legends that caught me during the phase 2 of NCCA- PIA Heritage Caravan in Calabarzon. These three got big influences to the town and its people. It greatly define what Angono is about art.

1. The Higantes.

Giants or Higantes festival now a popular fiesta activity of the town. 

The higantes are made from paper mache that measures four to five feet in diameter and 10 to 12 feet in height. Higantes was influenced by the Mexican art form of paper mache effigies.

Wonder why the giants are in akimbo? Because they represent angry and authocratic Spaniards during their colonization in the Philippines. 

Stories have it that a town folk made an angry giant effigy. Because of its huge size it draws attention of people during those times. After a while the they shouted for a woman giant as couple. Then children of these giants, and then other effigies followed. Now they are in parade as part of annual fiesta celebration of the town.

2. Botong Francisco

He’s National Artist because of his influence and contribution to visual art that include paintings and mural paintings. He is one of the discoverer of petroglyphs dating back BC. 

Along the Poblacion Ibabaw street of Angono is the avenue of array of replicates of Botong’s works. Its the walls and fences of arts, the murals of Botong mastery and legacy.

His house is within that street. He was born here. It is where he started his name as a painter, muralist where he grow up and become a big name in visual arts. Few of his works and collections are displayed here. 

3. Blanco, The Family of Painters

Jose Blanco, also known as Pitok is a fisherman, in fact his wooden boat still in display their museum house. But he’s also the big influence to his wife Loring, sons and daughter (Glen, Noel, Michael, Joy, Jan, Gay and Peter Paul) to love painting, then it goes down to his apo’s and then to his neighbors, and to the disciples of this art.

“They are precocious artist in their own right making the Blanco clan a unique collective of image of artists.”

Visiting the Blanco’s house museum of painting will surely amazes everyone. The array display of paintings is not just displays of greatness, mastery and artistry but also the stories of the family: how Pitok influence his family to love the art; how his children started to paint; how the children influence the mother; where they went to get ideas; what subject they are inspired to paint.

The museum is not just a house of paintings, its also workshops to mold and hone young artist, dreaming to be a painter, a place where artists gather and share stories, a place to get inspiration.

True to the theme “Sulong Luzon, Yamang Kultura at Sining.”

Let’s Ride Carabao Drawn Carriage In Villa Escudero

When was the last time you ride in your Apong Lakay’s ‘pasagad’ being pulled by his strong carabao. I doubt millenials have slendor experience that. But we, bagets and jeproks at that time have so much to tell.

Those were the days when carabaos and cows are the real kings of the road– umm, well, in the uncemented road. Today’s era is so much different now, the noisy trucks and speedy cars and big buses are the kings of the road now. 

Let’s escape from the traffic, escape from speed, from the noise and the view of the buildings. Lets bring back the time when you are enjoying the journey while riding the carousel and your neighbors are singing kundiman in guitar and ukulele. Where we call it journey and not a travel, where we call it ride and not a transportation.

Villa Escudero. In the border of Quezon and Laguna provinces.

Its where the luxury from nature is brought to you and the experience of what it’s like living in the past. When music and dancing is harmonized with the breeze of the wind of the hills and sways like the water flowing in the falls.

Its an exhilarating experienced for me to ride again in carabao drawn vehicle and listening to the folk songs while on traverse to the waterfall.

And my goodnesss, feels good to eat again with bare hand. The way we were. The original Filipino food are served and eating in the river. Then the water you drink are the original mineral water that you fill it up from clay water jar.

The way we were. Oh yeah, I’ve said it already. But can’t help it. Why? Because the music of rondalla still lingers in my ears now. As if I’m in hammock relaxing under the shade of the tree. And while my eyes are close I still watch the cultural dances of different regions in the Philippines. Oh, the performance is so great. The sways, the steps, the colors, the dresses and the laughters.

I have to sleep now and in my dreams the grandeur nature and the nostalgic experience will be reminisce again. 

What? How about the collections of religious artifacts that were displayed in church replica and the vintage collections of world war 2, and the mansions of the Escuderos’ who are still grand standing in the place? Why I wouldn’t write about it? Oh, let other explorers, caravaners, writers and bloggers featured them. We’re many participants in the Heritage Caravan of NCCA and PIA in Quezon, Laguna and Rizal or the CALABARZON, the phase 2 of Luzon Cultural Promotion with the theme Sulong Luzon, Yamang Kultura’t Sining”.

It was founded in 1880’s by Placido and his wifey Claudia Marasigan. It said to be a sugarcane plantation but converted by their son Arsenio as coconut plantation in the early 1900’s. And in 1981 it was open to the public.

It is now a prime tourists destination for locals, overseas Filipino and foreign visitors. Villa Escudero is the showcase of Philippine rich cultural heritage, offering the glimpses of its history, dress, cuisine and nature’s lavisgness.

My heart was left in Villa Escudero.

The Moro Watchtower Of Ilocos Sur

If there’s one intact edifice of watchtower in the Philippines, one of them can be seen in barangay Bateria, San Esteban, Ilocos Sur.

Just like all the moro watchtower this is located along the coastal area, just near the port of this town.

Ilocos have many watchtowers but many of the structure are damaged through the course of time. The government is trying to rehabilitate some of them.

This watchtower was believed to be built in 15th century by the Spaniards and the oldest landmark of the said town.

The moro watchtower was built as part of defenses of the village of that time against moros or pirates who used to ransacked the people and goods at that time.

The was builr in round shape with a height of around 7 meters. There’s one entrance and the walls facing the sea have holes where the canons are placed there.

In fact, the name of the barangay which is Bateria gots its name from the row of canons at that tower.

Today, the site was already as tourist destination by the the Philippine Tourism authority and was also listed in the National Historical Institute of the country.

Though renovated and flourished with the park and the stairway going up the tower, only few visitors were still going here maybe because its not yet known to the tourists.

Still, those who knew the place had their piece of historical pose in the tower.

Rodeo Tournament (Day One)

Bring on the leather hats, boots with spurs and the black chaleco vest and the favorite Rhinestone Cowboy song– the Rodeo Tournament is here… in Kannawidan Ylocos Festival. Governor Ryan Singson said this is already the 2nd Year of the tournament participated by the Universities and Colleges in the Luzon region. The participating universities compete in different games for men and women that includes bull whipping, wood chopping, load carrying, cattle wrestling, carambola, casting down, egg catching calf lassoing and of course, contest of the rodeo beautiful ladies.

Pictures below happened on the first day.

These beautiful ladies are competing for bull wrestling
These beautiful ladies are competing for bull wrestling
These women are stronger than men, just look at them carrying the sack of sands in the load carrying contest
These women are stronger than men, just look at them carrying the sack of sands in the load carrying contest
One of the beautiful lady who is one of the muses of the participating universities.
One of the beautiful lady who is one of the muses of the participating universities.
What a beautiful girl riding a white horse. She is one of the muses of the rodeos.
What a beautiful girl riding a white horse. She is one of the muses of the rodeos.
Contestant perform in the bull whipping contest.
Contestant perform in the bull whipping contest.
The contestants are busy with their axes in wood chopping contest.
The contestants are busy with their axes in wood chopping contest.

Stone Sculpture: The 5 Faces In Bahay Na Bato

Have you ever been to Bahay Na Bato in Luna, La Union. The silent coastal place where a resthouse is situated now a famous tourist destination in the region. Thanks to the initiative of Mr. Bong Kim, a Korean art disciple who turn the place into enchanting destination. I chanced Edwin Oraw, the stone sculptor, while doing another project in the area and had conversation with him.

The 5 Faces below which I photo in the area are just few of his stone sculpture.

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