Augusto “Ugo” Bigyan, the celebrated artisan potter who has contributed to the fame of the province . During one of the field trips conducted by the Philippine Orchid Society, the tour stopped by Ugu’s workshop in Barangay Lusacan, Tiaong Quezon . Philippine culture and arts are evident with the fusion of Mexican , Spanish , Asian -inspired architecture which dotted the entire compound.
The group was lucky to meet the famous artisan conducting a short workshop
Ugo Bigyan’s art works are mostly the functional kind. One finds here plates made of soft stone molded after the shape of leaves; glazed three-colored glasses; the enchanting wind chimes; bracelets made from clay; bowls of different sizes and colors but all with simple but exquisite designs.
different potteries on display for sale
A simple candy receptacle or small plate is adorned with twigs where perched ceramic butterflies, bees, fishes or birds. The gallery bestsellers prove to be the big tapestries, big jars, plates and dinner sets, and other stoneware. And there are many more. These functional pieces can actually serve as objet d’arts.
jar with fossilized fern design
The gallery enjoys great patronage from well-known individuals, up-scale hotels and posh resorts such as Amanpulo, Campo Travieza, Casa Patricia, El Nido, Hidden Valley and Villa Escudero. Some of his potteries are also exported to Europe, Japan, Taiwan , Canada, Latin America and United States.
Bigyan workshop and garden is a cluster of houses , with different motives and architecture styles these also include the house he lives in, a showroom, a workshop and several smaller pavilion type huts with Balinese and Javanese inspired . Bigyan’s main house was made from simple hollow blocks and coated with reddish terracotta. The front lawn was accentuated with a circular structure made of brick and equipped with throw pillows in woven buri cases, where family and friends can gather and chat, and at night, perhaps, create a bonfire. Another curious accent of the lawn was a rock, which was hollowed out and filled with water where little, floating quiapo plants grew. It was an innovative version of an outdoor potted plant. A winding pathways lead to other houses. The pathways themselves were interesting to look at. Some were made from cement and bricks with glazed, ceramic fishes served as accent. Others are made from old driftwood, which were actually pieces from knocked-down old houses, which Bigyan salvaged and gathered.
Collections of different works of art from different countries like figurines from Thailand, face masked from Indonesia , figurines from Mexico among others.
Broad-leaf-shaped pattern footsteps made from cement. These footsteps were cast from actual leaves. Most of his clay works with flower and leaf motifs are cast from actual flowers and leaves.The process of embedding the leaves and flowers are called fossilizing .
These pathways lead to other houses. on the the right of the terracotta house was another house that seemed to serve as workshop, storage and living quarter, behind was the showroom, where Mr. Bigyan’s work were on display and were on sale. The two houses had a rugged unfinished look.
interiors in one of the houses inside Bigyan’s compound
The houses are made of bricks, natural adobe and cement, they looked unfinished,quite similar to those in movies . The houses and pavilions inside the compound looked like ruins. Their unfinished look was intentionally and was somehow intriguing.
tour group marveled at the orchids and ferns mounted on live trees
Aside from artistically displayed clayware, Ugu’s workshop offers quaint huts with which one can relax and leisurely enjoy a lush landscaped garden with large mango trees draped with native orchids, ferns, creeping plants examples are Dendrobium anosmum, Dendrobium aphyllum, Dendrobium crumenatum , Hoya pubicalyx, Platycerium coronarium , Platycerium grande , Asplenium nidus , tillandsia trimmed with terracotta chimes, fountains and koi ponds.
Hoya pubicalyx a member of Asclepiadaceae
At the end of the tour , Mr. Carlos Valeriano C. Lazaro gave Mr. Bigyan a copy of Philippine Orchid Review magazine.
Ugu Bigyan: Potter’s garden
alvarez village, lusacan, tiaong, quezon
tel. no.: (042) 5459144
Rates: pottery workshops or demonstrations may also be arranged.
1.) They are strict that you pay for the exact amount of headcount that you reserved since they buy the ingredients in the market based on the reservation. Make a reservation at least several days in advance ( minimum of at least 5 persons ).
2.) Best time to buy pottery items in Ugu are during the sale season. There are three sale sessions: first, is the Pahiyas sale on May 15 ); second, on his even birthdays August 14 discounted depending on his age and lastly during the first Sunday of October.
3.) Lunch is usually a fix set depends on what they can buy in the market. You can influence this a bit and try to change some of the items based on your preference.Merienda is also nice time to visit and get a sampling of their sago and gulaman.
4.). You can learn pottery here and decide to stay for a night. Reservations is required .