Augusto Bigyan, a once upon a time accountant turned potter extraordinaire, landscape artist and a wonderful cook is someone I used to visit a lot when I needed some inspiration. Just to be in his wonderful place is enough to replenish my juices. I’ve known him since the late ‘90s, and this post is close to my heart because although I haven’t been as frequent to visit lately, he has remained my favorite potter and his place still a preferred respite after all these years. The workshop and residence of Ugu, as he is fondly called, is still the best (but not so) kept secret (anymore) of Quezon.
He’s works are mostly functional pieces — dinnerware, decorative tiles, accent pieces such as these vases, bowls and plates.
Last November during a joint birthday celebration with some friends, I suggested that we take the Viaje del Sol route and have lunch at his place. I wanted to take them somewhere I consider special and wow them. As most have never been there. It worked. They were more than wowed. They shopped till they dropped too.
Ugu, the prolific humble artist that he is, slowly started transforming his home into this wonderful haven of art in the ‘90s. The first time I stepped foot here, his garden was mostly talahib (tall weeds or grass) still, with just a few Balinese inspired cabanas and simple but tasteful wooden furniture to speak of. Today, clusters of cabana with the same tastefully laid-out furniture occupying a bigger lush landscaped garden with his masterpieces thoughtfully dispersed all over.
They started serving meals since way back because after a 3-hour drive, you’re hungry and there aren’t any place to have decent meals anywhere near. And his is more than just decent. I remember going there craving for his dishes as much as wanting to get a piece or two of his latest works.
Ugu’s other passion is cooking and he is equally talented in that area, serving up creative dishes with simple, appetizing flavors of a home cooked meal. Lunch is a fix set depending on what’s in the market the day before.
So go out of your way to visit this wonderful haven at the outskirts of Tiaong. I guarantee that you will leave the place so full of inspiration, if not a whole bayong (bag) of pottery goodness and a happy tummy. 😉
The first few time would be a little tricky and hopefully they don’t tear down my one and only landmark… here goes:
From SLEX, go all the way to the end going towards Lucena. You’ll see a junction when you reach Sto. Tomas, take the left road still going towards Lucena. Driving along the National Rd., take the right road (which is the National Rd. as the left road will take you to the town of San Pablo) when you hit the junction at San Pablo. When you hit Tiaong, just follow the road till you see a Rural Bank on your left, passing the market and the municipio. Turn left at the small street just before the faded pink building (my landmark), which is the Rural Bank, a few meters after you hit Km98. You will pass a railroad track, continue driving till you see “Alvarez Village” and “Alavarez High School” signs, make another left on that road. You will hit a Mexican looking terracotta house. That’s Ugu’s.
Address: Alvarez Village, Brgy. Lusacan, Tiaong, Quezon
Other useful info:
1. They usually go on sale 3 times a year:
- During Pahiyas Festival (May 15)
- On his birthday (August 14) – the discount always matches his age.
- Year-end sale (1st week of Oct)
2. Call in advance or you won’t be served any lunch, they only market enough for a day’s worth.