The village of Pagburnayan in Vigan City, Ilocos Sur is home to a number of factories that use the centuries-old method of producing clay jars, known locally as burnay. Burnay jars are handcrafted by local potters who have mastered the art of kneading, molding, and baking clay along with water and sand to form the finished product.
Before the Spanish colonization of the Philippines in the 16th century, Chinese merchants were already trading with natives from Vigan. Eventually, a number of Chinese immigrants chose to live in Vigan and, seeing the rich natural supply of premium grade clay in western parts of Vigan, pioneered the craft of jar making or pagbuburnay.
This skillful trade of pottery is also said to have significance on the Japanese’ preference for “ruson tsubo,” pertaining to highly prized antique jars imported from Luzon back in the 16th century. Historical accounts say that the Japanese referred to Luzon as “Ruson” and that Japanese tea masters valued jars from Luzon because they were good for storing tea leaves and keeping them fresh.
Locally, burnay jars are where people store water or grains as well as the native Basi wine and bagoong, which both need fermentation. Compared with terracotta pots, which are also clay-based but are used for gardening, pagburnayan jars are considered more durable.
Aside from joining a guided tour, you can get here by walking or by driving to Liberation Boulevard. The two potteries are located at the end of the boulevard near Gomez Street.
It is an all-year round destination. You can visit this attraction daily from 7 AM to 6 PM.