House after house, alley after alley, we saw the same thing. Clay makers. The whole town seemed busy mashing, kneading, molding and drying all things clay. Most do it on their front yards, some on their porch—their kids looking on—and a few, right out on the street.
|MAKING POTTERY IS A NORMAL DAY TO DAY THING IN BARANGAY ATULU|
I’ve seen a few pottery centers in the country, from Vigan’s pagburnayan to Antique’s Tibiao clay pottery, but the scale of pottery production in Iguig is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Everyone seemed hell-bent on mashing these earthen lumps into something more useful. And surprisingly, I didn’t see a single potter’s wheel to mold their clay with. The Itawes of Iguig uses their bare hands, with the aid of simple wooden implements, to form these into jars, vases and even stoves and oven!
|NO NEED FOR POTTER’S WHEEL TO SHAPE THE CLAY|
|DRYING THE FINISHED WARES|
Their way of cooking their clay is quite different too. Instead of utilizing giant kilns, they dry their wares on open fire using rice straws and, uhmmm, carabao dung as fuel. During rainy season, production drops as they are forced to simply dry them on their porch.
|KIDS PLAYING ALONG THE STREETS OF ATULU|
On foot, we scoured the narrow streets of Atulu, gawking from one household to the next as locals went about their daily business. It looks like any other sleepy provincial barangay, unfinished hollow block houses, the streets devoid of traffic and kids running about.
|A TYPICAL ALLEY IN IGUIG|
|THE BARANGAY OVERLOOKS THE MIGHTY CAGAYAN RIVER|
Apparently, with the abundance of clay in the area and its neighboring towns, Iguig, particularly barangay Atulu, has been producing earthen products even before the Second World War; the art of molding earth, passed from one generation to the next. And their efforts has paid off, their industry now represents their municipality for the Philippines’ One Town One Product (OTOP) program.
|POTTERY PRODUCTS ALONG THE MAHARLIKA HIGHWAY|
Travelers going to Iguig need not traverse their streets and alleys though, as most of the finished products can be bought right along the segment of Maharlika Highway that passes through town. They have earthenware of every kind, from giant tapayan jars, used in storing water, to stoves, plant pots, and even those cute palayok and lutu-lutuan playthings for children.
|MASHING THE EARTH INTO SHAPE|
The prices are quite competitive, so I advise against haggling; support local industries. If you see firsthand how they make each of these clay products, I don’t think you’d have it in your heart to shortchange them too.
Iguig Pottery Village
Address: Barangay Atulu, Iguig, Cagayan
GPS Coordinates Map: 17.714451, 121.741776
THIS TRIP IS PART OF NORTH PHILIPPINE VISITOR’S BUREAU’S (NPVB)LAKBAY NORTE 6 TOUR, A FOUR-DAY MEDIA FAMILIARIZATION TRIP AIMED AT PROMOTING NORTHERN DESTINATIONS IN THE PHILIPPINES & BROUGHT IN PART BY PRODIGY 5.