Burnay Jars - Burnay Pottery
Jars made from Vigan are much sought-after by foreign
and local visitors. This earthenware is called burnay.
The industry that has grown from the making of burnay
dates back to pre-colonial times when immigrants from
China came to settle in Vigan. They practiced the craft
of making earthenware using the grade A clay that was
found in plenty in the Western area of Vigan.
The making of burnay is done with just the use of the
potter’s skillful hands and use of pottery wheel and
kiln. Fine sand is used to temper the clay, which once
fashioned into the desired shape is placed inside
high-temperature ground kilns made from brick and clay.
Compared to terracotta, people say that the burnay is
Its earlier use were for tea drinking, and as container
for salt, brown sugar, water, local wine (basi) and
bagoong (fermented fish). It is even said that basi and
bagoong taste much better when stored inside burnays.
Nowadays, people buy them mostly to serve as decorations
inside their homes and gardens. Miniature versions of
the jars are also made in abundance because they have
become a favorite souvenir item of foreign and local
Liking for the burnay has reached the markets abroad,
especially in Europe. Local and foreign traders have
made contacts with factory owners to order from their
current offerings or for burnay products to be done
according to new buyer or market specifications. Most of
the local traders come from Manila and Bulacan.
biggest local trader of burnay is said to be the Bulacan
Garden. Most of the foreign traders are from Great
Britain and Belgium.
The continuous demand for the local earthern craft has
sustained the livelihood of many Chinese and
generations who own burnay factories or camarin, and the
preservation of the craft.
The Pagburnayan or the place
where these camarins can be found is in the Baranggay
VII, in the Southwest part of the city. There are only
about three burnay camarins now in existence all over
the country, and they are all in Vigan. Tour packages to
Vigan are sure to include a visit to Pagburnayan, as it
is a must-see attraction.
One of the descendants of Chinese immigrants who
introduced burnay-making in Vigan, Fidel Go has been
awarded by the National Commission on Culture and Arts
in 1990 as National Folk Artist. He is the owner of Ruby
Pottery and until now continues to practice and sustain
the craft of burnay-making.