Pottery-making and Souvenirs at Burnayan

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Could someone please translate? :)
Visiting the Vigan Pottery, locally known as "Burnayan", had been somewhat of a pleasant surprise. I initially had no idea what this place was about so I naturally didn't know what to expect. 

We trotted towards a fenced area where souvenir stalls were set up. The first thing I thought was I just bought souvenirs in Baluarte, I'm on a budget. I consequently took a deep breath, conditioning my mind to be contented by just looking at the various items for sale. 

But then, Kuya Allan urged us to keep walking through the labyrinthine stalls. And so I wiggled my way between fellow tourists, craning my neck to check out the items as I passed by. Moments later, I found myself further in the place, into the actual Burnayan. I was functioning on the belief that Burnayan was just a place where one can buy souvenir items. I'm such a noob.

At any rate, I gasped when I saw this:
This sight had the potency of an adrenaline shot
I dashed to the wooden bench, an arm's length away from the potter's wheel.

I was amazed by how quick and seemingly effortless the process of making the base pottery mold was. But then again, it could just be that these men have been doing this for so long that they could do it with their eyes closed. Their movements were so precise it was like a choreographed dance. It was a pleasure to watch them.

Rows of would-be pots and/or jars
We were later told that we could give the pottery-making a try. I was reminded of the movie Ghost and randomly belted out the first lines of Unchained Melody. It was all I could do because as much as I would want to get my hands dirty, I was on a strict budget and making like a potter would result into a fee (a donation, they say) so I decided to forego the experience. I will have a go at pottery-making someday, I swear. But watching these men work their magic had somehow mollified my compulsion to get dirty.

Then I looked over my shoulders and saw this guy:

I'm referring to one of the noblest creatures in the entire world - and one of my favorite animals: the carabao. I bolted up from my seat and walked toward the mud pit like in a trance. I barely heard her handler (the carabao was a girl) when I asked, only out of courtesy, if I could touch her. I placed my hand between her horns, down to the length of her snout. I grappled with the urge to wrap my arms around her neck. I know that sounds strange but that's the truth. Carabaos have that effect on me.

I belatedly realized that my friend, the carabao, was tramping on the mud that is used to make pots and jars. 

Probably noticing how giddy I was, Camille offered to take a picture. Tears started to well up. I never thought I'd be close to a carabao so soon after I got to ride one. It was magic. 

Recalling the image of the spinning contraption and the men, with their dignified and dirty hands, using it like dancers dancing to a song only they could hear, elicits a very nice feeling that I do not yet have a name for. And seeing the photo of myself next to a carabao with my hand on her head? Euphoric.

Simple joys like these are the reason why I get up in the morning.

Cheers to the next adventure! 

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