Visiting Patis Tito Garden Cafe whetted my appetite for more Filipino creativity and tropical greenery. When Patis herself recommended that we visit Ugu Bigyan Potter’s Garden in Tiaong, Quezon, just a short drive from her cafe, I found it hard to resist.
I’ve been hearing good things about potter and artist Augusto ‘Ugu’ Bigyan’s pottery studio and restaurant for years, but it had always seemed too far to visit. Now that we were practically in the neighborhood, we simply had to go.
We were welcomed by the wide, welcoming embrace of this majestic mango tree—the Valhalla of aerial plants, it seems, where the best and bravest plants go after fighting the good fight on earth.
Situated on the same expansive property as his own home, Ugu Bigyan’s “potter’s garden” is dotted with lush tropical plants and pavilions featuring elements of traditional Filipino homes such as thatched nipa roofs, antique furnishings, and more.
I would have loved to sit down at one of these tables for Ugu’s famously delicious (and surprisingly affordable) meals, made with local ingredients and served family style. But it was the end of the day and we hadn’t booked anything in advance. The food photos at Sushi Bytes and Out of Town Blog are absolutely torturing me with what I missed!
I also would have wanted to relax on one of antique butaka chairs—a Spanish colonial easy chair, with long arm rests and curved rattan back—with a cup of barako coffee. Oh, well, next time.
Instead of stuffing our faces (which we’d already done at Patis Tito anyway), we explored the garden, which bears marks of Ugu’s artistry everywhere…
… and eventually came to his shop, which is filled with his beautiful handmade ceramics and earthenware.
Inspired by nature, Ugu’s creations are earthy, organic and unusual. I loved the flocks of birds perched on dishes and cups—they’d inject a little whimsy in the daily routine, but the muted colors keep them from being over the top.
I wanted to buy almost everything, and I’m not even really into ceramics! I wish I’d taken better pictures, too, but it was almost sunset when we arrived.
We also took a peek into the workshop where Ugu’s ceramic creatures wait for color and fire to bring them to life. Ugu offers pottery workshops in his studio, which must be booked in advance.
I wish I’d taken better pictures, too, but it was almost sunset when we arrived.
Ugu’s pottery goes on sale a few times a year, most notably on his birthday when the discount corresponds to his age. The master potter turns 52 on August 9, 2015—sounds like the perfect time for a return visit, don’t you think?