Sometimes the best dish does not come from rare ingredients or from the most expensive restaurants, most of the time the effort that goes into cooking it makes all the difference. That’s the realization I had after my first taste of Ugu Bigyan’s famous dish, Kulawo
More on the dish later, let me first introduce you to a master. Augusto “Ugu” Bigyan is a celebrated pottery artist before he delved into cooking. A native of Tiaong, Quezon, he perfected his crafts through years of a successful career.
Now, Ugu welcomes people who simply love food and art to his home in Quezon. For a minimum of 5 people (provided reservations is set 3 days in advance), Ugu himself will cook the food to be served for lunch or merienda. From his famous organic salads to the best of Filipino cuisine, it is a dining experience that is uniquely on his terms.
My personal experience at Ugu’s is through the invitation of the Department of Tourism for a food and heritage tour around Quezon. It was fortunate that we went to Ugu’s house for a late merienda which wrapped up the tour.
We were welcomed by the gracious host into his red clay house that was filled with art, pottery and beauty that one cannot help but be mesmerized. The atmosphere is very calm and the house itself is a vision that it reminded me of rustic country houses that are built by hands and formed only from earthen materials.
Ugu’s collection of pottery is displayed in his home, so one can avail of his exclusive and one of a kind design that are translated in clay. I fell in love with the intricately designed coasters and plates, while my peers were enamored with the jars and house decors available.
After roaming around Ugu’s home, merienda was served! Lumpiang Tinapa at Puso ng Saging, Ginataang Bilobilo, Fresh Buko juice, and my favorite dish, Kulawo, were thoroughly enjoyed.
Ugu graciously imparted the process of preparing Kulawo to the team, Simple ingredients were prepared and once he started cooking, the effort in the dish is obvious that it translated on the taste. Smoking the niyog or grated coconut meat for at least 10-15 minutes while all the smoke gets into you is quite an effort. And then preparing and mixing up well selected ingredients made the dish a favorite for Ugu’s loyal customers. There is no meat in the Kulawo just the banana heart, gata and a variety of spices but I seriously did not notice because I thought there was fish meat in there.
Dining at this proud Quezonian’s home was definitely a beautiful memory just like his art and delicious food. It is always refreshing to meet masters like Mr Bigyan that wants to impart the beauty of life through nature and the simple aspects of life.
Ugu Bigyan’s Potter Garden is a definite must see and experience once in Quezon.
Contact +63 (42) 545 9144
490 Alvarez Village , Brgy. Lusacan, Tiaong, Quezon
To get there:
By Bus/public transportation
From Manila, take the Lucena, Quezon bound bus.
Regular commercial buses ply the three-hour Manila-Lucena route. Bus terminals are located along EDSA-Kamuning in Quezon City, Araneta Center in Cubao, Buendia-Taft Avenues and EDSA in Pasay City.
On Private Car
via South Luzon Expressway
From Manila, take the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) and take the Calamba exit. Pass through the towns of Calamba, Los Baños, Bay, Victoria, Pila, Sta Cruz, Pagsanjan, Cavinti, Luisiana and then to the Province of Quezon.
Head towards Tiaong, Quezon.
Drive past the Tiaong Public Market and watch for the Tiaong Elementary School.
Five minutes from the school, watch for a sign pointing to Lusacan National Highschool,
Turn left on the road near the sign.
Follow the road and turn left on Alvarez Village.
The house is the red clay house to your left.
Special thanks to the Department of Tourism for inviting us on this Culinary and Heritage trip to Quezon Province.