Smacked at the center of a busy intersection in Bulua, a barangay located at the western outskirts of Cagayand de Oro City, is a large jar of clay. This serves as a humble landmark for travelers coming from various western routes that they are already in Cagayan de Oro. It could also represent a thriving industry that is relatively unknown even for those who have lived in the city for quite awhile. I am very guilty of this inexcusable ignorance because Bulua also happens to be my hometown for more than two decades and counting. But this changed one lazy afternoon last February, when I dragged my mom to find a pottery I just googled that day as well.
After asking around for directions, we finally found the Stoneware Pottery in Zone 8 in Bulua. This is just one of the 2 small-scale ceramic potteries in the area. It is also lcoated near the small house we rented more than 20 years ago.
The factory actually uses clay and glaze imported from Germany and not the typical Bulua soil as I have previously thought. These are formed by hand and then heated at 1220 °C. The finished products would then have a smooth and almost glass-like surface which are qualities akin to your fine china. The plates or cups may not look as dainty though. But the ‘stoneware look’ and personalized touch of the ceramic wares set it a cut high above their mass production and generic counterparts.
This quality comes with a hefty price tag of course. That is why most of their products are exported overseas. But you could also find some of these Bulua ceramics in select local coffeeshops and restaurants. There are also affordable souvenir items such as bells, miniature dining wares and figurines.
I thought of buying some pieces of miniature jars as parting keepsakes for my friends in Cebu. Unfortunately, I was hard pressed for cash that time. If given another opportunity to visit the factory in the future, I would also grab some basic dining pieces for our home.
Although we took only photos that afternoon, I still enjoyed that unplanned trip with my mom. We rarely visit that part of Cagayan de Oro now, so that short drive somehow brought back the few remaining memories we have of that place. But it was more than a trip down the memory lane. It was also a discovery of an industry in which the residents of Bulua, and that of course includes myself, could truly be proud of.
The Stoneware Pottery Inc.
Zone 8, Bulua, Cagayan de Oro City
+63 8822 735603