Aside from preserving Vigan’s ancestral houses, the people of Vigan also struggle to continue with the traditional way of making burnay or unglazed earthen jars, an industry that survived hundreds of years since the Spanish colonial era.
The burnay is made of clay mashed by carabaos (water buffaloes) and mixed with sand. Unfortunately, the more convenient electric kilns are displacing nowadays the dragon kilns where the burnay jars are baked, leading to the slow demise of a centuries-old tradition in Vigan
The burnay jars have small openings while those with bigger mouths are called wangging. In the early years, the burnay, also called tapayan or banga, was used for storage of water, rice grains, basi (sugarcane wine) and condiments like salt and bagoong (fish paste).
Burnay jars are also used to ferment vinegar that comes from the sweet sap of the Arenga Pinnata, a sugar palm tree more commonly known as “kaong.” According to locals, Arengga vinegar tastes better if stored in burnay jars than in plastic or metal containers.
Long live the burnay tradition!