What To Do In La Union: Hands-on Pottery Lesson With Pagdamilian Ti La Union / Red Clay Pagdamilian

Last Updated on May 11, 2023 by Tina

Looking for other things to do in La Union other than surfing and hanging out on the beach? Why not try a pottery lesson? It is a very fun activity and as my friend describes it, very relaxing. Red Clay Pagdamilian / Pagdamilian Ti La Union in Taboc, San Juan, La Union offers a hands-on pottery lesson.

I first came to know about the pottery lesson when I was buying pots in Taboc 3 or 4 years ago. In the shop where we were buying pots, I saw that they are offering hands-on pottery lessons.

I have always wanted to try it out. And in November 2021, as a gift for my friend’s birthday, I asked her to join me in a pottery lesson with Red Clay Pagdamilian Ti La Union.

Last month, another friend was here in La Union. She wanted to celebrate her birthday by having a hands-on pottery lesson. So we went to Red Clay Pagdamilian Ti La Union for the lesson.

Both times, I had so much fun creating a pot. And if one day, someone asks me to do it with them, I will still go.

In this post, I am going to share with you everything you need to know about this hands-on pottery lesson in La Union.

About Red Clay Pagdamilian / Pagdamilian Ti La Union

According to Tan, the guy who taught us during the pottery session in 2021, Pagdamilian Ti La Union started as a retail outlet of pots along the national highway in Taboc, San Juan way back. They started offering pottery lessons in 2015. They are the only local potter who provides pottery lesson.

Pagdamilian is an Ilocano word that means clay pottery production area, and Ti La Union means of La Union.

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How to Book a Hands-on Pottery Lesson

Pagdamilian Ti La Union accepts walk-ins. However, they cannot guarantee that they can accommodate you due to limited slots. You need to book a session with them in advance. This way, you’ll be able to choose your desired date and time.

To book, just visit their Facebook Page Pagdamilian Ti La Union and click on the Book Now button then select the desired schedule.

How Much Is The Pottery Lesson?

The pottery lesson costs Php 350 per person. However, a minimum of 2 persons per session is required. If you are alone in La Union and can’t find anyone to do it with you, you can still go on with the lesson. However, you need to pay for two. When you book a session, you need to pay a 50% downpayment through Gcash. After that, you will receive a confirmation of your appointment.

Included in the fee are terracotta clay, use of manual potter’s wheel, use of pottery tools and firing of your output.

Related Post: La Union Travel Guide: Things to Do, Where to Stay, Where to Eat and Tourist Spots to Visit in La Union

How Many Participants Are Allowed Per Session?

As stated above, the minimum number of participants per session is two and the maximum is ten. Children seven years old and up are allowed to participate as long as they are accompanied by an adult/their guardian.

The Hands-on Pottery Lesson

Each participant is provided with a potter’s wheel (manual), a small pail with water, and the clay that will be used in making the pot. The clay provided is a mixture of clay, ash, sand, and water. Art materials are also provided to design your pot.

I will not go into detail on how to make a pot. That’s for you to find out. What they teach during the session is basic pottery making which is pinching and coiling. You are free to create whatever design you want. Pottery making is easy, fun, and very therapeutic. The session lasts for an hour.

After you finish making your pot, you can bring your pot at home. But it will still be wet and prone to damage. They offer free firing (baking of clay) using their kiln if you are willing to pick it up after at least a month in their shop.

A number will be assigned to your pot. They will air-dry it for 2 to 3 weeks and sun-dry it for 2 days. On the 2nd day of sun-drying, the pots are dried in a kiln for 5 hours.

They will keep your pots in their storage area for up to 8 months. They will dispose of all unclaimed pots after 8 months to make space for new ones. We were lucky because I was only able to get the pots we made in 2021 last month. I thought they disposed of it already.

I’m not sure if they still do it, but if you are not living in La Union, you can try to ask them to ship it for you if you think you won’t be coming back to La Union anymore.

Pictures from the Hand On Pottery Session

The potter's wheel, clay and water
The clay
Some art materials to design your pot
Me busy designing my pot
Tan helping me with the design of my pot
Finished product
Hand made pots
Hands on pottery lesson La Union

Tour of the Working Area

After our session, Tan showed us their working area and shared with us the process of making a pot from the collection of clay to drying it out in a kiln. Take note that we did the tour of their working area in 2021, back when there are not too many tourists in La Union yet. I am not sure if they can accommodate you for a tour now.

They use red soil for the clay mixture. From the mountain, they let the soil dry under the sun for 2 days to remove moisture. Next, they soak it in water for a day. After that, they add ash and sand to the clay and mix the whole thing in a mixer.

Now to make the pot, they put the mold and the clay in a jigger. Then they air-dry it for two weeks, sun-dry it for 2 days, and dry it in a kiln for 5 hours.

The red soil is soaked in water for a day
The mixer
The kiln, where they dry the pots
They use wood in firing the kiln. The ash from the wood is what they use in the clay mixture
Molds used in making pots
Tan and his shy companion

How To Get To Pagdamilian Ti La Union

Pagdamilian Ti La Union is located at Brgy. Taboc, San Juan, La Union. To get there, if coming from Urbiztondo, when you reach Taboc turn left to the concrete road beside Kapehan Shop. Go straight until you reach the wide parking space. There you will see Pagdamilian Ti La Union.

Camp Avenue
The entrance to Pagdamilian Ti La Union

Pottery Painting in Red Clay Pagdamilian

Aside from the hands-on pottery lesson, Red Clay is now offering a pottery painting activity. It is perfect for kids and adults who are looking for a souvenir or gift to bring home. The pottery painting costs Php 250 per person, a minimum of 2 people per session.

The selection of pots to be painted is all made by their guests who were not able to claim their outputs. The pottery painting fee includes 1 pot to paint, paints and tools, a top coat for your pot, and 1 drink from their cafe.

Red Clay has a mini souvenir shop and cafe too

Red Clay also has a coffee shop now called Kapoterya. If you are not availing of the pottery lesson or pottery painting, there is an entrance fee of Php 50 per person to visit Red Clay. Children below 6 years old, drivers, and tourist guides are exempted from the entrance fee.

The entrance fee is consumable. You can use it at the coffee shop or at the souvenir shop.

Pets are allowed as they have an outdoor space where pets can run and play.


Some Life Lessons From The Pottery Session

Okay, I will not end this post without sharing some life lessons that I learned while making a pot. First, imperfection is okay. Don’t stress yourself trying to make a perfect-looking pot as long as you enjoy the process. The same is true with life. It’s okay to have an imperfect life as long as you are happy with how you live it.

Second, create something even if it sucks. The important thing is that you did something. And lastly, it’s okay to start over. When I was making a pot, I was trying so hard to make it work even if it looks really bad and soggy already. Tan noticed that it looks hopeless already, so he told me maybe it would be better if I redo it. I guess you can compare it with life, or relationships. Sometimes we hold on to something just because we’re afraid to start over again not thinking that letting go, moving on, and starting over isn’t bad at all. It is actually better.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed reading this post. If you have any questions, feel free to send me a message on Facebook or Instagram or write it down in the comments section.

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