Pahiyas Festival

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Thanksgiving in Lucban, Quezon is celebrated in a festive and colorful fashion.  Grateful for its bountiful harvest, this agricultural town at the foot of Mt. Banahaw decorates houses in rows with locally grown fruits and vegetables as well as the kiping, a dyed rice wafer.

Pahiyas is set on May 15th every year.  It kicks off with a mass and a procession in honor of San Isidro Labrador, the patron saint of the farmers.  With sensitivity to economic constraints and the extravagance of the festivities, streets take turns in hosting the festival year after year.  Hence, this determines the chosen route for the parade and the open house.

Setting their eyes on the big pot for the most adorned dwelling, the neighborhood is geared for the competition.  Truly a feast for the eyes!  The kiping shining like a capiz shell against sunlight is beautiful, especially when put up as lanterns.  Take a stroll.  A number of households still hold the tradition of letting their doors open to anyone.  Walk in.  Go up the second floor and view the action from their window.  Some homeowners would even offer you rice cakes and refreshments.

Yes, you need to re-charge as you party in the heat.  Try the pancit habhab, noodles served on a banana leaf.  Dab it with vinegar like the locals do.  Or try the kiping!  When fried, it’s as if you’re eating a big piece of kropek cracker.  Have the longganisang Lucban (native sausage) for lunch or to take home.  And again, eat it with vinegar.  Whilst the tour, shop for hand-woven handicrafts.  There are plenty of native bags, baskets, slippers and fans to grab!

So, are your cameras ready for next week?

How to get there:  Lucban, Quezon is southeast of Manila.  That’s about 3-4 hours drive from the capital.  Take the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) and exit to Calamba.  Pass through the towns in Laguna first, i.e. Calamba, Los Baños, Pila, Pagsanjan, Cavinti and Luisiana.  Then the next major town is Lucban as you cross the border onto Quezon Province.  The later in the day you go, you might have to park outside town and walk.  Make sure you wear comfortable shoes.

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