Every 15th of May, Lucban San Isidro Festival is celebrated in Lucban, Quezon. This festival, which dates as far back as 1500, is popularly known today as Pahiyas.
History says that the Feast of San Isidro Labrador was first observed by the native Tagalogs in order to avoid bad luck, drought and famine. When Lucban’s church, San Luis Obispo de Tolosa Parish, was established in 1630, the natives bring their select farm-produce inside the new church where the Parish Priest blesses the harvests as a form of thanksgiving to the Lord. As a result, the following year, the farmers experienced another plentiful harvest, thus intensifying their belief and devotion to ‘San Isidro’, as the intercessor of God’s blessing.
Always Give Thanks for All The Blessings Received
Welcome to Pahiyas Festival!
The Feast of San Isidro is celebrated in many places in the Philippines, but of the many, Pahiyas of Lucban Quezon stands out because of their unique way of giving thanks. Rows upon rows of houses decked in colorful kipings (rice wafers / crackers), veggies, fruits, crops, and more bounties from the land are on display.
We’ve just been there, Titus and I. It was my first time though, we braved the tourists and visitors throng of Pahiyas. Lol. A deluge of people descended to Lucban and all were clamoring to have the best shots of the houses, the best selfie post, etc. Be prepared for quick camera shots, to queue for pictorial with some of the favorite houses, expect to be rubbing elbows with fellow visitors, tsaka mainit pala.
If you haven’t attended one Pahiyas Festival, I urge you to come and see a town lit-up with their colorful decorations!
It’s different from the other festivals in the Philippines, here a whole barangay or maybe two are selected and the households of these barangays prepare in full force. I guess it’s their way to continue on the tradition of their forefathers, to give thanks for a good harvest, to request for blessing for yearly abundance and at the same time, delights the tourists who come far and wide. They get to flex their creative juices too!
Plus, the most vibrant and creative houses win a prize! I just don’t know what the prizes are but in any case, yung preparation nila grabe. The minutes details, the selection of which harvest to include in the beautification of the house, how to accomplish an amazing display, wala akong masabi. Mamamangha ka sa makikita, ang galing, at ang ganda ng gayak ng mga bahay.
If you want to arrive before the horde of tourist, it’s best to stay overnight in the town. There are hotels and inns in Lucban, check out these properties:
The locals too think of the visitors when they conceptualized their display, so they have amazing set-ups. Thank you people of Lucban!
..medyo harass grabe init at daming tao haha
Most prominent of the decors are the colorful “leaves” and “flower petals” like the one above. What the locals use for this decor is called “kiping”. Can this be eaten? Yep, certainly! Take one of those hanging kiping and fry it and then tear it to bite-size pieces like this one being sold by a street vendor during the Pahiyas festival.
Fried kiping, anyone?
Harvest Abundance sa Lucban!
Decor highlights: Cabbages, Mangoes, Tomatoes, String beans, Sayote (Choko), Ampalaya (Bitter melon), Corn, Squash, Chili, and Upo (what is upo vegetable in english?)
Rice is the staple food in the Philippines, a very important grain for the local farmers. So it’s no wonder that rice stalks and kiping which is made of rice are favorite Pahiyas decors.
Another highlight of the feast is the procession of the carabao or kalabaw, the beast of burden, the farmer’s assistant in tilling the earth.
The carabaos on the parade pull a decorated cart
Treat yourself to an extravaganza of colors and tradition, come to Lucban, Quezon for the Pahiyas 2016 next year. The houses, all decked in their glorious colors and plentiful harvest, are on display for two days on the 14th and 15th of May.
Oh yah, before I forgot just in case you are interested in what food and pasalubong we love from this town, we never leave Lucban without a taste of these – Lucban longganisa, hardinera and pancit hab-hab.
Explore the Philippines and it’s many amazing festivals! 🙂