Monday, May 18, 2015

Pahiyas Festival - A Thing You Can't Miss

Every 15th day of May, a grand festival is held annually in Lucban. It is located in Quezon Province and at the foot of Mt. Banahaw  which has been considered as a "holy mountain", and certainly the town is undoubtedly gifted with fertile soil which generously gives the townsfolk a bountiful agricultural output. " Pahiyas Festival " is held every year, the word "pahiyas" means ornaments in English, which corresponds with the charming place popular among tourists and that includes myself! Why? Because there is a breezy feeling as soon as you walk along its streets, especially when you see all the colorful decorations along the way, the specialty foods sold on streets, smiling and hospitable Lucbanons inviting tourists to come to their house...everything in that occasion are just pleasant to experience.

Organic ornaments.
The Pahiyas is one of the most celebrated festival in the Philippines and is gaining popularity all over the world due to its extraordinary representation of their products particularly in agriculture. This tradition has been going on since the 1500s, way back when the natives of Lucban, celebrated for their bountiful harvest of rice, fruits and vegetables in honor of their "Anitos". They gather their harvest to partake and drink "tuba" (natural wine from coconut, buri or cabo negro "kaong"). By doing the merriment, they believe to have another fruitful harvest on the following years. And as years passed by, the festival was dedicated to Saint Isidore, when the first church was built in Lucban.

Ginger and kaong (cabo negro) arranged like curtains.
Rice kiping is the symbol of "Pahiyas Festival", it is one of the main attractions during the feast which comes in different designs and colors and are decorated in front of their houses. They make artificial flowers with it or sometimes they make chandeliers out of it! The kiping is derived from the word "Kipi" which means to dehydrate the dough by putting heavy object on it! It was during the Manila-Acapulco trade era, when Capt. Francisco de los Santos and Juan Suarez both from Lucban, made a tour to observe home industries in Mexico which can be applied here in the country for commercial purposes. Since Mang Juan has a knack on making finger foods, he learned the basics of making "tacos" which is popular in Mexico and brought home his knowledge and applied it on rice by trying different ways on how to improve the product until he mastered the art of making "kiping". How smart! Kiping are edible because they're made from rice and water, they're crunchy and fun to eat!

Flower kiping.
Aside from the grand display of kiping on each household a mass and procession in honor of Saint Isidore is celebrated on the said day. A parade of lovely ladies from Lucban, displaying the most fashionable creations of fashion designer using organic materials are paraded in Lucban. The beauty of the ladies and dashing gentlemen were enhanced wearing all those unique dresses in attractive colors and decorations!

Well, houses had their own style of displaying their harvest too. They don't only hang kiping but they also flaunt their harvest in an amazing way that it will make you think how diligent and patient these people are! Like arranging "upo" (bottle gourd), "siling panigang" (green pepper) and tomatoes like curtains!

How about finishing the house wall with all sorts of grains?

Or squash, string beans, and chayote welcoming guests?

Well they also decorate their houses with native hand fans just in case you want to stay cool. Aren't they so creative and so interesting?  And there's so much to see in Lucban!

Well another reason why Lucban is being flocked by tourists, is because of their tasty Lucban longganisa (sausage). Those little red and garlicky sausages with aroma that has a distinctive scent that smells so good! It will make you hungry I swear. It is sold in market and stores in Lucban and other towns nearby. They are usually fried and dipped in vinegar served with fried rice and egg. It can also be grilled and eat them while roaming around the town during the feast!

Another street food which is a best seller in Lucban is the "pilipit" made from mashed squash and dipped in caramelized brown sugar and shaped like a pretzel. It is called pilipit because it's twisted! Hmm, the picture of pilipit always lingers in my mind since I had a taste of it.

Colorful native hats made from "buntal" are also sold in the streets to ease the heat of the sun while walking along Lucban. Buntal hats are made from the fibers of palm trees, which is also one of the livelihood industries in Lucban, they can also be made into slippers, bags and other things.

Well, so much for these, if I would post all my pictures here in my blog, it would take too long before I could finish it, well the best thing is go and visit Lucban, Quezon every 15th of May and watch the spectacular display of the Lucbanons bounty harvest right in front of their houses! Save the date!

1. Lucban is accesible by land via Lucena, take a bus going to Lucena Grand Terminal and ride a jeepney going to Lucban.

2. If you're driving your own vehicle, take SLEX (South Luzon Expressway), exit at Calamba and drive towards Sta. Cruz, Laguna then take Majayjay-Lucban Road via Nagcarlan, Laguna.

NOTE: I would like to acknowledge a friend for lending me some photos.

Thank you for reading.

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