It was a sudden trip that my balikbayan grandmother took us to. I was supposed to attend a press briefing, but I had to make way for her because it’s only in every two years does she come home to the Philippines. We thus went to Pahiyas Festival last May 15. Read more…
Held every May 15, the Pahiyas Festival of Lucban, Quezon corresponds to the feast day of Saint Isidore the Laborer (Filipino/Spanish: San Isidro Labrador), the patron saint of farmers. This festival is considered to be one of the Philippines’ most colorful, as houses are adorned with harvest—vegetables, fruits, and rice in the form of the famous kiping or thin rice wafers.
Our morning started off cloudy and cool. It was my second time doing Pahiyas; my first time being some five years ago. With the festival falling on a Tuesday, I was expecting this year’s to be less crowded, but a short walk from our parking slot proved me wrong.
We went to hear a morning mass at the heritage Saint Louise Bishop of Toulouse Parish Church, which was first built in 1593. Surprisingly, I’ve never been to Lucban’s church.
We went around the stalls selling all sorts of food, among them the must-eat pancit habhab. Habhab or to consume directly from the banana leaf is the manner of eating this drenched-in-vinegar noodle dish. It’s filling at only 10 PHP, but its priced doubled from five years ago. Also spotted were the budin or the local version of cassava cake, and of course, fried kiping.
We then went to the houses, which were the highlight of the festival. The decorations were so elaborate that we wondered how many days it took them to impressively form them.
Despite the heat, the people were undeterred in taking pictures and appreciating the houses. The volume of people added to the festive and colorful aura that can be felt there.
Unfortunately, the sun was too strong for my grandmother, so we just went to Lucban favorite Buddy’s for lunch. We feasted on Pancit Lucban, longganisa, and sisig, among others.
After a quick stop to buy souvenirs, I somewhat felt bad that we couldn’t stay the entire day for more houses, the parade, and the beauty pageant. We missed quite a lot, but spending half a day in Pahiyas already proved to me that it is indeed fun in Lucban.
How to get there: The most conventional way to get to Lucban, Quezon is via Lucena. There are several bus lines traveling from Manila to Lucena, and there are lots of jeepneys that connect Lucban and Lucena. The traffic, however, is dreaded during the Pahiyas Festival, as there are some towns that simultaneously celebrate their fiestas. The alternate commuting route is to go to Pagsanjan via Sta. Cruz, Laguna aboard a bus from Manila. From near the Pagsanjan Church, there’s a jeepney to Lucban. Those driving may also explore a shorter route via Majayjay, Laguna.