Pahiyas Festival is an event we celebrated here in Lucban way back before the Spaniards came. As far as my grandfather remembered, he said at that time they will brought their harvests vegetables, fruits and rice to the Church to be blessed by the Priest and in honor of San Isidro Labrador. But when number of people started to increase in Lucban, the Church cannot accommodate anymore when the said event comes. So they decided that they will put their bountiful harvests in front of their houses and the Priest will blessed it through the procession with San Isidro Labrador. Eventually, the people decided to decorate their houses with the harvest and the Pahiyas Festival was born.
Pahiyas is one of the most colorful festivals in the Philippines. It is where locals of Lucban celebrate the feast day of San Isidro, the patron saint of farmers. Every 15th of May, residents decorate their houses with fresh fruits, vegetables, grains and KIPING--a colored paper like material made from rice.
The best way to do this is during the early hours in the morning because the sun is not that hot and the crowd admiring the decorations are still manageable. If you start walking late, not only that it will be too hot, you'll also have to fight for a space to take pictures with the decorations, which could really be a hassle.
Lucban is famous for it's Pancit Habhab. It is a noodle dish sold in the street during Pahiyas Festival. What is unique about this dish is, it is placed in a banana leaf and you have to eat it without any spoon and fork. So you have to eat it "Habhab" style...thus the name.
The rainbow-colored "kipings" adorning the houses would give the photo-entusiasts' finger a-clicking at a fast rate. Bring enough memory capacity of your digicam plus a full-charged battery.
The color explosion is awesome as you view the shots later in the computer.
It is a few kilometers away from the town center of Lucban. It is where you can find the giant grotto of Jesus situated on the top of a hill. The life and suffering of Jesus is also depicted here by life size statues. So if you are strong enough to climb 300 steps , and wants to enjoy the nice view of Lucban try this one.
Pilgrims usually travel to this place to attend the healing masses of renowned healing priest Rev. Fr. Joey Faller.
There are souvenir shops and stores where you can buy some treats for your friends.
it is the philippine version of sausages and this version of lucban is unlike the other versions in the other areas wherein it has a garlicky taste and is less sweet that the average longganisa of other regions hence is a favorite pasalubong item. it is best eaten with garlic fried rice with filipino suka (vinegar) as dipping sauce and it comes in small or large sizes. 1 kilo of the small ones costs 180 pesos a kilo and the large ones costss 190 pesos a kilo.
warning: it has a very pungent smell so that when you are buying it, it is wrapped in newwspaper wrappings as to hide the pungent smell.
Don't forget to have a taste of their local food after the Pahiyas festival or after you visit places at Lucban. Pancit habhab on a banana leaf is hard for me to eat though so I decided to have a plate :) You will put vinegar and try to eat without the aid of fork etc. Just put it directly to your mouth like a dog eating.
Lucban langgonisa is another one. They have this taste different from other local langgonisa of the Philippines.
Try to buy a colorful Buri hat for yourself so that you have a sun protection at the same time blends the colorful Pahiyas festival.
Derived from the local Filipino word “Payas,” which means to decorate.
Held every year on the 15th of May to honor St. Isidore (the patron of farmers, peasants, day laborers, and rural communities)
It's very colorful and I don't mind the heat while taking pictures of those colorful houses.
Actually each household decorates the facade of their house uniquely with colored “kiping” which are made out of grounded rice flour, shaped like leaves. It is colored radiantly in red, pink, green and other bright colors. Fruits,vegetables and other agricultural products are also being used for decorations. I think it is a contest and a big prize awaits the winner
Some other things are the bazaar of their handmade crafts like straw hats that are worn during the festival.
Don't forget to have a taste of their Lucban longganisa and pancit habhab.
If you are a old church lover like me, don't forget this very old church of Lucban.
This is the parish of Saint Louis, Bishop of Tolouse. Very old church that was first constructed in 1595. This is one of the purpose of Spaniards why they invaded Philippines to teach Christianity and construction of Churches after their invasion in 1521 begun on various location.This Church was was ruined by fires in different occasions so underwent renovations. The present church was completed in 1738.
It would be such a waste of good memories if you don't bring your camera with you to capture the festive mood of Pahiyas Festival. Users of point & shoot cameras have less problems with this, but some dlsr users feel so conscious and insecure having to bring their big camera and gear. Don't be afraid to bring your DLSR, special lenses & accessories. The Lucbanins are peace-loving people. I was told by a friend that even if you walk alone in the streets at night, you need not be afraid. During Pahiyas Festival, the Lucbanins keep an eye on tourists who might need help, and even volunteer their houses and/or streets to be the subjects for photography.
The different government and non-government offices participated in the Float Parade held on Pahiyas Eve. Jeepneys and pick-ups were adorned with vegetables, flowers, forest plants & leaves; some even had nipa huts and landscape motif with a statue of St. Isidore as centerpiece. All participants were in a festive mood as they paraded, to the delight of locals and tourists who watched from the sidewalks. It drizzled a bit, but it didn't dampen the spirit of the people.
The floats paraded on the Pahiyas route, where homeowners were still busy decorating their houses.
The Municipal Building is right infront of Plaza Rizal at Quezon Avenue, and is very near Patio Rizal and other business establishments. In case, you have any questions about the town, you can approach anyone there. They are very hospitable, and ready to help you out with directions on where to go, what to buy,etc.
During the Pahiyas Festival, tourists are treated to free "pancit habhab" at designated points (at the street corners where Pahiyas streamers are hung). The catch: you'll have to eat it the Lucbanin way. Sans spoon & fork, you have to use your tongue and lips to "suck" the noodles to fully put it into your mouth.
My husband and I usually "lose" each other during the festivals, especially when we are so engrossed with taking pictures. That is why we always agree on a meeting place in case we "lose" each other. In the case of Lucban, the town is very small, but with so many people, one can easily be out of sight. We chose Rizal Plaza as our meeting place because in case we get "lost", any local can point to us the direction to Plaza Rizal, and the statue of Dr. Jose Rizal is high enough to be seen despite the hordes of people. If you're lucky, you can even sit on one of the benches there while waiting; and if you get hungry, you can buy snacks from nearby Buddy's and still have a good view of Plaza Rizal.
On ordinary days, you can park your car in the church compound and walk the narrow streets to the restaurant or other places of interest. You might be approached by some ambulant vendors, but it is safe to ignore them.
On Pahiyas Festival, main streets are blocked. You have no choice but to walk the streets. It's okay; buntings hung over the streets are a beautiful, happy sight, making it pleasurable to walk despite the heat and overcrowded streets. In my case, unexpected discovery of beautiful heritage houses added meaning to my walk.
Hospitality of the locals and police visibility also boost the feeling of security of tourists.