Entering the Town of Lucban
The pastoral village of Lucban, Quezon, with the Mystical Mt. Banahaw looming over its backdrop, transforms itself into a tourist hotspot every 15th of May. With myriad colored Kipings (rice leaves) plastered on many houses id different decorative patterns, it is indeed a feast of the senses to walk (or better yet squirm) over its crowded streets when the town celebrate it’s “San Isidro Festival” popularly known as the “Pahiyas Festival”
Just take a look at that crowded street.
Most of my companions were first time visitors of the said festival, one visited the festival way back when he was around 10 years of age. So most of us didn’t know what to expect from the event. After parking our vehicle in a nearby subdivision, we walked, under the heat of the sun inside the town. It was quite a walk, but we stumbled upon some nice fancy sombrero’s (Hats)and bought each for us. Helps a bit with the sun blazing over our heads. Rubbing shoulders on the way were mostly local tourist, and a considerable amount of foreigners with cameras dangling over their shoulders. Pahiyas is very popular to Photographers , wannabe photographers or pretending photographers as it gives them opportunity to practice their skills on this colorful event. Hey, with the already nice backdrop, taking nice photos here would be easy. Hehehe.
Sombreros Galore! I’m sure you’ll find a style you’ll like.
Main attraction in the Festival are the decorated houses, using Kiping. Kipings are pounded rice shaped into leaves and dried up. Tied together, they form different patterns of decorations. These Kipings are also edible, aside from being decoration, there are also served either as Ihaw (roasted on coal) or fried. I tasted a fried Kiping topped with Mayonaise sauce and some cheese powder. I thought it was delicious! It taste a bit like a popcorn but thinner and crispier.
Kids very much enjoy the colors of the Pahiyas.
“Yung mga tumutulong kili-kili dyan! Ito pamunas para sa inyong mga tumutulong kili-kili!” (“For those dripping underarms! Here’s a cloth for your dripping underarms!”)a vendor was shouting in the midst of the crowded streets. Can’t help to laugh at the thought of buying. Amusing nonetheless. But fortunately there were various ways to beat the heat, and also a favorable way to stimulate our tastebuds. There were lots of food in every corner. Their “ice candy salad” is the best I have tasted. They have this 5 pesos Pancit Hab-hab, and refreshing gulamans. You’ll never go hungry here. For lunch we devoured on 2 servings of Pancit Lucban Special and very tasty (and expensive) Lucban Langonisa.
A photographer shoots away at one of the better decorated house
Late in the afternoon, the winners of the best decorated house is awarded with a price. Also there’s the parade of the Carabaos. We decided not to stay that long though since we thought we beat the others on our way home. We’re sure there would be traffic all the way back to the Metro. Besides, walking all day in the crowded streets doing an Akyat-bahay thingie on some better decorated houses, and taking pictures and posing from their decorated windows was exhausting.
Check out those chicks! Where else can you find them in different colors
The visit to Pahiyas was worthwhile not only in our eyes but also in our tummies. For a measely 300-400 bucks, it’s a great and fun weekend get-away, until my camera’s batteries unexpectedly ran-out in the midst of shooting. Great!
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.