Pahiyas in Colors

Every 15th of May, the Pahiyas Festival is celebrated by the townspeople of Lucban, Quezon. It is to honor the patron saint, San Isidro Labrador, in thanksgiving for the town’s plentiful harvest and abundance.

Pahiyas features an array of colorful and festive decoration on locals’ homes, highlighting the kiping (rice wafers) in leaf-like shapes and in bright colors arranged in layers and chandeliers, patterned into floras together with other ornaments and paper maches.

We left Manila around 6:30AM (original plan was 4:30AM, we woke up late, everything follows) and worked our way to Lucban, Quezon via C6 road. I slept myself on the entire trip due to the very little sleep I had the night beforehand. Woke up when we got to Lumban, I kept making jokes about how close we were getting to Lucban since Lu(m)ban and Lu(c)ban are 9 letters apart. Hehe.

We passed the town of Luisiana, Laguna wherein they had their Pandan Festival last April 1-3, some of the houses still had Pandan decorations on them and it was just until last Sunday that I found such festival exists. I think it’s worth a visit (next year!), the decorations were really impressive.

The streets were packed with people already. It was terribly hot and walking under the blazing sun was a killjoy but the fetching banderitas (trimmings) were amusing to watch.

Higantes prep’d up for the procession to be held later that afternoon.

Lucban Church. Click the image to see the larger version. I missed taking panoramics on my travels.

I always liked churches with simple yet nice interiors. It was my first time there, yay for first time wishes! ๐Ÿ™‚

The Pahiyas diorama found inside the church. Dioramas like this are interesting (well, all dioramas are) and fun to observe, especially the minute details that makes the whole picture perfect.

Saw this little girl in the diorama and I claimed that it might be me. Yellow and a camera in hand? Yes, that is definitely me. ๐Ÿ™‚

After a visit to the church, roaming the streets followed! ๐Ÿ˜€ It was filled with people and refreshment breaks every now and then was necessary. I had my first encounter with Pancit Habhab and being the person who loves noodles, I got addicted. I had mine from a local home (I decided to keep away from Buddy’s :P) and their version was my favorite, peppery and the noodles firm. And not to mention, one serving is only Php7! I was suprised how cheap it is, so I had two! Lol.

Of course, the experience wouldn’t be complete if you don’t eat it the “habhab” way. Literally just DIG IN!
No worries, they had forks ready just in case. But what made me wonder was that, habhab is a common word in Cebuano, which means to eat eagerly. And it surprised me how it reached Lucban which is a Tagalog domain. A crossover, perhaps?

Photo ops with the Kiping man as I call him..or her(?)

Balloon vendors were all over the place. And the shark balloons caught my eye! I literally went after one vendor to get one. It was expensive though, Php50 for a balloon?! The haggling didn’t work but I really wanted my own shark so I gave in. I had a blue one and the litol sister had the pink one.

The sightseeing begins! Homes adorned with bright, colorful decorations! We were only able to browse one long street and the elders got too tired from the heat after (hence I wasn’t able to see all the houses).

Why yes, you can actually eat the kiping. No, not straight as raw. Lucban locals recommends grilling it or frying it then powder on some cheese flavor. I am thinking it might taste like tortillas.

Colored rice pops hanged in plants as decoration and the famous Lucban longganisa!

(L-R, clockwise): Adorned pancit habhab carts by local vendors getting ready for the parade; higante paper maches one of which is Dora the Explorer (I should’ve had a photo with it, to commemorate myself being a wanderlust); a mini kiping chandelier; carabaos paraded the streets of Lucban as they were part of the procession.

What really caught my attention in Lucban was that they are not allowed to use plastic (well, like plastic cups, straws and the like), and when you buy pasalubong, they pack it in brown paper bags or you have to secure your own bayong! Even the stationed Jollibee booth during the festival replaced their styro packaging with the box cartons and no plastic bags, just brown paper bags stamped with the Jollibee seal! 
Seeing brown paper bags around the town made me happy and I bet the mother earth was glad as well.
I found this really inspiring, it is a very bold step and a big help to the environment. And the locals are very disciplined about it (otherwise they’ll be fined). Wonder if other towns could implement the same and spread the act to a nationwide level maybe? That would be really wonderful. 
Kudos to Lucban people!

More kiping in various shapes in sizes!

We didn’t stay for the parade anymore *sadface* but I was happy enough from the feast of colors under the summer heat and the impressive culture I had from the entire Pahiyas experience. It was worth the shot to annoy my mother for us to give it a visit. Haha! It gave me this ebullience to see more of our local festivals! Eating pancit habhab is now checked in my to-do list. Though I wasn’t able to get a taste of fried kiping. Next time, next time. Got inspired by the brown paper bags. Tanned my arms again (hello awkward tanlines!). Took a lot of pictures. Bought home a salakot and a shark balloon.

And I was really happy to be out traveling again! I can’t wait to get payslips again and set forth to another destination!
Hm, I wonder where to go next.

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