The Pahiyas Festival, or officially known as the Lucban San Isidro Pahiyas Festival happens only once a year, every May 15. Regardless of the day it falls, be it a weekend or a Monday, the celebration must go on as it is Catholic feast of San Isidro Labrador, the patron saint of farmers.
There are lots of events happening prior to the festival day itself – concerts, singing and dancing competition, street dancing, beauty pageant and other cultural events. But as many people asks, “do we see the decorated houses before May 15”? The answer is a BIG NO! The culmination of the festivities happen only in just one and only one day – on May 15 and that’s where all the houses are decorated with colorful kiping and farm produce, when all the grand activities happen, from morning till about midnight or early dawn.
This is my first time here in this colorful festival, and though I’m honestly not expecting extravagance, I was overwhelmed by the unbelievable faith and devotion of Lucbanon to San Pedro. More than the colorful houses adorned by the “kipings” and vegetables that they just harvested, I had a wonderful time going around town and meeting the very accommodating people of Lucban – the most reason that made me love this place more. On my visit here last May 15, most of the main roads were closed, so we were obliged to leave our car somewhere near the entrance of Lucban, and let ourselves experience local transportation in the area, which is a tricycle, to take us to the town proper. The streets were adorned with colorful banderitas, an indication of a Filipino feast well-celebrated, as the crowd leads to the center of the whole celebration.
On my visit here last May 15, most of the main roads were closed, so we were obliged to leave our car somewhere near the entrance of Lucban, and let ourselves experience local transportation in the area, which is a tricycle, to take us to the town proper. The streets were adorned with colorful banderitas, an indication of a Filipino feast well-celebrated, as the crowd leads to the center of the whole celebration.
A must see here in Lucban during Pahiyas Festival are the houses adorned by these harvested fruits and vegetables, as well as those colorful kipings, that give life and photographic look. It is only here in Lucban you could find houses adorned by these beauties, so yeah, don’t be really surprise why Pahiyas Festival is so popular. Moving deeper into the crowd, I finally caught sight of the colorful houses adorned with flowers and lined with all kinds of crops shaped into animals, hats or baskets. The main decorative material used is “kiping”, and it is produced from rice paste. I was impressed particularly by a house displayed four giant sunflowers. The artist used a “bilao” and banig shaped petals painted yellow and orange.
Mid May is the peak of summer and it wasn’t easy to course through the thick ang busy crowds in the heat. We came across some street entertainment and bought some local food along the street markets. I tried the “pancit habhab”, the town’s noodle specialty. It tasted just like any other Pancit Canton in Manila the only unique here is that you will not using utensils instead you will use only your mouth to eat all of it. Food is a big part of Philippine culture. When someone is born we eat and of course when it’s the town fiesta, we eat. Some residents open their homes and their kitchen to visitors of the town. It’s a gesture of hospitality and generosity. Although, not practiced by everyone. You will likely chance upon a home that will open its doors to you.
The highlight of the festival is the awarding of the home with the best design. Also, a mass in honor of St. Isidore was held before the awarding ceremonies, followed by a parade showcasing floats made of crops, models in crop embellished gowns and school bands also wearing some wacky outfits made of crops. We spent long hot afternoon under the sun, not wasting a moment to immerse ourselves in festivities.
Overall, it was really a fantastic festival. Though it was my first time to attend festivals here in the Philippines I can say that the Philippine culture is still alive and amazing. As a Filipino and seeing foreigners enjoying the festivals here in the Philippines it makes my heart flattered. Well, we must be proud that we are Filipinos, heads up and say that we all are proud that we are Filipinos!