Food Is Not Just For Eating In Pahiyas...

Lucban Travel Blog

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May 15, a day associated by most Filipinos to one festivity - that is of Pahiyas Festival. For months, I have been planning to experience Pahiyas. Since it fell on a Friday this year, I even thought of faking my medical leave since I am still under 6 months in my current job. If I filed for a vacation leave, it would be no pay for me for that day... Okay... after some thinking, I decided to file for a valid vacation leave. I don't want to feel guilty and all anyway.

Initially, we planned to drive all the way from Manila to Lucban, where Pahiyas is held. But since we don't know anyone or anything in Lucban, we opted to join a daytrip which was offered by Nature Awareness and Conservation Club.
At first, only my sister and me signed up and paid for our trip a month before, then few friends followed. Lastly, my mom who surprised us with a visit here in Manila. Since we can't leave her in Manila by herself, we also signed her up for this trip. And on the day before the trip, four of my relatives on my father's side asked me if they an still join the trip. And they were lucky... We had an instant family reunion in Lucban.. :)

Since this is just a daytrip and it would take 3 hours to get to Lucban, the trip's assembly time was at 4:30 AM in EDSA corner McKinley road. It was the hardest part of the trip for me - waking up way too early for my normal day. Anyway, my mom and my sister woke me up after they finished with their preparations. It was a good thing I prepared the night before for my camera, extra battery and few shirts.
I was wishing that it won't rain in Lucban for that day but at the back of my mind, I know the chances of rain would be high since the weather authority has signaled the end of summer and hello rainy days for us here in the Philippines.

About 10 minutes pass 5 AM, the tour bus started rolling. I was sleeping most of the trip, I was awaken when everything I saw was already of rice paddies and green mountain, this was far cry from what I normally see in Manila - of filth, poverty and lifeless corporate living. My mom and sister were seated next to each other and I was seated to a total stranger. By 8:20, we were already at Lucban's crossing, the bus was not allowed to go nearer the town, we were all asked to just walk to the town or ride a tuktuk.

We reach the first block of the town, and hello world! the house is amazingly decorated with nothing but food.

In Pahiyas, food is not just for eating, the decoration of the houses from the roof to the ground are all edible.

To my estimation, about 700 houses are decorated. Also, I gathered that there are 4 routes for Pahiyas, which means, only once in every 4 years a household would prepare for such extravagant fiesta. I was enjoying every moment of the picture perfect day in Lucban. The town is also famous for pancit habhab, a noodle eaten on a banana leaf, eaten with barehands. I was surprised when a local offered me their pancit habhab for free, that was when I realized that I was back in a province, you can't find people giving away free noodles in cities like Manila anyway.
I am still a certified provincial man, I think. ;)

Anyway, after an hour of enjoying the burst of colors and festive mood of the town, we reached the town's old Church, a baroque spanish church. A mass was held and most locals are in this church to particularly give thanks to their patron saint, San Isidro Labrador, patron of farmers. He is probably one of the most famous saints among Filipinos, since a great chunk of the population are farmers. Farming and Catholicism equals San Isidro. Fiesta's like this is a day of giving thanks to the patron and giving back to the community. For people in Lucban, Pahiyas is a way of giving thanks for a year of good harvest, and they are giving back and sharing among visitors their harvest by throwing such colorful party. You don't need electronics or other gadgets, in Lucban, they use their harvest and food as their decoration.
The leaflike decor is called Kiping. It is made of sticky ride flatten on a very special mold to make a leaf adornment. Thousands of kiping are used on this festival which are painted into different colors. There was even a flag of the Philippines made of Kiping.

After the church, we then explored the parallel street where houses lined there were decorated as well. There's a big grotto about 15 minutes away from the town but I was not able to see that, there's no tricycle willing to bring me and my mom there. And since we only have few hours left (as per tour's itinerary), we drop the thought of going there. We just simply enjoyed Pahiyas some more. There were several thousand tourists in Lucban and everyone was just happy to be there. I was so happy to be there, and happier when I thought about my peers, they were in the office stuck in front of their computers! hahaha.

And yes, there was no rain where we were there. :)

By 1130, we decided to bid goodbye to Lucban with colors exploding in my mind whenever I think of the small lovely town. Good bye Lucban, you have been very gracious to me and my family and friends.

Writing about you is my only way of saying "Thank you".
Cristine27 says:
nice photos!
Posted on: May 16, 2010
ellechic says:
great blog. wonderful photos of the festival. so colorful!
Posted on: May 17, 2009
chefjanjie says:
Wow! Fantastic write-up about my hometown. Unfortunately I wasn't able to come and witness the Pahiyas festival this year. Last year kasi it was raining and somehow spoiled the event. Next time you want to visit Lucban again just let me know. I'll be your tour guide and ofcourse you don't have to worry about the place to stay anymore. There's a lot more to do and visit in Lucban. You haven't experience yet the weather like Baguio and the food trippings in Lucban.
Posted on: May 16, 2009
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Lucban General Tips & Advice review
They offered a Pahiyas Package for a 888 pesos if you pay 2 weeks before the date of the festival. Reasons why I was satisfied: 1. We don't kno… read entire review
photo by: planisphere