Saturday, May 21, 2011

Pahiyas Festival Weekend

It was another hot weekend and I woke up early to meet my usual trekking group for a different kind of adventure. It is May 15 and in Lucban, Quezon, this means that it is time for the Pahiyas Festival.

The Pahiyas Festival is an annual celebration of the feast of San Isidro Labrador (St. Isidore), the Patron Saint of the farmers and of good harvest. Traditionally, they decorate their houses with their harvest. The kiping is one of the most famous decor they have. It is made of ground malagkit rice and shaped into leaves in different colors. The people there use these to create pretty and colorful decorations that they hang in front of their houses.

The church, where all festivities begins and ends

I dreamed of seeing it back when I was in grade school and is studying about Philippine Festivals and now is my chance to see it personally and experience one of the most famed festivals here.

We traveled from Manila to Lucena in Quezon early Sunday morning. From Lucena, we rode a jeepney going to Lucban. A few meters away from the town proper, the vehicles are not moving and we need to walk going there. Good thing, we are all fine with walking since most of us climb the mountains. Also, there is no choice but to walk. We passed by Kamay ni Hesus Shrine and dropped by there for a while. After there, we all went back to the main street and continued walking until we reached the town proper where most of the festivities are happening.

It was high noon and we haven't had lunch yet and so, while walking the streets of Lucban, we admire the decoration, keep away from large crowd, and looked for a place to eat. We didn't want to try those established restaurants in town for two main reasons, their price is too expensive and their places are too crowded, and so, we are looking for a cheap but nice place to eat.

Pancit Habhab
As we walk on the different streets, we were really really hungry that when we saw a small stall selling Pancit Habhab, we immediately bought one. Pancit Habhab is a dish unique in Lucban. It is composed mainly of noodles sautéd in some vegetables. There are few or no meat at all. It is served in a banana leaf and with no utensils. How you eat it is one of the unique experience in Lucban. Since there are no utensils, you need to eat it from the palm of your hand, or habhab in their local dialect. That is where the name came from. You can place vinegar for added flavor on it. It was good especially if you are super hungry like us.

Lucban Longganisa
 After a while, the rest of us contacted us since they have found a small eatery nearby. They actually sell Lucban Longganisa but you can also order rice and other dishes there. The Longganisa can be purchased raw or you can have them cook it for you to enjoy there. We just order some drinks on a store nearby and our mini feast began! The Lucban Longganisa, like the Pancit Habhab, is best paired with vinegar. The taste is unique and not like the other longganisas that are sweet. It is a bit garlicy and a bit dry but it was yummy and is perfect with rice. That was our lunch for that day and it was filling that we are ready for the adventures ahead of us.

Lucban Longganisa Meal
After we had lunch, we went to the church to see what was happening. There is a parade of some higantes and it looked like the people are having fun. After a few photos, we decided to go on the streets again.

Higantes of Buddy's Restaurant
Kids in the parade

Carabaos carrying harvest

prettily decorated houses

habhab on parade

Generous Lolo giving away money

As we were walking and taking photos, we are surprised to see ourselves in the middle of the parade. We didn't got to the side and watched, instead, we followed them through the prettily decorated houses. It was fun that we were there in the middle of the parade and people are taking pictures. Soon, after we had walked the entire streets, we decided to go out of the parade's way and continue to our planned trip. We walked ahead and left Lucban for a while to relax in the waterfalls of Majayjay, Laguna.

It was fun and tiring at the same time being part of the festivities. I sure enjoyed my stay at Lucban and I hope I could come back and celebrate with them again in the years to come. I definitely enjoyed my Pahiyas Festival weekend!

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