The San Isidro Pahiyas festival or popularly known as the Pahiyas Festival is one among the most awaited and celebrated Festival in the Philippines. Held every 15th of May in Lucban, Quezon Province, Pahiyas Festival is Lucban’s form of thanksgiving for a bountiful harvest in honor of San Isidro de Labrador, patron saint of farmers. The festival is pegged as the fiesta that ends all fiestas because of its unique festival of colors showcased thru the beautifully adorned Lucban houses.
I was lucky to experience the recent Pahiyas Festival. It was my first time to attend a huge Philippine festival and I must say that the Pahiyas did not disappoint!
If you missed the Pahiyas festival 2016, here are my top 5 reasons why you should visit the next year’s festival:
1. The Colorfully Adorned Houses
If you watch Philippine tourism videos, you will definitely not miss seeing the colorfully adorned houses of the Pahiyas Festival. The annual Pahiyas Festival is truly one among the most popular and colorful event in the country.
Every year, Lucban households decorate their houses with Kiping accented with farm products such as rice, vegetables and fruits. Kipings are made of ground rice flour that are shaped using leaves. Interestingly enough, these colorful decorations are edible! Locals usually form a chandelier out of the kipings which is known as Arangya. Huge flowers made up of Kipings are also a common decor in the colorfully adorned Lucban houses.
Tip: Stay until evening where the already beautifully designed houses turn glorious. Sadly, my camera ran out of battery before sunset and I missed taking photos of the houses during that evening.
2. Pahiyas Festival Parade
Upon checking one house after the other, me and Jen (my company during the Pahiyas) reached the public market area. We were surprised that a parade was about to start few meters from us. I was delighted and immediately looked for a good spot before the parade passes us.
The parade started with a street dance in the tune of “It’s more fun in the Philippines” and the “Pahiyas festival song”. It was very festive that I did not bother the scorching heat of the sun. The parade was preceded by “Parikitan” where young ladies and gents paraded on their intricately designed Filipiniana attire. There was also a Gayak Karosa where beautifully designed carts were being pulled by Carabaos. There were also marching bands, majorettes and Gigantes of Lucban.
Tip: The parade starts at 2:00 PM and lasts for about an hour.
3. Lucban’s Pancit Habhab
Apart from the annual Pahiyas, Lucban is also famous for its Pancit Habhab. You can have a taste of this delicious Lucban pancit all year round as Lucban restaurants and eateries offer this delicious pancit. But having Pancit Habhab prepared by a Lucban household is quite an experience. It’s like eating a non-commercialized and an authentic “lutong bahay” prepared by Lucbaueno nanays and lolas.
Tip: During Pahiyas, there is a household selling pancit habhab in almost every street of Lucban. How much per order? Only 10 Php!
4. The Edible Kiping!
Few minutes after arriving in Lucban, I was wondering if I could just pick a kiping from one of the houses as I badly wanted to taste it. Good thing that I was able to control myself as we found out that there were a few household selling these colorful and edible Pahiyas decors. We tried the fried kiping for only 15Pesos per order. It was like a chicharon but was a bit tasteless since it is made of rice flour. To add flavor, sugar is sprinkled in fried kiping.
Tip: Don’t dare pick kiping to any of the houses lol
5. The Pahiyas Festival Experience
I have not been to any other major and grand Philippine festivals so I could not compare if Pahiyas is the grandest and most celebrated. I could not also say if it is the annual festival that ends all other festivals in the country. But one thing for sure, Pahiyas Festival is truly an event that Filipinos should be proud of. It was an overwhelming experience to be part of a grand thanksgiving celebration.
No wonder why Pahiyas Festival is always included in Philippine tourism promotional videos. With its colorful houses, festive parade, friendly locals and delicious foods, Pahiyas Festival is truly one of the reasons why it is more fun in the Philippines!