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The Pahiyas Festival in Lucban, Quezon

The Pahiyas Festival in Lucban, Quezon is one of the best fiestas in the Philippines. Instead of street dances as the highlight of the celebration like those seen among other known local festivals in the country, the main attraction here are the facades of the houses decorated by "kiping", an edible leaf - shaped rice wafer usually formed into beautiful multi - colored chandeliers locally known as "aranya". 

The of the facade is decorated by the house owner's biggest and good - looking harvested fruits, vegetables, plants and sometimes livestock like fish and chicken!

This is celebrated every 15th of May and I am so thankful to be there personally to join the people of Lucban, Quezon as the day of honoring San Isidro Labrador, the patron saint of the farmers but actually he is not their town's patron saint. I am really amazed to see the long lines of houses colorfully and artistically decorated in all sorts of shapes, sizes and styles. 

Aranya of kipings

The sun is already up when we started walking to see one by one but it did not stop me from taking pictures of these intricately-adorned by kiping houses  that can only be found in Lucban, Quezon. I can just imagine the enormous skills that the locals used to build these!

The Pahiyas Festival is one of the many local celebrations that the Quezon Province always looks forward to boast its local tourism.  They also have "Agawan sa Sariaya", "Mayohan sa Tayabas", "Arañat Baluarte sa Gumaca" and "Subugan sa Agdangan". But I think what sets Pahiyas apart from these is the vibrant atmosphere that it creates out from their faith and as a way of thanksgiving for their bountiful harvest.

Of all those arts I saw, it is the "kiping" that really caught my curiosity of how to make one. I asked the mothers selling along the street of this and I was told the basic ingredients are ground rice, food, color, sugar and water.  The kiping can be eaten grilled and fried. Imagine a decoration that can be eaten. That's the unique characteristic of a kiping!

Apart from these colorful houses,  you may also check out the "gigantes" or those super-sized doll-version of people dressed in native costumes. It appears walking by themselves because there is a person inside it.

After hours of walking I am sure you will be tired and hungry. Two local dishes I recommend: pancit hab-hab and lucban longanisa. The pancit hab - hab is usually eaten without using a fork and served only in a fresh banana leaf.  Forget your table manners for a while my dear. You need to use your mouth to eat it. Just be carefuld not to let the noodles end over your face. One serving of this costs only P10! The lucban longanisa is their own version of a Filipino sausage known for its garlicky taste. Don't forget to dip this in a vinegar. One fried piece of this only costs P20! To top it all of, one small cup of buko juice (only costs P5) is all you need for a perfect snack in Lucban, Quezon.

Once your stomach is full and if you think you had enough of pictures of these Pahiyas-inspired houses, I suggest you visit two other known tourist spots in the area: the Kamay Ni Hesus statue, (prepare to climb 300++ steps going on top of the hill where a 50-feet tall statue of Christ lies) and centuries - old Lucban Church.

To ensure that this very unique tradition of Lucban is continued for the years to come, the municipal government of the province also gives prices to the most beautifully adorned houses that exerted efforts and devotion for a legacy that are passed from many generations of the past. 

For pasalubong, please don't forget to buy the kesong puti made from the carabao's milk (P50 per cube), T-shirts that bear the Pahiyas name and a lot of Lucban's local crafts: You can find them everywhere!

How to go to Lucban, Quezon from Manila

via public vehicles
From Cubao terminal bus station, you can take Manila - Lucena route.
It only takes 3 hours to reach the place.

via private car
You can take the SLEX route then Calamba exit then all the way to Quezon province.

If you don't have the time and resources to plan your trip next year, we also offer a hassle - free one day tour to Pahiyas Festival every May 15th with a side trip to Liliw, Laguna known for its footwear.  Just a send us a message and we will get back to you soon.

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