The Colors of Pahiyas

Image courtesy of Pahiyas.com

Have you ever experienced the Pahiyas Festival in Lucban, Quezon? I have, once, and I honestly want to go there again!

But when? The Pahiyas Festival happens every May 15, a summer day. This means that you should go there in your favorite tank top, shorts, and Toms. Just buy a wide-brimmed hat along the streets of Lucban on the day of the event.

Go where the colors are. Image courtesy of Pahiyasfestival.com

What should I expect when I go? Based on experience, a huge crowd of people who all walk in a single direction – to where the colors are. Pahiyas is characterized by houses and walls decorated by rice wafers, which are actually edible! Just don’t try to eat them off the walls, lest the people who labored in making the wafers and setting them up for the festivities maul you.

The famous Pancit Habhab

But what to eat? Actually, you can simply enter a house and take a bite of the rice wafers that they use as decorations. Those that aren’t used to prettify the houses are sweetened with sugar bits and then fried to crispy goodness. Don’t skip on eating pansit habhab too! It’s just like any Filipino noodle dish, but the catch is that you should eat it off a banana leaf and without the help of any spoon/fork/utensil. In a sense, what happens between the noodles and your mouth stays between the noodles and your mouth. Not a very glamorous way to eat, but where’s the fun in using a fork, right? Besides, everybody eats noodles that way; you’d end up being the funny one if you don’t do the same. Lucban definitely turns into an interesting place for foodies during the Pahiyas Festival.

Great! Why is the Pahiyas celebrated again? To some, it’s celebrated because it’s a day when streets turn into magical roads right off children’s books and imaginations. But the real reason for the event is to give thanks to the town’s patron saint San Isidro Labrador for giving the farmers a good harvest all throughout the year. Naturally, the festival is also done to ask the Saint for another bountiful harvest in the coming year.

Anything else I need to know? Nothing more, actually. If you know how a typical Pinoy fiesta goes, then you know how the Pahiyas Festival is celebrated. Basically, you’ll have overflowing food, processions held by devotees, and a celebratory mass to honor the patron saint. They say that the Pahiyas Festival is the fiesta to end all fiestas. Maybe somebody from Lucban said that.

Nevertheless, it’s worth checking out, whether you’re from a nearby town or from a far off place. It’s only around four hours away from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, very accessible from Metro Manila.

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