Quezon | Pahiyas: A Thanksgiving Festival (Schedule of Activities, How to Get There, Etc.)

Pahiyas Festival - Lucban, Quezon
in photo above is "kiping"  (leaf-shape rice wafer), a Pahiyas trademark decor

Festival, more commonly known as "fiesta", is one of the most celebrated events in the Philippines. It is part and parcel of the Filipino culture and is usually done so in honor of the locality's patron saint. One of these popularly known festivals is the Lucban San Isidro Pahiyas Festival in Quezon Province.

Pahiyas Festival is celebrated every 15th of May in honor of San Isidro Labrador, the patron saint of farmers, as a thanksgiving tradition for a bountiful harvest. Pahiyas, a term derived from the local vernacular "payas", means "decoration or to decorate" [source].  Pahiyas Festival features houses adorned with various farm produce and the famous kiping, a colorful leaf-shaped wafers made of rice dough, arranged into various shapes and decors like flowers and chandeliers.

I got the chance to witness this well-known festival in 2015. Yep, the travel was three years ago! I went there all by myself; left Manila at around 6AM, got stuck in traffic somewhere in Sariaya (I think?!? hehe), and arrived in Lucban at around 2PM; that's how long my travel time had been.

I was still able to witness the parade, though; even had the chance to roam around town first, eat street foods - habhab, Lucban longganisa, sweetened squash (I forgot how they call it). For a solo wanderer still feeling dizzy from the long travel time, the town seems too big to roam around. But after some more walking and and lots of asking around, I finally get to the streets where the colorfully and artfully designed houses are located. It really is a feast for the eyes, the townsfolk passion and creativity is admirable. I just hope they continue this tradition though, as I read somewhere that the making of kiping, a known Pahiyas trademark, is becoming a dying tradition; the younger generations of Lucbanin becoming more interested in technology and social media than preserving the Lucban and Pahiyas traditions.

Pahiyas Festival 2018: Schedule of Activities

I couldn't get hold of a detailed schedule of activities and events for this year but the following are the usual activities held during the festival:

  • Holy Mass at the San Isidro Labrador Church as well as the procession of the patron saint
  • Grand Parade featuring beautiful faces in custom-made gowns and suits usually made of local and/or indigenous materials, decorated floats, marching bands and street dancers
  • Selection and awarding of the best Pahiyas Festival House Design and Decor
  • Fireworks and performances at night

How to Get to Lucban for the Pahiyas Festival

Via Public Transport: I've read from other blogs that you can get to Lucban either via Sta. Cruz, Laguna or via Lucena. I don't know which is the better route but in my case, I chose Lucena. Several buses ply this route, with terminals in Cubao, Buendia-Taft or Pasay-Edsa so choose the one nearest you. From Lucena (SM terminal), you can then get to Lucban via a jeepney. Usual travel time is around four (4) hours but if you're traveling on the day of the festival itself, it will take around six (6) to eight (8) hours due to heavy traffic (I witnessed another town from Quezon celebrating its town fiesta on the same date).

Via Private Car:  If you're driving, you probably can take the same route as above or you may let google guide your way to Lucban. However, as I've mentioned above, there's heavy traffic on the day of the festival so I'd suggest you take Batangas route. From Manila, drive through SLEX and Star Tollway, exit at Lipa going to Ibaan, Rosario, San Juan (all in Batangas) all the way to Sariaya, Tayabas and then Lucban. I don't know if this is shorter but it's probably more convenient as I'm assuming there's less traffic in this route. We used this route actually, on our road trip to Kamay ni Hesus Shrine.

Other Places to Visit In Or Near Lucban

Kamay ni Hesus Shrine

Pahiyas Festival can be done DIY-style and on a day tour (just like what I did). But if you're with friends, it might be better to stay overnight, watch the continuation of the festivities at night and explore other places in or near Lucban, Quezon. One of the places you can check out is Kamay ni Hesus Shrine (you'll pass by the Shrine on your way to the festival). You can also do some food trip at Kamayan sa Palaisdaan in Tayabas, just a few minutes away from Kamay ni Hesus Shrine. Kamayan sa Palaisdaan also has a resort where you can stay for the night, if you haven't yet decided on a place to stay.

floating nipa hut at Kamayan sa Palaisdaan

~ oo00oo ~

Happy Sunday everyone! God bless!

~ oo00oo ~

Pahiyas Festival
Lucban, Quezon
Date of Visit: May 15, 2015
Expenses Incurred: around 800 Php,
including foods and transportation

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