Sunday, May 16, 2010

Pahiyas Festival 2010

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One of the known festivals of the Philippine Islands is the Pahiyas Festival of Lucban Quezon. Pahiyas Festival is celebrated every May 15 in honor of the town’s patron saint, San Isidro Labrador (St. Isidore Labradore).

The festival is an old harvest celebration which started in the 16th century. This was introduced by the Spaniards to the Filipinos. The celebration is a form of thanksgiving to San Isidro Labrador, the patron saint of farmers, peasants, and laborers, for the rich and bountiful harvest.

During the early times, farmers would bring their finest crops to church where the parish priest would bless them. This practice assures them of bountiful harvests for the years to come. This practice however, has evolved through the years. The latter is no longer limited to the town’s church, but has become part of every home in Lucban.

Families decorate their homes with fruits, vegetables, rice grains, flowers, and all sorts of harvests. But the most popular ornament is the kiping. The kiping is a delicate, leaf-like ornament made of rice wafers. The latter is dyed with different colors and sewn together to form two, three, or even longer layers resembling to a chandelier. The chandelier-like ornaments, called the aranya, are hung on the windows. Since the kiping is made of rice wafers, it is also edible.

There’s an annual competition for the most colourful, creative, and attractive decoration. After the competition, these ornaments are thrown or even given away to tourists who want to bring them back home. Some are even sold at a very high price. Making kiping is not easy and very meticulous. It easily breaks, thus must be handled with utmost care.

Festival highlights include the street procession of the images San Isidro Labrador and His wife, Sta. Maria dela Cabeza. The images’ carroza are decorated with fresh flowers, fruits, vegetables, and kiping. Every year, organizers change the route of the procession to give other families the chance to decorate their homes and be blessed by the parish priest. 

Travel and Coverage Tips:
- Equipped yourself first with research before immersing yourself.
- You should really book early for this festival. This is really strange, all hotel accommodations are already fully-booked for the following year. Meaning, tourists are already booked for next year's festivity.
- You can always find accommodation in nearby towns where Lucban is accessible via public transportation.
- During the festival proper, be sure to be early to avoid being crowded by tourists.
- If you are a photographer, you REALLY must be early for you to be able to take good shots. Always remember that most of the tourists will arrive between 9-10am. By then, all streets will become crowded. So be ahead! 
- Lucban is  a small town. You can go around the place via jeepneys or tricycles.

Getting to Lucban from Manila:
- Route 1: You can ride buses bound to Sta. Cruz, Laguna and get off at the town's plaza. Ride a jeep going to Lucban. Bus terminals - EDSA Kamuning (HM Transport), LRT-1 Buendia (Green Star, HM Transport, JAM, or Tritan Bus).
- Route 2: You can ride buses bound to Lucena and get off at Lucena Grand Central Terminal. Just near the  bus terminal is a jeepney terminal bound to Lucban. Bus terminals - EDSA Kamuning/Kamias (JAC Liner, Lucena  Lines, Grand Star, Tritran Bus), EDSA New York (Jam Transit), EDSA Pasay (BLTB, Philtranco, JB Line Bicol Express, Inland Trailways Bus).

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