Celebrated every 15th of May, Pahiyas Festival is heralded as one of the most exciting festivals in the country.
Held annually in Lucban, Quezon in honor of the Patron Saint of the Farmer St. Isidore the Laborer (San isidro Labrador), Pahiyas has been a famous summer getaway for local and foreign tourists. According to oral and written accounts, Pahiyas started in as early as 1500. Early Lucbanin’s used to offer fruits, palay and vegetables to the church as thanksgiving for their bountiful harvest. As time goes by, with the surge of farmer’s harvests, the church became small to accommodate them all thus it was agreed upon to let farmers hang their offerings in front of their homes so that the priest can easily bless them during procession.
It was in the 1970’s where the term ‘Pahiyas Festival” was said to be first used and was coined by Fernando Nañawa. Before it became Pahiyas, it was first known as “Arts for Commerce and Industry Festival” then became ‘Lucban Harvest Festival and Fair”. Since then, Pahiyas grew to become one of the largest and most famous festivals in the country today.
I am fortunate that I was born in the neighboring town of Lucban thus it’s very easy for me to experience Pahiyas. And this year, together with my wife, we went to Lucban to once again experience the colorful and fun celebration of San Isidro Labrador Pahiyas Festival.
Things you must do in Lucban during Pahiyas Festival visit
1. Try local foods of Lucban.
Your Pahiyas trip will never be complete without trying local Lucban delicacies. One of the must tries will be Pancit Hab-hab. This type of Pancit is not only famous because of its good taste but on the way it is presented and eaten, the “hab-hab style”. As a famous local delicacy, Pancit hab-hab can be found anywhere in Lucban. If you opt for some resto feel ambiance you can try it in Buddy’s, Abcede’s or Mostiolas. But Pancit hab-hab is best tried the natural way and that is from the mobile or street vendors wherein you don’t have the privilege of having spoon and pork, so you have no choice but to “hab-hab” the pancit.
Another Lucban delicacy that one shouldn’t miss is the “Lucban Langgonisa”. Yes Langgonisa, that is how Lucbanins call Longganisa. Compared to normal longganisa which are sweet, Lucban Langgonisa is salty and garlicky which makes it perfect to dip in spicy vinegar. Luncban Langgonisa can also be found everywhere in Lucban but the best langgonisa is available in Eckert, beside Lucban church.
Hardinera is another original Lucban delicacy. Not sure why is it called hardinera since it’s a meat dish, but I’m sure anyone will love it once you experienced its taste. Buddy’s offers the best Hardinera in Lucban.
2. Side Trip to Kamay ni Jesus
A favorite pilgrimage site, Kamay ni Hesus Healing Center is another tourist spot in Lucban worth seeing during your Pahiyas stay. Be in touch with your spirituality as you climb the 280+ stairs to the statue of the Jesus Christ. Kamay ni Hesus is flocked by Catholics especially during holy week.
3. Picture taking
Of course the most important thing to do during your Pahiyas visit is picture taking. Selfies, groupies, anything, one must not leave Lucban without taking pictures of the great scenery.
Lucban is more or less 150kms south of Manila. There are many ways on how you can get there to experience Pahiyas Festival.
1. Via Lucena
Ride a bus in Cubao or Buendia-LRT bound Lucena. At Lucena Grand Terminal there are jeepney going to Lucban. There are also van in SM Lucena going to Lucban. Fare from SM Lucena to Lucban is 50php.
2. Via Calamba
Ride a bus in Cubao or Buendia-LRT bound Sta. Cruz. Alight at SM Calamba and ride the van bound to Lucban at SM Calamba Transport terminal. Fare from Calamba to Lucban is 120php.
Pahiyas Festival is really a worthwhile experience. You’ve got to see the hard work of the farmers through the harvest that they displayed in their homes. While it has become more commercialized through the years, the main essence of the festival remains, and that is to give thanks to the Lord for the blessing of a bountiful harvest.