Monday, May 22, 2017

The Pahiyas Experience

   I've  been to Lucban twice already. But only on this third visit I get to see the Pahiyas Festival  in this famous town of Quezon Province. My past trips to Lucban were on a motorcycle and I went with a different rider group on each trip. This time, after 9 or 10 years, I  went back to Lucban with just one companion - my friend Sharon on her custom motorcycle that she calls Muffin  = )

    I met Sharon through a motorcycle club of which we are members and we did a lot of out of town rides with the group (Mga Independent Bikers) from 2002 to 2007. After a long hiatus, both of us are trying to get back  into doing long rides outside Manila (She already had a head start, actually hehe).
   Well now that I have a new helmet, new motorcycle battery, boots, a backpack to match my bike,  a powerbank for my iPad mini, and a selfie stick,  all I need now is a destination.

    And the Pahiyas in Lucban is just a perfect start!  Luckily Sharon and I are both available to go riding on a Monday. The Pahiyas Festival always take place on the 15th of May, regardless of what day it falls.

    So we met around 6 PM in Alabang and took the National Highway to get to Calamba (because our bikes are sub 400 engines). We took a break and some pictures in Liliw, then reached Lucban around 9 AM.

   Here are some pictures I took as we roamed the streets of Lucban during this beautiful day:

    Pahiyas means "precious offering" in Filipino and it's the day when this agricultural town celebrate harvest day in honor of  St. Isidore the Laborer (San Isidro Labrador). On this occasion houses are decorated with vegetables, fruits, grains, and colorful leaf-shaped wafers made of rice.
    Prizes are awarded to houses that wows the most. Makes me imagine how I would design one if given a chance.

     After a history of destruction and re-construction, the present structure of Lucban Church, also known as the San Luis Obispo de Tolosa Parish Church, was completed in 1738.

     San Isidro Labrador (center) was a Spanish farm worker from the 11th Century. The date of his liturgical feast is May 15, the day of his death in the year 1130.
 In the Philippines, his feast day is also celebrated in Marinduque, Aklan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Cebu, and Bohol. Of course his feast day in Lucban is the most popular as it draws tourist from all over the country.

     The highlight of the Pahiyas is the parade that follows after the thanksgiving mass at Lucban Church. People will start crowding along the parade route to get a good look at this charmingly rural spectacle. I've heard that this year's parade wasn't as grand as last year's because it fell on a Monday when less tourists are expected. Well be it as it may, I certainly enjoyed this one!

     Presented in the parade, which I find very interesting, are the entries of the Pahiyas Parikitan contest. It's basically a Filipino costume design contest using indigenous materials like coconut shell, rattan, piña fiber, etc. I think there were about 12 or 14 entries.

    I'm really amused with these higantes or "giants".  I was a bit surprised to see them in the Pahiyas because I thought they can only be found in the Higantes Festival which takes place in Angono, Rizal every November.
   These mascots don't just walk down the parade. Sometimes they will suddenly (and swiftly) stoop down and startle tourist haha!

    The parade ended around 4 PM but the fun isn't over in this old town. I saw a big stage being set up in the plaza for live musical performances. Sharon and I decided to stay until evening so we can see how the decorated houses look when they are lit up. In the meantime we just loitered around the town, buying food, taking pictures, looking at what's for sale at the tiangge. Really there are things I wanted to buy but I didn't know how to  bring them home on my motorcycle haha. Like a big bayong bag and a salakot hat, and some plants! *sigh* All I brought home was a dozen of sausage (longganizang Lucban) haha!

    We left Lucban around 9 PM and took the Pagsanjan route. That was actually the first time I did twisties on a nighttime and it's kinda creepy hehe! We were back in Alabang by midnight with aching hands and butt, congratulating each other for doing a long ride again and being able to enjoy the destination. I really hope we can do more rides before the rainy season begins!

  Sooo! This concludes my Pahiyas adventure. I sure hope to be back again next year and at least spend two days in Lucban to completely enjoy the festivities and visit other interesting places in the municipality, like the Kamay ni Jesus Shrine.

   Now where to ride next? Hmmmm....

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