Kiping adorning the houses.
I have been wanting to go and witness Pahiyas since after college. But I never got to because of conflict of schedules and work that came along. It was only this year that May 15 fell on a Saturday and a lot of tours are coming around the internet.
So we booked with Nature Awareness Conservation Club, Inc. who offered tours to Pahiyas with sidetrips to Majayjay, Liliw and Nagcarlan. Aside from it is cheap, we were after the convenience that there would be a ride going to Lucban, Quezon and back and the other destinations in between.
So Kat and I were up very early to be at McDo Quezon Ave for the 4am call time. After about 5 hours of travel we were dropped at the entrance of Lucban since vehicles are no longer allowed to enter to manage traffic. We entered the area through a tricycle and toured the houses with Kiping and veggies and fruits adorned.
The Pahiyas Festival is held in honor of San Isidro Labrador, the patron saint of farmers. It is an annual observation in thanksgiving for abundant harvests. Quezon folk decorate their homes with the choicest produce; they string fruits and vegetables together and make the “kiping,” the traditional Pahiyas décor of many colors. These are leaf-shaped wafers of rice makeup and looks like Spanish tacos; these are used to liven up halls and walls, and more craftily turned into arangya (chandeliers) that lighten up the town on fiesta night itself.
The literal meaning of “pahiyas” is actually decorating houses with kiping and vegetables. Aside from this, however, fruits, ropes and straw hats are also utilized. The decorating frenzy starts sometime before the actual fiesta, and the air is a buzz with healthy, friendly competition over who will have the best ornamented house that year. Whoever does gets a reward from the local government.
We had more than 3 hours to tour around... it was really hot and the sun was up burning everyone... I really enjoyed walking around and see all the bounty decorated outside the houses.
Around 12NN, with Lucban longganisa at one hand and a thirst quencher at the other, we went back to where our bus was parked.
We’re one of the very last people who have come in the bus and it was a shame to come up in a bus full of waiting tourmates. And when the last two other people came up, they broke into applause, it was really terrible. Good thing it was not us!!!
So we drove another 2 hours to get to Majayjay. I think it isn’t really far, its just that our bus driver is an amateaur, he was way too careful during curves or an approaching vehicle or animal and believe me there are a lot of them.
We arrive at Majayjay Church for lunch at around 2PM… just beside the church was a small restaurant that serves buffet lunch. They served kare-kare (i don’t like!), fried chicken, grilled pork, chopsuey, steemed eggplant (I don’t like) and iced tea. I loaded my plate with chopsuey considering that I will not take my ration of karekare and the eggplant. I guess the food was ok, not great but palatable… maybe there’s a factor of starvation so I was biased about it.
After lunch, we took pictures of the majestic Majayjay Church… It has a similar structure with any Spanish church…
After Majayjay, we went to the town of Liliw and was surrounded by tons and tons of slippers and shoes. For someone like I do, it was so exhiliarating to be amongst beautiful footwear creations, you would like to go shopping if only you weren't in a tight budget. But before touring each store, we went to get our sumptuous halo-halo... yummy for a hot and tiring day. After halo, Kat and I scavenged through shoes and slippers fitting one after the other. But sadly, none looked perfect with our beautiful feet.
The Tsinelas that made Liliw famous
Footwear all over the place.
Kat by the Church in Liliw
Before going home, we dropped by Nagcarlan Underground Cemetery just to check if it is still open. It was part of the tour itineray so we decided to go for it amidst unsure if we could go in. But Alas, when we arrived it was past 5PM and the gates to the cemetery are closed. So we just took some photos of the place and headed home to Manila.
Entrance of Nagcarlan Cemetery
It was disaster coming back as traffic embraced us from Laguna to Manila. It was almost 11PM when we arrived at McDo Quezon Ave. But amidst the tired and aching body, it was worth to experience Pahiyas.
Now one down from my list to do!