The Colorful Pahiyas Festival

Every May 15 the simple town of Lucban Quezon is being transform into a very colorful, crowded and fun place to celebrate the Pahiyas Festival in honor of San Isidro Labrador, the patron saint of farmers.

The word “PAHIYAS” was derived from the local dialect “PAYAS” meaning “decoration” or to decorate”. The “PAHIYAS” has been used to describe the colorful festival of Lucban since then.

The Festival 2011

Normally the people of Lucban decorate their houses with KIPING, kiping is a leaf-shaped wafers made of rice (similar to tacos of Spain) in brilliant colors. Kipings are unique to Lucban. Several centuries ago, when the Philippines were trading with Acapulco, Mexico, a chef returned to Lucban and wanted to make tacos but could not get the necessary ingredients—so he experimented and invented kiping.

The colorful kiping, glaze in sugar
one of the old houses that we found in Lucban Festival
Locals will welcome you inside their house to celebrate and share their feast

Beside from kiping they are also showcasing their harvest and adorned their house with it. You will be delighted to see so many veggies, fruits, agricultural products, handicrafts and even poultry produced.

Cute miniture farm made from veggies
Nope no kiping but veggies
Buying some fresh eggs

Legend has it that the town derived its name from Lucban or Pomelo fruit tree. The fruit is also one of the many items you will find here for sale, including the famous Longanisang Lucban and Pansit Habhab.

My huband is laughing, joking about the size of the fruit compared to his…

Pansit Habhab is commonly served in a banana leaf with vinegar then usually eaten directly to your mouth without using any utensils. Like other pancit dish, it consist of different vegetables and fried pork meat. The best pancit lucban that I tried was from Buddy’s and it was really good.

Buddy’s Resto is full during our visit so we tried the one from a local carenderia

For traditional sausage lovers like me 🙂 Langgonisang Lucban is on my pasalubong list. This is very popular garlicky and slightly sour sausage that is similar to chorizo de bilbao, the famous garlic sausage from Spain.

eaten best with fried rice and kapeng barako

Also on the list are these fabulous hats which price ranges from 200-800 pesos. They are locally made and exported by Lucban Hats

It reminds me of Princess Kate's hats
It reminds me of Princess Kate’s hats

1 2 3 SMILE
The humid of the hot summer and the overwhelming number of tourist will not stop anyone to pose and smile on my camera. These photos will always remind me of Pinoy hospitality.

a child who loves to have her photo taken
Joining the celebration, Santa on his summer break


The house decoration is just part of the actual celebration, at the center of the town after the mass ends the parade will officially starts. Several numbers of marching bands followed by SAGALA or parade of the queens, the Carabao parade and Higantes parade. These just few of so many things you will find in this event.

Sussy and Belly on the house, filming for DAY OFF
Sussy and Belly on the house, filming for DAY OFF
The Colorful Parade
Here comes the band
Winner of the best horse competition
Sagala, one of the queens
Higantes waiting in line
A Carabao Mascot riding a carabao


Public Transportation
  1. There are several buses serving Lucena City route. A lot of them have terminal stations in Cubao, particularly JAC Liner and Lucena Lines. Make sure that the sign-board says “LUCENA – GRAND TERMINAL”. Bus fare is around 200 PHP. Estimated travel time is 3-4 hours.
  2. Upon arriving Lucena Grand Terminal, you need to ride the jeepney to Lucban, Quezon. Fare: 20-30 PHP. Travel Time: 20-30 minutes.
Private Vehicle
There are several routes that you can use from Manila:
Manila – Tayabas – Lucban (Via Sto. Tomas, Batangas)
  1. Use South Luzon Expressway (SLEX)
  2. Take Sto. Tomas Exit
  3. You will be passing the towns of Alaminos (Laguna), San Pablo (Laguna), Tiaong (Quezon), Candelaria (Quezon), Sariaya (Quezon).
  4. Upon reaching the junction road, go straight to Tayabas, Quezon using the Tayabas-Sariaya Road.
  5. After getting to Tayabas, follow the Tayabas – Lucban Road.
Manila – Tayabas – Lucban (Via Calamba – San Pablo City)
  1. Use South Luzon Expressway (SLEX)
  2. Take Calamba Exit.
  3. You will be passing Los Baños (Laguna).
  4. Use Bay – Calauan Highway then Calauan -San Pablo Highway
  5. You will be passing the towns of Tiaong (Quezon), Candelaria (Quezon), Sariaya (Quezon).
  6. Upon reaching the junction road, go straight to Tayabas, Quezon using the Tayabas-Sariaya Road.
  7. After getting to Tayabas, follow the Tayabas – Lucban Road.
Manila – Lucban (Via Manila East Road – Also known as The Backdoor)
  1. Take Ortigas Ave.
  2. Upon reaching Cainta (Rizal), take East Bank Road of Manggahan Floodway to Angono (Rizal)
  3. Take Manila East Road upon reaching Angono.
  4. You will be passing Rizal towns of Binangonan, Cardona, Morong, Baras, Tanay, Pililla, then Laguna towns of Siniloan, Pakil, Pagsanjan, Luisiana then Lucban.
  5. Or from Pagsanjan, you can follow the route thru Magdalena – Liliw –  Majayjay then Lucban.

Once you have reached a town before Lucban, you will see a lot road signs leading to Pahiyas festival. A word of advice though, if you are planning to bring your own vehicle, plan your trip ahead and be there early. Due to the festival activities, vehicles will have trouble getting inside the town. Parking usually stretch 1-2 kilometers from the town proper, so prepare to walk your way inside Lucban proper.


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