Pahiyas Festival 2011 at Lucban, Quezon!

Posted on May 19, 2011


It was my first time to visit Lucban, Quezon and no amount of online photo browsing could have prepared me for the visual spectacle that is the Pahiyas Festival.

Celebrated annually on the 15th of May, this festival is held in honour of San Isidro Labrador for a bountiful harvest. Every year, locals compete for prizes by adorning their houses with extremely colourful and elaborate decorations made of kiping (rice starch sheets), fruits and vegetables.

Love the happy colours!

We arrived in Lucban quite early on Saturday and caught many people busy with their decorations. By Saturday afternoon, the streets were beginning to get crowded with visitors gawking at the houses. By the following morning, the day of judging, the crowds already tripled in size! The throngs moved at a snail’s pace as people jostled to get the best positions to take pictures. In fact, my feet got stepped on at least 5 times and I stepped on someone else’s by roughly the same number of times. Quits lang. 😀

I could not help but be awed at the range of designs the people came up with. Aside from the usual kiping flowers and chandeliers (arangya), they also used things like rice stalks, coconut husks, tomatoes, banana leaves and peppers.

This house on the corner of Lopez Jaena and Cadelina Streets is definitely my favourite. It is just exploding with wild colours. The straw man and the chickens were a brilliant touch, IMHO. Later in the day, they also put in live turkeys under the chicken coop but I was unable to take pictures because of the crowd. This house took the 1st runner up prize of P50,000 and Gawad Gintong Butil (Golden Grain) award of P10,000. It also won another P20,000 (top prize for best lighting) for the night judging — the houses were judged on the beauty of their illumination.

My favourite house

Straw Man and his chickens

My 2nd favourite is also on Cadelina Street. It wasn’t as colorful as the 1st. But what I really loved is the artificial waterfalls. Water is made to flow along transparent sheet plastic, simulating a waterfall while keeping everything else dry (especially the wooden San Isidro standee in the middle). Unfortunately, it didn’t get any award.

San Isidro and waterfalls - great idea!

The Grand Prize Winner!

So which house bagged the P65,000 grand prize? This one literally made my jaw drop. The details of the design was simply astounding. Rows of tomatoes covered one wall, bunches of suman covered another, while rice stalks and grass covered everything else. Their humongous kiping chandeliers that hang from the 3rd floor almost reached down to the first floor.

I wonder how many kilos of tomatoes they bought to decorate the house 😀

Mini Lucban Church and Mt. Banahaw behind

In front of the house, the erected a replica of St. Louis Church (aka Lucban Church) using native materials. Behind the church is Mt. Banahaw made of grass.

I am sure that the total cost to decorate the house went way beyond P65,ooo. But as I discovered at Lucban, money is hardly an issue. People love their festival and they really go all out to celebrate…and what a way to celebrate!

These are just some of my favourite shots of the festival, and more to be uploaded to my Flickr album. Enjoy! 😀 

My favourite chandelier in all of Lucban!

Posted in: Travel