May 15, 2005

Ok, so yet another entry from outside the city (and there's more to come too!) this time on to the mountainous, lush and fertile backyard that is Quezon provice and just in time for the biggest date in the town's calendar: PAHIYAS Festival!!

If ever, there was to be a listing of the top-five festivals to experience in the Philippines, this will undoubtably be one of them (together with the Quiapo Feast in Manila and the Sinulog in Cebu) . In one phrase, I would describe it the 'most stimulating combination of Catholic pageantry and organic creativity.' For unlike the other great feasts of the county, the appeal of Pahiyas lies not on the rowdy, drum-driven street parties like those in Cebu or Iloilo or the ruggedness and fanatacism of Manila's Quiapo Feast but rather in the explosion of colors and ingenuity that goes into decorating of the town's participating houses.

Color mad!

'Kiping' as it's called, is the leaf-shaped piece that Lukbanons use to turn what otherwise would have been an ordinary house facade to a picture-perfect scene. Made of 'malagkit-rice', these can fried, grilled and eaten too (but if you ask me, I'd rather take photos of them, thank you.)

Pineapple

The Pahiyas is all about thanksgiving (sans the turkey), in particular to Lukban's patron saint San Isidro Labrador. Thanks for a bountiful harvest (do they really have that every year??) or maybe more than that, thanks that we as a people can still find time and celebrate such a time-honored and irresistably gorgeous festival despite the endless political wranglings, coup attempts and educational plan-run-offs.

As for me, Im just thankful I got a parking space and had the chance to enjoy the festivities!

Bounty!

Aside from the Kiping, veggies ( tomatoes, upo, sitaw, kalabasa, talong…the whole 'Bahay Kubo kahit Munti…' list!!) are also displayed for visitor to oohh and ahhh at. Why, if you had brought a portable cooker with you (as well as bottled bagoong) you could very much have an instant public pinakbet soiree on Lukban's streets!! Yum!

Frame

Such is the bountiful harvest of that rustic 3-hour drive from the City. And though it comes only once in a year, Pahiyas is still worth that 3:30 AM wake-up call to (guess what?) corner that elusive parking in town (and I thought I only had to fight tooth and nail for a spot at SM!)

And more than that, Pahiyas is just one of those things that make you smile all-day and make you really proud to shout (at the top of your voice) ' WOW PHILIPPINES!'

Maraming Salamat mga Lukbanon sa inyong Pahiyas!

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