i've been planning to visit lucban, quezon for its annual celebration called the san isidro pahiyas festival for years. twelve months ago, me and my family visited real, quezon for a swim but totally forgot about the fiesta after a very disappointing occurrence. however, i was having itchy feet again and felt that i really shouldn't miss one of the country's biggest festivals in the historic and humble town of lucban, quezon.
the pahiyas festival is held every 15th of may. it is a day of vibrancy, creativity, color, and bounty. it is the only time of the year when locals try to outshine their neighbors in a friendly yet competitive way by putting up colorful decorations onto their houses with their abundant produce like vegetables, fruits, and local delicacies. about a month ago before our lucban trip, a good friend and elementary buddy, aldwin, invited us to visit his hometown. he said he will be visiting lucban during fiesta as part of his month-long vacation from his work in singapore, and said that he's quite willing to become the host in our stay. me and vena didn't waste time and started to prepare for our trip. we've also invited some old friends from elementary to join us.
we left manila at 10pm, a day before the festival. our friend host, aldwin, advised us that it would be better if we'd leave manila early to avoid getting stucked in traffic. we took the alternate route via lucena, and it only took us 3.5 hours. i remember us passed by hacienda escudero in lucena and kamayan sa palaisdaan in tayabas. we arrived in lucban at 3am. it was still dark but there were many people walking on the streets. it was chilly when we got off our vehicle at the plaza de la revolucion, also known as rizal park. we instantly noticed pavino's broas shop near rizal patio which was closed at the moment. we wandered around the plaza for a bit while waiting for our friend host to show up. thirty minutes later, we've met him in the plaza. he said he dozed off while waiting for us. he took us to their new house and talked about our lives until the break of dawn.
it was only 5 in the morning but i was too eager to look around the town. our local tour guide, aldwin, took us to our first stop: lucban church. inspired by baroque and castillian architecture, it was originally built in 1595 and it was ruined in 1629 while the current church was completed in 1738. during our visit to the church, it looked so festive. there were people everywhere, fiesta banners above our heads, stores all around us selling everything, from food to clothes to just about anything. next stop is eker & ely's where they sell local pasalubongs. although they have a great selection of local delicacies, still their bestseller is their very famous lucban longganisa. unlike the vigan's, lucban longganisa are quite red because of paprika. they've also added dried oregano, rock salt, pepper, sugar, vinegar, and of course, garlic, lots of it. it was only 6 in the morning but still many people were lining up to buy their sausages. my friend told me we'd come back to buy them but i insisted in buying them right then. i don't want to lose my chance to try it. when visiting lucban, make sure you also drop by their public market. best time to visit is early in the morning. you will see so many locals buying their food for their families for the day. you will also get to see interesting things in the market like souvenirs and local products. also try their sinukmani (rice cake) and pancit habhab. you will surely find that everywhere in lucban. don't forget to check their cemetery. just ask a local which cemetery is closest to the church. we've checked it and it surely was a great photo op. we took really nice photos of the cemetery.
we've checked the beautiful houses all dressed up like princesses. we've looked everywhere, it was like mardi gras. houses were decorated with attractive kipings, made from ground rice, dried, cut, and colored like leaves. arangya (chandeliers made with kipings) were also hung in their windows. the parade started late at 4pm. it was an hour-long parade consisted of carabaos, floats, local beauties, marching bands, dancers, and more. it was all loud, fun, and merry. people were nice and the food was so good. we've received invitation after invitation from different houses. i've even recognized an old friend from manila that actually has a house in lucban. it was my very first pahiyas festival and it was all worth the time. more photos