It wasn't my first time to be in Lucban,Quezon nor my first time to attend the Pahiyas in celebration of the Feast Day of San Isidro Labrador, the patron saint of farmers. But only this year I will be able to actually be in the middle of it all and to see the preparations. Thanks to my friend Issa who invited me and the other Calaguas friends to stay at her uncle's house in Lucban a day before the feast day (May 15) which fell on a Sunday this year.
We arrived in Lucban,Quezon at around 9 in the evening of Saturday (May 14). Though a bit later than planned,timing was still early enough to be able to get through the streets leading to my friend's uncle's place which luckily is just at the entrance coming from Sta. Cruz. You who have been in Lucban during Pahiyas know how jam-packed the streets could be during the feast day! Also, our accommodation for the night is spacious enough for the whole gang (we are 13!) so I need not travel to Lucena to house my high school friends and other invitees.
When we got there,we found Lucban residents along the selected streets where the parade will pass by, already decorating their house facades with all the field crops/harvests like tomatoes,radish, coconut,bitter melon (ampalaya),sayote, fruits, hats, bags, pineapples, etc and the center of attractions of any decorations are the colorful leaf - shaped wafers called Kiping.
"Kiping" is the heart and soul of the Pahiyas (which means "decorations") and the whole celebration is not complete without the colorful kipings. I grabbed the opportunity to learn more about this center of attraction!
1. Kiping is made of rice (laon rice preferably) which is soak in water for two hours, then grind with water until it turns pasty. Food coloring and salt is added.
2. The rice paste is spread on mature leaves which will serve as molds and steam for at least 30 minutes. After steaming, each leaf is dried until ready for peeling.
3. Once peeled and compressed for half a day, the kipings can be used for decorations.
4.Since kiping is edible, I tried the grilled kiping being offered as free treats in one of the houses. Taste and as crunchy as that of 'tacos'! I brought four pieces (P5 each) for family to try.
Seeing Lucban residents high regard for this colorful, edible rice wafers, I can say that Kiping are for keeps! Just Kiping it real!