I'm a sucker for colorful festivals so "Pahiyas" the way it is celebrated in Lucban, Quezon is definitely in my "must-see" list.
For more than a decade now,I see to it that I attend the Pahiyas Festival held in honor of San Isidro Labrador in Lucban in the Quezon province. Over the years, my itinerary has always been the same - stay at friends' houses in the nearby Tayabas,Quezon (where I served a voluntary mission in 1998),travel to Lucban on the day of the feast (May 15), take pictures at the colorful houses along the designated procession route and maki-piyesta ( go house hopping to partake of the feast prepared).
I usually skip the Pahiyas Festival Grand Parade though, to avoid the crowd,the long walk associated with it and the scorching heat (or humidity) since it usually starts in mid afternoon.
This year is different! I was (literally) in the middle of the Pahiyas Festival Grand Parade 2011! Unlike in previous years,my accommodation this year is located right at the entrance coming from Sta.Cruz and at the end of the procession route (Majayjay Street) which makes it possible for me to happily walk around and choose my way in and out without much walking and dealing with a crowd! Thanks for Issa Collantes for the invitation to stay at her uncle's house!
The Grand Parade commenced at Rizal Park in Poblacion.Co-incidentally we were then at the nearby Patio Rizal Hotel and Restaurant. We went ahead to wait on the procession in a place with shade and has a good view of the parade. There we bumped into the Pinoy Travel Bloggers (bagets)- Darwin Miranda Cayetano,Lauren Gaile,Den Marco and Ivan Brinas Cultura who arrived earlier and accompanied by PTB matriarch Gael Hilotin @ The Pinaysolobackpacker, who stayed with us the night before.
In this fashion, the 2011 Pahiyas Festival Grand Parade unfolded before my eyes. I discover that in addition to "kiping" which is the so-called "star"of the Pahiyas Festival, the celebration also boast of "other stars", equally colorful, beautiful and interesting! I can't help but take the center stage as well!
1. Drum and Lyre Bands with the youthful majorettes
There were at least five different sets of drum and lyre bands with majorette dancers perform their own set of moves and musical tunes in their colorful uniforms, as they either head the parade, in between the floats to break the monotony and at the end to end with a bang!
2.Image of St. Isidore the Laborer (Patron Saint of the Farmers)
The image (inset)is brought out of the church for the procession to honor and give thanks for the bountiful harvest receive all year round.
3.Rolling Stores Decorated With Pancit Hab-Hab
Pansit Hab-Hab is actually an ordinary pancit miki guisado sautéed with pork meat, pork liver, shrimp, pechay and sayote. What makes this Lucban's local delicacy unique is the way it is eaten - it is placed in a banana leaf and eaten strait with mouth without using any utensils (in Tagalog "hab-hab") and drizzled with vinegar to enhance its taste.
4.Mutya ng Lucban 2011 Candidates and Winners
"Mutya ng Lucban" is an annual beauty contest where gorgeous and beautiful ladies compete in the swimsuit,evening gown,Question and Answer portion few days before the feast day. The candidates and winners take part in the parade in their beautiful gowns and escorted by handsome young men.
Parikitan (which could be translated as "competing for the most beautiful or creative") is a yearly search for the most beautiful and creative gowns. This year the theme is on gowns made of indigenous materials. I enjoyed taking pictures with the beautiful young models and escorts wearing the local designers creative work!
6. Celebrity Guests - Sarah Labati (Starstruck Winner) and Matt Evans (Pinoy Big Brothers)
7.Gayak Karosa 2011
Carabaos (water buffalo) are very important for farmers and played a significant role in the harvest so they are part of the procession.
The carabao-drawn carriage decorated with products of Lucban farmers are the participants and winners of the yearly Gayak Karosa competition. Below is the Pinakamalikhain (most creative) winner.
8. Lukbanin Kiddos
Nothing compares with the smile of Lukbanin kids! At their young age,they know what it means to be a celebrity - show their beutiful, white teeth!
9. Higantes - Giant Papier Mache is customized in the image of the restaurant mascots like Mr. Buddys, etc.
10. Lukbanin Folks
Fun loving hearts of the Lukbanin grannys were also showcased in the parade with the old folks dressed in colorful traditional gowns atop a float. Yea, we can't expect them to walk eh!
Other Entries on Pahiyas Festival 2011:
Kiping: Lucban's Pahiyas Tradition