Pahiyas Festival: A Visitor’s Guide
Here’s something to prepare you for the festivities on May 15!
By Rhea J. Bernardino
May 05, 2017
A Quick Background of Pahiyas Festival
If you will look at the calendar of festivals here in the Philippines, you'll notice that May is one of the busiest months. All month long, the entire country is abuzz with all sorts of feasts happening here and there. From religious festivals and cultural events to historical observances, every festival and feast promises a memorable experience for all travelers. But the highlight of this month will have to be Pahiyas Festival, one of the largest and arguably the most colorful festival in the Philippines.
May 15 marks the annual celebration of Pahiyas Festival, a thanksgiving feast held in honor of San Isidro Labrador, the patron saint of Lucban in Quezon. To show their appreciation for their bountiful harvest, citizens adorn their homes with colorful displays of their harvested wares such as fruits, vegetables, handicrafts, and the colorful leaf-shaped rice paper known as kiping. A holy mass is also held at San Luis Obispo de Tolosa Parish Church and a grand parade featuring a mass of colorful and creative floats goes around Lucban, passing through some of the decorated houses along the way.
While Lucban is the venue for the Pahiyas Festival, there are also other towns in the Quezon province that celebrate this one of a kind feast. The municipalities of Sariaya, Tiaong, Gumaca, and Tayabas also take part in the festival's annual celebration.
How to Get There
Via public transportation
As of this moment, there are no direct bus trips to Lucban from Metro Manila. But that won't be a problem for commuters because there are lots of routes you can take if you want to reach Lucban via public transportation.
- The first option is to take a bus bound for Lucena City. When you arrive at the Lucena Grand Terminal, just hop on a jeepney bound for Lucban.
- Your second choice would be to ride a Calamba-bound bus. For this route, SM Calamba is your drop-off point. There are vans there that can take you to Lucban.
- Lastly, you can also try the Sta. Cruz route. Just take a bus bound to Sta. Cruz and when you arrive, you can go to Lucban via jeepney.
Depending on where you come from, the usual travel time from Manila to Lucban is about 4 to 5 hours.
Via private vehicle
Of course, if you want a faster way to get to Lucban, you can always bring your car. From Manila, take the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) and exit through either the Calamba or the Sto. Tomas exits. Travel time ranges from two and half to four hours by car.
Where to Stay
There are only a handful of hotels in Lucban and they tend to be fully booked come Pahiyas Festival. If you want to have a place to stay for the festivities, it's highly recommended to book in advance so you won't find yourself scouring each hotel in the area for a vacant room.
One of the most popular accommodations in town is Batis Aramin Resort. With rooms that range from dormitories to double rooms and family rooms, the resort can accommodate travelers of different sorts and budgets. Aside from its comfortable rooms, you'll find that the resort also has a swimming pool which is great for a relaxing soak after attending all of the festivities. You can book or check the rates here
Those who weren't able to book a hotel in Lucban can opt to stay in some of the nearby towns and cities such as Lucena. Staying in Lucena is also advantageous because it gets you closer to the public transportation modes that can bring you back to Manila.
Here are some of the hotels in Lucena that you can book for Pahiyas Festival:
Ouan's The Farm Resort
Queen Margarette Hotel Main
Castle Bernardina Hotel Bar and Restaurant
Alternatively, you can also stay in the nearby city of Tayabas. Castle Bernardina Reception Hall and Resort is a great choice for travelers who want more than just a place to sleep. Featuring an infinity pool and lush garden surroundings, the resort is the perfect place to relax after an exhausting trip to Pahiyas. Its rooms are also made affordable to satisfy backpackers' budgets. Check the rates here.
If there's still time to squeeze in a side trip to the beach, check out Cagbalete Island. Just off the coast of Mauban town, it features powdery, white sands and pristine waters that will entice all beach bums. From swimming, snorkeling, camping, trekking, stargazing, and having a picnic, there's lots to do in this peaceful paradise.
Now that tourists are slowly starting to be aware of this amazing beach, resorts started popping up to cater to the accommodation needs of travelers. Here are just a few of the recommended resorts in Cagbalete where you can spend the night:
All rooms are subject to availability
Things to do in Pahiyas Festival
The Pahiyas festivities kick off with a Catholic mass held at Lucban's parish church. Mass-goers troop to San Luis Obispo de Tolosa Parish Church (usually at 6:00 AM) to offer their prayer of thanks to San Isidro Labrador for a bountiful harvest.
Watch the parade
Witness the most colorful cultural show you will ever experience and enjoy the visual and musical delights from the lively street dances and creative floats proudly made by the locals.
Snap photos of the colorful houses
Showcase the creativity of the citizens of Lucban by posting their décor masterpieces on social media.
Sample the local fare
Never leave a place without having some of their native delicacies. When in Lucban, travelers simply must sample pancit habhab, known for being served on banana leaves and Lucban longganisa, the town's beloved garlic sausage. You'll find many food stalls around the festival venue so you're guaranteed not to feel hungry as you enjoy the festivities!
Visit the Kamay ni Hesus Shrine.
Most tourists attending the Pahiyas Festival also troop to the nearby Kamay ni Hesus Shrine. People go here to attend the healing mass but the shrine also features plenty of attractions where you can reflect. There's a grotto at the top of a hill that you can reach after over 300 steps as well as life-sized dioramas of scenes from the Bible. Read this blog to guide you on your Kamay ni Hesus visit.
Click on the links below for more hotels and resorts in Quezon Province!