Pahiyas Festival back but tourists greeted with austere celebration | Inquirer News
Close  
LUCBAN ATTRACTION

Pahiyas Festival back but tourists greeted with austere celebration

By: - Correspondent / @dtmallarijrINQ
/ 04:40 AM May 18, 2022
SIMPLE CELEBRATION The most colorful and popular of Quezon province’s festivals, the Pahiyas of Lucban town, is restaged on May 15 after a two-year break due to the pandemic. Visitors, however, notice that houses along the procession route have modest decor made from fresh local produce. —DELFIN T. MALLARI JR.

SIMPLE CELEBRATION The most colorful and popular of Quezon province’s festivals, the Pahiyas of Lucban town, is restaged on May 15 after a two-year break due to the pandemic. Visitors, however, notice that houses along the procession route have modest decor made from fresh local produce. —DELFIN T. MALLARI JR.

LUCBAN, Quezon, Philippines — Tourists returned to this farming town at the foot of Mt. Banahaw on Sunday to witness the colorful Pahiyas Festival, which was restaged after a two-year break due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

But many out-of-town visitors said they were somewhat disappointed as the festival’s atmosphere was subdued. They said the displays of colorful “kiping” (rice wafers arranged in chandelier-style artwork), vegetables, fruits and other native products in houses to mark the feast of San Isidro Labrador, the patron saint of farmers, did not live up to their expectations.

ADVERTISEMENT

Houses along the procession route were barely decorated, with some owners just draping the façade of their homes with whatever festival ornaments and farm produce they could buy from the local market.

“I’ve been here several times in the past and this was not the same Pahiyas as before. Now, there are lots of houses without decorations,” Vic Arias, a visitor, told the Inquirer. Arias came with his high-school batchmates from Tondo, Manila, most of them were there to witness the festival for the first time.

FEATURED STORIES

Pandemic impact

The procession route changes every year to give other house owners a chance to showcase their artistry.

Residents believe that houses along the route are bound to receive special blessings in the coming year.

But with the high cost of living as a result of the pandemic, the quality of the traditional displays had suffered.

“The pandemic also hit us hard,” Berto Sales, 69, a former overseas contract worker, said.He said decorating their houses would entail expenses. “And for most of us, money for decorations to satisfy tourists is last on the list,” Sales said.

Maria Jenifer Babat, Lucban tourism officer, shared the observation of tourists and the sentiments of her townmates.

“We have anticipated this situation,” Babat said.

In 2020 and 2021, the Pahiyas Festival, that put Lucban on the list of must-see festivals in May, was canceled due to the threat of COVID-19.

ADVERTISEMENT

Babat said that when the local government conducted surveys in preparation for the festival, most homeowners expressed concern about the lack of resources as a result of the pandemic.

She said that with the absence of the festival in the past two years, the traditional recyclable decorative pieces that were left in the storage had been damaged.

Contest

Though she noted that some house owners were still able to decorate their houses to vie for the P150,000 award from the local government for the best decorated home. However, only around 600 houses joined the contest this year compared to the more than 1,000 before the pandemic, Babat said.

Quoting Lucban Mayor Olivier Dator, Babat said: “We are celebrating the Pahiyas Festival for us, for the Lucbanins. Kung may puna man sila (If they are disappointed), it’s OK. That’s how it is, we’re in a pandemic.”Babat said they held the festival this year because they wanted to celebrate the feast of San Isidro.

The Department of Tourism, in February, encouraged the local government to stage the festival this year due to the decline in COVID-19 cases, Babat said.

RELATED STORIES

Quezon’s Pahiyas Festival canceled due to COVID-19 scare

‘Pahiyas’ color risks fading as Lucban youth’s interest in local culture wanes

In ‘Pahiyas’ fest, bid to stay natural emerges

Read Next
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: COVID-19 travel restrictions, Lucban tourism, Pahiyas Festival
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.

News that matters

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and
acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.



© Copyright 1997-2022 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.