Cops ready for ‘Pahiyas’ festival
Police have put in place all measures to secure thousands of people expected to flock to this municipality for today’s “Pahiyas” festival.
“The gargantuan job of securing peace and order is quite daunting, but we’re ready,” Senior Inspector Hilario Cantoria, town police chief, said in an interview on Sunday. He said the number of visitors could reach two million this year.
Pahiyas, a feast of thanksgiving for a bountiful harvest, is held on May 15 in honor of San Isidro, the patron saint of farmers. It is known for its exquisite display of multicolored “kiping” (colorful rice-based wafers elaborately arranged chandelier-style), fresh harvest and other native products in every house along the procession route.
The Department of Tourism has included the agricultural town of Lucban in its list of must-see tourist destinations, owing to its annual feast’s rich cultural history, color and gaiety.
Throngs of guests are also expected to visit the equally popular religious destination, “Kamay ni Hesus” shrine, two kilometers away from the town proper.
Cantoria said the municipality’s 34 policemen would be augmented by close to 100 personnel from the police provincial headquarters and provincial public safety company, a contingent of Army soldiers, hundreds of volunteer traffic aides and village watchmen.
Cantoria said trucks and other vehicles were no longer allowed to enter the town since yesterday morning. “The vehicles will be stopped at the town entrance. But we will provide them with safe parking areas,” he said.
Cantoria said motorists passing through the town en route to Laguna would be allowed to enter and make their way through the side streets, which are far from the procession routes.
Normal traffic will resume after the festivity tonight.
The procession route changes every year to give other houses a chance to showcase their own decorations. Residents believe that houses along the route are bound to receive special blessings in the coming year.
“We’ve waited for six years for the procession to pass by us. I reserved all fresh farm harvests for display on this event,” farmer Rodrigo Abuan told the Inquirer.
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