Quezon San Isidro Pahiyas Festival
The Quezon Pahiyas Festival is a local fiesta originated from Lucban, Quezon in honor of the patron saint of the farmers, San Isidro Labrador and as the farmers’ thanksgiving for a bountiful harvest. The feast is held every 15th of May.
The locals prepare many things for this festival, among them is the most important element of the fiesta, the kiping. These are leaves came from kiping tree or cabal leaves paste with bright multi-colored rice (steamed rice made into glue-like texture). Thus, kiping is a leaf-shaped ornament used in the exterior of the house along with agricultural produce – vegetables and fruits. Neighbouring houses participate as they make visual representation of the color of summer, referred to by many as a fiesta to all end fiestas. The annual event has garnered international recognition and became one of country’s tourist attraction prompting the Department of Tourism to list down Lucban as a tourist town and a cultural heritage site, despite being a quiet town.
During Quezon Pahiyas Festival, each household decked their halls and decorate its walls as they outwit each other in a friendly competition to acknowledge the best design in terms of inventiveness and grandeur based on a given theme of the season. The term “payas” or pahiyas” means decorating with garlands using kiping and agricultural harvest.
The term kiping was derived from the root word “kipi” or “kinipi” or kinikipi”, a local term which means to dehydrate the extra water content out of the dough by putting heavy object in it.
The making of kiping is time consuming and requires tedious work. It is important to select mature leaves enough so they can be used more than once and does not break off easily. They start with the selection of leaves to use as molding. Leaves usually used apart from kiping and cabal leaves are: saba (banana), talisay (umbrella tree), and kakao (cacao). The leaves edges are then trimmed or snipped attain consistent shape and size. Each leaf should be wiped clean to avoid gathering of dirt and mismatch color.
The preparation of the rice paste is more laborious. The locals used laon rice is an old stocked rice,soaked for hours and grind with water, food coloring, and salt. The paste is spread individually on each leaf then steamed for 30 minutes and left to dry under a shade and peeled off. It is then placed on top of another under a weight and compressed for a day. Kiping are stored in clean box to avoid contamination, these kipings are actually edible. Tourists are offered to take a bite upon house visit, the household usually has extra kipings reserved for eating while locals prepare it as kropeck (similar to tacos), some add coconut milk and are sweeteners.
Pahiyas Festival. https://pahiyasfestival.com/