The Colors of Pahiyas.
“Sometimes all you need is a splash of color.”
I love colors. Life for me is all about colors. I specially love violet, all shades
of violet. Purple. Periwinkle. Lavender. Name it. I also have a leaning with pink,red and teal. Even yellow. the happy color. If you see pink with purple, its beautiful, red and violet, so royal. While teal and violet, is so Mediterranean. Colors have always been with me and is everywhere. In my wardrobe, my stuff, my shoes, my bags, my bedroom, my house, my car and my garden.
When I learned of Pahiyas (Decorations in the English language) in Lucban, Laguna.
I am itching with desire to witness its’ colors in the flesh. I carefully planned it and opted to go one day ahead on its’ “bisperas” (eve of actual event), because I’ve read from a number of blogs that there are thousands of visitors on the day itself. I woke up early to catch the bus going to Lucban. It’s a 2 hour ride from my place. I am so excited. And another hour to get into the town of Lucban. I reached the place before lunch time. Tarpaulins are everywhere. Flaglets were hung in all of the streets and the arch is decored with embellishments beautifully.
I can’t wait to see each house decorated with fruits, vegetables and the “Kipling” (edible embellishment made out of rice). And so the adventure begins.
Most restaurants at that time are jam-packed. They normally call it “bisperas”, and there are photographers geared with their dslrs (with those humongous lens) and tripods. While I… make do with my cutie red digital camera which I hang in my neck. I don’t mind. A few pictures will do. All I wanted is the “experience”.
After lunch, I started strolling (and literally enjoying, I was so engrossed with taking pictures) and witnessing how busy people can be while preparing for the festival. I was like a kid wandering and wondering, interviewing the residents as to how did they do it or how long will it take them to finish the decorations of their facade. Most of them claim it’s almost done as it is a must for them besides tomorrow is the big day. I have seen the kipling.
Which they painstakingly prepared, cooked, and dried, and carefully chose the colors and the shapes as part of the design. What’s surprising is how they created something beautiful out of anything that is available. Each house has its’ own unique concept. It was magical.
Since it’s in the Philippines. As expected. It was quintessential to be surrounded with friendly faces. Young and old alike. I was a stranger to them, but they talked to me as if they have known me for a long time. I can’t help but ask why. One old lady claimed that they’re used to it. Even with real life newscasters. They’re being interviewed by people like me curious and so interested in this life long tradition. And they are so willing to participate. Even kids are so accommodating. This is my favorite. I also had the chance to buy the famous Lucban longganiza, it tasted good and better with tomatoes and eggs with fried rice.
An all Filipino breakfast. T’was almost dark when I realized how exhausted I was and ended up cramming to get some shirts and ref magnets as souvenirs. I am on “can’t get enough pictures” mode. So I took a break and took a quick snack. Also, I already ran out of battery to think I bought 2 spares just in case my rechargeable ones will be drained. Reviewing my camera. I guess they’re enough.
Heading home. I could imagine myself had I visited on the day itself of the feast. It’s gonna be tiresome and I might not be able to capture the subjects that I like in my preferred angle. Maybe double than how tired I was with this adventure. Though, like I always say. It’s worth it.
Who traveled far without getting tired anyway? It’s part of it. The sweet thing is, how I enjoyed the activity. And how it’s going to be something that makes me smile upon looking back. I really admire a town being famous for a specific celebration. or tradition that that they have kept alive for generations. It was very Spanish they say.
But for me. It was also very Filipino. Such tradition kept is worth all the preparations. Pahiyas has always been featured in local and International networks. It had been a venue for photo enthusiasts, and often in the list of well-loved festivals in the country. I myself was proud that I have been there, I’ve seen them in my own eyes (and by heart) the colors of Pahiyas. =)
It is celebrated every 15th of May for their patron saint: Saint Isidore (San Isidro Labrador).