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A house decorated with colorful ornaments and kiping during Lucban, Quezon’s Pahiyas Festival

6 Fiesta Fare to Celebrate Pahiyas Festival

Filipinos are big on fiestas. Every province, city, or barangay sets a day (or an entire month!) to commemorate a patron saint with grand revelries. Others celebrate an abundance of blessings, whether flowers (Baguio’s Panagbenga), milkfish (Dagupan’s Bangus Festival), or an indigenous handwoven fabric (South Cotabato’s T’nalak). Of course, food plays an integral role in all these festivities. One of the most popular pistas in the Philippines is the Pahiyas Festival.

Every May 15, Lucban, Quezon celebrates Pahiyas to honor San Isidro Labrador, the patron saint of farmers. The fiesta begins with a mass at the break of dawn to give thanks for the year’s good harvest. Right after, locals spend the day adorning their homes with fresh produce and rice-paper décor. Visitors join in by crafting their own ornaments and going from one house to another to sing, dance, and eat. 

Like many other Filipino fiestas, the Pahiyas Festival date isn’t set in stone. Festivities extend to a week or two, allowing more people to celebrate and indulge in local cuisine. But if traveling to the province is not an option for you this year, why not bring the merrymaking to your home? Bring out the banderitas, invite guests over, and impress them with a menu of these Pahiyas staples.

1. Lucban Longganisa

Links of Lucban longganisa

There’s no shortage of local sausages in the country. One of the most beloved versions is from the Pahiyas Festival’s place of origin. Lucban longganisa features a distinct profile of garlic, oregano, paprika, and vinegar. For your stay-at-home fiesta, how about including this longganisa in a boodle fight? You can also chop up fried pieces and add them to an umami-filled fried rice, fried lumpia, or Pinoy spaghetti.

2. Fried Kiping

A house decorated with kiping

Kiping is an essential component of the Pahiyas Festival. These thin rice-flour wafers come in a variety of colors, adding pizzazz to both the house’s façade and the dinner table. Yes, you can eat them! Make some by grinding glutinous rice with water, salt, and food dyes to form a paste. Spread the mixture over a pattern or a leaf, then steam them for 30 minutes. Hang them to air-dry, then fry or grill. Super easy! You can serve kiping as a sweet snack or an appetizer paired with vinegar.  

3. Hardinera

Meat loaf stuffed with hard-boiled egg and a side of ketchup

Hardinera is Quezon’s interpretation of the meat loaf. Think of it as a marriage of embutido and menudo! You can recreate this fiesta classic in just under an hour. Stir-fry your preferred ground protein (tofu, chicken, or pork) with aromatics, Knorr Pork Cubes, and tomato sauce. Let cool, then mix in eggs, cornstarch, cheese, breadcrumbs, raisins, and pineapples. Pour mixture into llaneras (leche flan tins), steam, and serve. Enjoy the ulam with rice and your favorite condiment. 

4. Pancit Lucban (Habhab)

Pancit Lucban served on a banana leaf

Pancit habhab looks just like a typical pancit Canton. But if you’ve had the chance to try this celebratory dish, you know it differs in many ways. Lucban pancit uses miki noodles and calls for cane vinegar instead of calamansi. You also eat it straight off a banana leaf with no utensils. The good news? This Pahiyas staple cooks in 30 minutes! How’s that for a handaan addition? Make sure to cook multiple batches – your guests will surely ask for takeout!

5. Lucban Pilipit

A plate of deep-fried doughnuts known as pilipit

Most Filipinos know pilipit as a twisted doughnut dredged in white sugar. But for Lucbanins, this childhood snack is a sticky rice treat made with mashed kalabasa. After frying, it gets a thick coating of caramelized sugar, giving it a crisp exterior. A dessert with a nutritious twist? Yes, please!

6. Budin

One round cassava cake on a plate next to raw cassava

Budin is a version of cassava cake from the neighboring city of Tayabas. Despite not originating from Lucban, the sweet and sticky treat features prominently in most Pahiyas handaans. What sets it apart? This variation has a light and moist texture that easily melts in the mouth. You can also already prepare it in advance – it tastes even better as days pass.

Excited to circle the country this fiesta season? But if travel is impossible for your family, bring the party to your place! Who says you can’t join the festivities? Lucban’s colorful Pahiyas Festival is within easy reach, thanks to these staple handaan items. Cook a feast and celebrate with loved ones in the comfort of your home.

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