PAHIYAS: 8 Tips for an Awesome San Isidro Labrador Fiesta!

Pahiyas is one of the most awesome fiestas in the country. It falls on the feast day of San Isidro Labrador, the patron saint of farmers to show gratitude for a good and abundant harvest. It is celebrated in Lucban (most popular and commercialized), Sariaya, Tayabas and other towns in Quezon.

The Pahiyas Festival is always observed on a fixed date — May 15 — and this year, it’s a Sunday. It will take another 5 years (on May 15, 2016, to be exact) before it is celebrated on a weekend again.

For those joining the Pahiyas festivities, here are 8 Tips to have an Awesome San Isidro Labrador Fiesta!

1. Best time to go to Lucban

The best time to go to Lucban, Quezon is in the morning, to catch the morning religious procession.  You have to leave Manila by 3.00am if you want to travel with less traffic and secure a good parking spot.

Parking areas can usually be found outside town, and you need to ride a tricycle to make your way back to the town. Alternatively, you can also walk.

TIP: If you decide to go in the afternoon (when most people just watch the nice procession), be prepared to get stuck in hours of traffic leaving Lucban.

2. Where to eat in Lucban

Don’t forget to try the Pancit Habhab of Quezon!

It is best to eat it along the street stalls. Just make sure to enjoy it while it’s hot! 🙂

Lucban is also famous for its garlicky longganisa, which the locals usually hang to dry outside their homes.

The best brands to buy for pasalubong are: Abcede, Dealo, Eker and Efren.

Make your way to the original Buddy’s restaurant in Lucban, located near the town plaza.

Another recommended restaurant  in Lucban is Kamayan sa Palaisdaan, which is conveniently located outside the town, so you don’t get stuck in the fiesta traffic. Try their fresh tilapia!

3. What to do in Lucban

Explore! Explore! Explore!

Walk along the procession route, where all the houses are decorated with kiping and their harvest.

The procession route changes every year, but it always starts and ends at the Lucban Church. It is a bit cool in the town because of Lucban’s elevation, and you can leisurely walk around in the morning.

There was one Pahiyas celebration that saw rain the entire morning, so don’t forget to bring your umbrella.

Check out these hand-painted bayongs and other artworks by local artists.

The best way to celebrate Pahiyas is to meet and celebrate with the families in Lucban. Some of them would even invite you inside their houses. If you have friends who live there, make sure to pay a courtesy visit.

4. Pilgrimage to Kamay ni Hesus

Kamay ni Hesus-1
A lot of people go on a pilgrimage to Kamay ni Hesus because of the healing miracles of Fr. Joseph A. Faller.  He regularly conducts healing masses every Wednesday and Saturday at 9.30am.

Most of the pilgrims climb a small hill to pray and reflect on the 14 Stations of the Cross.

If it is your first time there, you can visit the church and pray for your three wishes, and they say you will be blessed accordingly.

Kamay ni Hesus Church Mass Schedule:
Mondays to Fridays (9.00am – Regular Mass)
Wednesday and Saturday (9.30am – Healing Mass)
Saturday (5.00pm – Anticipated Sunday Mass)
Sunday(7.30am, 9.00am, 10.30am, 11.30am and 4.00pm)

Schedule of Confession (before 9.30am Healing Mass)
First Friday Confession (8.00am, 4.00pm)
Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament Adoration (1st Friday and 4.00pm Saturday)

5. Pahiyas Celebrations around Quezon

After visiting Lucban, you can hop on to another town to continue celebrating Pahiyas.

If you want to experience a less-commercialized and a more cultural Pahiyas festival, visit the neighboring town of Sariaya. At 3.00pm, the San Isidro procession starts, and each house where the procession passes would traditionally give away symbols of bountiful harvest to the people.

This fiesta is known as Bagakay “Agawan” sa Sariaya because of these Bagakays — tall young bamboo or trees decorated with goodies of buntal hats, native dress, junk food and other giveaways.

They say no matter how tall the bagakays are, they would still often bow down before the image of San Isidro as it passes by. This is like a pabitin tradition for adults, so you have to be careful not to get caught up in the frenzy.

Tayabas, Quezon also celebrates Pahiyas with a Hagisan ng Suman sa Tayabas at 3.00pm.

Gumaca, Quezon, on the other hand, has the Arañat Baluarte Festival, where they decorate arches with farm harvests along the street corners.

6. Where to eat around Quezon  during Pahiyas

I recommend these top 5 places to eat around Quezon:

Ugu Bigyan’s in Tiaong, Quezon (pictured above is his Kulawo)

Read Related OAP Posts: Ugu Bigyan’s and Ugu Bigyan’s Pottery Garden Postcards

JIJF Lutong Bahay ni Inay in Candelaria, Quezon (check out their Crispy Pata!)

Read Related OAP PostsCandelaria’s Crispy Pata!

Jay Herrera’s Kinabuhayan Cafe in Dolores, Quezon

Read Related OAP Posts:  “Starbucks” stop @ Jay’s Kinabuhayan CafePostcards from Kinabuhayan CafeKubli Springs Night @ Viaje del Sol and Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho Shoot @ Kinabuhayan Cafe, Kubli Springs

Arabella Cafe in Liliw, Laguna

Read Related OAP PostsArabela, Liliw – The Foodie Place to be in Liliw, Laguna

Sulyap Cafe and Antique Shop in San Pablo, Laguna

7. Shopping at Ugu Bigyan’s

Another favorite shopping destination in Quezon is Ugu Bigyan’s, where his pottery is only discounted twice a year — during Pahiyas (at 20% off) and on his birthday in August (discount percentage is equivalent to his age).

8. The BEST Tour Guide

Tina Decal is undoubtedly the BEST tour guide in Quezon and in the Viaje del Sol route ever! I met her way back in 2005, when OAP was just starting.

Every Pahiyas, Ultimate Philippines Tour partners with Tina Decal to bring you the Ultimate Pahiyas Culinary and Heritage Tour for the hassle-free experience of immersing yourself in the Pahiyas celebrations and the culinary delights of Quezon.


Hope you enjoy this simple guide, especially if you want to explore the Pahiyas festival on your own.

Do you have additional tips and recommended tours for people going to Pahiyas? (Please feel free to put them in the comments section.)

Live an Awesome Life,

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Full Disclosure: Our Awesome Planet is a co-founder of the Ultimate Philippines Tours.

P.S. LAST CALL: Join us for this year’s Ultimate Pahiyas Tour!

Ultimate San Isidro Labrador (Pahiyas and Agawan Festival) Experience 2011!
Date: May 15, 2011, Sunday
Time: 4am Departure  and 9pm Estimated Arrival Time
Meeting Place: Starbucks 6750

Tour Description
It’s fiesta time this month of May and what better way to drink, eat and be merry as we head south to explore charming Quezon province. It’s the best time of the year as we join in the revelry and celebrate the feast of San Isidro de Labrador! First off, to Sariaya, a charming little town known for its gracious colonial-period homes. We’ll have breakfast, take a stroll and admire these lovely houses as we revel in its traditional Agawan Festival. Then, it’s off to Lucban and the Pahiyas festival where we’ll feast our eyes over a smorgasbord of food, music, artistry and local color in one of the country’s most spectacular fiestas! Finally, on to San Pablo, Laguna to dine at the artsy Sulyap Gallery Cafe, a great way to cap-off our Southern Tagalog experience!

You will discover
– the best way to experience Twin San Isidro Labrador Festivals: Pahiyas in Lucban and Agawan in Sariaya!
– the charming heritage town of Sariaya as well as a lovely dinner at the artsy Sulyap Gallery Cafe!
– Anything and everything about Quezon’s Tagalog heritage with the best guide in town — Tina Decal!

Tour Experience
San Isidro Labrador Pahiyas Festival in Lucban* Agawan Festival in Sariaya * Historic Town of Sariaya* Sulyap Gallery Cafe

Tour Fee:
PHP4,800 net per person, all inclusive of:
– Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner/ (full board)
– All entrances and demonstrations
– Tourist Bus transfer
– Personal Guide: Tina Decal (Quezon’s best!)
Plus surprises along the way….

For bookings, e-mail or text Spanky Enriquez (+63 928 5035137)

P.P.S. Watch the Pacquiao – Mosley fight Live for FREE in Mercato Centrale this Sunday. 🙂 Thanks to Gatorade! We will have six (6) Changhong TV screens around Mercato Centrale. Also, we are hosting the Asian Food Channel Mother’s Day celebration in Mercato Centrale. See you there!



8 thoughts on “PAHIYAS: 8 Tips for an Awesome San Isidro Labrador Fiesta!

  1. Hi Anton!
    Home made salted eggs from Pavino, just right across Buddy’s Lucban, are good. There’s also a small karinderia that serves bunete and lugaw with lechon just along that road. Calzone in Ground Zero is my mom’s favorite. =)

  2. I recommend for a more enjoyable Pahiyas Festival experience, stay overnight. One has the experience the days defore the actual day of San Isidro Pahiyas Festival and the cool nights of Lucban. Kamayan sa Palaisdaan has a very nice kinda secluded resort not far from the restarurant and you can order all the food from the resort what you would order from the restaurant.
    I also recommend going the Majayjay-Liliw-Nagcarlan route (for the non-tourbus riders – own car or van), less traffic, more local or provincial things to see than the Tayabas-Lucena- Sariaya route. Tsienalas from Liliw, Imelda/Taytay Falls in Majayjay, and the beautiful streets of Lucban.
    Try not to go to Kamay ni Hesus during the day of the Festival (if driving), very hard to get back and park in town. Do this before or after (if staying overnight).
    Enjoy the people, leave your gf at home hehehehe and same goes for the girls, leave bf at home. Be adventurous and try the chicharrong kalabaw (mostly Tayabas and Lucban only)

  3. Ground Zero is just across Koffee Klatch, Anton, right beside that 7-11 store in the corner. sa gilid po ng munisipyo, hehehe

  4. Hi Anton,
    This is not pahiyas related.
    Have you heard of 101 Hawker Food House along Urban Avenue, walking distant from Makati Med?
    I’ve eaten there twice and the food is good. There open Mon-Sat ( Sat till 2pm).
    Check it out.

  5. Hi Anton!
    Its great that I read this post of yours, I am very excited and I hope my cousin will bring me with them when they go in the Pahiyas Festival this coming Sunday. I want to experience this kind festivals ever since. 🙂
    I hope I can taste the foods that you are talking about. 🙂

  6. =) My pleasure. Yes Anton, you can see it from Buddy’s, on the other side of the “plaza”. Have fun on your trip!

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