The Town Of Edible Walls
The Pahiyas Festival, Lucban
Every summer, all the houses in the small town of Lucban, Quezon are dressed up for the Pahiyas Festival.
Drab brown walls come alive with colourful leaf-shaped decorations called kiping that are arranged to form chandeliers (arangya) and flowers.
These are hung down from the windows or balconies or are propped up on their own posts and just in case you get hungry walking along the streets, feel free to grab a kiping or two to munch on.
Made from ground rice flour and shaped to form the red, fuschia, green and yellow leaves that symbolize a bountiful harvest, the kiping is not just pretty to look at—it’s also something that you can have for your snack.
Neighbours engage in friendly competition by decorating their houses with the rainbow hued kipings
The kiping is as edible as any other rice-based Philippine delicacy, but it’s not very tasty so you should have at least a dish of vinegar or syrup to dip it in. That’s more than you can you say for any average wall festival decoration.
Gratitude and Beauty
Like many Philippine fiestas, The Pahiyas Festival is a celebration of thanksgiving for a good harvest. It is done in honor of San Isidro Labrador, the patron saint of farmers. It has been celebrated annually as a a simple event for as long as anyone can remember.
The full-fledged festival status was achieved only in 1963 when a number of art professionals decided to put together an exhibit to showcase crafts, folk dances, art work and photos from all over the Philippines.
That was when the people of Lucban decided to really put on a colourful fiesta every year. The Pahiyas became a time for highlighting the town’s products such as longganisang Lucban, fruits and vegetables, hats, miniatures (called anok).
The kiping became a colourful and innovative addition to the fiesta, drawing local and foreign tourists by the hundreds.
You too can see the beauty of the Pahiyas Festival. Next summer, book a trip to the Philippines and join the townsfolk in celebrating their bountiful harvest.