Showing posts with label Tayabas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tayabas. Show all posts

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Hagisan ng Suman and Mayohan sa Tayabas, Quezon! Viva San Isidro Labrador!

While Lucban celebrates the Pahiyas Festival, other towns in Quezon have their own celebrations for the feast of San Isidro Labrador every May 15. In Tayabas, the city holds the Mayohan sa Tayabas. Unlike Lucban, only the area of Munting Bayan in Tayabas has pahiyas or decor on the houses.

The riotous procession of San Isidro Labrador makes its way around Tayabas City on May 15. Notice the baliskog piled on both sides of the road, showcased during the Parada ng Baliskog.
Mayohan sa Tayabas actually lasts several days, usually beginning on May 7 with the Parada ng Baliskog (kog means arch) at 3 p.m. The sixty-six barangays and various organizations create arches made of indigenous materials, flowers and produce and parade them around the city.

But the main event is the Hagisan ng Suman on May 15 itself. It is actually a procession of the centuries-old image of San Isidro Labrador. It leaves the Tayabas Basilica between 2 to 3 p.m. and makes its way around the city for several hours. It ends up being a males only procession because things get really rough and riotous.

Hundreds of suman are thrown from the balcony of Tayabas City Hall
As the image of San Isidro Labrador passes by a house, its residents start throwing suman, fruits and other local produce, as well as money and other goodies (some immigrant families ship boxes of imported goods to their relatives for the hagisan). This symbolizes the sharing of wealth and prosperity to farmers and peasants. The farmers believe that the more suman you catch, the bigger the yield for the year.

Unfortunately, the crowd of catchers has changed and the catching has gotten really aggressive. Even I got caught in the frenzy while taking photos, and one can get hurt if you don't move with the crowd, especially since the procession moves really fast. But it's really fun watching. And if you know anyone from Tayabas, you should join the hagisan from their balconies since that is even more fun!

Tayabas Basilica
And since you are in Tayabas, you should visit their heritage sites. The city has several National Cultural Treasures, namely the Basilica of St. Michael the Archangel and the Tayabas Historic Bridges namely Alitao, Isabel II, Francisco de Asis, Gibanga, Malagonlong, Lakawan, Mate, Ese, Despedida, and Tuloy. The Casa de la Communidad de Tayabas is a National Historical Landmark.

Santuario de las Almas
Ermita Church
Tayabas Cemetery
Tayabas Cemetery Chapel
The town also has three centuries-old chapels, namely the Santuario de las Almas on the way to Lucena, Ermita Church near the basilica, and the Tayabas Cemetry Chapel in Munting Bayan.

Here's information on the Pahiyas Festival in Lucban, Quezon.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Pahiyas, Agawan and Mayohan, Quezon festivals for San Isidro Labrador

Quezon is known for the various festivals held in celebration of the feast of San Isidro Labrador. These are the Pahiyas Festival in Lucban, Agawan Festival in Sariaya and Mayohan Festival in Tayabas. We got to visit these three Quezon towns plus San Pablo, Laguna.

We visited the town of Sariaya first and marveled at their grand Art Deco mansions. Three of them were declared Heritage Houses by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, namely the Natalio Enriquez House, Rodriguez House and Gala-Rodriguez House.

The Sariaya Church and the different houses were all colorfully decorated with local produce and goodies for the agawan which would happen later in the day.

From Sariaya, we visited the Tayabas Basilica, a National Cultural Treasure. At about 3 p.m., a procession of the image of San Isidro Labrador makes its way around town. As the image passes by every house, suman or glutinous rice cakes, are hurled out the balconies and windows in the hundreds, causing a mad rush among the procession participants. The more you get, the more blessings for the family and the more suman to eat!

The Pahiyas Festival in Lucban is the most popular and no doubt, the most colorful of the three festivals. The procession of the image of San Isidro Labrador usually makes its way around town first thing in the morning at about 7:30 a.m.

Every year, the procession route changes. And only houses along the procession route are decorated. Usually, it takes about seven years before the procession passes by a house again. So that gives a household enough time to save resources and prepare for the colorful and ostentatious decorations that are an inherent part of the Pahiyas.

The afternoon is reserved for a lively parade that makes its way around town. But unfortunately, this parade has been invaded by not so subtle commercial advertising. Anyway, I'll talk about the delicious Southern Tagalog food we ate in another post.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Quezon & Laguna: Pahiyas, Mayohan sa Tayabas, atbp.

This was my second straight year at the Pahiyas festival. Due to the storm which had just left the country, Lucban was covered by a blanket of fog. In fact, for most of the morning, the climate was like that of Baguio. The air was cool but a little more humid than in the summer capital.

We left the resthouse at 5:45 a.m. by tricycle since we didn't want our van to get stuck in town. For breakfast, it was Lucban longganiza, sinangag and fried egg. Then we joined the procession which left the church at 7:10 a.m. The procession is the best way to view the decorations since it is only the homes and businesses along the procession route which are decorated.

The procession route changes every year. And you have to wait several years before you are given the chance to decorate. For one, decorating is very costly and doing it every year will create big dents in one's budget. So the route changes to give residents a chance to join in the festivities once or twice in a decade and a chance to save up and prepare for their next turn.

I felt that last year was a bigger celebration than this year. For one, the weather was still unpredictable. And it even rained the night before. Second, the Pahiyas fell on a Sunday last year so the crowds were thicker. I was also disappointed that they used a school band in crew neck t-shirts for the procession. I was charmed by last year's band which was elegant in their traditional band costumes. Oh well!

Since I have a previous entry on the Pahiyas and other San Isidro Labrador celebrations, please check it out for detailed information. The photos of the entry are in Friendster so if they blocked Friendster in your school or office, that would explain why the photos don't show up.

Anyway, after going around to check out the decors and do some shopping, we went back to the resthouse before lunch to load all our stuff in the van. Our next stop was the neighboring town of Tayabas, the former provincial capital. Just like many Philippine towns and cities, the elegant town of Tayabas was bombed by American forces. Sigh!

The town lost all of its grand mansions in the poblacion. I was told that the Americans were targeting the church but for some reason, the bombs missed. And thank God they did since it would have been such a tragedy if American bombs destroyed this national cultural treasure!

The Minor Basilica of St. Michael and the nearby Casa Communidad de Tayabas is all that remains of this once grand town. Sigh! I wonder how many grand old towns and cities the American forces carpet bombed during the Second World War.

We were lucky since Dr. Leticia Yap was in town. Dr. Yap is a native of Tayabas but lived most of her life in San Fernando since her husband is from there. She was at one time a provincial board member of Pampanga. Anyway, we joined her for lunch at their home. After the sumptuous lunch, we were off to Sariaya to view the old houses.

For some reason, Sariaya was better the first time I visited last year. The mayor built a big eyesore, a multi-purpose hall, in a very elegant art deco town plaza. They could have at least made sure that the architecture of this new structure matched the flamboyance of its surroundings.

But there was an obvious change with the colors of the municipio. From a plain white facade, the current colors exude the art deco flair. I know it has elicited mixed reactions but if you want to be historically accurate, you will have to follow color schemes of the period, no matter how flashy they are. Again, a detailed account is in last year's entry.

After a short walking tour, it was back to Tayabas to witness the hagisan ng suman. For a Monday, I was shocked to see that there were double or even triple the number of participants in the procession. Was this a sign of trying times? Because last year, I could still stand behind the anda of San Isidro Labrador. But this year it was a mad rush for the suman flying in the air in the thousands. And I didn't want to suffer a Wowowee! simply to take photos in the middle of the rushing crowd. Hehe!

But from the sidelines, this practice was so intriguing and definitely worth watching! I wonder if there have been any studies made on this and similar religious practices such as the Nazareno procession in Quiapo; why people would risk their lives driven by an ounce of faith, and in the case of Tayabas, a possible windfall of suman.

From Tayabas, we motored back to Lucban and then to Majayjay to visit the old church which is also a national cultural treasure. Driving along the mountain roads offered magnificent views of the slopes of Mount Banahaw and the numerous streams which flowed from it. Looking up at the towering fortress-like Church of San Gregorio Magno was just awe-inspiring. I could just imagine how it looked when there were just a few houses and forests all around it.

We then proceeded to the Nagcarlan Underground Cemetery but it was closed when we got there. At the gate was a sign which said that due to the government's energy conservation program, the cemetery was open only from Tuesday to Saturday. Hello? I could understand Monday but to close it on a Sunday, that is ridiculous!

Anyway, after a few photos, it was back to Manila. What a day! More photos in My Heritage Photos. Click on Laguna and Quezon.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Quezon & Laguna: Viva San Isidro Labrador!

May 15 is an important day in three towns of Quezon Province, namely Lucban, Tayabas and Sariaya. It is the feast day of San Isidro Labrador, and each town commemorates this day with their own unique celebration. Our plan was to visit Lucban in the morning and Tayabas in the afternoon. But a twist of fate would make the trip more exciting and worthwhile.

I left Manila with some photographer friends at 3 a.m. Early you say? I was told that by 6 a.m., it would be difficult to enter the town since people really come in droves to witness the Pahiyas, one of the more famous festivals in the country. If you are familiar with Discovery Channel's The Travellers, it was the festival they featured when the Philippines was in focus.

We arrived in Lucban shortly before 6 a.m. and finding parking was already a big challenge! The streets were so narrow and you had vehicles parked on both sides. Finally we found a parking space and from there we took a walk to the Lucban Church where Mass was about to begin. Although Lucban is known for the San Isidro fiesta, the church is actually dedicated to San Luis Obispo.

Pahiyas is a thanksgiving festival for a good harvest, where residents of Lucban dress up their homes with produce, flowers and plants, hats, and brightly-colored kiping, rice paste wafers shaped like leaves. Pahiyas actually means "decor" which is an apt term for the elaborate, lavish and imaginative house decorations created for the festival. After the Mass, at 7 a.m., the procession begins and the images of San Isidro Labrador and his wife, Santa Maria Torribia de la Cabeza, are brought around the decorated homes, accompanied by a marching band, to assure farmers of more bountiful harvests in the coming seasons.

Lucban is also known for its longganiza and weaving trade. That's why it is famous for hats. And I bought a lot of them! Hehe! I like wearing the haciendero hat which Lucban is known for when I'm in formal or semi-formal attire and I know that I'll be out in the sun for quite a while.

After three hours of walking around, we decided to move to Tayabas. Although we planned to be there at 3 p.m. in time for the hagisan ng suman which I will discuss later. We drove out of the town only to realize that we took the wrong route, and had to re-enter the town to go to Tayabas.

Since the traffic was really bad, going back in Lucban was out of the question. Taking a longer route would have been more practical than driving in traffic. At least we could see more. The first option was to go via Mauban. But the sight of a dirt road discouraged us since the prospect of driving my car on approximately 50 km of dirt road was unimaginable! So the next option was the route via Laguna which would literally take us around Mount Banahaw. Since there were a lot of attractions along the way, there was a lot to look forward to.

First stop was the town of Majayjay, Laguna. Before we reached the town, we stopped by a bridge along the way to take photos of the scenery. We went to Majayjay to visit the Church of San Gregorio Magno, one of the 26 colonial churches declared by the National Museum as National Cultural Treasures.

After Majayjay, we drove past Liliw, a town known for its slippers, and proceeded to Nagcarlan which is most known for the Nagcarlan Underground Cemetery, declared by the National Historical Institute as a National Landmark. Our first stop in town was its centuries-old Church of San Bartolome. The church itself is an NHI-declared historical site.

Just a short drive past its charming town presidencia and waterworks fountain, was the underground cemetery, the only one of its kind in the Philippines. Maybe the Franciscan friars who created this structure wanted to replicate the catacombs of Rome!

I was astounded by the brick fence as the design was very Asian, and made me feel as if I were somewhere else. It actually reminded me of the royal tombs in Hue, Vietnam. It's a pity we could not take photos inside. Flash photography contributes to the decay of the site. But even if your flash is turned off, they won't allow it. I guess it's a general rule for generally hardheaded Filipinos. Hehe!

From Nagcarlan, we drove towards San Pablo where we decided to have lunch. Since it was already 1 p.m. and scorching hot at that, we decided not to take photos anymore and move on to Tayabas since we might miss the procession. From San Pablo, we drove past Tiaong to Sariaya. We had no intentions of stopping. But the sight of elegant and huge art deco houses was just irresistable! We were not disappointed.

The architectural heritage of this town was previously unknown to me until I saw it. It was nothing but astounding! The houses were a result of the coconut boom during the First World War when coconut oil was a sought after commodity in the global market. As a result, Sariaya became a very prosperous town. And this is evident in the art deco houses that dot the area around its town plaza. Aside from being intricate and well-preserved, they are numerous!

Some of the houses were opened to visitors for the May 15 celebration. There was an entrance fee of P20 per house, the proceeds of which went to Tuklas Sariaya, the local heritage conservation organization of the town. The heritage houses, coupled with the monumental art deco municipal hall, plaza, and church with its two conventos (the one on the left was definitely built during the Spanish colonial period), indeed make Sariaya rank among our best-preserved heritage towns which include Vigan, Ilocos Sur; Taal, Batangas; Silay, Negros Occidental; Pila, Laguna; and San Miguel de Mayumu, Bulacan. Bacolor, Pampanga would have been in this list had it not been covered by lahar in 1995.

The local celebration in Sariaya is called Agawan. And just like Lucban, the houses are adorned with fruits and vegetables, rice stalks, hats, fans and brooms, sans the kiping. The festival is a way for the townsfolk to share their blessings. After the procession of the image of San Isidro, the agawan begins as the items used to decorate the house are thrown to the crowd on the street.

It was now off to Tayabas after that "refreshing" stop under the hot summer sun. And we arrived just in the nick of time since the procession was about to start!

Cheers were heard from the plaza as the image of San Isidro Labrador was brought out, carried by devotees in this all-male procession. I would consider it a much smaller yet livelier version of the Quiapo procession. What makes this procession a unique part of the Mayohan sa Tayabas, the Tayabasin celebration of the feast of San Isidro, is the hagisan ng suman. As the image passes a house, suman is thrown by its dwellers. Devotees then rush to catch the falling suman which drops from the sky like rain. It is believed that the more suman one catches, the bigger the harvest for the coming season. So expect to be shoved when the suman starts to fall, as I was shoved while taking photos! Try to stay away from the suman if you don't want to get pushed. Hehe!

After the procession, we took photos of the Basilica Minore of St. Michael the Archangel, another of the churches declared as National Cultural Treasures. Other attractions in Tayabas include the Casa Comunidad, a National Landmark, and its stone bridges.

We called it a day at 4 p.m. and decided to take the Lucban route to Manila seeing that the Sariaya route was already clogged. Lucban was 10 km away and it was moving fast. But just as we got close to the town proper, everything just stopped. After 30 minutes, we decided to turn back and use the Sariaya route instead. When we entered Tayabas, the procession, which had been moving around town for three hours now, was about to cross the street. And we had no choice but to go via Lucena.

On the way to Lucena, we saw this quaint old chapel. And as always, we stopped to take photos. It was then that we decided to try to find the Malagonlong Bridge, a landmark which Tayabas is known for, as our final stop for the day. After asking around, we found out that this charming stone bridge was along the road to Mauban, Quezon, the road we tried to avoid! Hehe! Being adventurous, we decided to visit the bridge and go home to Manila via Mauban, thus circumventing Lucban traffic.

The bridge was a indeed sight! If not for the new bridge constructed beside it, it would have been nothing but perfect! We went down to the river to take better shots of it. We were literally on stepping stones in the middle of the river. Anything for good shots! Hehe!

As it was getting dark and not knowing what was ahead, we decided to take the Sariaya route again. Maybe the traffic was much lesser since the festivities were over. But as we were about to exit Lucena, it was a standstill again, and three lanes tried to squeeze themselves into one! Oh you know how Filipino drivers are, illegal counterflows and shoulder driving just to get ahead! I was just too exhausted so we decided to have dinner at SM City Lucena.

We left at 9 p.m. hoping there would be no more jam. But traffic was still slow. At least it was moving this time. To make the long story short, we got back in Manila close to 12 midnight. I had been driving for almost 24 hours. But it was worth it. All I could do when I got home was sleep!
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