September 11, 2010

Leaves of rice

The Pahiyas Festival celebrated in Lucban and in other towns in the Philippines is a harvest festival. It is always held on May 15, the feast day of San Isidro Labrador (St. Isidore the Laborer or Farmer). The highlight of the festival is a procession of revered religious icons followed by the town's prettiest girls in fancy gowns, which begins and ends in the parish church. The houses along the roads where the procession goes through—the route is changed every year—are decorated just for the festival and this is what pahiyas (ornaments) refers to. The decorations are composed of the fruits of the harvest and Lucban has a special kind of ornament made of rice, called kiping, which is why the festival attracts thousands of tourists every year. Grains of rice are pounded to a flour and mixed with water and food coloring to form a paste, which is then brushed over leaves and left to dry. The result is thin, translucent, jewel-toned leaves which are used to cover the houses' facades or strung into elaborate designs, like this almost two-story high chandelier which graces the entrance of Buddy's restaurant in Quezon City.

kiping chandelier in Buddy's restaurant along Timog Avenue


Smaller kiping lanterns are hung all around the restaurant's interiors, and the flower pattern at the building's facade is echoed by the beautiful light fixtures on the ceiling.

flower-shaped light fixtures in Buddy's restaurant along Timog Avenue


A photo collage about Lucban—the higantes, the procession led by the statue of San Isidro, Mount Banahaw, the parish church, and a house richly and colorfully decorated with pahiyas—curves along the wall of the staircase which leads to the second floor.

Lucban photo mural in Buddy's restaurant along Timog Avenue

18 comments:

Al said...

That's amazing, the decorations look very delicate and colorful.

dong ho said...

oh those colorful kippings! i actually learned that it's edible.

Randy said...

Love the first photo. So colorful.

Dina said...

That is just fascinating. I love to learn about all these great old customs. The colorful lamp is amazing.

Rob and Mandy said...

Oh wow, that's amazing

Living In Williamsburg Virginia said...

Beautiful shots.

Darryl and Ruth : )

Misalyn said...

Ang ganda......naalala ko tuloy ang Pahiyas sa Quezon.

VP said...

Some unusual and daring perspectives, the first image is stunning.

paul said...

Interesting story, and what a feast of colours! Love it.

James Mark said...

Beautiful pictures and fascinating slice of local culture. The decorated houses must be a marvel to see. Thanks for your welcome back. Although the Spurriergate Centre in the post you commented on is no longer a place of worship, it is still run by the Anglican church as a café, gift shop and counselling centre.

magiceye said...

lovely images and interesting commentary

Valladolid Daily Photo said...

I love the first one, the contrast of colours is awesome.

Jilly said...

How absolutely incredible. so much work but what a result. I adore that last shot too. Such beauty, Hilda.

Menton Daily Photo

Monte Carlo Daily Photo

George said...

The decorations are absolutely beautiful. Thanks for the information about the festival and these fascinating decorations.

Kaori said...

That first photo is fantastic! So bright and colorful :D

JM said...

Leaves of rice?! I'm amazed! Fantastic works.

arabesque said...

yikes! the place's pack with peeps!
nice, really cool interiors. ^0^

Tash said...

Spectacular views - each one of them.