Have you heard of kiping and parikitan? What about longanisa and pansit habhab? How about Kamay Ni Hesus Shrine? Well, perhaps some of you who are fond of visiting places, sight-seeing and food tripping would say, “Lucban.” If you are one of them, you surely won’t miss exploring the town of Lucban and everything about it. This town is a highly desirable place of distinct serenity. It happens to be a second-class municipality in the province of Quezon. It rests at the foot of the prestigious Mt. Banahaw. The local residents consider is a sacred mountain. It teems with legends and superstitions. Tourists come to Mt. Banahaw for trekking and adventure. I consider Lucban as a big open museum.
The place is oozing with history to the point that you can see National Historical Institute markers on the parks and churches of this town. Aside from its historical significance, the town of Lucban is also famous of its tourist spots. If you want to have a break from stressful life in the city, Lucban is just the right place to visit. People from different places come to visit Lucban not only during summer vacation but also during Holy Week to visit Grotto or Kamay Ni Hesus Shrine. It is a healing center built under the initiative of Father Joey Faller, a gifted and well-known healing priest. The Shrine has become a popular tourist and field trip destination nowadays for its healing masses.
One of the highlights of the visit to this grotto is the climbing of 321 steps on the right side and 301 steps on the left up to the top of the hill where a 50-foot statue of the Ascending Christ was erected. Almost all of the tourists who visit Lucban do not miss to spend overnight at Batis Aramin. It is located across the Kamay ni Hesus Shrine. It’s a nature park spot for boating, swimming, camping, biking, trailing and so much more. This resort has a nice accommodation and the place is perfect for summer trip. Lucban has two feast day, one every August 19 and the Pahiyas Festival every May 15.
However, the latter is more remarkable. Lucban celebrates the Pahiyas Festival, one of the most colourful festivals in our country, every May 15 in honour of the patron saint of farmers, San Isidro de Labrador. This festival showcases a street of houses which are adorned with fruits, vegetables, agricultural products, handicrafts and kiping, a rice-made decoration, which afterwards can be eaten grilled or fried. You will see the creativity of Lucbanins once you visit the town for this special day. Some houses are even decorated a week before the exact feast date.
Some spend a lot of money for the decoration. However, even those who don’t have enough money for the decoration win the competition because of their creativity and wide imagination to come up with the best decorations. Houses are judged twice, one in the morning and another in the evening, where judges choose the ‘Kutitap Award’ and a lot more. In this case, you would see adorned houses loaded with beautiful lights. Some winners in the morning also get awards for the evening competition. You shouldn’t miss to walk both in the morning and in the evening to see the difference.
Parikitan, is also part of the celebration where beautiful ladies with their escorts are dressed with beautiful gowns made of native products. Even pushcarts owned by pancit vendors and floats owned by farmers are decorated with fruits, vegetables, agricultural products, handicrafts and kiping. It is really more fun in Lucban during May 15. Every year, tourists roam the municipality to witness the festival. Walking is the best way to go around the town. Although tricycle transportation is available for short distances, they are not allowed to ply their route during the Pahiyas Festival. In terms of food and delicacies, Lucbanin food is a combination of Filipino, Chinese, and Spanish cuisine. Lucban is noted for its authentic foods.
People there love to eat pancit Lucban or pancit habhab almost every day. Some eat it twice a day not only because it’s very delicious but also because it’s very affordable. By the way, Lucbanins call it pancit habhab because you eat it directly from banana leaf without even using any utensils. Even foreigners who go there challenge themselves to eat pancit ‘habhab’. Lucban longganisa is a famous native delicacy in the province of Quezon. It has a stronger garlic flavor and a bit sour compared to other longganisa recipes. Best eaten as a viand together with garlic rice and fried egg and dipped in vinegar for added taste. You will see how it is made if you would visit the town because it is their main product. So, when visiting Quezon, try the longganisang Lucban. Your visit wouldn’t be complete without munching on a serving of this longanisa variety.
There are so many restaurants at the town center. Prices vary from one resto to another. Nevertheless, there are still a lot of affordable foods in the market where you can buy snacks, lunch, dinner and take out at unbelievably low price. You can also buy fast foods from street hawkers with their push cart in tow selling pansit habhab and other delicacies. Well, of course you won’t leave the place without any souvenirs, Lucban offers various Philippine handicrafts sold at reasonable prices. Some of the best buys are hand-woven handicrafts such as buntal/buri hats, placemats, rattan and bamboo craft, home decors and other Philippine-made products. For most trippers, they love Lucban the most because of its climate which is perfect for a stroll and relaxation. Its serenity also contributes to making someone in the mood for deeper spirituality. I’m a Christian but I feel His presence stronger in a place like Lucban. So what else can you ask for? You shouldn’t miss to visit Lucban or else you will miss half of your life.