Exquisite Tradition of Lucban


by: Jessica Mikaela Mones, Foodfindsasia.com |

For Filipinos, May is the month of fiestas; and one of the most-awaited feasts in the Philippines is Lucban, Quezon’s Pahiyas Festival celebrated every 15th of May.

Pahiyas started as a thanksgiving celebration by native Tagalogs. This is their way of returning the season’s bountiful harvest to the anitos with the belief that they will have the same (or even better) blessings for the next year as well.

With the widespread of Catholicism, natives then began offering their bounty harvests to the Churches. This fruitful harvest festival honors Saint Isidore Labrador, the patron saint of farmers and laborers.

Every year, thousands of locals and foreigners visit this grand event to witness the extravagant exteriors, luscious delicacies, ancient Churches, lively street dancing and the experience itself. It has been the natives’ tradition to have a friendly competition as they beautify their houses with bright and attention-grabbing decors of fruits, vegetables, local crops, flowers and the most famous kiping, edible rice sheets decoration.

Seeing the town filled with colors make Pahiyas Festival a feast like no other. This celebration highlights the vibrant culture of the natives, the creativity of the people, values of every Filipino and their strong devotion to God.

However, never leave Pahiyas Festival without eating Lucban’s Longanissa and Pancit Habhab. Pancit Habhab is known for not using utensils, consumed in banana leaves by shaping the leaves like a half tube and slide down the pancit on one side then on to your hungry mouth. Also, grilled kiping is a must-try!

How to cook Pancit Habhab:

• 1 pack dried pancit habhab noodles
• 2 tbsp oil
• 1 large onion, chopped
• 4 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 carrot, julliened
• 250g snow peas
• 2 large chayote, cut into bite-size pieces
• 250g shrimps, shelled
• 200g pork, cut into small pieces
• 6-8 cups pork or beef stock
• ½ cup soy sauce
• cane vinegar
• fish sauce and black pepper to taste

1. Heat half of the oil in a wok and sauté half of the onion and garlic until it becomes translucent.
2. Add snowpeas, carrots and chayote and stir fry fro around a minute.
3. Pour in ½ cup of stock and simmer for another minute. Remove from wok and set aside.
4. In the same wok, heat the rest of the oil and sauté the remaininghalf of the onion and garlic until it becomes translucent.
5. Add pork and let fry until it browns a little.Add shrimp and stir fry until it turns orange.
6. Pour in 6 cups of stock and soy sauce and wait for it to boil before adding pancit habhab noodles.
7. Mix until noodles absorbs the stock and becomes soft.
8. Add more stock until desired softness/doneness is achieved.
9. Add the stir-fried vegetables you set aside.
10. Season with fish sauce and pepper to taste.
11. Serve freshly cooked with a sprinkling of cane vinegar.

And to eat it in the traditional Lucban way:
• Place it first on banana leaves which serve as the plate.
• Pour vinegar (amount depends upon your preference) which usually come with some pepper and black pepper for added spiciness and hotness.
• With the pancit placed on banana leaves, use your hand to move the pancit closer to your face, enough to pick it up by your mouth. It is eaten straight off of the leaf.
• And yes, eat Pancit Habhab without using utensils and use your mouth directly, with your hand as a support.

How to

Happy fiesta!