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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Tayabas - Lucban Trip | Pahiyas Festival Sidetrip Suggestion

LUCBAN-TAYABAS, Quezon Province -- I'm sure PAHIYAS FESTIVAL was already marked on your calendar. And now you can't wait to set your foot again on the road to see those colourful cladded  decorations of  kipings, fruits and vegetables. But, please don't let the festival contain your trip on a single town because Quezon province has more to offer.

This province is quite familiar to me because it is the last province to pass by before our province, Marinduque and where the port of entry is located. It is a 2-3 hours drive from Metro Manila that is usually underrated and overlooked by tourists despite of its accessibility.  Just this month, I was able to explore 2 towns of this sleepy province ( because of my search for  colonial bridges)  which is Lucban, the home of Pahiyas and the neighbouring Tayabas, the glorious city of colonial bridges. 'Was astonished of what it is keeping and discovered that it is a backpacker destination too whether by cost, people, culture, heritage and gastronomic vices. 

Photo credit to wikipedia

So for those who have set their trip in Pahiyas Festival, you might include these must-things-to-do and must-to-go destinations before or after and during the event. I'm telling you, sulit na sulit ang biyahe mo! Get awed and be WOWED!!!

Tayabas City

Be astounded by colonial bridges. Tayabas City once became the capital of the province. Its glorious past can be seen on its edifice and infrastructures that still exist today way back  from the time of Spanish colonialization. These are massive bridges made up of stone blocks. I was able to see one of those -- the Puente de Malagonlong. See post. There are more colonial bridges in  the city so I have the reason to visit again and see the remaining 10.

Puente de Malagonlong across Dumaca-a River.

The 173 years old Puente de Malagonlong is just among the 11 stone bridges built in the town under the direction of Fray Antonio Mattheus, a Franciscan priest and funded by Don Julian Francisco.

Witness the town's heritage buildings. Tayabas has evident rich culture and heritage heirloom that have passed through times. Apparently, it can be seen in the numbers of heritage buildings. One of these is Casa Comunidad de Tayabas which was build as the guest house of the towns elite officials with their family during Spanish regime. It also became a garrison afterwards during the World War. Now, the casa was converted into a museum that well kept the town's untold history.

Casa Comunidad de Tayabas. Though I was not able to enter the Casa, its  façade would tell what it is keeping inside. Recently, it went through a major renovation and said to be the largest "Bahay na Bato" ever restored. Good job NHI!!

Some of old houses I have seen.

Visit Tayabas Church. If one has to know the certain town's past, basically its church would tell what it has been through. That's why my fascination with churches grows out more on each places I've travelled.


Façade of Tayabas Church. Locals would refer it as the "Key of Tayabas" because the church has the key shape in plan and the longest aisle I have seen ever and one of the largest church in the country. 

The church is now under repair.

The church Pulpit.

The church was one of the largest Roman Catholic Church in the country perhaps because of the continuous expansion and renovation until the year 1856.

Have a glimpse of some the Tayabas [Cemetery] Chapels.

The Sanctuario de las Almas is one of two cemetery chapels in Tayabas. The other one is located in the current public cemetery. Like other cemetery chapel in the country, the church was intended for town's both Filipino and Spanish dignitaries as place for interment. Nowadays, it is use as full functional church. Though still have few niches in the surrounding, the cemetery complex is not a accepting dead to be interred. Regular mass is also held during sundays. 

The Nuestra Senora Dolorosa Church is one of the oldest church in Tayabas. It houses the Virgin Mary which the Turumba Festival is dedicated. Devotees dance on the city's major thoroughfare during the event.

Eat the famous Pansit Lucban. Pansit Lucban or pansit habhab as the locals refer to it. To savor the real taste of Pansit Lucban, eat the way the locals do. Habhabin mo! Eat it direct from the banana leaf. I suggest not to use fork just your mouth. Price ranging from P5 up to P20. Sobrang mura! Of course Pansit Lucban won't be complete without the vinegar to enhance its taste. You have the option of your vinegar flavour. Either sweet and sour, sweet, sour and spicy, just sour, sour and spicy. Kaw na bahala kung ano trip mo.

Take home Longganisang Lucban. 

I brought home a dozen of Longganisang Lucban from Tayabas but I suggest you buy it in Lucban instead. What was distinct in this local chorizo was the strong taste because of mix full of garlic. Price starts from P70 up to P150 depends on the size. You can find it hanging on the stores of Kalye Budin.

Munch some Budin and the sweet Yema Cake.

Budin I think is among the best buy when I had my Tayabas trip. So why? Cheap and yummy! It is the local version of a cassava cake. I love its tenderness and just enough sweetness. At pag gutom ka, you deserve this kakanin! Mabigaat sa Tiyan! Price is P25 per piece.

And at one end of Kalye Budin lies a local restaurant that takes pride of their Yema Cake. I'm not that fond of sweet foods. Tama lang. But this sweet cake deserve a try when you visit Tayabas. Price is P30 per servings the size in the picture above while per box order is ranging from P150 up to P250.

Buy pasalubong in Kalye Budin.

Kalye Budin does not offer only budin and longganisa but varieties of good pasalubong. You can buy sweets, ready to cook pansit Lucban noodles and even the local coconut vodka -- the Lambanog.

Stretch of Kalye Budin. Home of Tayabas City Pasalubong stores.


The word "Lucban" in our hometown refers to a citrus fruit popularly known as pomelo, so as the province got its name based on a town folk's legend. This sleepy town is the last town before the province of Laguna. A picture-perfect that would best describe a basic Southern-Tagalog municipality. Where one could still see an array of traditional "Bahay na Bato" and a century old church. A charming town lying on the foot of mighty Mt. Banahaw. Also, the home of "Pahiyas Festival", definitely one of the colourful fiesta in the country.

Visit Lucban Church. Like most of town in the country, Lucban church sits on the center and probably on the high point  of the town. On front of it is a small plaza then the villages was built around it; as patterned on the "Laws of Indies"

The church was dedicated to St. Louis of Toulosse, a catholic bishop and a former cadet of French Royal House of Anjou and not to San Isidro Labrador, the farmers patron; whom the festival have rooted for.  

The church was first built in 1595 but ruined in 1629. It was reconstructed between the year of 1630 and 1640. Unfortunately, it met another tragedy in 1733 when a huge fire burn it into ashes. The present church was completed in 1738 and the convent at 1753. During the war on 1945, the church was partly damaged and was rectified in 1966 with the help of NHI.

Food trip right beside the church. On side of the plaza, one can choose varieties of food to eat right after the tour around the town.

Inihaw na saging! (grilled banana).

Humabhab ng Pansit Lucban! ;-). One has to take opportunity to eat the local noodle dish. I believe this the authentic one and eat the way the local eat it.

Check out the nearby souvenir shops. Local handicraft can be bought at shops found the rear blocks of the church. You can choose from weaved crafts like basket, hand fans, weaved bags, hats, tambo brooms and native displays.

Buy Food Pasalubong. There are lot of stores where one can buy food pasalubong. Lucban specialty pasalubong are pastries like broas, local version of biscuits and breads, chicharon and chips.

I bought a set of kiping because of my curiosity of what it really taste like.

Drop by on the first Buddy's Restaurant. Lucban is the birthplace of Buddy's Restaurant. This must be one of my favourite restaurant. I like their, of course, Pansit Lucban, Pansit Chami, pork barbecue and among other pinoy dishes, even their cheesy pizza. 

Munch some Siopao ng Lucban. My curiosity on fried siopao I've read on a blogsite that was said available in the town, brought me to Aling Lydia's Siopao. Well, I failed to find it but this local version of steamed siopao is a must try.

Other probable destinations:
  • Visit the heritage town of Sariaya. See post.
  • Drop by on province's Capital City which is Lucena.
  • One can go straight to Borawan in Padre Burgos after the Festival.
  • Religious people would probably won't miss to visit "Kamay ni Hesus", a pilgrim sites which is now gaining popularity.
  • For foodies out there, there are numerous unique food destination to visit like "Kamayan sa Palaisdaan in Tayabas, also a hotel and resort.
  • Tayabas City, "Mayohan" and "Hagisan ng Suman" Festival is a parallel celebration to Pahiyas. So you might want to go afterwards.
  • You can go in towns of neighboring province of Laguna like Sta. Cruz, Liliw, Nagcarlan, Majayjay atbp. They have lot to offer most especially on cultural and heritage tours as well.
How to get there:

There are buses going to Lucena City or Sta. Cruz, Laguna from bus terminals in Metro Manila-along Buendia and Taft Avenue in Manila and Makati while there are also in Araneta Center in Cubao and in EDSA-Kamuning-Kamias. From Sta. Cruz, ride on jeepney going to Lucban in terminal located in Pagsawitan. 

In my case, I opted to travel going Lucena through DLTB Bus. Then boarded off in Lucena Grand Central Teminal. Fare would be P210.  Then take jeepneys going to Tayabas fare would be P25 and Lucban, fare would be P30. 

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