Saturday, December 10, 2016

Saturday, December 10, 2016

December 8, 2016 officially marked the first time Lucban residents opened a celebration that they call Paskong Payas. It's a month-long revelry that commenced at the town's Roman Catholic Church and is scheduled to culminate with a musical variety show where special celebration-related awards will be given away. In between, it's a showcase of houses' facades dressed in Christmas decorations like it's the annual Lucban San Isidro Pahiyas Festival that happens every May 15. In essence, it's an extension of the latter in many ways starting with the religious observance of donning one's house, particularly the front, with colorful decors made of kipping and other elements that represent a fresh bounty.

With this year's theme that refers to "creating a memorable experience", the local word "payas" is highlighted for making the holiday season remarkable with decorations. What began as a pagan ritual that used to be known as Maluban in the 1500s has certainly been shaped by the changes in time. The locals merely decided to extend their sense of thanksgiving to their Creator even when it's not Pahiyas. Consider it an intensified holiday season revelry in this side of Quezon Province where art is highly regarded as a part of daily life.

Booked at the border of Lucban in Samkara Restaurant and Garden Resort a day before the festival opening, I woke up refreshed. The Ifugao-inspired lodging I stayed in that's called Mayoyao (named after the municipality in Ifugao) could actually fit four more people which is something for visiting travelers to consider in the area since most resorts get fully booked every festival season. It's just a tricycle or jeepney ride away to the town proper where the participating Paskong Payas houses are located. As of this writing, the celebration is ongoing and you can still visit the town to see the holiday spectacle.

While I was there, I simply walked from the municipal hall to reach where the houses can be found. It was easy to spot which ones are enlisted as participants because they stuck out from their location in the street corners when you stroll past them. Even derelict bungalows sandwiched between non-participating houses stood out from their respective strips because of the colorful kipping-made flowers and chandeliers, native materials and conventional holiday knick-knacks on display.

At a street corner past the Abcede's Resto, I stumbled upon a local named Mark who was busy applying his finishing touches to his enlisted masterpiece. According to him, the house is actually owned by his grandmother and she let him get away with the decoration, an eclectic mix of wooden and native materials that were painted on.

Since I did my stroll on a daytime, I missed the chance to see how the decorated houses looked at night when they're lit. You can just imagine the fancy memories that such pomp displays can give to the town's young ones because they're sort of the easiest ones to satisfy when it comes to holiday decors, lit up or not.

In a town where most of its residents are actively engaged in various festivities, life can always be expected to be interesting. Who knew that past the bucolic plains of Laguna, the foothills of Mt. Banahaw in Lucban can be this memorable on Christmas season?

For more info on Samkara Restaurant and Garden Resort, check out my blog post.

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