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Thursday, May 20, 2010

San Isidro Fiesta in Tayabas and Sariaya


When you hear San Isidro Labrador fiesta celebration, what comes first in your mind ?  I bet, like me, the unanimous answer is Pahiyas Festival in Lucban right? =)

Ivan and Ivy at the Rodriguez Ancestral House in Sariaya

Well, my recent trip to Quezon opened my eyes that the San Isidro Labrador Festival is not only celebrated in Lucban but also in Sariaya and Tayabas.  Ultimate Philippines didn't just bring me to the colorful world of Pahiyas sa Lucban but it also introduced me to the unique San Isidro Labrador festivities in Sariaya and Tayabas.  Actually, we also went fto Ugu Bigyan Potter's Garden in Tiaong and Sulyap Gallery Cafe in San Pablo, Laguna, as well as in Graceland Estate in Tayabas, Quezon.  'But For this post, pleas allow me to focus on the culture and fiesta celebrations in Sariaya and Tayabas.  Let me talk about the art themed restos (Ugu Bigyan Potter's Garden and Sulyap Gallery Cafe) we visited next time.

Participants of this trip assembled in front of 6750 in Makati.  With excitement and fear that I may not wake up on time, I just took a 30 minute nap thinking that I could sleep more at the bus.  I didn't know anyone in the bus except for Ivan Man Dy, whom I also met first time during this trip but this tour introduced me to wonderful people who became my instant companions and friends during the trip.  They are Chicago based IT consultant Bea, Hong Kong shipping professional Ivy, P&G brand expert Luis and IT consultant Ian. We all shared the unique experience of discovering or rediscovering the richness of the heritage of Quezon.

Our bus is even decorated with kiping and handicrafts! =)
Bea's hobby is photography and she's so much into it during the trip that I noticed she's not taking any photo of herself!  Sayang naman ang tour so I took this shot.  =)

In Sariaya, even tricycles are dressed up with veggies!

Tina Decal, one of the if not the best tour guides in Quezon, guided us throughout the trip.  I learned that Quezon is well known for its coconut and, most especially, lambanog!  Known as poor man's drink, lambanog's alcohol content is at 90% but the good thing is, it guarantees zero hangover! That's why farmers drink this because even if they are very much drunk at night, they can easily get up at dawn to work at the field.

They even have a formal ritual on how lambanog is poured and served.  I learned that this wine is deeply rooted in the culture of the Tabayasins (as Tina would like to call themselves) or Quezonians.  If you're a guest and you are served lambanog, it only means that you are very much welcome in the place.  They even have a saying which expresses "Kung gaano kaiinit ang pagpasok sa lalamunan, ganoon din kainit ang pagtanggap".  In the art of pouring lambanog, the tanggero, is the most respected in the community and he is accurate in serving and distributing the amount of liquor so that everyone will have equal measure of how much to drink.  This ceremony is often done in pamamanhikan and community talks where persons in conflict are encouraged to be at peace with each other.

They said coconut, as well as other farm products, grow well in the place because it has a very fertile soil courtesy of the water coming from the sacred Mount Banahaw.

I'm not a fan of coconut based dishes but this meal is worth the try!  I think a culinary experience is always the first step in knowing and appreciating a cultural heritage.

Even dessert is coconut  - vanilla ice cream in buko with cherry

 Upon reaching Sariaya, we had breakfast at the century old mansion of a governor during the early part of the 20th century.  While having breakfast, we witnessed another ceremonial way of offering lambanog to guests, this is through Pandanggo Awit.

We had breakfast at the Natalio Enriquez House in Sariaya.
Nancy Espinosa doing the Pandango Awit
 Nancy Espinosa doing the Pandango Awit

 Nancy Espinosa doing the Pandango Awit

Quezon's pinagong and masapan
Hot chocolate while waiting for our turn at the buffet table.  It's the best match with the pinagong bread.

In Sariaya, many houses are also adorned with farm products.  The tradition is not as extravagant as Pahiyas in Lucban but what sets their celebration apart is the Agawan tradition (it's actually called Agawan Festival).  The harvests, which are now combined with modern goods and handicrafts, are tied at bagacay, a bamboo found in Sariaya.  There is also a procession during the fiesta celebration but as soon as San Isidro Labrador passes and the priests blesses a house, the bagacay can be pulled down and all people can race getting the goods.  That's why it's called Agawan Festival.  One may also ask for the specific harvest, and the owner, based on tradition, is generous enough to give that away but only after the San Isidro procession passes his house.  Tina mentioned that this is the difference between Lucban and Sariaya, while people enjoy looking at the decors in Lucban, guests enjoy eating or getting the goods shared by its owner in Sariaya.

Handicrafts hanged at a traditional bagacay branch for the Agawan Festival

One may also ask for the specific harvest, and the owner, based on tradition, is always generous enough to give that away but only after the San Isidro procession passes his house.
Handicrafts hanged at traditional bagacay branches for the Agawan Festival
This is the last store that bakes and prepares this kind of bread during the festival celebration.  The breads are in various fun and colorful shapes like fish and horse.

 In Tayabas, we stopped for a while to check the longest old church in Asia - San Miguel Arcangel.  We were also able to see how the San Isidro fiesta is celebrated there.  They call it Mayohan Festival in Tayabas and the main distinction in their celebration is the "paagaw" of their very own native suman.

This is the longest old church in Asia

A child who's playing a native Filipino game is practicing for his participation in the Mayohan Festival procession.
Ultimate Quezon delicacy for breakfast: Longanisang Lucban, Budin, Suman, Tamalis and Relyenong Itlog

It was just a short trip in Sariaya and Tayabas but  we were able to find their hidden treasures.  For sure, if there will be a chance to stay longer in the future, I would probably know more! =)

Rodriguez House in Sariaya, Quezon
Inside the Rodriguez House
Old books inside the Rodriguez ancestral house
The first bottles of Pepsi found inside the Rodriguez House.
Well, up to this time, although work has really made me insane already, this experience has been giving me smiles for several days.  Boring as it may sound for many but for me, rediscovering our very own culture is always a fascinating adventure because it brings pride and self worth for Filipinos.  So for sure, there will be many more cultural adventures and rediscoveries happening in this blog.  Watch out for more soon! =)

This is a pre-qualifying entry to the Intramuros Bloggers Challenge 2012 by IntramurosManila.Asia. This campaign is fully supported by Barbara's RestaurantCeldran Tours and Payless Pancit Shanghai.

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