Late post, since I only shot film this time, and have just recently developed the rolls.
I haven’t been to Lucban’s Pahiyas festival for a long time, though I’ve gone there on a few occasions with my photography group, just not during Pahiyas-time. The chance to go there again was just timely, since work wasn’t in the way that day. Personal fact to establish first: my mother is a native of Tayabas, a neighboring town of Lucban, where I’ve spent countless summer vacations in my younger years. Tayabas has its own version of Pahiyas as well, but I do remember us going to the more popular Lucban festivities.
We were taken in by Uro, who’ve always had stories of his hometown. In a way, after assessing this year’s fiesta, we both had the same sentiments: there really was nothing new, nothing quite exciting. Or maybe its just a jaded, used-to-this feeling? Case in point, here’s a photo of Tayabas’ own Pahiyas, with the special participation of me, my siblings, and relatives:
I’m the third kid from the right, yellow jogging pants. I think the decor and human-mannequin setup won the duplex first prize that year.
However, I was a rare case: most people I was with had a glint in their eye, most of the revellers I see were enjoying their pancit habhab (my daily breakfast during vacations, when it was still 75 cents per; a sometime-treat at home, since I can cook it), marvelling at the houses, and generally braving the sweltering summer heat and taking in the collective joyous spirit. Photographers had their fill of course, brandisihing their bazooka lenses (to take a photo of what exactly? a house profile? with a 400mm? on Lucban’s very narrow streets? really?), and, puzzling the life out of me, more than half of them carrying tripods.
I don’t think I’ve also walked the entire festival path, but I did this time. Blame it on an uninspired eye that day, I had the most difficult time finding scenes to shoot. The shots from my Fed 2 rangefinder are still unprocessed, but I’m not hopeful for any gems there either. Funny though, that a good number of photographers I was with did bring their TLR cameras, too, like it was something we all agreed on.
We got to Lucban a few hours before lunch, and after that long stroll early afternoon, I just stayed at Uro’s old house, deciding to just shoot to whatever I see there. The procession came and went. Carabaos paraded, a mini-santacruzan ensued. Last time I spent Pahiyas over at Tayabas, probably aroudn the 90s, at the very end of the procession was a burly group of men who would take all the suman and all the edible decor you have on your house. Essentially, permitted looting. FYI: THIS is the old Pahiyas tradition, and it used to be observed by all the towns that celebrate it.
The Lucban late afternoon was gorgeous though. By then, I was dead-tired. I handed my camera to someone I forget and asked them to take a souvenir-ish photo of me, and it turned out to be an easy favorite:
Dinner was eaten at around 12 midnight at a gas station at SLEX. Ahh yes, Manila-bound traffic never changes. Hoorah for us Northerners!