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Mayohan sa Tayabas (San Isidro Festival) 2016: Cultural Adventure

The month of May offers visitors in the province of Quezon plenty of festivals to watch and participate in. Usually when think of the words Quezon and festival, we remember the Pahiyas Festival in Lucban. However, did you know that there is also this unique festival worth seeing and participating in which is just a few kilometers away from Lucban?

Known for having the Spanish colonial church with the longest nave and oldest church clock, Tayabas is also the place to see and participate in the Mayohan sa Tayabas (San Isidro Festival). This festivity is a harvest festival held in honor of San Isidro Labrador, the patron saint of farmers. 
Mayohan sa Tayabas 2016!

The festival is held every 11th -18th of May. It opens with a parade of baliskog and tao-tao. Baliskog is the local term for the arch of welcome while the tao-tao is the local term for scarecrows used by the farmers in their farms. 
Aim for the center of the crowd for maximum damage (LOL)
Then at around 2 or 3PM of the 15th of May, the men (most of them farmers) would gather at the church plaza and go with the procession of the image of San Isidro Labrador. This is a way for them to thank the saint for blessing them with good harvest. Connected with the procession is the main highlight of the festival, the Hagisan ng Suman. As the name suggests, home owners who are also devotees of the saint would throw suman or rice cakes wrapped in buri palm leaves as a free treat to the men in the procession after the image of the saint has passed their residence. The men on the other hand would catch these suman (and bring them home ofcourse).
Check out these Tayabas suman

Manong preparing our ammunition
No need to light that suman
Here you go!

Before I talk about my experience in the festival, let me first thank the Quezon Tourism Office for giving me the chance to participate in the 2016 Mayohan sa Tayabas (San Isidro Festival) as part of the Experience Quezon 2016 Media Tour.
This is where we positioned ourselves
Now, speaking of my experience, the media participants were allowed to position themselves in the veranda of the municipal hall of Tayabas. As they say, we got higher ground, giving us the best view and angle to throw the suman in our arsenal. Throwing suman to the men in the procession and seeing them chanting for us to throw more is in itself a very memorable experience. Given a chance, I'd probably join the procession too just to have a first hand experience of it too. However, as one of my photojournalist friend pointed out, the celebration could sometimes become very physical too. he showed me men with bruises because they were accidentally elbowed or scratched. (that is probably why the procession is all male). 
Our own Mayohan inside the bus
Overall, it's very nice to see how the Tayabenses celebrate their festival. If you like to practice your catching and throwing skills, then its best to head to Tayabas on May 15. 

Overall rating


  1. wow it sounds great fun!! great pics, congrats! ciao Andrea


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