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 thinking of the words QUEZON and FESTIVAL, we remember the well-known 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?

Mayohan Festival / Mayohan sa Tayabas

Yup! You heard it right, and it is also celebrated on the same date as Pahiyas Festival. Come and join me as we visit Tayabas City and participate in the annual Mayohan sa Tayabas

The image of San Isidro Labrador is paraded around town.

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. 

Welcome to Mayohan sa Tayabas 2016!

Mayohan sa Tayabas festival is held every 10th -15th of May. It opens with a parade of baliskog and tao-tao. Baliskog is the local term for the arch of welcome while tao-tao is the local term for scarecrows used by the farmers in their farms. 

Wait for the main crowd before throwing.

Here you go!

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 a good harvest. Connected with the procession is the main highlight of the festival, the Hagisan ng Suman. As the name suggests, homeowners 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 the suman which they can eat on the spot or bring back home to their families.

Check out these Tayabas suman

Manong preparing the suman that we'd throw to the festival participants

This suman looks like a dynamite

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.

The best place to experience Mayohan sa Tayabas Festival is in front of the Tayabas City Hall.

Now, speaking of my experience, the media participants were allowed to position themselves on 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 friends 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 Festival 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 it's best to head to Tayabas on May 15. 

Why experience Mayohan sa Tayabas?

Mayohan sa Tayabas is a festival of thanksgiving where food is free and people are happy. It is a festival that you should experience at least once in your life. 

Getting to Tayabas City

From Manila, Cubao, or Alabang ride a bus or van going to the Grand Terminal in Lucena City. From there, ride a jeepney or van going to Tayabas. When you reach Tayabas, you can walk or ride a tricycle going to the Tayabas City Hall. 

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Comments

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

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