Pahiyas festival

A festival of colors held every 15th of May at Lucban, Quezon, Philippines! Houses as festooned with colorful "kipings" made of very, very thin rice dough in various colors. This is the local counterpart of the Spanish tacos.

The San Isidro or Pahiyas Festival is incomplete without the kiping as decoration - a leaf-shaped wafers made of rice (similar to tacos of Spain) in brilliant colors.
The making of kiping is time-consuming and involves many steps. It begins with the selection of fresh leaves as molds. The kinds of leaves include kabal, kape, talisay (umbrella tree), kakaw (cocoa), antipolo and banana (saba).
These leaves should be:

  • mature so that they can be used three times or more times
  • same sizes
  • not render any unusual taste

To make the fresh leaves of uniform size, a pair of scissors is used to cut off the excess width of a leaf. Once the leaves of the same variety have been selected, these are wiped clean to avoid unnecessary discoloration or accumulation of dirt in the production of kiping.

The selection of rice and the preparation of rice paste are important steps. Rice should be laon (should have been stocked for a year) to prevent unnecessary cracking of the rice wafer. Experience dictates that C-64 variety can be used for as long as the palay has been stocked for a year.

The preparation of the rice paste includes

  • soaking of the rice for two hours before taking it to the grinding station
  • grinding of the rice with water just a little over the volume of rice
  • fixing the ground rice with three packets of food color and ½ teaspoon of rock salt (for every ganta of rice)
    To prevent cracks from the batch of kiping being made, people believed that in mixing the paste, silence should be observed, nobody should talk or ask questions. Then the paste will be spread on individual leaves. Depending on the size of the improvised steamer (usually it is made of bamboo slats that sit on a big frying pan with boiling water, decaying banana suckers serving to contain the steam and a matching lid) which sometimes can hold as many as three to four leaves, steaming of the leaves covered with paste lasts 30 minutes.

After steaming, the following steps are executed:

  • Dry the steamed kiping under the shade until ready for peeling off.
  • Peel off the kiping individually.
  • Place kiping one on top of the other.
  • Place weight on top to compress for ½ day.
  • separate the kiping one by one.
  • Dry the kiping one on top of the other.
  • Place weight on top to compress for ½ day.
  • Store the kiping (hang them or place in a clean box

(courtesy of

photos borrowed from my friend Tessa who went there this year!


9 pinky-swear friends shared a thought or two...:

yyam said...

Wow! It must be a spectacular festival! They look too good to eat! :)

♥peachkins♥ said...

I love kipings! My cousin used to bring home kiping for pasalubong .

Susan said...

Wow- these are beautiful shots!

Nedekcir said...

Sad, I never been to one back, the town is very close to my home town. Hopefully I can go there sometime, lovely photos, btw.

Miranda said...

Wow, beautiful. It seems like a lot of work, but obviously worth it ;)

Mary Bergfeld said...

Your photos are spectacular.

Annie Jeffries said...

Spectacular. Love the presentation of these "tacos".

Liza said...

Very colorful! I've never been to Pahiyas, I've only seen it on tv.

josie said...

I've been there I guess more than 15 years ago, invited by an office mate of my hubby, I'm looking forward for the day we can comeback again there.