May 15 is the feast day of San Isidro Labrador, patron saint of farmers, laborers, and workers. It’s a big deal in a largely agricultural country, and one that is commemorated in a number of fun and unique ways, in gratitude for a bountiful harvest.
Here are six ways fiesta-loving Filipinos celebrate San Isidro Labrador’s feast day. Which ones have you experienced— and which ones are on your bucket list? (Read: San Isidro Labrador’s Five Famous Miracles)
Honoring San Isidro Labrador: Pahiyas Festival
Pahiyas Festival in Lucban, Quezon, is a joyous occasion marked by the hanging of colorful fruits, vegetables, and kiping outside participating homes. Others even go so far as to hang commercial products like Lucban longganisa and woven hats, fans, mats, and bags.
At the end of a lively procession, participants perform kalas, grabbing as many of the hanging treats as they can, to partake of the year’s blessings. (Read: Bring the Pahiyas festival to your home by making your own Kiping!)
Honoring San Isidro Labrador: Agawan Festival
Agawan Festival in Sariaya, Quezon, is similar to kalas. Revelers walking in a parade that winds along homes adorn with colorful buntal hats and curtains of string beans, reach up to grab goodies hanging from bagakay—young bamboo branches strung with sweet and savory treats.
Those watching from their homes add to the blessings and cheer by throwing food, fruits, and money to parade-goers.
Honoring San Isidro Labrador: Mayohan Festival
Mayohan Festival in Tayabas, Quezon, sees suman and other yummy delicacies hung on bagakay or being thrown at participants of a procession. Now that seems like a fun way to celebrate!
Honoring San Isidro Labrador: Kneeling Carabao Festival
Kneeling Carabao Festival in Pulilan, Bulacan, parades a group of trained carabaos that kneel in front of the San Isidro Labrador Church, as if to thank the patron saint for the gift of a generous harvest. (Read: San Isidro Labrador Parish Church Is Now a Diocesan Shrine)
Honoring San Isidro Labrador: Kangga Festival
Kangga Festival in Mogpog, Marinduque, refers to the kangga or bamboo sled pulled by carabaos during the procession. The town’s prettiest girls are paraded in each kangga, which locals decorate with fresh fruit, veggies, flowers, colorful bunting, and other symbols of an abundant harvest.
Honoring San Isidro Labrador: Bariw Festival
Bariw Festival in Nabas, Panay, is a three-day celebration that showcases the town’s local products—hats and mats—as well as its cold springs, lagoons, and other popular tourist destinations. A street dancing parade featuring merrymakers dressed in costumes made of bariw (palm or sea grass leaves) is another highlight of the festival.