Monday, September 3, 2012

A taste of Pahiyas Festival

    Have you ever witnessed how the Pahiyas Festival is celebrated in Lucban, Quezon Province on the 15th of May each year? It is among the most popular tourism events in the Philippines, and is held by the townsfolk to thank and honor their patron saint San Isidro Labrador for their bountiful harvest. It is a tradition among the locals to celebrate Pahiyas by adorning their houses with colorful lanterns called kiping (which are plant or tree leaves spread with colored rice paste) as well as fruits, vegetables and handicrafts. I'm embarrassed to admit that even though I hail from the coconut-producing coastal province of Quezon, never in my 44 years have I joined the huge crowds to admire the adorned houses and sample the delicacies sold on the streets during this event. 
Reading about Pahiyas Festival on the Internet, I longed to also have my picture taken with these houses in the background and to eat pancit habhab (a noodle dish that is served on a small piece of banana leaf and which you eat straight from it using only your mouth - no utensil!) on the street. That would be unforgettable, I'm sure!
This year, I was close to witnessing the Pahiyas when two of my sisters came home from abroad. We had planned to go to Lucban in time for the Pahiyas but because of mixed up schedules, we went there a week after the festival.  We spent the night in a resort and as we went around town, we passed by this restaurant called Buddy's Pancit Lucban at Longganisang Lucban. We chose to dine, however, in a seafood restaurant. Days later, I read in some blogs that Buddy's has several branches in Metro Manila. This restaurant, as the name implies, offers Lucban and Quezon specialty dishes such as the famous pancit and longganisa. I felt I had to dine there. 
Last Saturday, I and the rest of our family finally had that opportunity when I thought of celebrating a few days earlier the birthday of my hubby. I suggested that we try Buddy's for lunch, to which my hubby agreed. We went to this branch near his office on Pearl Drive in Pasig City. I wanted to go to the Timog Ave. branch in Quezon City but since we would go to pick up hubby's company rice supply, we went for the Pasig branch.
Entering Buddy's, I was impressed by the cheery interiors that made me feel a little like I was in Lucban celebrating Pahiyas. On the ceilings, hung were kiping lanterns and on the walls, floor and again, the ceiling, were sunflower designs.
Other things that impressed me were the extensive menu and the prices of the fares - they're pocket-friendly! And the food - they're delicious! I specially liked the Chami, which is a saucy type of pancit (noodle dish) that is popular in Quezon (Lucena City, the capital of Quezon, holds a Chami Festival to coincide with the fiesta celebration also in May). Our only complaint was on the fried rice that came with the Longsilog Lucban. It was soft like it wasn't stir-fried at all. Anyway, we were given complimentary soup and that's a plus point for me. I definitely want to go back to Buddy's to try their other dishes such as the pizza with longganisang Lucban (native sausage) and kesong puti (white cheese made from carabao's milk).

Buddy's on Pearl Drive in Pasig City

This is on the second floor.

Wall accent would have been lovelier if not for the few busted bulbs.

The kiping lanterns hung on the ceiling make you feel a bit like being in Lucban celebrating Pahiyas Festival.

Close up of the kiping lantern.

One of the light accents on the ceiling.

Sunflower designs are everywhere, even on the floor.

Tapsilog, P115.

Longsilog Lucban, P110.
Chami Special, P180 (can be shared by 2-3 persons).

Sizzling Beef Steak with Rice, P170.

Pancit Lucban (I guess this is one and the same as the pancit habhab), P175 (good for 2-3 persons).

Calamansi Juice, P40.