Colorful houses, different variety of vegetables, peoples occupying the streets of Lucban – these are just some of the scenario when you are at Lucban during the Pahiyas festival.
Speaking about the colorful houses, the usual decoration used of the Lucbanins is the brightly colored rice wafer, called kiping. Besides San Isidro Labrador – the patron of the farmers, Lucban Pahiyas is not Lucban Pahiyas without kiping.
Making kiping is a time-consuming process. Its name came from “Kipi” or “Kinipi” which describes how laborious the process of making one. It undergoes many steps before it can be used as a decoration for the festival.
First – is the selection of the leaves as the molds. It can be kabal, kape, talisay (umbrella tree), kakaw (cocoa), antipolo, and banana (saba). To make the shapes of the leaves uniform, cut off the excess width of a leaf, then wipe it clean to avoid unnecessary discoloration of the kiping.
In selecting the palay to be used for the rice paste it is recommended to use palay that has been stocked for a year, in order to prevent cracking of the rice wafer.
In preparing the rice paste – the rice should be soaked for two hours before taking it to the grinding station. In mixing the paste, it is traditionally believed that silence must be observed to prevent cracks. The paste is evenly spread on each of the leaves. Afterwards, the leaf with the rice paste on it is then put to the steamer for 30 minutes.
After steaming, the kiping must be dry and wait until it is ready to be peeled off. After peeling off – place the kiping one on top of the other and place weigh on top to compress for ½ day. Hang the kiping, keep it dry.
After all of the process kiping gone through – seeing it, hanging there being admired by all of the tourists and locals, it’s worth the hard work. Kiping completes the Pahiyas festival.
— Contributed by : Ma. Daisylou A. Segarra