Pahiyas Festival 2023


Pahiyas Festival in Lucban, Quezon was once again celebrated after a three year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic last May 15, 2023. It was also our second time to witness this festivity and was my first out-of-town drive this year. (My first Pahiyas festival experience here).

Admittedly, I love everything about nature. I was exhilarated to see the rice fields, the lush trees from the mountains and the lake. We took the Marilaque Hiway route which consisted of many uphill, downhill, and zigzag roads. There were interesting shops along the thoroughfare that promoted the various towns' products. Fresh fruits, a native delicacy called "bibingka," wood crafts, barong tagalog, to name a few were sold. We also passed through some restaurants that were known for their food.

I was happy to witness the various tourists - young, young-at-heart, locals, foreigners and those in-between. Like us, they too were eager to view the intricately decorated houses with crops. To encourage the residents to join and "dress" their homes, monetary rewards were given by the sponsors. It was a good way to boost tourism and the town's economy. We managed to bring home some of their delicacies like the longganiza and cookies from Pavino's.  

The drive was a refreshment to my parents. My father had three procedures for his posterior cataract removal recently. His medical journey lasted for seven months. The doctors' clinic (opthalmologist and internist) were the places he frequented then. 


The Harsh Reality of Life

Our lives here on earth is momentary. Three family members of the people we know passed away this month.

The world dictates - accumulate material things, work hard for your aspirations, or do whatever you love. As a Christian, I am reminded to set my affections on things above, to prioritize God's mandates, and to please Him at all times.


Touched By Their Lives

It's been more than 10 years since I started working from home. Surprisingly, I am loving it. I need not wake up so early to prepare for work nor beat the horrendous traffic daily. I can also save more by eating the home cooked meals my mother prepares which is nutritious, too. 

The downside is, my network has become very small. I am also not so keen at keeping in touch with my former colleagues nor classmates. 

At church, however, there is a handful of people I regularly have interactions with. Through their life stories, I have become more grateful; perhaps, even emerged as a better person. Their stories I am sharing below to inspire.

J, now 23 years old was only 16 when she was forced to live independently after her father drove her out of their house. Her religious convictions to be faithful to God was the reason, which the latter abhorred. To date, God continues to sustain her needs - she has a stable job and was recently promoted. Her determination to finish college is one of her priorities and manages to complete two or three subjects  quarterly. As the eldest in their family, she takes the responsibility of sending her siblings to school and supports them financially!

D's faith was tried after his father, a pastor, was involved in a scandal. Despite the embarrassment and anxiety she faced, she overcame the past with godly associations and heeded their counsel. She too is self-supporting. Her commitment to serve is admirable. She allots her Saturdays at the newest mission site to help. She is part of two ministries and her zest for life is contagious!

JT was a member of a tribal group and dreamed of having tertiary education. He also yearned to be a missionary at a very young age. To date, he is a professional teacher (license holder) and is one of the trusted men who delivers the word of God whenever our pastor has speaking engagements elsewhere. 

Their  backgrounds were tough, choices were right and present circumstances praiseworthy. I am blessed to have witnessed their growth as an individual,  have seen their careers blossom, more so, their journey towards spiritual maturity. They have touched my life and I pray yours, too.


Rizal: My Top 3 Destinations

Rizal boasts of beautiful places far different from the concrete buildings, traffic, and noise of a city. You need not travel up north to experience the cool breeze nor to a faraway place to distress. I've been to several sites in the past and my top favorites are the following:

1. Little Baguio of Antipolo
The road - very charming with tall and lush pine trees lined up on both sides of the two-kilometer (or so) stretch. My eyes were delighted to witness a view I don't get to see on a daily basis. My ears were happy at the sound of cicadas as if they were welcoming us once I lowered the vehicle's side window. The air, cool, although the sky abounded with feathery clouds.

We learned that the the Araneta's own the property. It's an added attraction to those who prefer to discover and reconnect with nature (rather than the usual trip to the mall) and was only open to the public this pandemic.

2. Martessem Resort
The picturesque view of the Sierra Madre is best viewed here. Guests can dine in their restaurant, book a room for a staycation, and enjoy activities like swimming, horseback riding, and fish feeding. Martessem Ressort FB Page

3. Tanay Highlands
This is the perfect place to admire the magnificence of Pililia windmills, Laguna de Bay and part of Sierra Madre. Admittedly, I am not only in awe but in love. It is arguably the best restaurant with a scenic view!

We heard that it opened on November 2021. A group of college graduates own the place and is still in the process of improving the dining area as well as their menu. Parking will never be a problem; an ample and secure space is provided. Tanay Highlands FB Page


C6 Road

Security Guard: Saan po kayo?

Me: Interesado po kaming tumingin ng properties (pretended to be a buyer).

Security Guard: Diretso lang po. Pagkatapos ng 1.5 km kaliwa kayo. May mga ahente doon.

And the adventure began.

Our curiosity to see what laid beyond C6 Road Batasan San Mateo brought us to Timberland Highlands Resort. Our eyes feasted on the beauty of the scenery - the cityscape that was truly captivating and breathtaking! The road  was also a far cry from the congestion in the metropolis. 

The road trip, though brief was refreshing.