Mayohan Festival is a cultural and religious festival in the city of Tayabas, Quezon, Philippines every May 15. The fifteenth of May may be a special nonworking holiday in the city by virtue of presidential proclamations (like Proclamation No. 997 signed by President Benigno Aquino III on April 16, 2015).
The fest is popular for a local rice cake delicacy called suman and the tradition of hagisan that witnesses the throwing of suman, foodstuff, bills, gifts, and other items to festival-goers.
Additionally, it is held for the feast day in honor of the St. Isidro Labrador (St. Isidore the Laborer), the patron saint of farmers.
Bountiful harvest and history of Mayohan Festival
Catholicism was introduced to Tayabas when the Spaniards came in the 16th century. Franciscan friars Juan de Plasencia and Diego de Oropesa began evangelization in 1578. The church, called Tayabas Basilica, is under the patronage of St. Michael and its second patron is San Diego de Alcala.
Mayohan Festival was an initiative of Orlando Nadres and then mayor Faustino Alandy Silang and launched in 1989. Its name refers to revelry in the month of May.
Its schedule coincides with the feast of St. Isidore the Laborer. It is a celebration of thanksgiving for a bountiful harvest and agriculture. At the same time, it has become a vehicle to drive tourism and instill awareness of the city’s rich heritage and culture.
Suman is also referred to as suman sa palaspas. It is a sticky rice cake traditionally served in the celebration and given away during hagisan. Unlike the traditional suman that is cooked in banana leaves, it is wrapped in young, pale yellow-green coconut leaves called palaspas.
It is made of glutinous rice mixed with coconut milk (cooked until a bit of oil is rendered) with a pinch of salt. It is then scooped to young coconut leaf shaped like a boat with a tail called tatangnan and tied by a thread or string. Then it is cooked by boiling in a pot.
The delicacy is served as is or sweetened with caramel.
Because of its design that is complete with a tail, suman sa palaspas is suited to be thrown in the air. It can also be tied together in a group and hang from poles made of bamboos called bagacay, which then can become decors during fest.
Mayohan Festival Activities
These events include procession, parade, traditional games, culinary tilt, beauty pageant, sports, cultural programs and shows, fireworks display, etc. Some of the highlights are the following:
Hagisan comes from the word hagis that means to throw. It is a rite observed during the feast day of the St. Isidore. When the image of the saint is carried along in a religious procession and after it passes by a house or city hall, suman along with other gifts and items is thrown at the participants.
This tradition is contextualized in generosity by sharing one’s blessings to the community. It is also based on a cycle of favors where the more one gives the more blessings can be had.
Those who are on the receiving end of the hagisan are said to be blessed too.
Parada ng Baliskog (parade of baliskog) is a competition among the constituent barangays of the city. Baliskog refers to highly embellished welcome arch (kog).
It is a symbol of hospitality. It is utilized as a way to welcome pilgrims and to receive guests, visitors, families, and friends. (For similar celebration, see Singkaban Festival.)
Participants decorate these arches with natural materials such as flowers, rice, corn, coconut, bamboo, rattan, etc. They are shown during the parade and then judged for creativity and artistry in a competition.
How to reach Tayabas City, Quezon
Tayabas City can be reached by public transport. Buses are available from Metro Manila and other neighboring provinces.
- Kathleen A. Llemit. WATCH: Soles, suman, bills at Hagisan ng Suman for Mayohan sa Tayabas 2023. The Philippine Star. May 16, 2023. Retrieved May 25, 2023
- MAYOHAN FESTIVAL. Legislative Digital Resources. Senate of the Philippines. Retrieved May 25, 2023
- Danny Pata. Mayohan Festival. Manila Standard. May 15, 2023. Retrieved May 29, 2023
- Mayohan Festival. Retrieved May 29, 2023
- Boy Villasanta. Missing Mayohan in Quezon Province. OpinYon.Net. May 11, 2021. Retrieved May 29, 2023