Colorful celebration of the feast of San Isidro is Lucban’s Pahiyas Festival, a visual spectacle where houses come alive with decorations of colorful kiping (rice wafers) arranged in layered chandeliers called arangya. Some houses creatively shape kipings into flowers, butterflies and other unique patterns accented with rice panicles, rice seedlings, fruits and vegetables. Some even play out farm scenes complete with rice stalks shaped as farmers and carabaos, depicting farm activities such as plowing, harvesting, threshing and hauling among others.
As rice is an integral part of the Filipino culture, it is very important for us to be aware of the external threats to our unique rice traditions. Recent news about the eventual release of the genetically engineered (GE) ‘Golden’ rice, supposedly rich in beta carotene should alarm Filipinos.