Pasayahan sa Lucena was conceptualized to showcase the natural and ecological interrelationship and independence between nature and man. It also promotes the ways of life inherent among the people of Lucena. All these find exquisites and appreciative expressions through a mammoth gathering of colors, outlandish costumes and symbolic floats reminiscent of Mardi Gras in Rio de Janeiro and New Orleans.
The festivity is a collaboration of the local government and private sector to boost tourism. It started in May 28, 1987 when two great men of this city, Officer-in-Charge City Mayor Euclides Abcede, and former Bureau of Internal Revenue local office Chief Aguinaldo Abcede, breathed the yearly festival. Its primary objective then was to reform the connotation that the area is infested with members of the New People's Army (NPA). Since then, it has not only become a project but a tradition.
Originally intended as three days of spirited merrymaking in the streets, the event has become a weeklong tourist attraction, culminating on May 30 in time for the celebration of the Feast of St. Ferdinand, the patron saint of Lucena. Lucenahins and even those from neighboring towns enjoy the festive moment of mardi gras. The main street of Lucena, Quezon Avenue is closed on these dates and Lucenahins, even those from neighboring towns flock together for the “tiangge” which can be found in the entire stretch of the main street. Live performances of local and famous bands come together at night and who says beer floods in October? Men and women enjoy not just beer but mostly food in every minor street you’ll see. Fashion keeps its spirit alive as the Quezon Designers’ Assiociation of the Philippines (QDAP) partake in its yearly showcase of their best of the best collection for the “Flores De Mayo,” participated by prominent actors and actresses of the country.
Another feast highlighting the entire celebration is the Chami Festival that would feature Lucena's very own pansit delicacy. It is a contest of cooking the mos delicious chami and the Chami Eating Contest at Quezon Avenue, the city's busiest street.
The most awaited time happens on May 28, the last day of the festival. Floats of participating companies and organizations start to build up at the Alcala Sports Complex (QNHS Compound) and parade from this point to SM City Lucena (endpoint). Each float features a variety of the culture in Quezon province. Prominent is the production of coconut and other local materials but most particularly one can’t miss to notice their creativity. Not only this, an annual competition of floats makes this festival a sure-fire for all the participants. Cash prizes are given away.
Year after year the Pasayan draws a sea of frolicking humanity. More than the glitz and glamour of the Pasayahan in Lucena is the true essence of culture, camaraderie and harmony in the locality.