SAN PEDRO CUTUD, Philippines – Devotees in northern Philippine villages had themselves nailed to wooded crosses to re-enact the crucifixion of Jesus Christ as thousands of local and foreign spectators watched the bloody annual rites to mark Good Friday in Asia's largest Roman Catholic nation.
Church leaders and health officials have spoken against the practice which mixes Roman Catholic devotion with folk belief, but the annual rites continue to draw participants and huge crowds, particularly in northern Pampanga province.
Sign painter Ruben Enaje, 53, had himself nailed to a cross at a dusty mound in Pampanga's San Pedro Cutud village for the 28th year. He began his yearly rite after surviving a fall from a building. Men dressed as Roman soldiers hammered stainless steel nails into his palms and feet.