Philippines’ Bloody Easter Spectacle

Apr 21, 2019 | CULTURE, ESCAPE, NEWS, Philippines

by MJ Toledo

Good Friday Observance, Catholic Devotees PH ©istolethetv

Every year, hundreds of Filipinos participate in a reenactment of the crucifixion

While the rest of the world decorated eggs, many people in the Philippines celebrated Easter with something more extreme –- self-flagellation and crucifixion. Every year in widely Catholic country, people continue the rare tradition.

Although it is frowned about by the Catholic church, both men and women still take part in the tradition. Some people choose to beat themselves using flails as they walk with a cross, while others choose to be nailed to a cross – two acts which reflect the suffering of Jesus Christ.

Volunteers who dress up as Romans hammer three-inch nails onto the hands and the feet of the volunteers before the cross is raised for hundreds of people to see. For many people, this is not just a show – it is a sacrifice and a way to give thanks.

“I will not stop this for as long as I am alive, because this is what gives me life,” stated Wilfredo Salvador, who has been crucified for 14 consecutive years since he recovered from a nervous breakdown.

For Mary Jane Sazon, she chose to be nailed to the cross to keep her family healthy. This year is her 16th time doing the sacrifice. Another volunteer, Resty David, has been self-flagellating to seek God’s help to cure his brother of Cancer.

Good Friday Observance, San Pedro Cutud, PH ©istolethetv

After the extreme sacrifice, the volunteers go home as if nothing happened. Then, their wounds are treated and bandaged. After a while, they go on with their usual lives.

These extreme rituals are mostly done in Pampanga, a town located north of the country, but there are still affirmations of faith such as this in other parts.

While many Filipinos choose to celebrate Easter at church or in beaches, hundreds still go through these intense religious affirmations to seek for divine intervention.

Now, the deed has become somewhat of a tourist attraction and has garnered the attention of Asia news. While some audience grimace and cover their eyes at the sight of ripped flesh, some watch the sight with interest.

“I’m a little bit overwhelmed. It’s very intense, I haven’t expected something like this,” shared  Annika Ehlers, a German tourist, as she witnessed the bloody spectacle.