Filipinos mark Easter with crucifixions

2013-03-29 15:00

San Fernando - Catholic zealots in the Philippines re-enacted the last hours of Jesus Christ on Good Friday, whipping their backs and nailing themselves to crosses in a grisly Easter ritual that persists despite Church disapproval.

Foreign and local tourists flocked to the outskirts of the city of San Fernando, a 90-minute drive from Manila, to see the annual spectacle where a Christian "passion play" is taken to its blood-soaked extreme.

At least 18 men had nails driven through their hands and were hung up on crosses under the hot sun in vacant plots around the city.

Elsewhere hooded men lashed their bloody backs with cloth and bamboo whips, doing penance for their sins while spraying onlookers with flecks of blood.

Devotees commit to undergo the mock crucifixion in exchange for a gift from God such as the healing of a sick loved one.

"I am used to it already," said Alex Laranang, aged 58, who was nailed up for the 14th time.

Suffering rewarded

Laranang, a short, sunburnt man who sells baked buns to bus passengers, said: "It is just like a needle going through my hand. After two days, I am ready to go back to work again."

So far, he said, his suffering has been rewarded as his wife and children enjoy good health and he continues to make a decent living.

"I am doing this for my family, so that no one will get sick and that my livelihood will continue. I am just a poor man. But I don't ask God to make me rich," he said.

At least two of the men hung on crosses had to be carried away on stretchers after being taken down, but most managed to walk to a medical tent for treatment as Western tourists snapped pictures.

Norwegian Charlotte Johanssen, aged 26, a Manila resident who was among the crowd of onlookers, said some of her visiting friends had found the sight too much to take.

"I have friends who felt sick to their stomachs and who got nauseated," said Johanssen, who works for an aid group in the
Philippine capital.

No need to bear cross

"There are those who get amazed. You can't imagine how anyone can subject themselves to this kind of pain," she said.

The mock crucifixions have been going on for decades despite official disapproval from the Philippines' Catholic bishops.

"The bishops have been saying for a long time they disapprove of this. But people make such vows. They sacrifice themselves for others," said Father Francis Lucas, executive director of the Philippine bishops' media office.

"We have so many crosses to bear in life. We don't need to bear a real one," he said.

He also warned against efforts to use the event to boost tourism, saying: "That is really wrong".

San Fernando City conveniently listed the locations and schedules for the mock crucifixions on its tourism website, complete with a map so visitors could follow the action.


The Philippines, a former Spanish colony, is home to more than 80 million Catholics and the Church wields strong influence, ensuring that divorce and abortion remain illegal.

Some Filipinos were disappointed that Manila archbishop Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle missed out this month when Argentina's Jorge Mario Bergoglio was chosen at a Vatican papal conclave to succeed Benedict XVI, becoming Pope Francis.

On the southern island of Mindanao a Good Friday religious procession dissolved into panic when communist rebels attacked security forces guarding the event, killing two village militiaman, police said.

  • Sc1pio - 2013-03-29 15:11

    They all died for our sins. Shall we pray through them as well now?

      Oscar Blade - 2013-03-29 16:28

      I won't mind if it means we get more public holidays?!

      JonaDawhalier Dawhalier - 2013-03-29 18:54

      It can be stated with a lot of confidence that if any of them made such a messianic claim a spontaneous followership with disciples and all will quickly take root. All the hanger-on has to do is claim that either he is actually the true Jesus or that Jesus appeared to him and claimed him as a co-messiah with some messages for the future TRUE believers. Human nature of some.

  • Stewart Croucamp - 2013-03-29 15:21

    Stupid christians.

      SaintBruce Bruce - 2013-03-29 17:38

      How can they be christians? They are disobeying what Jesus Christ stood for and what Paul wrote should not have to take place. One man died one time for all mankind so that no one would ever have to die again. Being actually crucified as an acting out event is not what counts. Only the Resurrection of Jesus Christ counts. Without it, Christianity has no basis of faith. With it, everything changes. The case for the Resurrection of Christ is incredibly strong and the continued evidence of the reality of God backs that up. But Stewart, you need to show some tolerance towards those who have been misled by men along ideas that are not from God. The Focus of Passover is victory over death, not death itself.

      JonaDawhalier Dawhalier - 2013-03-29 18:22

      @ Saint.Bruce Bruce According to your bible Jesus did NOT die. Nor was he a sacrifice. He apparently went downstairs and preached or did something there as a face saving exercise because questions later arose as to what happened to those who had lived and died before Christ was born etc etc. Then Jesus is said to have made his appearance in his physical body for all to see. He is alleged to have risen up (on a cloud or among the clouds, if I recall correctly) to heaven with the promise left behind that he would be back during the lifetimes of those around and the generation of that time. Of course to finish what the messiah did not achieve as predicted in the Old Testament. An uncontaminated reading of for example Isaiah 11 1-12 will tell one what the messiah was supposed to have achieved. NOT ONE WAS FULFILLED BY JESUS who it is said by believers have the been the messiah referred to in that passage. Where was the so-called sacrifice and the death of Jesus? You lot like your false propaganda.

      JonaDawhalier Dawhalier - 2013-03-29 18:39

      @ SaintBruce Bruce You of course realize that if it is true that Jesus is also god - as some of you like to claim but a substantial number of believers in the same source material as yours vehemently dispute - it should be obvious that Jesus partook in and agreed with the horrible commands god spread all over the Israelites as per the Old Testament. Like cut off the hand of a wife who grabs her husband's assaillant between the legs. So MANY! similar cruel demands emanating from god = Jesus! Shall we then agree that the Jesus you talk about retained all those cruel propensities even while so-called here on earth and making what you (mistakenly and misleadingly) try to sell as sacrifice/supreme death for humanity's sake? Even for the sake of those women with chopped off hands that may have been around at the time? I still marvel that Jesus (in his godly wisdom) did not even bother to inform the Israelites to alter their hygienic habits. A bit more circumspection with dirty hands and dangerous public toilet habits would have helped not only them a lot but the rest of humanity. Just a little bit of advice that would not have cost him (god) any so-called self-sacrifice. Those public toilet with the shared sponges/mops to keep those unpleasant openings clean! Siss! And nothing from god = Jesus?

      GB Garratt - 2013-03-29 18:55

      This saintbruce.bruce guy has a direct line to Jesus so he has his info directly. He has even met Jesus in the flesh. WOW! Not many Xians get to actually meet Jesus, Hey? "Then I had a spiritual encounter I will never forget and met Jesus Christ which just leaves all religion in the dust! - saintbruce.bruce This guy is either a total delusional crackhead or a liar. Make your choice. Either way he's creepy.

      JonaDawhalier Dawhalier - 2013-03-29 19:04

      I think the following excerpt taken from once again needs to be posted on this forum so we may remind ourselves just how silly and common such encounters are. And of course misleading. “In 1976, the Lord spoke to me saying, "I am hurting! I am hurting!" He said His people were believing lies, thinking they believed godly truth, and those lies were killing them. He was hurting because they were hurting. The prominent gospel preached in evangelical circles is an insidious one, a product of deceived and ignorant men, naively serving Satan and his bride, Mystery. Herein, we explicitly identify it for what it is. In this paper we take apart the trinity, tearing it in little pieces and discarding it in the theological trash can where it belongs. We begin by discrediting, defenders of orthodox Christianity and many of its diabolical doctrines.”

  • Nicky Karen Griffiths - 2013-03-29 15:24

    Thank 'god' for atheism. :)

  • DrGonzoSA - 2013-03-29 15:44

    "and nailing themselves to crosses" How do you nail youself to a cross? I'd imagine that whatever order you choose you won't be able to get the last nail in.

  • Gifted Moyo - 2013-03-29 15:57

    John 19:30 "It is finished." That was over 2000 years ago. No need for those who believe to be crucified or make blood sacrifices. Unless you claim to have a sacrifice worthier than the Lamb of God. That's blasphemy.

      Oscar Blade - 2013-03-29 16:07

      You do realise that what you just said makes absolutely no sense. "Unless you claim to have a sacrifice worthier than the Lamb of God"......GOD!!! why do all of you christians sound so stupid!!!

      SaintBruce Bruce - 2013-03-29 17:42

      Oscar - we don't expect you to understand as the truth is spiritually discerned and you don't appear to have that discernment only your natural logic. Are you greater than God Almighty, the creator of heaven and earth? Your creator ? Anything which is created is never able to be greater than its creator, logically.

      JonaDawhalier Dawhalier - 2013-03-29 18:45

      2 Bruce And who told you that? The same source material who has the most important character in its second half get the prophecies so wrong? You know by now which I am referring to. But I really must again emphasize that Isiaah 11:1-12 is essential reading for discerning readers. It tells us in clear terms what the messiah was supposed to have attained. NOT ONE CAME TRUE. On the contrary, Jesus (the supposed messiah) left his followers with the promis that he would be back later (of course to complete the messiah's job.) And here you try to tell us that you find the sayings in that source material credible?

      GB Garratt - 2013-03-29 18:57

      Hey SaintBruce. Have yo been meeting with Jesus again? What is his latest message. How does the guy look these days? Still wearing dresses? "Then I had a spiritual encounter I will never forget and met Jesus Christ which just leaves all religion in the dust! - saintbruce.bruce

      Oscar Blade - 2013-03-29 20:53

      Bruce, I am greater than god, logically. As for my creator...well that would be whoever provided my 46 chromosomes...

  • Elizabeth Bothma - 2013-03-29 16:22

    These people certainly aren't Christians! -'ve got a couple of other names that spring to mind! please dont generalise!

      Oscar Blade - 2013-03-29 16:25

      Now, now Elizabeth, thou shalt not judge... Oh christians do that on a daily basis...carry on then

      SaintBruce Bruce - 2013-03-29 17:44

      Oscar - you don't know your bible, or maybe you don't have one! The Word of God judges all of mankind but you non-believers often need the correct application of God's Word pointed out to you so that you are not the one calling judgement. Read my earlier comments on this subject.

      GB Garratt - 2013-03-29 19:01

      SantBruce You may have met with Jesus but you are just another member of the 40000+ Christian cults, each with their own and different interpretations of the Bible. So don't come here and expect us to accept that your cult's interpretation is the only correct one. Besides, atheists know more about religion than believers like you. Even if you do regularly meet with Jesus. Survey: Atheists Know More About Religion Than Believers Read more:

      Oscar Blade - 2013-03-29 21:01

      Bruce, you, like many christians out there, bore me with your archaic thinking. It's a pity evolution doesn't apply to IQ....

  • Toi Toy Story Mtshali - 2013-03-29 16:43

    Attention seekers.

      GB Garratt - 2013-03-29 19:01


  • Zwelakhe Twala - 2013-03-29 16:43

    You gotta love religion :-)

  • Gifted Moyo - 2013-03-29 18:43

    Mememan and Oscar, I refer you to Romans 11:8. Watch that you are not one of those.

      GB Garratt - 2013-03-29 20:04

      Watch out for what? Your god? Naw! You god never ever verifiably does anything do he doesn't scare me.

      Oscar Blade - 2013-03-29 21:07

      Roman 11:8 God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear (King James Bible) - I disagree, I have a very inquisitive mind that has awarded me a degree and a masters in science. My eyes and ears are tools that I use every day to witness proof that god is nothing more than a farce...

  • Gifted Moyo - 2013-03-29 18:48

    Read Romans 11:8. Some were given a spirit of stupor. Pharoah 's heart was hardened that the glory of God might be manifested.

      JonaDawhalier Dawhalier - 2013-03-29 19:22

      @ Gifted Moyo So god actually makes life a misery for others so he can be glorified? Yes, I remember that piece of garbage. And then his followers - provided of course they belong to the right Christian strand like either Protestantism or Catholicism - can relish in the misery of others and so glorify and massage god's ego? Sick you lot are and sick you lot will remain. Don't ignore the fact that Catholicism does not grant Protestants any hope of salvation. And Protestants think the RCC represents the anti-Christ and and is the devil's work. Which of course call for a little reminder. God actually entrusted Catholicims for more than a thousand years with the compilation of the bible and the souls of the poor peasants. The latter did not know of better and simply had to fall in line with the RCC's strange learnings and ideas. Like the saints and the role of Mary etc. And other spiritual kinky ideas. And so god, from the Protestants' viewpoint, did not introduce the REAL, AUTHENTIC church for more than a millenium. Only when miscreants like Martin Luther - he was a miscreant and mad - started making noices against the church did god allow a new stand of religion to take shape. Of course with much bloodletting and torture from both sides. Yet god did NOT ONCE even indicate his preference during those momentous struggles, wars, killings and inquisitions between the two religions WHO BOTH CLAIMED GOD AND JESUS FOR THEMSELVES. Makes one want not only to think but to vomit

  • Gifted Moyo - 2013-03-29 18:55

    Romans 11:8, some where given a spirit of stupor. Pharoah 's heart was hardened. Where do you fall?

      GB Garratt - 2013-03-29 20:07

      Nonsense. Do you have any evidence for any of your assertions? None? I thought not. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. - 1 Corinthians 13:11 You need to grow up. There is no god.

      Oscar Blade - 2013-03-29 21:14

      It's ironic you think we have a spirit of stupor...considering you are happy to be brainwashed by a <2000 year old, outdated and highly inaccurate history book.

  • Michael Ndalama Mwale - 2013-03-29 21:34

    An interesting story about simple men expressing their appreciation of and closeness to the Saviour by trying to go through the pain and suffering He went through so that they could be saved from the grip of the devil.

      JonaDawhalier Dawhalier - 2013-03-29 22:16

      Actually looking at the picture above I don't see a devil there with some grip around anybody. Don't see things that don't exist. It will only make all your other assertions about things not visible more suspicious.

  • Ettore Greco - 2013-03-29 22:42

    The only difference between a Christian and a Jew in one word is Equality. They both celebrate on the same day Good Friday and Passover but for a different recurrence. For the Jews this is the happiest day of the year as they celebrate their escape from Egypt while for the Christians instead this is the day that Jesus was killed. Jesus was a Jew that was killed by his own only because he refused the concept of one “chosen people” and embraced Equality. Today the concept of Equality is far confused among the Christians in the UK and US where the populations are like hypnotized by the concept of Individualism guided by the Jewish Culture, so pervasive in those two Countries. In our days, the Jewish media has confused the values and leveled the concept of Equality with gay marriage as if that were the debate to discuss in regard to Equality. Those Christians in UK and US who do not believe in Equality are no different than the Jews in their Belief.

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